This article was originally posted on the Spencer Pablo Photography blog.
Being a bigger guy has an obvious bunch of disadvantages. From having a difficult time finding clothes that fit (and look good) to always feeling the desire to super-size everything (the struggle is real!). It’s even more difficult when you are in a niche category of plus-sized male event photographer. For someone like me, it’s very easy to believe that this industry is comprised primarily of fashionable image creators with a prototypical hipster physique (read: fairly thin skinny jean folk). It can make finding bags and straps that work with our–ahem–higher volume frame, that much more difficult. God help us if we needed to use one of those slick looking camera holsters that not only help when photographing events, but also look good too.
Let me explain what these holsters are supposed to do. Say, for instance, you are photographing a wedding. You want to take a nice wide angle photo of the couple and the surrounding area in one frame. That’s what the wide angle lens is for. Then the couple goes in for the first kiss (which you MUST photograph)–and you’re on the far side of the main aisle because you don’t want to get in the way of others who want to see the awesome moment. That’s a job for the telephoto. It’s pretty difficult to find a singular lens bright enough to photograph both the wide shots and the telephoto shots in the typical light-challenged environments of a wedding. So this means you’re usually using two different lenses on two different cameras (you just don’t have the time to swap lenses most of the time during events like this). So what do you do? You use a holster. One camera with the wide angle lens on one side of the body, the other camera with the telephoto lens on the other.
There’s a bunch of holster companies out there. The problem is that most of them just don’t seem to be comfortable on bodies like mine. Many times they run tight in the shoulders and they rub poorly (and too high) on the side of the body and the neck. They felt like wearing a button-down shirt that was about two sizes too small. It looked bad.
Professional event and portrait photographer, Shaun Anders, understands. At 6’5” and tipping the scales slightly past 350 pounds, finding properly fitting gear has always been a struggle for him. His photography business was booming and his workload was increasing–as was the pain of using ill-fitting photography gear. This is why he started Anders and Lee. His launch product, the ProSlinger, addresses the requirement of a comfortable camera holster for the rest of us (he even makes them for the petite frames on the other side of the body spectrum).
I received my ProSlinger on the eve of a photoshoot in the desert with the awesome Imperial Sands Garrison. They are a group of Star Wars cosplayers that mingle on the “evil” Imperial Army side. Makes for some awesome photos, albeit it, in a pretty demanding desert environment. Not only did I have to climb over a few sand dunes on foot, I also needed to make sure that the lenses I had mounted to my cameras for the event could span the entire shoot–because you DO NOT change lenses in a windy and sandy environment (unless you want bigger problems). The desert environment was a good proving ground for the first day of using the ProSlinger.
How did the ProSlinger do?
It was functional AND comfortable. That simple statement is immense coming from someone like me. It allowed the unused camera to slide behind me, out of the way, but was easily within an arm’s reach away. The straps were wide enough to distribute the weight of my gear, yet narrow enough that allowed for decent breathability. If I had to find an issue, it would be the cross patch (the core that combines the shoulder straps that lays on your back). It created a little patch on your back that would get warm. In a normal event, it would likely be a non-issue. In the desert on a 270 pound frame like mine–it made itself known. Using it at a “normal” event (indoor wedding, family portraits in the woods, etc) would prove issue-free. Shaun designed the ProSlinger to have the cameras rest behind you, like angel wings, making navigating around in busy situations easier.
Now let’s talk about how it looks. You can’t find very many things that complement the photographer in both casual (I mean, look at me in the desert–shorts, t-shirt, and tennis shoes) and formal events (suit and tie). The ProSlinger does. Not a fan of the saddle color I’ve got here? It’s also available in black and dark brown. It’s made of full-grain cowhide leather and made with brass hardware that looks like it’s going to last for a while, and handmade in Oregon, USA.
So the ProSlinger fits me. It’s very likely that you’ll find one that is going to fit you (or any photographer that you know), too. Anders and Lee makes the ProSlinger with two types of back patches (small and large) that span the size range (petite, small, medium, large, XL, and XXL). Anders and Lee guarantees the fit. If not, send it back. It’s $245 with free ground shipping.