A Mom’s Guide to Picking the Perfect Camera Bag

young woman photographer taking photo outdoor
How long did you spend searching for the perfect diaper bag? Given that there are entire websites devoted to the topic, I’m guessing you probably spent some time shopping around. Well, your camera bag is just as important and can actually be a make-or-break factor in how often you end up using your DSLR– it has to be easy to bring with you and you have to be excited to carry it!

Last week I talked about how to choose a new DSLR. This week we turn our attention to the search for the ever elusive perfect camera bag. Each of you will have a different preference of course but I would say there are three main types of bags to consider.

1) The diaper + camera bag

Yeah sorry, that perfect diaper bag you just picked may not meet your every need after all! The main advantage of a combined bag is that you can have everything streamlined into one integrated bag which means that you will be much more likely to carry your DSLR with you. Of course, the disadvantage is that this will not be a small bag. Diaper bags are bulky enough without adding a camera but if you’re smart about it, it can be manageable, especially if you plan on clipping your bag to the stroller anyway (I don’t really use a diaper bag any more but when I did, I rarely carried it over my shoulder unless it was just to go from the car to someone’s house, or down the subway stairs while carrying the stroller).

Ona Roma Camera Insert

Look for either a diaper bag that you could put a camera insert, such as the ONA Roma Camera Insert into, or a camera bag that can easily accommodate diapers and all your baby supplies. Remember that you will want to keep liquids completely contained so pay special attention to how you are going to transport bottles, sippy cups, baby food etc.

I have a Tenba messenger bag as my camera + diaper bag. Certainly this is a functional rather than fashion accessory but it has plenty of room for camera, lenses and diapers, and it also has a laptop compartment, which doubles as a convenient place for a changing mat (not necessary if you have a changing mat that rolls up smaller than mine does). I added a water bottle attachment – keeping hydrated is important!

Tenba Messenger Bag

And yes, sometimes I carry my camera and laptop in it, especially for traveling, but on the whole this bag is best left for the stroller or car rather than over my shoulder.

Other options are much more feminine such as the popular Epiphanie and Kelly Moore bags.

Epiphanie Ginger Bag

Note: I find I really need the cross shoulder messenger style strap when I do carry the bag so think about whether that is an important consideration for you.

2) The camera shoulder bag

Most likely there are times when you want to be able to carry your camera in a bag over your shoulder and the camera + diaper bag option is too bulky. For example, you could keep the diaper bag attached to the stroller but carry your camera with you. This is especially handy when you are with other adults who might take the stroller while you roam more free, for when your kids are older and not so stroller bound, or for when you might even want your camera when you don’t have your kids with you – yes it might really happen!

Crumper $5 Million Home Bag

For this bag, I have the Crumpler $5 million home bag and this is the bag I carry for shoots. I like to travel light so this works well for carrying my camera body and 1-2 extra lenses plus wallet, keys and not a whole lot else. I have the added water bottle attachment for this bag too, plus a pouch for my phone.

Crumpler has a whole series of bags and different sizes so you can pick exactly the right one for you. (I have one of their laptop bags too.)

3) Just the camera

I also have a small camera bag that only holds my camera and attached lens that I find useful for when I don’t want to carry a camera bag at all but want something I can throw in the stroller basket in case I decide to get my camera out.

I have the LowePro Toploader.

LowePro Toploader

Because it is so compact, I can also use it to carry my camera within another bag like a back pack when I go into the city with the kids.

Also check out the USA Gear DuraNeoprene dSLR FlexArmor Camera Cover, and Zing pouches have been popular amongst Photosanity parents as protection for your camera when you put it within another bag.

Zip Camera Pouch