Nikki Closser Blog » Seattle Wedding Photographer | Tacoma Wedding Photographer | Portland Wedding Photographer | Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer | Glamour Photographer in Seattle

The Best Camera Straps for Me – Seattle Wedding Photographer

The best camera straps for me…

Recently, the beautiful Gina England asked me which camera strap I prefer and the question prompted me to blog about my strap evolution.

When I first started using my husband’s Nikon D80 (my first camera body), and prior to doing any major shoots, I was SO excited to get a super cute little girly strap for it. I thought I was going to be SO stylish. My husband rolled his eyes at the thought of me girli-fying his camera, but I didn’t care. I searched high and low for what was to be the perfect replacement for the boring old black strap he had on it at the time. I ended up with this adorable ruffled goodness from Xcess Rize Designs on Etsy:


I couldn’t wait to use it! I’m seriously laughing at myself as I write this, just for the record. What in the world would make me think that having a super heavy camera around my already prematurely curved neck/spine would be a good idea? Now, don’t get me wrong, this strap is made very well and could be used with a lightweight camera or for your head shots to add a little flair! However, I discovered after my first shoot using this as my main strap that if I kept this up, I would end up looking like The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


Before I get to my next big strap purchase, I wanted to mention that I have been using the Hubuka LH Camera Grip/Strap for a long time now and I LOVE it! It takes the pressure off of my hands and fingers and I can’t imagine shooting without it.


Hakuba LH Hand Grip Strap

(photo by Heather Allison)

The next strap I purchased is the Black Rapid Women’s R-Strap. I had read a ton of great reviews about this strap. Overall, I like it quite a bit. The only thing you have to be really careful of is to REALLY tighten it to the bottom of your camera so that it doesn’t come loose. Here is a photo of me and the Black Rapid in action:

 Black Rapid Camera Strap

(photo by Frank Blau)

The only problem is that I still had so much weight on my shoulder and spine when I wasn’t holding the camera. And I had upgraded to the even heavier Nikon D700 and added heavier lenses to my collection to add to the weight. I have an old gymnastics injury that plagues my shoulders every so often, along with my spine curvature, so I started to think that maybe I could find something even better for my body. Not that I won’t continue using the Black Rapid here and there, but for long weddings, I wanted zero weight on my neck and shoulders.

I then came across the Spider Holster. Now, I certainly won’t be winning any style awards with this fanny pack resembling holster, but it’s cool. I’m beyond that now.

photo courtesy of

I had my eye on the Spider Holster for a while because all of the weight is on your hips with this thing, but I wanted to wear it around before I bought it, so I waited until I went to the trade show at WPPI where I could try it out. The thought of slipping my camera in and out of a metal holster made me a bit nervous. What if it came detached? What if it wasn’t easy to quickly slip it on and off? After wearing it around with a camera and a 70-200 lens and taking the camera on and off the holster probably 500 times, I realized that I didn’t have to worry about those things. It was actually way easier than it seemed and I can see myself adjusting to it very quickly.

I haven’t shot a wedding with it yet, but I’ll update this after I do. The thought of having zero weight on my upper body is so liberating! Although, I will probably attach my Black Rapid to my camera for my first wedding that I use the Spider…just in case. I get into the zone during weddings and I can see myself just dropping my camera to my hip expecting it to be caught by my strap  ;)

p.s. These are just the things that have worked for me. I’m not in any way saying there aren’t a ton of awesome other options out there!


March 20, 2013 - 2:41 pm

Barrie Wedding Photographer - You read my mind here! I use a Black Rapid and have been debating the grip strap. Then I saw David Beckstead using the spider holster thingy and it peeked my interest as well. Now the debate is really on lol. Great post/review Nikki!

March 20, 2013 - 3:23 pm

Amanda - I LOVE the Spider system!! You will LOVE it with weddings!! Especially when you wear two cameras, I like it with one too, but find it balances out so much better with two cameras when walking around.

March 20, 2013 - 3:49 pm

Gina England Photography - Wow Nikki! Thanks so much for answering my question in a blog post!! I know that I’d likely lose my mind with the spider holster, and since I like a grip on my camera it becomes a real beast. I like the look of the current strap you use truthfully and may look into that one. Now I just wish my website was finished (I’m in the process of the redesign after watching you and J* on ReSTARt), and looked better in case anyone happens to take a peek! Thanks for offering up so much great info here. :)

March 20, 2013 - 4:13 pm

Amy - I’ve never used a strap before so I might have to check out these ones. Thanks for all the tips.

March 20, 2013 - 4:20 pm

Christina Elenbaas - This is exactly the advice I have been looking for. I’ve been reading millions of reviews and always wonder who is actually providing them. I’m definitely going to be watching for any updates you make after shooting with it at a wedding and hopefully take the plunge of purchasing one myself!!! Thanks for the awesome advice :)

March 20, 2013 - 5:06 pm

Whitney Lane - Interesting I`ve never seen the spider system before, I really want to try it out. I can`t have anything around my neck even bikini tops bother me pretty quick My shoulders are terrible and I also have a curving spine so i feel ya girl. Thanks for the tipsn:)

March 20, 2013 - 5:56 pm

Stacy Gendreau - Seriously – could we BE more similar? I started with the girly strap (to Todd’s chagrin)….got the black rapid strap (it’s pretty great)….and just ordered my grip – cuz really I hate a strap! HA! LOVE this post!! xoxo

March 20, 2013 - 6:06 pm

Jenna Leigh - Love this! I should look into this, I usually just carry my camera around all day, so I like reading your reviews :) You are the best.

March 20, 2013 - 6:38 pm

lin - Thanks for sharing. I might consider a change. I’ve never used anything other than the strap that comes with the camera. It is definitely a big burden during long hour weddings, but never thought of changing just because I feel safe with them to keep them around my neck….

March 20, 2013 - 8:00 pm

jenn - with my shoulder and back problems, i might have to swtich to the spider holster even though i am not a big fan of that style ;) thanks for the review nikki!

March 20, 2013 - 10:01 pm

Angela - What a great blog post, Nikki! Thank you for this. I absolutely love my Black Rapid but I have been toying with the idea of a hand strap for some shoots. I’ll have to look into the Hubuka!

March 20, 2013 - 10:39 pm

Rebecca Anne - I just got one of the hand straps like the grip strap you have, but have yet to try it out. Been going through the same process as you with wanting the weight off my shoulders! Also been thinking about the spider holster. Definitely post something about it once you’ve used it! I’ll be interested to hear if you like it! :-)

March 21, 2013 - 2:38 am

Michelle - Seriously, I can’t believe I saw this as I was JUST looking for a hand strap. Love all the ideas and I love that you are standing on something in the black rapid picture. I need all the help I can get when it comes to getting some height, that I think I will now be walking around with a little step stool.

March 21, 2013 - 9:17 am

Michelle S Hanks - My husband uses the hand strap on his Canon 7D and loves it. I have the Csnon 5D Mark III and I’m nervous about a hand strap but I may check it out. I’ve read nothing but great stuff about the Black Rapid strap but wonder if it works well for big bossoms like my own. I have large hips so the hip holster is out for me. Wow, didn’t expect to talk about my body but oh well.

March 21, 2013 - 5:14 pm

Gretchen Korf - Thanks for the post Nikki! I have similar issues and haven’t figured out too much to help with the heaviness and my neck/spine. I do go to the chiropractor and hope you have a good one too! I also love the hand strap. Take care of yourself and thanks for sharing!

March 21, 2013 - 5:46 pm

Alaina Bos - I also have the Black Rapid Women’s strap but have been thinking of getting something else to try. Let me know how you like it after you do a whole day of fanny packing ;)

March 21, 2013 - 6:20 pm

Natalie - Thanks for writing this post! I’ve always loved the look of the cute, frilly, girly ones – but I definitely don’t want to be a hunchback either ;)

March 21, 2013 - 11:16 pm

Tanja - It is totally awesome! I let Jelger (my hubby) convince me to by a spider holster and it makes a huge difference!
A word of warning, though, hehehe, this is how man start to behave when they have it, hahaha:

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *