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What to Look for in a Camera Bag - Tips for the Busy Photographer

written by: Luke Goodrich•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/23/2009

Life would be easier if you could take your camera anywhere and shoot whenever inspiration struck. Unfortunately, most of the time you need to decide between your camera and other necessities. Instead, find a camera bag that lets you take everything you need to shoot, be ready for work and more.

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    Meeting the Needs of the Busy Photographer

    From fast food to smart phones, captains of industry have made trillions by making products that make our daily lives easier. It’s a wonder then, why camera accessory companies seem so reluctant to develop camera bags that allow multi-tasking photographers to incorporate shoots into their busy working lives or their other recreational hobbies.

    What kind of camera bag allows the commuting photographer to leave home each morning prepared to shoot in the park during lunch, and give a presentation at a post-lunch meeting? For that matter, how many camera bags allow the outdoor photography enthusiast to carry all their camera gear and confidently pack enough snacks, water and extra clothes for an extended day hike? While many photographers have acquiesced to buying several expensive bags for combining photography with their myriad interests, some camera backpacks kill many birds with one proverbial stone.

    What features make a camera bag well-suited to simultaneously handle your diverse pursuits? First, you’ll want room for other items not related to photography. It’s always nice to have a compartment that will keep your gym clothes and egg salad sandwiches separate from your Nikon D90. Ideally, yet another compartment would help you keep your sweaty socks separate from your lunch, but this technological leap may be years away. If you ever take your laptop to work, then your bag should make room for it. A tripod attachment system is a nice feature to have, particularly if you want to catch a sunset in the park or on your return hike. Many camera bags include rain covers, and unless you live in the arid Southwest, this may save your expensive investments. Ancillary touches you might look for include subtle styling to prevent theft, and an mp3 player pocket with headphone grommet. Among today’s dizzying selection, a few camera bags stand above the rest as particularly suited to meet these demands. We'll review these bags in part-two of this series.

Camera Bags Built for Multi-Tasking

Most camera bags carry only your camera gear. The problem is, many photographers like to shoot while doing something else, and need to carry more. In this buying guide, we'll review three camera backpacks and focus on how they meet the needs of people juggling photography with their daily life.
  1. What to Look for in a Camera Bag - Tips for the Busy Photographer
  2. Top 3 Camera Bags for the Busy Urban Photographer