While photographers like to talk about great light, beautiful subjects and cool gear, what they don’t like to talk about is the pain they can suffer from injuries sustained while shooting.

Most people don’t think of photography as a particularly physically demanding job. But it sure can be. At its most minimal risk, it’s demanding simply due to the weight of the gear.

There are certain types of photography that are particularly demanding. Outdoor, sports, nature and wildlife photography for instance often require photographers to carry lots of gear. The outdoor shooters into back woods locations, off road, in bad weather, etc.

Carrying a big 800mm lens on a heavy tripod with a gimbal head for most of the last decade has completely ruined my right shoulder. I am admitting this in public for the first time in this post because I want to try to warn others to be careful. I admit to being ashamed I let this happen to me. I should have known what could happen, but I didn’t. I have serious damage in my shoulder that can probably never be repaired. Likewise, my knees are shot, etc., etc., etc. I spare you the entire list – it would take too much time to publish :)

I think it’s time that our industry started addressing safety, security and injury more aggressively. Had I paid more attention to this stuff when I was young, I wouldn’t be in the shape I am now. But when I was young, I thought I was invincible. I wasn’t. Neither are you.

If you carry lots of camera gear, invest in and more importantly use, ergonomically designed bags, straps and carry systems that even distribute the weight of your gear across your body. Don’t carry a tripod on one shoulder or engage in any repetitive motion that could cause injury. Moreover, pay attention to where you walk, who is around you, weather conditions, etc. All of these factors if ignored, could lead you to pain and injury.

Photography is supposed to be fun. But it’s hard to have fun when you’re in major pain every time you pick up a camera. Pay attention now BEFORE you have a problem in an attempt to make sure you don’t have one later. You’ll all get to be as old as me if you live long enough :) And then you’re going to know real pain!

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Sponsored by PMA – It’s not too early to mark your calendar because this is big. For the first time in the USA, the PMA tradeshow and conference will be open to the general public – September 6-11, 2011 in Las Vegas. See you there – http://bit.ly/9yaL2I

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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