This series of blog posts and yoga videos is all about you and your career. I decided to start this series with an in-depth look at photographers. I wanted to find out what aches and pains they suffered with, what mobility would improve their work and body and how yoga has benefited their career.
So I sat down with the always lovely Rebecca Douglas to discuss what the world and life of a photographer is really like.
HERE IS OUR CHAT
M: ‘Paint me a picture of a day of Bex photography’ B: ‘On a shoot, the longer I shoot the more I hold one position. I shoot with 2 bodies, like a gun holster. Depending on the lens, the body is 1kg and the lens can double or triple that. I have learned over time to wear both bodies at once over each shoulder to balance the weight out. I used to wear only one and that compressed my shoulder. I spend a lot of time looking down and keeping my neck in weird positions. I really struggle with my posture so I try to keep me elbows into the sides of my body and use both hands BUT my shoulders are constantly folding in and my back hurts. I also always hold my head on a jaunty angle when I edit and look through the lens! When I shoot it is my head and neck that suffer.
M: ‘What about post shoot? What is the editing process like?’
B: ‘I would say I spend 80% of the time editing and the other 20% is on the actual shoot. I wish I could shoot all the time and not sat at a desk! That is my nemesis! It is just sitting in the same place all the time. I have take the steps to make my desk more ergonomic and have made a lot of, slightly uncool, changes to my working space. I suffer with golfers AND tennis elbow too!’
M: ‘What are the biggest aches and pains that you suffer from?’
B: ‘Golfers and Tennis elbow are constant. My hand is always in a claw from shooting. My legs are also a problem from standing around for such long periods of time. My hips also suffer from constantly shifting my weight from one side to the other. Back aches come from the editing. I am constantly leaning forwards and rounding my back…then there is that jaunty angle of my neck so I get pains in there a lot.’
M: ‘When and why did you start doing yoga?’
B: ‘I started last summer attending Hotpod Yoga, but my routine was all over the place so there was no consistently. I slowly got more of a routine in and then I attended one of your retreats and I really started to feel this whole body transition in a short period of time. When I returned and had a few days off yoga I could feel the benefits wearing off and I decided I didn’t want them to go away. Lockdown has meant I can build in more yoga and fit it in my day. I love that I can also do this with Mark (husband) and I can see how much it’s helping him too! It motivates me to push myself with him.’
M: ‘What yoga poses do you love?’
B: ‘I love Thread the Needle! And I really enjoy balance because I feel alright with them and I can push myself. On the flip side the one I find most challenging is CHILD’S POSE! My hips really struggle, especially if I’ve been doing a lot of sitting, my hips struggle so much in flexion.
M: ‘why would you suggest someone in your career to start yoga?’
B: ‘I think one of the things about being a photographer is a really intense career on your body and the longevity of the career can be affected if you don’t look after your body. I know a lot of people, quite young, have RSI problems. We are doing a lo of repetitive work. If you want to have a healthy career it is so important to stretch and breathe. When you work for yourself there is a pressure to be switched on 100% of the time, yoga and breathing work helps you to disconnect and you can use these techniques to stay calm on the job. It is teaching me so much…it is a really cool journey!’
CONCLUSION AND VIDEO
What became apparent from this conversation is that photographers can run into problems in their neck and shoulders, hips and back. There are two aspects of their job that create different mobility problems and aches and pains. So I came up with 4 stretches that can be done on shoot and 4 stretches that can be done at your desk while editing.
- Standing cat cow
- Hamstring stretch and twist
- Squats -lift and lower
- Standing rotator cuff stretch
- Wrist stretches
- Cross legged Twist
- Standing Banana
- Reverse prayer or grab opposite elbow
Watch the video