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Holding the camera

From: Shooting with the Nikon D800

Video: Holding the camera

I suppose there is really no wrong way to hold a camera, but there are definitely better ways to hold a camera. Proper camera handling will allow you to shoot more stable footage, it will keep you from getting tired, and sore and it will help ensure that you don't drop your camera and break it. Camera holding is pretty easy. You may think, "Well, what's the big deal? You just pick up the camera." But if you want to be able to shoot stably, you need to pick it up in a particular way. Over here on the right side of my camera, I have got this really nice grip on the D800.

Holding the camera

I suppose there is really no wrong way to hold a camera, but there are definitely better ways to hold a camera. Proper camera handling will allow you to shoot more stable footage, it will keep you from getting tired, and sore and it will help ensure that you don't drop your camera and break it. Camera holding is pretty easy. You may think, "Well, what's the big deal? You just pick up the camera." But if you want to be able to shoot stably, you need to pick it up in a particular way. Over here on the right side of my camera, I have got this really nice grip on the D800.

It's molded right here so that my middle finger fits right underneath there, and it's molded in the back so that my thumb fits right in here., and that means that it's really hard to drop it once I've got my hand position in the right place. There is this nice non-skid surface all over here. So I feel like I've got a really secure grip on my camera. When it comes time to shooting though, I start with my left hand. I put my left hand here and set the lens of the camera into it, and I'm doing this because when my elbow is up against my body and the camera is resting on my hand like this, it's really, really stable.

So what I'm doing here is I've got my thumb and my forefinger like this and I've bunched up these fingers so the camera is actually resting on this kind of bunch of other fingers and these two fingers are holding it stable. So with it like that, I then take my right hand and put it on the grip. So, notice that my right arm is doing the same thing that my left arm is doing. My elbow is up against my body. So my elbows are always at my sides all the time. The reason being, if my feet are shoulder width apart and my elbows are up against my body like this and I'm holding the camera, I'm incredibly stable.

I also feel like I'm kind of getting a hug all the time, so it makes shooting more enjoyable. So, shooting this way means that I'm going to able to get much sharper images because I'm not going to have a handheld-shake problem. Next thing to understand--and this maybe trickier than it sounds--remember, your hands go all the way to your face. That may seem obvious, but I see lots of people lift the camera up to here and then go like this. They jut their neck forward. A couple of things happen here. One, I'm now far less stable. This is a kind of shaky position to be in. Also, I'm hurting my neck.

If I'm carrying a heavy bag of camera and lenses on my shoulder all day long, my neck is already under stress. Shooting like this, like a kind of Neanderthal photographer, isn't helping anything. So remember, I can get the camera all the way up to here. I want my spine straight. That's going to make me even more stable, and it's going to make me less prone to fatigue. Now I can shoot all I want. I can easily squeeze off the Shutter button, and I've got with my right hand access to all of my critical controls. This is for shooting landscape orientation though. When I get ready to try and shoot a vertical, of course my impulse is to go like this.

Now, you may have noticed a change here. My right elbow is no longer up against my body. It's way up here in the air. So I look cool. I look like I'm a serious photographer, but I'm not actually a serious photographer, because I'm not shooting stably, because my elbow is flying around up here in the sky. So I want to be sure that I've always got that hugged feeling. I want to be sure that--actually, I kind of feel like a tyrannosaurus actually. I want to be sure that my arms are always stuck here against my side and instead, I want to rotate the camera the other direction. So I'm going to take my hand and bring it up here. Yes, my elbow has left my side, but I'm going to put it back before I shoot, I promise.

I'm going to pick up the camera and rotate it like this. Now, my elbows are back. I've had to--I'm supporting the camera mostly with my left hand. I have got my other hand over here, and now I'm back to that really sturdy tripod position, with my arms up against my body, my posture straight, and I'm ready to go. So again, being so picky about this because stable shooting is really critical to getting sharp images. And you may think, "I'm shooting in bright daylight. I can really loosen up some." That's true to a point, but the more steady you can hold your camera the better off you are, particularly when you're shooting in low light.

Now there are going to be times where maybe you are on uneven terrain or you are getting a shoot around the corner and things like that, and you're going to have to improvise, and of course that's a normal part of shooting. But when you have the option, you really want to go for this very stable position, both for the sake of your images and for the sake of your neck.

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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Nikon D800
Shooting with the Nikon D800

107 video lessons · 12738 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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