Defend Yourself & Your Camera Gear

So far in my series of Karate photographs, I have written about preparing yourself, understanding techniques, staying out of the way and avoiding conflict.

Today I want to talk about how to protect yourself from the chance of an impact.

Imagine that you’re photographing a similar event. It is a small room full of people. In the middle of the room are two men fighting. You, as the photographer, are on the floor with a wide lens to capture dramatic scenes. All of a sudden a foot comes out you and kicks your camera.


After blocking and grabbing a roundhouse kick the defender then strikes the attacker’s leg with a downwards elbow (Otoshi Hiji ate).


So how do you protect yourself and your camera equipment from such a circumstance?

You know that plastic lens hood that came with your lens? Well, it works well for blocking glare, but it can also protect your lens from small impacts.

I also recommend using a UV filter in this case, because it will protect your front lens element for the horrible chance your lens hits the floor. Better to break the accessories than the lens.

If you’re using a neck strap or wrist strap then great. If you’re using a neck strap, use it as a wrist strap. Make sure your grip is firm so if you fall, the camera falls with you, not away from you.

Most important, protect yourself. If you’re about to get hit, think about what is more important. Your safety, or your equipment. Some may argue that the camera is more important (I don’t blame you) but without your health, your photography won’t be the same.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Great advice more than just events like this. I am a huge fan of using a lens hood for protection, but not a fan at all of using a UV filter.

    I won’t go into detail about the optical things that can happen with the filter, but just from a mechanical standpoint that UV filter provides ZERO shock absorption. If you take an impact hard enough to damage that UV filter, that shock is going to transfer into the inner workings of the lens itself. Since the lens hood have some flex to it, much less shock is transmitted into the delicate alignment of very expensive glass.

    1. Hi Scott, thanks for the comment. Having worked at a camera warranty company for many years, I can confirm that having a UV filter will protect the front element of a lens during an impact. However, not a severe impact of course.

      Yes the optics will be reduced by a UV filter, but I wonder how noticeable the difference really is to the naked eye.

  2. Funny – this story reminded me of a camera my dad’ used to shoot with – a Fuji GS645 “Compact” Rangefinder ( It had a roll cage of sorts over the lens, but didn’t seem to actually protect it.

    re: the UV – if the color cast/other issues are a problem – couldn’t you opt for a non-UV, just clear filter like this:

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