Avoid Photography-Related Injury With This One Simple Tip

Throughout the course of long, mentally intensive days covering events from behind a camera, likely the last thing on your mind is maintaining good balanced posture or equal weight distribution. String multiple days like this together in a short period of time and you are unknowingly causing long-term havoc onto your body, especially as this repeats and builds over longer periods. 

Do you ever experience muscle soreness or tension headaches the next morning after hauling gear the day or days prior? Is this something you just attribute to father time getting the best of you over the years? Personally, I accepted this is how I should expect to feel, after long hours on a given day which involved a lot of stressful shuffling with my full kit. What I did not realize, or give a moments thought to, was I could be causing muscular imbalance by not necessarily choosing the right tool for the given job. 

Personally, up till now, I have been an avid user of a few workhorse messenger style camera bags from Peak Design. They are great bags, and depending on the demands of the job either the Everyday Messenger 15-inch or the 10L Everyday Sling would accompany me during a shoot. Often I load up every last square inch of these bags to the point sometimes I can barely get the top latch to comfortably click in place. I still utilize good old fashion, decently-sized Canon DSLRs — the 5D Mark IVs — so you know this is typically a heavy and by nature lopsided bag. And while I am now on record as saying these are great bags, because they are, they also should not be the go-to for every event or trek depending on the circumstances. 

On his YouTube channel, Jay Perry creates some awareness that maybe us messenger bag folk are not doing the upper body any favors by slinging all of this weight on one side or the other. Perry's longtime massage therapist friend Jarek Gora explains in detail what could happen behind the scenes to the body when we choose to do so.

So maybe you want to think about leaving the messenger style bag at home and invest some of those holiday gift cards on a shiny new backpack for those longer days ahead and save yourself down the road from any unwanted long-term injury.

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Robert Levin's picture

LOL - I am a long time believer that backpacks are vastly superior to messenger type sling bags for these very same reasons. I find sling bags uncomfortable and I don't like the pressure on my neck.
I have also rediscovered the benefits of my photographers vest. For three reasons (there are many more)
1) I can carry extra lenses, batteries and cards that are very easily accessible.
2) I can distribute the weight evenly on both sides of my body.
3) When I fly with my gear I always wear my vest because in some countries they weigh your carry on luggage. When that happens I load up my vest to get past the weigh station then just put it all back into my backpack.

Jay Jay's picture

That Peak bag has very very poor padding on the strap, my shoulder fatigues within 15 min of wearing it. Definitely not the pro padding that you'll find on a Sunsniper camera strap or ThinkTank bag.

Will Rogers's picture

I love my Billingham Hadley Pro shoulder bag, but have a good shoulder pad and try not to carry too much. A backpack is definitely a better option for all day use or hiking.

I do switch shoulders regularly as well.

Jonathan Brady's picture

The sole reason I haven't gone with a backpack is my fear over heat being trapped between my body and the bag. I live in southwest/central Florida and it's pretty much always hot or at least warm here. Throwing a backpack on assures that the back of my shirt will resemble one of our lovely swamps by the time the day is done. Any suggestions, folks?

Jonathan Brady's picture

Whoa! Those are HUGE! I take my camera plus a lens or 2, and occasionally 3 with me, and that's it. A backpack that size is beyond overkill for me.

David Staggs's picture

1. Wear a moisture wicking type shirt like Under Armour or Columbia (my two goto brands)
2. I use a Think Tank Shape Shifter v2 for just the size workload you want to carry. Very well ventilated back. Have used it on many hikes and yes my back was damp from sweat, but it is a good thing... and in Florida, well kinda hard to escape that issue unless you are in a A/C location 24/7.....

Jeff Colburn's picture

I always use a backpack if I'm taking all my gear or going out in Nature. I have a small shoulder bag I use if I'm going to do some casual shoot around town, but by the end of the day I will have neck and/or pain. I never have this with my backpack.

Have Fun,