My Search for the Perfect Photography Bag | Part I

This is the first of a multi-part series where I describe my search for the perfect photography bag. I am constantly searching for the ideal, everyday bag for my computer and camera gear. I love optimization and efficiency, so naturally I am always looking for new ways to pack and carry my equipment. This series was inspired by the awesome site Shotkit, a site discussing photographers and photo gear reviews.

These are just a handful of the bags that I own and have used to carry my photography gear. My other bags were not included in this photo because there is not enough room to fit them all into one frame.

These are just a handful of the bags that I own and have used to carry my photography gear. My other bags were not included in this photo because there is not enough room to fit them all into one frame.

My hope is that after looking at how my gear fits into each of these bags, you are better able to assess your storage and organizations needs and choose the optimal bag for your camera gear.

Keep in mind that I’m a photographer who typically commutes to photoshoots by car, and my gear needs and preferences are probably different from yours if you do not. Also, I shoot with Fujifilm cameras (X-T1 and X100s), which are smaller than a typical DSLR.  

For photoshoots, I rotate through a few additional different bags and cases depending on the size and style of the photoshoot. It can go from a smaller bag for my 2 cameras and 4 lenses, to a literal pile of bags, with a bag for my camera, a bag for my 3 lights, and a bag for stands. I also bring apple boxes, softboxes, a cart, and a grip kit. But on non-shoot days, I like to carry at least one camera with me since I’ve been caught more than once needing a camera and not having one.

Here’s a list of everything I carry with me every day:

After much trial and error, this is my best everyday gear setup yet. Someday I would like to show up to a job with only this gear because it’s what I mainly use on each shoot, but I still feel very insecure about carrying so little because I think that clients are expecting a bigger setup. One day though, I’m determined to do it.


A Review of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag

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If you are reading this, you either have this bag already and have buyer's remorse, you are interested in buying the bag, or you (like me) have an addiction to bags. I hope I can answer some of your questions and fill in the gaps of all the reviews out there.

Carrying around my gear in my Jansport Watchtower Backpack while scooting around Chicago.

Carrying around my gear in my Jansport Watchtower Backpack while scooting around Chicago.

For almost all of 2015, I was on a search for the perfect bag to carry my camera equipment in for everyday use. I do have a fairly inexpensive backpack (a $100 Jansport Watchtower Backpack) but there was one thing that was missing: I couldn’t carry my beloved Fuji x100s camera around daily since it couldn’t be securely protected in my bag.

I spent many days and nights reading reviews and watching review videos about all kinds of bags. I bought and returned many bags in search of finding the perfect match. For my birthday, Sojung got me a small ONA bag, The Roma bag that fits inside of my backpack, but the bag itself was so big that it ate up most of the space. And I couldn’t carry the ONA bag around by itself because it doesn’t have a shoulder strap. Also, when I carry any kind of obvious camera bag, I look like an asian tourist, which is part of my problem in finding the perfect bag.

There was one bag that came close to meeting my space, design, and camera protection needs. It was The Union Street bag from ONA.  There was lot to love about this bag. But I still couldn’t get myself to buy it because it was pricey (at $299) and too trendy for my taste.

But one day I saw a post about a new bag made by Peak Design. I was very excited to see that Trey Ratcliff, a talented photographer, helped design the bag with the Peak Design team. After going back and forth for a week, watching 1.5 hours of Youtube videos reviewing the bag, and reading every review and article I could find, I pushed “Pledge” on their Kickstarter Campaign and ordered the bag. My order came included one of the first bags they produced, as well as a “Field Pouch” (a versatile, wearable accessory pouch) included with the bag. I couldn’t wait for the bag to finally arrive.

After 2 LONG months of waiting, I finally received the package at my studio. 

Even though I was super excited, I didn’t open it right away. I wanted to make sure I got my work done before I spent rest of the day exploring with my new bag. 2 hours later, I finished all my work and finally opened the package.