If you’re like most photographers, you have a lot of camera gear. And, though you might try to go lean and mean, sometimes it just seems impossible to leave a few things behind. Instead, you jam everything you can into your bag, usually regretting doing so later in the day.
Often, our camera bags can be one giant mess, especially if we don’t take the time to trim our kit down before heading out to shoot. The result of that is never good - you can’t find what you’re looking for, you might miss a great shot because you’re fumbling around in your bag, and God forbid, you might even damage your gear.
Those days are over, because we’ve put together a few tips to help you pack your camera bag in a way that maximizes space and maximizes your productivity too.
Customize the Space
Any good camera bag gives you customization options so that you can create spaces that fit the gear you have. As your needs change from one shoot to the next, be sure that the interior compartment of your bag is customized for that specific shoot. Some bags have velcro dividers that can be moved, or, as is the case in the Holdfast Fundy Streetwise bag shown above, the insert can be adapted for your gear by using varying snaps to customize the space. Or, if you have a large item, the insert can be removed altogether.
With that level of customizability, you’re able to decide what gear you need or want, and then make your bag work for that specific gear instead of being limited by what your bag is able to accommodate. That means your bag works to meet your needs, making your shoot that much easier and productive. The key, of course, is not to wait until the last minute, either! Spend some time organizing your gear and your bag, that way you’ve got everything in the right place before it’s time to hit the road.
Be Consistent in Where You Keep Things
It takes a little bit of time to figure out the best workflow for your photo shoots, and that includes where you keep things in your camera bag. If you’re on-the-go and shooting without putting your bag down, you want to be able to reach in, grab what you need, and keep shooting with minimal interruptions.
By working on how you pack your bag and the placement of items within it, you can minimize interruptions and maximize the amount of time you have to take photos. In fact, if the way you pack your bag is consistent, you can probably swap out gear, grab a new memory card, find a new battery, and so on, all without having to look inside the bag. Talk about convenience! That’s what taking the time to pack your camera bag right can do for you.
Only One Item Per Compartment
Squeezing two lenses into a single compartment in your camera bag might seem like a great idea at first, but in practice, it seldom works out. Even if the lenses are tucked in nice and cozy, the glass, plastic, and metal parts are bound to rub up against one another, causing surface damage at the very least, and perhaps much worse. As a result, keep your implements separated into their own spaces to ensure your gear doesn’t suffer.
An advantage of having a user-friendly bag like the Holdfast Fundy Streetwise is that not only does it help keep you organized, but it’s sheepskin lining also keeps your gear padded from bumps and bruises along the way. Sheepskin isn’t just soft either - it’s naturally water resistant and flame retardant, so you can tackle some pretty crazy photography assignments and know that your gear will be safe and sound!
The Type of Bag You Have is Important
Of course, all of these bag-packing tricks are easy to do if you have a bag that helps the process rather than hinders it. Holdfast bags certainly fit the bill because they are designed by photographers, for photographers. What’s more, Holdfast’s bags are smartly built, so organizing your gear becomes an intuitive process. Interior dividers are easy to move and manipulate. Exterior pockets are ideally sized to store common items like batteries, flashes, and your phone. Clasps and buttons are large, giving you plenty of room to grab hold, open compartments, and close them up again.
Better still, Holdfast’s bags, like the Fundy Streetwise Bag, offer additional flexibility because they can be used as a standalone shoulder bag or as an attachment to Holdfast’s Moneymaker camera system. What’s more, you can add external pouches to the Fundy for even more storage and organization. So, how you pack your bag is of the utmost importance, but having a bag that protects your gear, gives you flexible storage options, and helps improve your workflow is vital too.