Advice on photographing with limited mobility

Started Feb 28, 2019 | Discussions
Photogir1 New Member • Posts: 3
Advice on photographing with limited mobility

I am teaching a class on photography at our local senior center, and wanted to encourage getting out there and shooting even with limited mobility.  I planned to tell them to use a tripod and to lighten their load with a zoom lens, but was wondering if anyone else had any tips or tricks I might pass along.

bobkoure
bobkoure Senior Member • Posts: 1,642
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility

My dad continued to shoot film (and shotguns - skeet/trap) into his 80s. He had one of those folding cane/chair things, and had modified a rifle stock to mount a camera/long lens. He got a lot of comments on the skeet field - particularly as he continued to break a lot of birds, even sitting. (But he was very good to start with. He took me to some international competitions when I was a kid)

For an elder today, I'd suggest one of those chairs and/or a monopod that can double as a cane - or a hiking pole that can do either well, like the Leki Sierra. I wouldn't suggest a rifle stock, unless they've been shooting since they were young.

If by 'limited mobility' you mean wheelchair bound, then look at some of the clamp mounts for cameras.

BTW, good on you for doing this! I've been considering doing similar.

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iancandler
iancandler Regular Member • Posts: 249
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility
3

I've been severely disabled for decades and completely bed bound 24/7 for the last 10 years but still manage to keep my photography going and have even won awards/competitions with two of my images.

My images can be seen here

The main problem for disabled people is the all up weight of their chosen camera + lens, you see disabled people tend to over estimate what they can "comfortably" manage and comfortably means just that it should cause no discomfort either during or after the session.

The next most important thing is ergonomics, the camera/lens combo needs to fit comfortably in the hands with all the controls easy to reach/operate, this is especially important for older people who may have started experiencing dexterity problems with their hands, issues such as arthritis, parkinson's etc etc.

These can be helped by fitting half cases that have a larger grip area than the camera alone, fitting thumbies & other thumb rests and also decent sized sized soft release buttons where possible.

I must how ever take issue with the use of zoom lenses, rooms usually weigh significantly more than primes, especially when we're talking about f2.8 zooms. For instance the Sony 24-70 G f2.8 weighs 886 grams!  My Sony 35mm, 50mm & 85mm Primes weigh less than that combined! so I would carry one on the camera and the other two in separate jacket pockets (spreading the load) and hardly notice it, but if I tried to carry an 886gm lens + 650gm camera body I'd have a heart attack, I know this because I tried to move the camera with a Sony 70-300mm fitted last may and did have a heart attack!

Primes are a lighter option and its rare that you need more than a wide angle + a standard or short telephoto lens for a session shooting.

I hope this helps a little.. PS my latest shot was of the night sky out the back, my carer placed the camera & tripod, I programmed and focused the camera before she took it out, all she had to do was press the button on the IR remote a few times lol.

OP Photogir1 New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility
1

Oh wow, your images are amazing.  Thank you so much for the advice.  I just assumed an all in one lens would lighten the load of what you would carry, I didn't even think about how it would be to man-handle.  Keep shooting my friend, you are an inspiration!

OP Photogir1 New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility

Ha, my dad would love the idea of mounting his camera to a rifle stock.  I will have to suggest it to him.  Thanks for the advice the monopod/cane idea is genius!  And you should totally teach a class, its very well received, the seniors love it!

Schrodingers_cat Senior Member • Posts: 3,206
I'm 71
1

and while I have no mobility issues, I discovered some years ago that for foreign travel I did perfectly fine with one body/50mm lens.  Period.  I have yet to feel under-equipped.

ggbutcher
ggbutcher Contributing Member • Posts: 840
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility
2

iancandler wrote:

I've been severely disabled for decades and completely bed bound 24/7 for the last 10 years but still manage to keep my photography going and have even won awards/competitions with two of my images.

My images can be seen here

The main problem for disabled people is the all up weight of their chosen camera + lens, you see disabled people tend to over estimate what they can "comfortably" manage and comfortably means just that it should cause no discomfort either during or after the session.

The next most important thing is ergonomics, the camera/lens combo needs to fit comfortably in the hands with all the controls easy to reach/operate, this is especially important for older people who may have started experiencing dexterity problems with their hands, issues such as arthritis, parkinson's etc etc.

These can be helped by fitting half cases that have a larger grip area than the camera alone, fitting thumbies & other thumb rests and also decent sized sized soft release buttons where possible.

I must how ever take issue with the use of zoom lenses, rooms usually weigh significantly more than primes, especially when we're talking about f2.8 zooms. For instance the Sony 24-70 G f2.8 weighs 886 grams! My Sony 35mm, 50mm & 85mm Primes weigh less than that combined! so I would carry one on the camera and the other two in separate jacket pockets (spreading the load) and hardly notice it, but if I tried to carry an 886gm lens + 650gm camera body I'd have a heart attack, I know this because I tried to move the camera with a Sony 70-300mm fitted last may and did have a heart attack!

Primes are a lighter option and its rare that you need more than a wide angle + a standard or short telephoto lens for a session shooting.

I hope this helps a little.. PS my latest shot was of the night sky out the back, my carer placed the camera & tripod, I programmed and focused the camera before she took it out, all she had to do was press the button on the IR remote a few times lol.

You made my day, Ian...  You poignantly illustrate the only advice I can muster - there's always an image in front of you.  My hat's off to you, sir.  Oh, and I like your monochromes...

My favorite subjects happen to be outside, and in the winter are not very active.  So during this season, I find myself wandering the house, seeking out things to photograph.  It's become somewhat of a quest; flowers are easy targets, but I've found compelling images in all sorts of shapes, lines, textures, and the changing light of the day.  This might be a good exercise: as the group sits in class, have them find compelling compositions from their seats.  Then, from wandering the room...

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Peter Del Veteran Member • Posts: 6,623
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility
2

Ian, I also take my hat of to you, your determination is to be admired and so are your images.

Peter Del

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Peter Del Veteran Member • Posts: 6,623
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility
2

If you are in the UK, you might seek advice from the Disabled Photographers Society.

https://www.the-dps.co.uk/

Peter Del

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KCook
KCook Forum Pro • Posts: 18,342
Re: Advice on photographing with limited mobility

Heck, I'm a senior citizen

My wants in a camera -

  • Physical buttons, wheels, etc that are not too fussy.  (My Oly E-M5 fails here)
  • A "Quick menu" that has all the frequently used items.  (Too many leave off the LCD brightness control)
  • AF points across the entire frame.  (DSLR fail here)
  • Nice JPGs.  (At least the old offenders seem to be finally doing something about this)
  • Affordable lenses!  (This usually starts a fan war)

As for accessories about all I need is a spare battery and a nice padded camera bag.  If I'm going to be in one spot for a while I will also carry along a little camp stool for my old butt.  Much more important than a tripod!

Post processing can make such a huge difference.  Find a photo editor you are happy with, there really is NOT universal agreement on this.  Although some fan boys seem convinced their pet editor is way superior.

Kelly Cook

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