In a nondescript office in south Tulsa, Matt Swaggart is studying a cushioned shoulder strap, measuring the piece and taking notes. His goal is to create the most comfortable one available. It’s his latest endeavor for Holdfast Gear, the company he started six years ago.
To meet the needs of his job — which included shooting up to 25 weddings per year — he often wore the standard black neoprene straps to hold his camera gear. He always thought they were uncomfortable and did not look appealing in a formal setting.
“I felt like I was spinning my wheels,” says the Oral Roberts University graduate. “Being 30, I really wanted to focus in on what I was doing with my life. I’d just had a second kid, didn’t know what to do and was frustrated. So I prayed for guidance, and this idea came to me a few days later.”
Swaggart says he has always loved the image of the 1970s detective with the leather gun holster that holds a revolver. He decided to create a similar tool for camera equipment. Within two weeks, he’d built a prototype.
Swaggart says his gear has been used on every continent. His product line has expanded beyond camera equipment into high-quality leather lifestyle apparel like luggage and briefcases.
"I've been using the Roamographer leather bag from HoldFast Gear for three years now and it is always the most complimented item. No one realizes it's a camera bag, but it's incredible and so stylish. You can also strap a camera to the shoulder strap so it is easy to have it there as an extra body or lens. I use this bag just as often for travelling and school, and people are obsessed with it! HoldFast also makes the MoneyMaker, which is a pair of leather straps for wearing two cameras - really wonderful to have for weddings." - Paige in Seattle
I've never been a fan of just shooting with one camera body and having to switch lenses. I don't really care how fast you can swap lenses, it still takes more time than simply lowering one arm and raising the other. That's also one of the reasons I've never been able to shoot with a flagship body like the Nikon D5. I can pretty much shoot with two prime lenses for most of the wedding day, while carrying a small bag with 2 more lenses to rotate in and out if needed. With that being said, I need a good setup for carrying and shooting dual bodies on a long wedding day.
About 2 years ago, both Sandi and I switched over to shooting the Holdfast Money Maker from the dual Spyder holster. We were both tired of having to walk sideways through tight spaces, as wearing the belt made you about 10-12" wider with a camera on each hip. It's a nice system, but there were a few things we didn't love about them. So, onto the Money Maker.
If you could see the trail of bad camera bags I've had over the years, you'd probably be both horrified and maybe a little impressed too...
When I started out, I was convinced that the camera bag I used was the least important accessory. After all, I just needed something to carry my gear from one point to the next.
What I didn't consider is two very important factors - the safety of my gear and my personal comfort carrying it.
You've probably heard the phrase "you get what you pay for," and you've probably heard it used when describing other photography gear like lenses or filters.
But that phrase also applies to camera bags.
If you're traveling and carrying your camera with the factory-made camera strap, you're just inviting trouble.
Not only are these single straps uncomfortable, but they're also flimsy. With the camera brand emblazoned on them, they are also targets for would-be thieves...
Just one cut and your camera strap will be gone, along with your camera.
That's why a shoulder strap system like the Holdfast MoneyMaker (shown above and below) is a great choice for protecting your gear.
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I first got a glimpse of HoldFast Gear bags on instagram (HoldFast Gear is here, I am here), when I saw some people shooting with what seemed to be more classic gentleman’s apparel than camera bag. This really caught my eye, as in recent times I have become quite indifferent to the utilitarian style of camera bags, and craved for something a bit closer to my personal aesthetic. I like things that are hand made, well crafted and designed to last a long time. And that was my immediate impression when I got to feel the quality of these beautiful bags.
Patrick PhotographyJanuary 10 / 2014
Birds of a FeatherJanuary 10 / 2014
A dual, holster style camera strap is one that’s been around for a while. There are lots of other options out there, and from what we found most of those options included black padded fabric that screams “wedding photographer!”. We’re not feeling that look so much, and that’s why when we found the Holdfast company we got a little excited.
Scott Wyden KivowitzJanuary 10 / 2014
SMALL CAMERA BIG PICTUREJanuary 10 / 2014
I’m typically a fan of high quality hand crafted items that are made in the United States, so when I found Hold Fast Gear based in the heart of the USA, who are making some great all leather, stylish camera accessories, I was very interested. I had to take a look through their products and try something for myself.
JTHORPEPHOTO.COMJanuary 10 / 2014
They make awesome camera straps and accessories, so I was pretty stoked to hear they had a new strap come out. The Mini-Ruck. I currently use the black version of the Ruck Strap on my Canon 6D, and recently I picked up a FujiX10, for when I didn't wanna drag the Canon around, and the Mini-Ruck is a perfect complement for the smaller camera for a few reasons:
Cineblur.comJanuary 10 / 2014
My favorite piece of gear, the MoneyMaker, is HoldFast’s most popular product. It’s basically a multi-camera strap that goes around the shoulders and chest. It’s made of high-quality leather and is EXTREMELY comfortable to wear.
SOLIDROMEJanuary 10 / 2014
Professional photographer Matthew Swaggart spent years travelling the world with his gear, he grew tired of the stock standard nylon straps that come with even the higher-end modern cameras and decided to do something about it.
HuckberryJanuary 10 / 2014
CAPTURES DIGITALES (French)January 10 / 2014
I wish my camera essentially hand and not around the neck strap so annoying and becomes obsolete. Reflection made, I had to buy a leash. I began the quest for the Holy Grail, but the only brands offering their range in this accessory models that have neoprene or tissues that do not inspire me. So where to find a leash aesthetics and quality?
The PhoblographerJanuary 10 / 2014
Holdfast Gear is one of the companies out there that is currently trying to make photography accessories sexy and functional. More than perhaps any other company out there, they push fine leather goods as their staple and provide users with not only stunning products, but durable and practical solutions. We’ve positively reviewed many of their products, and one of the latest offerings from the company is their [PHOTO]Belt; the belt that essentially will make any photographer feel like Batman.
RHM ImagesJanuary 10 / 2014
I have always been a big fan of the products over at Holdfast Gear. They are hand made in America using some of the best quality materials available. I previously bought the Ruck Strap and I have loved using it every day. Today my "Triple in Kodiak Leather" arrived. The size is a little smaller then a typical shoebox.
Shutter Go ClickJanuary 10 / 2014
Looking through camera bags and straps is at the best of times like perusing a selection of the finest army surplus. I don’t want to look like I’m bordering on jumping out of a helicopter with a heavy machine gun strapped to my shoulder, or crawling through air vents like John McLain. I’m constantly on the search for fashionable, practical and high quality gear that will be versatile in any shooting situation. Enter the HoldFast MoneyMaker camera strap.
JThorpe PhotoJanuary 10 / 2014
Today while out in Baltimore visiting a client, I had the chance to try out my new Ruck Strap, from Holdfast Gear.
Let me first say, I'm not a huge "neck strap" guy. I always keep a wrist strap on my Canon 5DMkII, and I keep the neck strap off since its normally not comfortable, and gets in the way frequently. However using the Ruck Strap, has really made me think twice about not using a strap.
Cassidy BrookeJanuary 10 / 2014
get addicted to...January 10 / 2014
The PhoblographerJanuary 10 / 2014
Shooting SistersJanuary 10 / 2014
Gstyle MagJanuary 10 / 2014
The PhoblographerJanuary 10 / 2014
Shooting SistersJanuary 10 / 2014
bltdJanuary 10 / 2014
URBAN DADDYJanuary 10 / 2014
WEBSTERSTREETMEDIA.COMJanuary 10 / 2014
DOOBYBRAIN.COMJanuary 10 / 2014
UVHAZEJanuary 10 / 2014
A fellow photographer recently tipped me on a new company called HoldFast, and their innovative products seemed to fit the bill. HoldFast applies attractive form and practicality to a realm where this combination is rarely found – photography equipment. In a world dominated by black neoprene straps and nylon bags, founder/photographer Matthew Swaggart offers timeless materials like waxed cotton duck and beautifully aging leather. HoldFast was born out of necessity, and its gear evokes a time when photography gear was not only functional, but also effortlessly stylish.
BLESS THIS STUFFJanuary 10 / 2014
We have been drooling over HoldFast´s products lately, we recently featured the stylish MoneyMaker (a Multi-Camera harness enabling the user to carry two or three cameras). Another product that caught our attention is "The Triple", a classic hand made leather dopp kit, it´s design is pretty simple, just some very rugged leather and an antique rope allowing the user to use the rope as a handle on three sides of the bag.
NOTCOT.ORGJanuary 10 / 2014
The MoneyMaker by HoldFast is a very handy and stylish Multi-Camera harness enabling the user to carry two or three cameras.
TRENDENCIASJanuary 10 / 2014
Si alguna vez habéis cargado con una cámara réflex durante un evento, fiesta o viaje, sabréis lo incómodas y antiestéticas que son de llevar colgadas, algo que podemos evitar con la correa adecuada, como estas correas de cuero que nos harán sentir el mismísimo Indiana Jones
COOL MATERIALJanuary 10 / 2014
You’ll have to resist the urge to spend your day consuming black coffee and busting perps when you’re wearing around the MoneyMaker Harness. Though you’ll look like a crotchety old police chief, you’ll actually be equipped for your next shoot not shootout.
CarryologyJanuary 10 / 2014
There are many fantastic camera bags out there offering both protection and storage spaces for additional equipment. However, at Carryology we’re all about discovering new ways to make carrying as efficient as possible for a particular need. That’s why the MoneyMaker Multi-Camera harness from HoldFast is particularly worthy of some spotlight focus.