Ep 157: Snapshot: How to choose the perfect camera bag

When you go out to shoot, you need the right gear. And that doesn’t mean just cameras and lenses but also the right camera bag.

Gina and Valerie talk about different types of camera bags that suit different purposes and share tips from the community of their favourites.

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Show notes

This Snapshot is inspired by Kate Flowers:

Hello hello… I need a camera bag and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a camera bag which is practical, but also a bit funky…and not too much like a camera bag (if you know what I mean)… any ideas?

Factors to consider

How much gear do you have?

What are you shooting?

  • moving around quickly?
  • need cameras set up and ready to go (location, lifestyle, event, photojournalist)

Where are you taking it?

  • in and out of cars, public transport or lots of walking around/hiking
  • travelling on planes
  • extreme locations
  • events
  • mostly shoot at home
  • waterproof/resistant

How much can you bench?

Lot’s of pockets to store accessories – cords, chargers, filters, cards, card readers, laptops

Comfort and back health (long term)



  • more comfortable
  • evenly distributes weight
  • move quickly over rugged terrain (beach, hiking, crowds)
  • secure because your gear is always with you
  • can be a hassle getting gear in and out
  • extra weight to carry all day

Messenger style

  • Great for small kits/travel
  • Can be tough on the back after a few hours
  • Doesn’t hold much


  • Perfect for moving around with heavy gear
  • Not so much fun in locations with steps or dirt roads, pebbles, the beach

Hard case

  • Ideal for travel
  • Heavy
  • Slow to pack/unpack

Stylish camera bags that don’t look like camera bags

Lights and other accessories

Stanley heavy duty tool kit          


Hockey bags

My recs




DIY Make your own inserts or rescue the interior from an old camera bag

Listener recommendations

Fred McKie: Check out Ona bags: www.onabags.com

Suzanne Sheridan: “I find a cross body bag, then I make it into a camera bag. I don’t carry much gear so a nice fashionable bag fits the bill.”

Gustavo Pizano:  http://www.vanguardworld.us/photo_video_us/havana-38.html “Pros: Easy to carry, not heavy on the shoulder, – Easy access, really!. Lots of space, I can even fit my 15” MPB, it has a rain cover. – Inner “bag” where you basically fit the camera and lenses, or you could use it without, but I don’t see the reason why not to. Cons: Side pockets zips are not easy to open/close.”

Owen Breslin: “My current bag is the Shapeshifter 17V2. Fits two bodies, 70-200mm, 24-105mm, 50mm, 2 flashes and batteryback, triggers, flashbender (in laptop pocket). Lashings of pockets, comfortable to carry. On the downside, can’t store cameras with lenses on which can be a bit of a pain at time for Photojournalist but very happy with it.

Before this i was a lowepro guy. Had the Lowepro Stealth Reporter shoulder bag. Bloody huge but for some reason doesn’t hold much. And you cant get at anything in it, and had the old Trekker which was pretty good but didn’t hold the same amount of gear as the ThinkTank and actually fell apart after about 2 years (straps stitching ripped, tripod holder ripped). Have a big Peli too but again, just not practical for run-and-gun stuff. Great if you have a couple of hours to plan and pack for a specific shoot but not great if you want to carry everything on your back!”



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