When a friend asked me to shoot her wedding, which was held a few months ago, I agreed to be second shooter, as I am not a professional and don’t have the experience or skills required to get the shots that people usually expect. This worked out well, as it left me to shoot documentary-style most of the day, which is what I do best.
In the time leading up to the wedding, which was actually delayed for eighteen months after the bride was involved in a very serious collision with a truck, I had a lot of time to think about (obsess over) all the details I needed to make sure I had right. Aside from working my way through a passing parade of cameras and lenses to get a kit I was confident with, I spent time working out how to comfortably carry two cameras.
One idea that really caught my eye was the Holdfast Gear Money Maker which is a beautiful bit of kit, but given I had no plans to keep two cameras around after the job, and certainly couldn’t justify the expense, I set out to make my own version.
For a while I had been using a silk necktie as a camera sling, worn cross-body style, and loved how light and comfortable it felt, so I applied the same principle to making a double sling. I ordered a couple of swivel clips, slide buckles and jeans buttons online for a few dollar, and found ties in complementary colours in a thrift shop – this all cost around ten dollars.
To make one, you will need:
- 2 neckties, approximately the same width and length – you could go all-out and get two the same!
- 2 swivel clips, 2.5cm wide (something like these), or a tripod quick release clip if you prefer to use them
- 2 slide buckles, 3-4cm wide (like these)
- 1 2-piece jeans button (like these)
- Safety pins
Here are the steps to put it all together:
- You want the two ties to join and make a figure 8.
- Start by putting a tie over each shoulder, with the wide end sitting at the top of your chest and the narrow end hanging down your back. They’re slippery, so it helps to pin them in place to your clothing.
- Grab the narrow end of one tie and bring it up under the opposite arm to the wide end of the other tie. Slip on a swivel clip (or tripod quick release clip if preferred) and let that drop down. Now take a slide buckle and thread the narrow end through it, then take the wide end of the tie and thread it through in the opposite direction to, and over the top of, the narrow end. Use a safety pin to pin the tie to stop the buckle working loose when there’s weight hanging on the swivel clip. (You can stitch this if you prefer a neater finish, once you have positioned the sling to your liking, but using a safety pin keeps it adjustable.)
- Repeat the previous step on the other side.
- Remove the pins holding the ties at your shoulders if you haven’t already.
- The last part is to determine the best intersect point at the centre back. To work this out, attach the clips to a camera lug at either side, and move about as you would when shooting. Use a sturdy safety pin to get the right position – for me, this was higher up my back between my shoulder blades.
- When you have found the “sweet spot”, place the jeans button halves on the front and back sides of that point, so that the spike will pierce through both ties and join the smaller metal half. This is not easily removed, so make sure to get this step right! Hammer the two pieces together. I used a jeans button because I wanted a strong pivot point, but you may find an alternative works for you.
- Try on and admire your new bit of kit. The weight of the cameras keeps it in place once you’re shooting, and if you don’t stitch the shoulder join, you can adjust the straps to the desired length.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: front view; shoulder buckle detail; swivel clip detail; back view; button detail back side; button detail front side.
For everyday carry with one camera, I have a variety of thrifted ties, that I swap the buckle and clip on, to suit my outfits – it’s comfy and gets lots of compliments! It also helps protect my camera when stored in my bag.