How to Hold A Camera


The title of this post should actually be “How to Hold a Digital SLR So You Won’t Look Like a Poser” but for the sake of space, you get the abbreviated version.

Whilst at Disneyland this Saturday I came across a sight that is slowly becoming more obvious to me than ever before, and it’s quite a pet peeve of mine. You see, the people in question tip themselves off as photo neophytes simply by the way they are holding their DSLR: wrongly.

As I had mentioned a few posts back, I’m a photo hobbyist. That simply means I’ve been taking pictures since my high school days, developed my own film, printed my own black-and-white prints, worked in photo labs and got high off the acetic acid in the bleach fix*, etc. In short, I know a little bit about photography.

Then there are those that don’t like the ones I am going to speak of in this post. Just because you own a DSLR doesn’t mean you have to make a mockery of photography by holding the damn thing any way you please.

And here’s the best description I can devise.

To make yourself look like a completely clueless moron to those of us that have been shooting photos for years, simply do the following: when holding the camera, position your left index and middle fingers on the top of the lens and your thumb at the bottom. Lesson over.

Why does this bother me so much? Well, when I first picked up an SLR in high school—it was a Pentax K1000—I was taught just the opposite so that adjusting the f/stop, focusing and zooming could all be achieved quickly. Not only that, it’s an easy way to use your elbow for stability by resting it against your body whether composing portrait or landscape shots. Anybody who has held and used a manual-everything film camera can attest to this.

To summarize: THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF PREFERENCE! This is how it was, is and will continue to be forever and ever in a world without end, amen. That is, of course, you don’t care about taking clear shots in which case you should trade in your spiffy DSLR camera for something more your speed.

But no, there are legions of clueless people who head over to their local big-box electronics retailer and buy the top-of-the-line DSLR (for a non-camera store, that is), never take one photography class and try to pass themselves off big shots because of the money spent on equipment. So if you’re one of those people and your ego’s too big to fit in a classroom, fer Chrissakes at least do a Google search on the topic.

As long as these twits keep holding their cameras wrongly, I and veteran photographers can’t help but laugh at them because let’s face it: nobody likes a poser.

Just ask Robby Van Winkle.

* I never did that. Acetic acid will singe your nosehairs if you’re not careful.


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