Being physically fit is critical because you must often be your own pack mule, hauling equipment to a shoot site. It’s the back that takes much of the strain, which is why you need a 10- to 15-minute session twice a week to strengthen your core muscles, not just your back. Working on your core will also help transform fat into muscle.
Sports and nature photographers and photojournalist are typically on their feet continuously. To cover sporting events adequately, photographers must often move from one end of a field or court to the other throughout the game. They may also have to kneel and rise to their feet many times. Nature photographers may have to hike for hours, or even days, to reach their desired locations. They must walk on a great variety of terrains with equipment. Your weekly exercises should also focus on strengthening legs, knees and ankles to reduce injuries, which you wouldn’t want to occur in the backcountry. A daily walk of 30 minutes is an easy method to improve the stamina of your legs.
During any shoot, a photographer’s arms, hands and fingers are vital tools, since they must hold cameras, sometimes with heavy lens, for long periods of time, and hold them securely. You can find specific exercises on the Web to build muscle in your arms, hands and fingers. Using a simple grip exerciser will also do the trick.
Make sure to have an eye exam once a year. After all, you can’t do much photography and focus accurately without good vision. You can also try eye exercises that your optometrist will suggest or are available on the Web.
Add some stability exercises to your fitness regimen, especially if you’re a nature photographer that must walk on uneven surfaces.
Rest and sleep are also important if your photography assignments require long days, and long nights, on occasion. You’ve heard it many times before, but 7 to 8 hours of sleep EVERY night gives your body the rest it needs and re-energizes it for your next challenge. Taking control of your schedule and learning how to manage your time better will reveal time periods throughout the day and week when you can relax. Studies show that many people that must work 10+ hours a day, six or seven days a week, are not actually that busy; they just don’t manage their time well.
Relaxation is also important as a way to relieve some of the stress of an active photographer’s life. Try to find a place that doesn’t remind you of photography; try to block any thoughts about it from your mind. There are also a great variety of relaxation techniques you can find on the Internet.
Like many busy people, you can find yourself eating an improper diet: Skipping breakfast, a hurried lunch of something far from nutritious or a late dinner too close to bedtime. Try to be more conscious of your diet and find the many healthy alternatives that are available, even when you must eat quickly.
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Many types of photography assignments require long days of carrying equipment and shooting at multiple locations, often in less than ideal conditions, with hot lights or hot weather. Even if most of your photography takes place in a studio, you’re bending and stretching as you assemble/disassemble equipment and move lights, accessories and backgrounds. Photo shoots can also be stressful, as you work hard to position a client or product just right, wait for the perfect sunset or become frustrated with equipment that won’t work correctly. Plus, you might have a demanding client to keep happy. It’s likely you will benefit from scheduling some time to improve your physical and mental health with the following tips.
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