- National Geographic Photo Basics: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Great Photography
- Photography: The Definitive Visual History
- Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs
- Rugged Camera Bags for Your 2020 Photography Adventures
- Photography Mistakes You Need to Stop Making
Photo by Pedro Sandrini from Pexels
Sometimes, photography can be a rough job. Certain events or excursions can seem like a cross between a roller derby and a jungle safari. In order to adequately protect your gear from breakage, you may need to adjust some habits, methods, and invest in some better protective camera gear.
Protective camera bags, camera skins, sling straps, and other protective camera gear are one part of the equation. Adjusting our methods are the other. Let’s look at protective camera bags and other gear first.
Recommended Photography Reading
Protective Camera Bags
I’m starting here because I think it’s one of the more important things to have as a photographer. Many of us have a lot of money invested in our cameras and lenses. Even if you’re just now starting out in more advanced photography with an entry-level camera and a couple of kit lenses, it’s still a substantial monetary outlay.
For some beginners, the camera bag that may have been thrown in with their camera kit looked fine at first, but soon revealed its limitations. For one, it barely holds the camera gear you have. Second, there is little to padding, and lastly they’re often not well made and inconvenient to use.
The complete opposite of that description is the Freelance™ sling pack from Hazard 4®.
Hazard 4® is a manufacturer of tactical gear and clothing plus a wide array of photographic accessories. Their sling packs have become one of my favorite finds in my search for how to protect your camera gear.
A sling pack is a cross between a shoulder bag and a backpack. They are comfortable to carry yet easy to get in and out of. The Freelance™ sling pack has a huge padded shoulder strap, a wide belt strap for travelling stability, and it even has a handle for moving around on the job.
The bag or case part of the Freelance™ sling pack is very thoughtfully laid out with moveable partitions and excellent padding. The thermoformed back panel keeps you dry and comfortable even with a full load of heavy cameras and lenses.
It has three external pockets, one of which has a protective shell for added protection of sensitive items like batteries. Besides protecting your gear from bumps, drops, and whacks, the Freelance™ lets you grab your camera quickly even while wearing the sling pack. It’s also weatherproof, making it my number one recommendation for your next camera bag.
Silicone Camera Skin
A camera skin is like a wetsuit for your camera. It may not be waterproof, but it fits close to the outer shell of the camera giving you more protection from rough use. Plus, it makes the camera a little easier to grab and hold.
One example is the easyCover Silicone Protection Cover available from multiple vendors like Amazon. The skins are custom made for each camera model and some are available in a variety of colors. It’s a fun and simple way to protect your camera gear from breakage.
A sling strap is basically a longer camera strap that lets you sling the camera gear over your shoulder instead of around your neck. This has several advantages.
It makes it more difficult for someone to snatch your camera gear from you. It spreads out the weight of the camera and lens over more of your body, instead of just around your neck. This style of strap also makes it less likely that you’ll drop your camera gear while walking round.
Other Ways to Protect Your Camera Gear
One of the biggest ways to protect your camera gear from breakage is to change how you approach carrying and using your camera gear.
A rigid lens hood is a very valuable photographic accessory. Not only does it shield the front element of the lens from extraneous light causing glare or flare, but it also can act like a bumber to protect the lens from scratches and breaks.
I like to use on every one of my lenses that it’s appropriate to use on, which is most of them other than my fisheye and ultra wide lenses.
A protective lens filter is a method used by many photographers to protect the front lens element. Though some photographers don’t like the thought of putting any other glass in the lens optical path. For the lenses that I do put a protective filter on, I make sure to use the best optical filters available.
A fact of life in photography is that if you do any work for profit with your camera gear, even if not a fulltime or partime professional, if you damage your camera gear or it gets stolen, your homeowner or auto insurance is probably not going to cover the loss for you.
Companies like Full Frame Insurance make it simple to protect your assets. Additionally, these policies can guard against any liability claims against you for damage you accidentally cause while taking photos.
Change Your Habits
photo by LDProd via iStock
Look how rough we treat our phones. How many do yu know walking around with a smartphone that has a cracked screen? It’s because of carelessness. Yes accidents happen, but we really don’t want to be more prone to accidents that can harm or precious camera gear.
Use good quality protective equipment, adjust your habits, and make a concerted effort to be more careful. The best protective gear you can have is the one you never have to use. Just because you’re photographing roller derby or on a jungle safari doesn’t mean your camera gear is toast.
A little effort to be more careful and having good protective gear will protect your camera from unintentional damage or loss.