Why should you change your camera strap?, you may be asking. Well, when you travel with a camera you are always exposed to a small, but potentially expensive and painful, risk of theft or mugging. I say this from a position of experience, having lost an entire camera bag in a Scandinavian museum – from under my table in the cafe, with the strap wrapped around my leg!

Most of us wouldn’t walk home from the bank waving a huge bag of cash around, but it’s amazing how many photographers will advertising their very expensive camera, not just the brand but even the specific model. Your camera is that big bag of cash, and you openly advertise what you’ve got, which is why you should change your camera strap.


Why Should You Change Your Camera Strap?

When travelling, there are many things that you need to consider, such as your own safety, and the safety of your equipment. Today I am going to be answering the important question, “why should you change your camera strap?”. So let’s get into it. 

You Should Change Your Camera Strap To Prevent Theft.

The first thing to understand when asking “why should you change your camera strap?” is that it can protect you and your equipment from theft.

To most potential thieves one camera looks much like any another at a distance, so how do they know who has the expensive kit? It’s the camera strap that tells them everything they need to know. Camera manufacturers regard you as free advertising and design their straps accordingly. The black, red and gold of a Canon strap, or the black and yellow of a Nikon strap is specifically designed to be recognisable from a distance and to advertise the brand you’re using.

While these straps are great for showing off your new camera, they can also make you a target for thieves, which is exactly why you should change your camera strap. A branded camera strap says you’re carrying an expensive camera, making you a potential target.

This is especially true in crowded tourist destinations and in poorer areas, where pickpocketing and theft are more likely. Why should you change your camera strap in this scenario? Because your camera may be worth more than the average annual wage. Consider a country where a poor person earns one dollar a day; your new $5600 camera equates to over 15 years income there, or the equivalent of waving around $850,000 in the USA. When you look at it like that you can see why, for some people, your carelessness is their big opportunity.

What about branding on the equipment itself?

Although we know that theft is a key factor to consider when asking “why should you change your camera strap?”, you may be wondering what to do about the branding located on your camera’s body or lens.

Sadly, you can’t easily remove the branding from the camera body or lens. However, using a black permanent-marker pen can cover up a lot of the branding, which makes your camera model and make less obvious from a distance anyway.

Ultimately, however, it all comes back to why you should change your camera strap. You are, thankfully, able to change your camera strap to something more bland and to something that doesn’t mark you out as a target from a distance. A strap that matches your clothing, or looks cheap and not worth considering, can make you almost invisible to thieves.

My well-worn ‘incognito’ strap and the bright advertising strap than came with the camera.

Photograph by David Robinson

Why SHould You Change Your Camera Strap? To Strip Away The "Rich professional" Look

If you’re still wondering why should you change your camera strap? -I’ve also found that non-branded camera straps can strip away the “rich professional” image helping your potential subjects to relax and feel at ease around you. Consequently you get more natural and candid shots.

A manufacturer’s strap can be easily replaced, and you don’t have to sacrifice style for security. There are many options on the market, or you can make your own using materials such as neoprene, paracord, or leather. If you prefer to buy one there are many after-market straps available in different colours and designs that offer both style and security.

What's my favourite camera strap?

What’s my favourite strap? It’s the one in the picture above. Its a woven belt I bought in Kathmandu over 15 years ago. It was easy to adapt, it’s a permanent reminder of an amazing experience, and I absolutely love it. From a distance it doesn’t say anything about me or my camera except that I can’t afford a real strap, so my camera is probably cheap and not worth stealing.