The Key to Having a Long Career in Photography is All About the Body.

The Key to Having a Long Career in Photography is All About the Body.

There is no way to stay on top of your creative game if your body is falling apart. The wear and tear of shlepping gear up 4 flights of stairs, down alleys and packing, repacking and packing again takes its toll on our bodies. Here’s a few ideas, tips and tricks to help you work until freelancers get good healthcare….
As I approach 50 years old there is a quiet voice in the back of my head that pipes up every now and then. Mostly complaints, but I’ve figured out how to silence that voice at least until I get into my hundreds. Strength training. Yeah, I know we’re all too busy, too much travel, too many hotel rooms, but if you can’t pick up a camera you can make an image.

I’m not any sort of doctor, or trainer but I can tell you that my lower back, wrist, shoulder and neck are much better, much stronger and much better functioning than they were a couple of years ago. I’m not a gym junkie either, I spend a maximum of 4 hours a week on training and it’s worth every moment. I partake in Crossfit, but there are tons of other options, yoga, martial arts, Olympic lifting, and the list goes on. I like the combination of strength and cardio that Crossfit provides.

As photographers we are always lopsided. Shoulder bags slung over one side, lifting heavy cases, straps one either side of our necks. It’s a recipe for screwed up, crocked, unhappy backs, necks, arms, and wrists. There is a whole crop of late career photographers nursing arthritic and damaged wrists from decades of holding big heavy camera bodies with even bigger and heavier lenses on them. As you all know holding a camera is not at all a natural position. So let’s start off with something that requires no gym membership, no fancy equipment and it could be handy if you run out of food.

The setup is this: buy or find a 5 gallon bucket (get one with a lid), and buy a 15 pound bag of rice. Here’s the how-to part everyone likes. Open the bag of rice and pour it into the bucket.  Your home gym for wrist and hand is complete. Now for the training part. Wash your hands, dry them and then shove them into the bucket of rice. The rice feels good but it also creates enough resistance to start strengthening your muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your wrist and hands. Rotate in circles, clockwise, counterclockwise, open and close your hand and get creative with the motions. Soon your grip strength and wrist flexibility will be the envy of everyone in your neighborhood.

Yeah, I know you can’t take a 5 gallon bucket of rice on a plane to your next assignment but you can leave it in your studio or next to your desk and plunge your paw into it when your carpal tunnel syndrome is rearing its ugly head from too many hours on the keyboard.
It’s small step but a step in the right direction. We all want to keep shooting into our 90s but we need to have healthy solid functioning bodies so do a little bit now to keep those parts working in to your 100s. Being stronger and having less pain will also keep you thinking about the creative side of our work and not the aches and pain side of it.

If you’ve got some DIY ideas that might help us stay healthy and strong so we can keep working drop a comment down below and maybe we can start a recurring segment.