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My camera bag is the bag that I take when I’m filming a wedding, the bag I grab when I want to have all my gear for shooting a more cinematic vlog, or the bag I keep at home simply to store all of my camera gear in so it’s always in one spot. I love this bag, like a lot; it’s the Kelly Moore Libby 2.0 vegan leather tote in Saddle. My mom got it for me during Christmas when it was on a reallllyy good sale, and I told her that she just couldn’t pass it up. This thing is currently my ride or die, so I thought I’d show you what I shove in it on a regular basis.
If you’re new to memory keeping then I don’t by any means want this post to discourage you and make you feel like you don’t have the right gear, the right bag, or the best equipment. Capture your memories with whatever you’ve got!! Seriously girl, you don’t need the best stuff to make the best product—trust me, as a broke college student with only an iPhone and a computer, I was able to start a blog and later a YouTube channel that allowed me to capture my memories the best way for me at the time. And they were pretty great… well, at least I thought they were and that’s all that matters.
Whether you memory keep with pictures, videos, journaling, etc. this post is about creating a bag that houses everything you need to make your process of capturing, storing, and creating your story that much easier. The reason that I am sharing this post with all you memory keeping lovers out there is because I want to share how important it is to keep all of your gear in one spot.
What do you need to grab before you head to your daughters softball game in order to take pictures, capture videos, and ultimately memory keep to tell that story later?
Where’s your camera right now? Is it easy to find and within reach? Or your journal—do you know where that is?
Do you have more than one item that you need in order to take the best pictures you can, capture the best audio for your video, or up your iPhone picture game?
What items do you need to easily collect your memories without having to think too hard about it? Pen and paper?
If you can think of a few things that you’d want to take along with you then I’d recommend finding yourself a bag for all of this to go in.
Your camera bag doesn’t have to be fancy. It can literally be a $1 tote from the dollar store, or an old high school book bag, or even your current purse. But having a bag that you know all of your memory keeping items go into at all times is essential for ensuring that you are ready to capture the moment when you need to! Your story matters and we don’t want to miss a second of it.
The Libby 2.0 is an amazing bag for me because of the dividers! I despise it when my bag is just full of junk piled on top of each other. These cushion dividers are actually attached to an entirely removable padded basket insert, which means that if I wanted to use this bag for something else I could simply grab that entire basket and pull it all out. Each of the dividers within the basket is attached with velcro and allows me to make the sections larger or small depending on my needs. I have it pretty much set up exactly how I like it right now though, but if I ever did need to change it up then it would be a breeze.
Today I’m only going to show you really what’s in the main big compartment of the bag since those are my staple memory keeping items. However, the Libby has pockets on the interior walls (including a sleeve section for a laptop), two pockets on either side outside of the bag large enough for a water bottle, and then a large zip plus two small zip pockets on the front side. The items that I shove into these pockets are often miscellaneous and change depending on the day, what I’m doing, and what random junk I need to shove in there in order to get things out of my hands.
Why I chose this bag.
There are a couple of reasons why I chose to go with the Kelly Moore Libby 2.0. Many things played a role into my choosing of the perfect bag for me. I encourage you to evaluate your current memory keeping gear, how you want to carry it, and also how your arsenal of items might grow into something more one day.
1. The size.
I wanted something large enough to carry everything for when I shoot a wedding. Sometimes I also travel for weddings, and I wanted something that could act as my electronics carry on bag/personal item for traveling. This Kelly Moore bag is big enough to do all that plus more, and to top things off, it has an opening at the bottom of one of the outside pockets so you can unzip the pocket and turn it into a sleeve so that the bag can hang on top of your suitcase.
2. It’s vegan.
While I’m not fully vegan at the time of writing this blog post, I do try to make conscious choices when I can to better the environment and all those that live within our world. Meaning that when I found this gorgeous, large, compartmentalized bag that was also vegan leather I said “why the heck not,” right?
3. The color.
When hunting for my bag I wanted something that was professional, yet cute, but not too trendy, but also had a lot of my personality in it. (Not too specific, right? haha) Just like with picking any bag, you have to think about how it’s going to look with each outfit—what if I’m going to a soccer game, and I’m in jeans and a T-Shirt? Or what if I’m working a wedding, and I’m in formal clothes? I needed something that would suit each environment, outfit, and event that I’m in. The leather look of this bag makes it have a professional appeal, while the saddle color gives it a more laid back vibe (rather than something like black leather).
4. Compartments, compartments, compartments.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted something with LOTS of pockets. Like I mentioned above, I despise it when my bag is just full of junk piled on top of each other. So I needed dividers, pockets, pouches, sections, and every imaginable organization method that you could put into a bag to keep all of my stuff looking nice at all times. I wanted to be able to quickly open my bag, find the memory keeping item that I needed, and get back to what mattered most—capturing the story!
Honestly, I don’t have that much gear. That’s why I mentioned earlier that when deciding to get yourself a bag, you should consider what you have, but also think about the ways in which you plan to grow. For me, I want to get at least two more lenses for my Canon 80D. I currently have one of the zoom kit lenses— the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization USM Lens which is really great for what I do, and really great for a beginner in my opinion. It gives you enough versatility to play around with the camera in any environment so that you can get used to shooting a DSLR. And it also gives you the opportunity to really learn how you want to use the camera and then upgrade from there.
My main camera at the moment is the Canon 80D, but I use my Canon G7xii literally all the time! It’s (in my opinion) the best point and shoot camera at the moment, and I believe others quickly agree given that it is one of the top cameras purchased by YouTubers and vloggers. These two cameras are my holy grail items, and probably will be for a long time!
I’ve also recently added a Rode Video Mic Pro to my arsenal for wedding videography and sit down videos. I never realized until I got this mic how critical audio was to a movie experience, but I really believe that it has changed the way that I produce wedding videos for my clients. It’s a great addition to my story telling experience when I can add crisp audio into the mix.
Another new item that I’ve recently added to my camera bag is lens filters. I have two sets that I purchased together along with other accessories—three Altura Photo 67mm Neutral Density (ND) filters and Vivitar 67mm Filter Kit which includes Ultraviolet (UV), Circular Polarizer (CPL), and Fluorescent (FLD) filters. The set that I ordered from Amazon came with other accessories like this collapsable rubber lens hood that I carry around in my camera bag as well.
The ND filters are my favorite filters at the moment since I am finding the most use for them. Neutral Density, or ND for short, filters are essentially sunglasses for your lens. It allows you to stay wide open, aka have a low aperture thus letting in lots of light and creating that blurry background that we all love, but not be so blown out by all of the light you’re letting in. ND filters are great for super sunny days which seem to be frequent in my area at the moment. I have ND 2, 4, and 8, and the combination of those three are working great for me right now. Some day I really want to get a polarized ND filter so that I don’t have to carry around multiple and change them, but the Altura Photo case that they came in makes it not too bad at the moment.
The Vivitar filters don’t come in use as often for me. I think that that’s mostly because I just don’t know when or how to use them. But I still carry them around in my bag, so that I can pop them on when I’m given a time I feel as though I can learn to use them.
The last thing from this Amazon set that goes in my bag every single time is the collapsable rubber lens hood. Lens hoods are just good to have. You can use them when it’s too sunny maybe, use them simply to protect your lens, or use them when it’s raining and you don’t want droplets on your glass. Mine hasn’t come out that often lately, but being that it’s rubber and collapsable it doesn’t take up much room in my bag. It’s just good to have around.
Next comes the basics—batteries and memory cards. Can’t go anywhere without those things now can we? While I often don’t need to switch out batteries or SD Cards on a regular basis when just shooting some daily memories, it’s still good to store these in my bag so that I always know where they are. Unless they’re charging or the cards are being offloaded into my external hard drive they’re in my bag safe and sound so I don’t ever lose anything.
I use an assortment of memory cards of varying sizes, but most of them are from San Disk. I have two standard Canon LP-E6N batteries for my 80D, four Canon NB-13L batteries for my G7xii, and an extra basic ol’ Energizer 9V battery for my Rode Mic.
And what photographer, videographer, mom, grandma, supportive aunt, memory keeping expert doesn’t have a random assortment of other items in their camera bag. My random items are a cheap and flimsy neck strap that I sometimes use with my G7xii, some pretty amazing lens cleaning wipes that I would highly recommend, and a couple of Sunbelt granola bars (for myself and the occasional starving bride who forgot to eat the morning of her big day).
Often times you will also find a small bag of grapes or candy (depending on if I’m feeling healthy or not, haha), some gum, hair ties, bobby pins, all sorts of different device charges, or anything else at the bottom of my bag. These things are staple items but often get lost in the mix of things. I like to be prepared, as do most, so whatever I think I’ll need for whatever shoot I’m doing will go into my bag, but often times I forget what’s really all there.
Then finally, tucked away in a corner of my camera bag is the nitty gritty of business—my tax and paperwork file folder. This isn’t necessarily an essential item for the memory keeping process, but it is essential for a business. Since my memory keeping journey often includes services for others I must include this little accordion organizer for all of my receipts and milage logs required come tax time. It’s the administrative side of business ownership, and I don’t like it so much, but it must be done. So, in order to remind myself of the constant need to document, track, and save information I just keep this little dojigger in my bag so I don’t forget.
The end. That’s the meat and bones of my camera bag. These items are the key things that I need whether I’m filming a wedding, taking pictures at my little sister’s game, documenting my dogs, or whatever I’m doing that requires me to memory keep and collect a story so that it will last a lifetime.
What do you need in your bag?
Out of all of the things I keep in my camera bag, I would recommend that anyone starting from scratch firstly find themselves a camera that they love—whether that be your phone, a point and shoot, or a fancy DSLR, find something that you are exciting to grab and take pictures or video with. Once you have the camera you love, then it’s just going about how you grow from there. Does your camera need more lenses? How about batteries or memory cards? And then, are there items that you could add to your camera to enhance the picture/video capturing experience? And then finally, the last thing you can add to your memory keeping arsenal would be items for convenience (think, my granola bars)—these items for you could be snacks, deodorant, a small sewing kit, or other little things that you might shove in your purse that you could also use in your camera bag.