photography gear: my camera bag

Honestly, sometimes I feel weird writing this type of post because I don't want anyone to assume that I'm saying what works for us will work for you. I think gear choices depend completely on the photographer/adventurer and while there can be some healthy debate of which is better, it always comes down to what is best for YOU.

I've got a post planned for next week focused solely on what our preferred gear is, but first, how we carry that gear! There are a lot of routes you can go when it comes to storing photography gear so it's important to start by thinking through a few things:

  • where you'll be taking your gear (weddings? mountains? 12 mile hikes? just to the car and back?)
  • how much gear you'll want on you at any given time (do you really need every bag you purchase to fit every lens you own?)
  • do you care about looks?
  • what other things will you want to keep in your camera bag (laptop? charger? wallet?)
  • ease of operation (will you always have time to set the bag down to get gear out, or do you need a bag that allows easy access for switching lenses?)

When we started out, we wanted simple and functional. Aesthetics didn't matter much because we just needed a safe place to put our one DLSR camera and the one additional lens we had (oh how times have changed!) so we went with the Lowepro Hatchback 250. We love this bag! It fits a DSLR with 24-70 2.8 + two prime lenses + batteries in the lower zippered section and has plenty of room for flashes, our 70-200 f/4 and snacks in the top pocket. I also love the stretchy side pockets that hold water bottles and more snacks (snacks are important when shooting weddings). We flew with just this pack for a while, but eventually needed more space and I wanted my own bag so we could divide and conquer without having to worry about who had the pack! 

When I started shopping for a new bag, I went back and forth on if I wanted something super technical that we could take on long hikes, or if I wanted something cute that I wouldn't mind sporting around town or in coffee shops. Considering we already had a technical pack, and we don't want to be lugging 5 lenses up a mountain no matter what pack we had (hello, 24-70 2.8 you are allllll I need when hiking), I decided to go for aesthetics :) BUT that doesn't mean I gave up on function! Lucky for me, Kelly Moore is a pro at creating both. I literally want every bag on their site! But alas, that would be very silly so I just got one.

My main criteria when looking for a bag was it had to fit my 13" Macbook Pro (and extended charger because letsbehonest that long cord is necessary when depending on random McDonald's outlets to sustain computer life), my camera body with a lens attached (ideally 24-70 because that is what I fly 75% of the time), and one or two extra lenses. Bonus points if there is an easily accessible slot for my phone. With all of that in mind, I landed on the Kate Bag and I haven't looked back! I love this bag. It fits SO much (computer, charger, camera, lenses, SNACKS, phone charger, batteries, etc) without looking or feeling too bulky. I would say the only downside is that it's one-shoulder messenger-bag style so it pulls on one shoulder (Callen HATES this) but I love that I can easily leave the flap open and change lenses/set my camera in there mid-session without having to adjust or take the bag off (not possibly with a backpack). It's a really durable fabric, so I'm not worried about bringing it outside and setting it on rocks or dirt. I also love that it's not super girly, so Callen doesn't look silly when I make him carry it :)

If you're in the market for a new camera bag, I highly suggest checking out Kelly Moore Bag. And get on their e-mail list because they send out some great promos! Next week I'll be going more in depth with specific camera gear we use, so keep an eye out for that post!