How To Hold Your Camera Like A Professional

I’m running a Christmas ad campaign for my book, and I got to thinking that a chapter from the book published here would be a good thing. Kind of like the trailer for a movie. Yes…good idea! A sample chapter to give you the feel of the writing and the information that’s included.

So here goes. Chapter Seven, which has a really brilliant catchy title. Ok, it’s totally bogus, but it gets your attention at the same time it reminds you to have fun while you photograph.

WE JUST EXPOSED 10,299 DIGITAL IMAGES!

What’s worse then looking like a portly pig as you dribble chocolate soda down the front of your white tennis outfit during the final match for the club championship?

Holding your camera incorrectly, that’s what! Because holding your camera out in front of you like a total amateur will cause your closest friends to decide not to invite you to the party they are throwing after the alpaca and llama show.

So put down that soda and hold your camera with both hands. Tack sharp images are the goal of all great photographs and it’s a lot harder to accomplish with animal images because we can’t use a tripod.

That’s right. No tripod. I know…open any photography book and it starts with the importance of using a tripod, and if you can’t use a tripod, use a monopod and if you can’t do that, forget it.

Only we can’t forget it because we want to take great animal photographs and unless we’re doing a formal animal portrait with a handler and a prop person, (see Chapter 18,) we can’t set up a tripod and get those spontaneous action shots like this one of my favorite black horse.

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Which means we’ll keep missing a lot of wonderful animal action shots because, darn it, animals constantly move and good as we are, we can’t keep re-positioning the tripod fast enough to capture action. Plus a lot of our best shots are made stretched out on the ground and tripods obviously don’t work for that either.

So enough with the tripod stuff. We’re good, we’re quick. We’re oh so into action photography and we can’t use tripods. And to make you feel better, remember that those tripod sissies take all day to set up one stinkin’ landscape shot while we make 10,299 digital images in the same amount of time! Sure, most of them won’t make the cut, but we’ll still have enough proofs to make the editor of  Puppy Wear Daily flip for joy.

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So, practice these holding techniques until you have them down pat.

Start by holding your camera with both hands and brace it against your forehead as you look at your subject thru the viewfinder. Brace your arms against your body for more stability.

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Your feet should be slightly apart. When you are ready to expose the image, squeeze, don’t jab the button and let your breath out slowly. If there is a fence or post nearby, use it to lean against for even more stability.

For small animals, bend down and use your elbows to brace the camera on your knees.

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Or stretch out on the ground and brace yourself on your elbows holding the camera firmly in your hands.

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Being an astute animal photographer, you’ll notice that nowhere in this exercise did we practice holding techniques looking at the LCD screen. Because it’s usually difficult to see the LCD screen outside, plus we can’t steady the camera in any of the ways shown if we are holding it out in front of us. The concept is to use our body as a tripod to steady our shots.

Cool, you’ve got it! Now try a few of these stances and see what works best for you.

Good shooting,


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