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Portrait, Review, and Giveaway

Portrait, Review, and Giveaway

There are few things you can purchase that will improve your photography. Indeed, the only way I’ve seen people get better is through practice (or riduculous intuition and artistic ability – but we don’t like those people). 10,000 photos, or 10,000 hours; either way, it’s gonna take you time, trial, and error. But if there’s an item that will help facilitate this time spent (like a vacation?) I’ll wholeheartedly recommend it.

So what can You BUY to improve your chances of taking pictures? How about a replacement for your uncomfortable stock camera strap? I ditched my pleather Canon EOS neck strap 2 years ago in favor of Blackrapid’s R-Strap RS-2, a large, shoulder harness strap.

What the harness allowed me to do was keep my camera outside of my bag, by my hands where it needed to be, to take more pictures. I roll with a Canon 1D body, so I’ll turn away any criticisms of off-putting heft. The R-strap has supported on of the industries heaviest SLR’s superbly and all day. Additionally, it made me feel a bit like a gunslinger. *pew pew*

One thing about the RS-2 is that it wasn’t subtle. Shooting weddings and many ‘suit and tie’ corporate and fundraising events, I need to dress the part, and while I didn’t dare wear anything else, the RS-2 was still a bit Military for cocktails.

Imagine my delight, two years later, when Blackrapid contacts me to give their new, smaller (but no less durable) RS-7 a spin.

You Bet!

Blackrapid RS-7

Yes – it’s much thinner – and that did make me nervous with my big heavy camera, but it held on fine for an entire shoot. In fact, despite having worn one before, the difference was noticeable in it’s minimal impact, and I’m sure I’d notice how much lighter it is during a hot summer wedding.


There are a few things you should know about the way the R-straps work: they attach through the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera, the little screw space if you don’t know what that is. For most mobile photographers who don’t use tripods, this isn’t an issue, and if you are the owner of the popular Manfrotto series of tripods they have a solution for you too.


Also, some people just don’t like the way the camera feels bouncing against their hips. The strap is adjustable, so you can tighten it higher or lower, I suppose, but I have heard this as a complaint (I don’t notice it at all, and find the weight and strain a camera puts on my neck far worse).

Giving one away!

Like I said, there’s very little you can do to improve your photography outside of taking more photos, and I’m about to give you the opportunity to improve it WITHOUT even having to spend anything at all! Blackrapid was also generous enough to give the readers of this blog a chance at winning a RS-7. With all such things I will ask you to do two things in order to potentially, randomly, win this cool #Phodo gadget.

  • Leave a comment on this post – scroll to the top, on the right under the photo – I’m desperate for the attention. Do you have an R-strap? Considered one? Didn’t like it? Got something else? It’s all fair game, just say Hi.

  • Follow Blackrapid on Facebook or Twitter, I promise they’re not spammy and only give you the heads up on new products and contests like this one… They’ll probably also give you some aftermarket support but, honestly, nothing has ever gone wrong with mine.

    That’s it! Two things and you’re good to go! Already following them? Leave a comment here and you’re eligible! Contest closes in one week today – i’m looking forward to picking the winner!

    40 thoughts on “Portrait, Review, and Giveaway

    1. Ken Udle says:

      Sounds interesting, I think I'll check it out.

    2. DaniGirl says:

      I've coveted a better strap for my Nikon for ages — this would be sweet! Also, I LOVE the pic on this post. Clever and well done!

    3. i have the girlie version, and despite my iitial fear of my camera bouncing wildly at my hip, i have ended up loving the reality. when i am not shooting, the way i have my strap set up is that my camera rests right in the small of my back – out of the way of neck dangling harm, protected by my body and out of the way of little sticky toddler hands…all wonderful options when in about half a second i can hae the camera back in my hands.

      i need a second strap and am sold on this company already!

    4. Ken says:

      Hey, who couldn't use a better strap!

    5. I have one and love it – need a second one

    6. Jason Fournier says:

      Neat strap. I try and rest my camera on my hip with the OEM strap but it never works out … especially when you're doing anything other than standing upright perfectly still.

      Nice pic for the post, btw.

    7. David Hicks says:

      I found the Black Rapid's use of the tripod mount a bit of a hassle and while there's probably a Manfrotto tripod in my future it wasn't a practical solution for what I have now. That said, it looks like a nice setup.

    8. I've heard a lot about the R-Straps, have yet to try one out. Would love to win one though!! :p

    9. Anna says:

      Oooh, I have been coveting one for a while and have a gift card burning a hole in my pocket waiting for me to decide, but if I won one from you I would get to use that for something else! I love the new sleeker design of the R-strap, would work better for me when I am out shooting and a little more dressed up. Thanks for the opportunity Justin and fab photo at the top!

    10. kev says:

      I have the strap, and am a fan. I also sprung for a couple FastenR-T1s, and they work perfectly (although it still freaks me out to use them with something like the 70-200). It's nice to see you shilling for a shill-worthy product :)

    11. This is definitely an upgrade I'm looking at in the future… although I currently keep my tripod plate on the camera almost all the time.
      I've also backed up a kickstart project for the strap mount (not the strap), and will see how this works when it come: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/customslr/c-loop-camera-strap-mount-solution
      This won't save me from the uncomfortable out of the box strap though.
      And thanks for the review and the give away opportunity!

    12. Been eyeing one of the Blackrapid straps for awhile. Just hasn't been in the budget! Love to win that would make on Xmas wish come true lol

    13. Love this photo! And thank you for the generous contest. I'd love a Blackrapid strap!

    14. Tim says:

      try Carry Speed Brand Camera Strap, better build, they have unique design of their own mounting plate, you can install any tripod quick release plate on it, very smart and great for tripod user. their website: http://www.carryspeed.com

    15. Chris Plante says:

      I have heard many good things about the R-Strap from people who use it. I am sure my photographs would improve because of it… the camera is so accessible when street shooting.

    16. Tim says:

      btw, the carry speed sell their strap for $35 only.

    17. bill taylor says:

      OK,, i am trying to win a BR strap from anyone who is willing to give me one.
      plus i now follow this blog!

    18. Ok – I'm game to try it – maybe I'll be lucky once before the end of 2010!

    19. Christopher Dunn says:

      I've already ditched the OEM Canon strap for a neoprene one but rarely find myself using it as I don't like having my camera on my chest. I always find that I am carrying it by hand down by my hip already, so this looks like the perfect solution for me.

    20. Lisa Coles says:

      I know nothing about straps but I'm betting my fiance would! Would love to win it for him – Ho!Ho!Ho!

    21. Radek Kozak says:

      I've promised myself i'm gonna go for BlackRapid strap in upcoming year but sure it would be great to win it instead. Anyway if not through Strapaganza than maybe here :)

    22. krista g says:

      I just bought a new camera, of course I need a new strap! Would love to try.

    23. Angela's comment abou keeping camera away from toddler fingers has me sold. Even though I'm in Bogota, I have an Ottawa box number, so can I still play??

      P.S. I love comments, too. So now you owe me. ;)

    24. Greg says:

      Great photo! Not being a photographer myself, I can't always put my eye on exactly "what" makes it exceptional… beyond the perfectly balanced colours and of course the men's/women's room theme (ie. the composition). Again, not a keen enough eye to pick out what the lighting technique is, but I know this much: it worked GREAT here.

      No need to enter me for the strap; just wanted to comment on the photo!

    25. Brett Bouwer says:

      I think the Black rapid is a great idea, I have never had experience with them before, but I would love to try one because I shoot motocross, and carry multiple lenses, which would be great for the black rapid.

    26. I bought the RS-4 after reading one of Justin's previous recommendations for the BlackRapid straps on Twitter. I love it. The only thing that is slightly annoying is that the strap is a little too narrow, so it sometimes gets twisted where it passes through the shoulder pad.

    27. Love your gunslinger imagery. I'm assuming you're not an expert in this area, but have you heard how comfortable the strap is for those of us that have those pesky boobs getting in the way?

    28. Matt Weems says:

      OOOh, black rapids strap. I've been looking at these for a while. I wear my strap like they advertise theirs. Interesting concept.

    29. Johnny Chin says:

      really wish BlackRapid had an "upgrade" program; I really like the new smooth connector knobs

    30. I have one and I absolutely love it! It has really changed the way I shoot. I would like another one for my second camera…

    31. Brenda Kopsie says:

      Dreaming of ADDING this strap to my Canon for the back road rides on my Harley…..how awesome.

    32. RobertB says:

      I'd love one. The Canon kit strap is ok, but not the best solution. The BlackRapid would make a cool addition to my kit.

    33. Ali Ashoor says:

      Hi, I definitely would like to win this strap for my Nikon D90 Which I don't have one! Love you BlackRapid and Thank you JVLPhoto for this Giveaways..

    34. chriskar says:

      i want to win too!!!! wow thanks

    35. Jean Labelle says:

      I bought the RS DR-1 Double Strap last year as I shoot for Ottawa Bluesfest and always carry 2 bodies + lenses.
      These are the most comfortable straps hands down!
      Even after walking the grounds for 4-5 hours shooting, not one complaint over shoulder or neck discomfort or pain.
      I would love to add the single camera version to my kit!

    36. Matthew says:

      Found your blog via your photo on the daily interesting on Flickr. I've heard a lot about BlackRapid straps recently. Though its price is about triple what I'd consider for just a strap and I've already used up my camera budget for a while, I'd be very interested to try one.

    37. Stephen Viller says:

      Also came here via Flickr (*love* your family shot–looking forward to the how-to). Have been getting frustrated with the strap that came with my D90. These look like a good alternative.

    38. Irving says:

      I was about to buy a BlackRapid strap. Maybe I'll win this one. If not it's next on my list of gear to acquire.

    39. Justin S says:

      I've been considering one for some time. My existing strap is ok; lacks the padding but more importantly doesn't have the quick disconnect feature. So the strap has to go into my bag with the camera and eats up some space.