'The Photographer' by Peter Davidson
The Art of Holding a Camera...
Everyone knows how to do this, right?
Well, the lady who was taking a picture of her left ear didn’t.
Not, that is, until I (gently, very gently) turned the camera over – because she was looking through the wrong end of the viewfinder. I’ve since often wondered how long she had been doing that with her camera. The resulting snaps of her holiday in Italy might best be described as ‘Travels With My Ear’.
Now, admittedly, this was pre-digital and viewfinders have mostly been replaced by screens on the back of the camera that you generally can’t see in bright sunshine and end up peering and blinking at or, if you’re anything like me, swearing at. Or the screen could be on the front if you’re taking a selfie. I much prefer photobombing other peoples selfies... far more fun but can be a little dangerous.
Well, now we’ve established that the lens of the camera should point towards the subject, how best to hold it? With image stabilised cameras, on the end of a very long stick using one hand can work. (Please note: Cameras stuck to the ends of sticks should ideally be attached securely and not, as I once had the startling pleasure of witnessing, with sticky tape and chewing gum).
That said, even image stabilized cameras work best if held steady. But you'd never guess that from certain YouTube 'professional' photographers (who shall remain nameless) who casually juggle £2000 lenses in one hand and then wave their cameras at arms length towards pouting young women while exploiting their sexuality for a 'great' picture. Here the honest trade craft of photography is reduced to hipster cool photography. It's not cool at all, but then his thousands of devoted followers might disagree. Firing off the camera like a machine gun on auto everything. Why not just video the shoot? But I digress...
And as the light fades, good camera technique is increasingly important. Even in this image stabilised day. So, dear reader, please try and get into an old pro’s habit of holding a camera correctly at all times. I mean, take a good picture. So I’ve been told.
The best thing to do is make yourself a tripod. No, I don't mean build a tripod – be a tripod.
Legs apart (slightly apart will do fine, we don’t want to scare the horses please) so that you are balanced.
Then tuck your elbows into your ribs, one hand supporting the camera body (which ideally should be pressed against your eye if you have a viewfinder) leaving the other hand to control the shutter release with a light touch. Your body then becomes almost as ridged as a tripod with your camera at the apex. If you can stop breathing at the critical moment of shutter release, so much the better. (If you find yourself falling over after taking the picture, try breathing again a little sooner).
Should you be wearing a cap at the time, turn it back to front. (Not applicable to hip young things as it will be permanently that way anyway).This is doubly important as long cap-peaks can accidentally cover some cameras flash and/or metering systems and make you more of an idiot than you look. Along with this benefit, the adopted stance as described will make you look more pro-like and attractive to women. Or, if you’re over thirty, an idiot. Or, if you have also chosen to wear a ponytail below a balding pate, a double idiot. But the important thing is your pictures stand a better chance of being sharp and in focus. Maybe.
Then again, focus isn't everything, is it?
Art is art, even when it comes to holding a camera.
Good article with humor and a great selection of photos. Thank you Peter!
Great article Peter, gave me a chuckle and so good tips!
Glad to hear it made you smile!
Very funny article with a fine collection of photos, thank you Peter.
Thanks for reading Despird.
much interesting and funny article. thanks so much Peter
Thanks HWK !
Mike Kreiten CREW
Very funny article, Peter, thanks for that! I had a laugh (being far over 30 :-) ). If I may add something to the tripod explanation...
A good breathing technique to avoid camera shaking in critical light situations is to breath a few times deep before and exhale slowly while pressing the trigger. Cheers, Mike
Thanks Mike! Good advice!
Yvette Depaepe CREW
Your humouristic approach in this funny article makes my day, Peter! Great choice of images and well written as always... Have a nice weekend! Cheers, Yvette
Thanks so much Yvette, you too!