Sometimes you just can’t find the right tool for the job. That’s why these photographers made it themselves—then sold it to the rest of us.
Ron Henry wears his Black-Rapid Camera Strap, which suspends your DSLR upside down at the hip for fast deployment.
BLACKRAPID CAMERA STRAPS: Ron Henry. SEATTLE, WA
Frustrated by uncomfortable neck straps and shoulder-slung cameras flopping by his side, Seattle wedding and music photographer Ron Henry found himself playing with an odd solution: Why not carry your camera upside down? His idea was to keep the camera strap slung across the chest so that it couldn’t slip off the shoulder, and attach the camera to the tripod screw of a sliding component for quick movement along the strap. The camera would rest comfortably at the hip when not in use.
After failing to interest a manufacturer in his idea, Henry knew he had to do it himself. Things took off in 2007, when Henry met Tyler Kope, who helped Henry refine his idea and file for patents. The two moved on to production, then took some prototypes to Glazer’s Camera, a Seattle retailer, where the accessories buyer gave it a thumbs-up. Advertisements on digitalweddingforum.com began to generate online orders. Encouraged, Henry and Kope took the strap to the 2009 Wedding and Portrait Photographers International show. It was an instant hit, though some were put off by the $54 price. “It seems high for a strap,” Henry says. “But once photographers try it, they realize it’s a great investment in their shoulders and neck.” And perhaps in their readiness for an unexpected shot.