Ask Design Mom: Camera Bags

July 19, 2010

Ask Design Mom Question:
Dear Design Mom, I’ve just had my third child, and finally invested in a nice DSLR to photograph my kids. I already carry around a huge bag for baby stuff and kids snacks and my stuff. I want to have my DSLR handy for outings or day trips, but I don’t want to carry an ugly clumsy camera bag along with my usual bag. Any recommendations on a nice DSLR camera bag, that maybe big enough to carry a changing pad and sippy and personal items? or maybe a DSLR bag that’s small enough to protect the camera and fit into a big diaper bag? What do you carry your DSLR in? Thanks! — Beverly

Design Mom Answer:
Great question, Beverly! And I have a great answer for you. When I was at Mom 2.0 in February, all the hip photographers (like Chookooloonks and Tracey Clark) were carrying very chic handbag/camera bags. They’re called Epiphanie Bags and they come in a great colors and styles.

What about you, Dear Readers? What do you use to tote your camera plus kid supplies?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carter @ The Kitchenette July 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Although I don’t have any kids (yet), I recently bought a DSLR and had the same problem, I didn’t want to tote an ugly camera bag around in addition to my purse/tote that I carry my normal stuff in.

What I ended up doing was taking a bag I already had (an over-the-shoulder tote that zipped across the top) and quickly making some protective inserts for the bag. I started with cardboard (just cut out from the box that someone shipped something to me) and I cut the cardboard into pieces that would fit together in my bag. I then covered them with high-density upholstery foam that I got at a craft/sewing store, and then on top the foam, I covered the pieces with flannel. The whole project took me maybe 3 hours.

I ended up with a long rectangular box that sits in the bottom of my bag, and then a few inserts that I put in between different lenses, the body of the camera, etc. And there’s plenty of room leftover in my bag for a notebook, my wallet, and whatever else I want to take with me.


2 Design Mom July 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Wow, Carter! What a brilliant idea. If you have any great pics of your bag, we’d love to see it.


3 beth aka confusedhomemaker July 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Yes, please show! Because I’m having a terrible time with the whole camera bag thing right now. I love, love, love my camera (got it as a present in Dec.) & want to use it all the time but the bag is not ideal. And I’m in love the bags that were posted (they’re so nice) but they’re outta my price range right now. Converting another bag would be more of a possibility on my budget.


4 Carter @ The Kitchenette July 21, 2010 at 11:24 am

I’ve just checked back to here, and I will post some pics ASAP when I get home from work. I’ve also thought about posting a “how-to” on my blog just so others can see how I did it.


5 the sleepy time gal July 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm

sadly my camera slides in my lightweight cotton purse, into the diaper bag between rattles and diapers (as cushion) or simply sat upon the passengers seat when i’m out and about.


6 Design Mom July 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Hah! I’ve done all 3 of the things you mention.


7 Adventures In Babywearing July 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I always use my camera (Nikon D60) as an excuse to buy bigger handbags. That’s also what I use instead of diaper bags. A nice big in-style bag that fits all my stuff. Love the ones you linked, too!



8 Design Mom July 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm

You always have great bags, Steph.


9 abbeyviolet July 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Sadly, I’m more with “the sleepy time gal” although I do covet the Epiphanie and Ketti bags too. SO pretty!


10 Design Mom July 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Ketti? Off to check them out…


11 erika July 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Really Love the Ketti Bags you mentioned!


12 Kate July 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm


I’m no help but hoping some of your other readers post additional ideas. Because, honestly, even though the Epiphanie bags you linked to are very pretty….I’m usually looking SO casual when out and about with the kids (at zoo, beach, walk to the park w/the stroller), that a bag as nice as the Epiphanie would look totally out of place and overdressy with what I’ve got going on.

For now, I just toss my DSLR in diaper bag (stuffed!), stroller, or backpack. I’m terrible — not taking pristine care of my camera as I should. I tell myself that it’s one of those “it’s meant to be used” type of objects that if I have to care for too much I will never bother bringing. (That’s my rationalization for my poor habits, anyway!) Given the cost of a DSLR, though, I probably should upgrade to some kind of protective bag…


13 Design Mom July 19, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I’ll bet many people can relate, Kate!


14 Scotti O. July 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm

How random you post this today! I am scouring the internet for a cute and protective dslr bag. I just upgraded to a nice camera and it kills me that I just drag it along without any protection, especially because I am a HUGE clutz. I did find this tutorial to make one awhile back and it’s on my to do someday list which probably will never happen :)

I also am eyeballing this etsy sellers bags; a little more reasonably priced and tons of fabrics you can choose from so the bag is JUST what you want.

Now I am also in love with the links you posted! What to do; what to do!


15 Jessica Near July 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I bought a bag from this seller…I love it but it looks more like a diaper bag and I don’t have children yet, so I have decided not to use it until later.
The bag I covet is here:
I am in *LOVE* with this bag…but I have to save for it! Maybe some lucky girl out there can buy one and tell me all about it so I can live vicariously through you :)


16 Scotti O. July 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Was it really well made? I do have kids but still don’t want a super diaper baggy looking bag :)


17 Scotti O. July 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Oh and that bag you linked to is lovely! Wish she had more in her store!


18 Jessica Near July 21, 2010 at 10:59 am

It is pretty functional. The only thing I don’t like (aside from the diaper bag look) is the front flap- it attaches on the inside to keep things in, but doesn’t attach to the outside, so it flaps around and opens despite the inside strap.
A note about the look-every single person that has seen me carry this bag has given me the sideways “are you trying to tell us something” look…as if I would carry a bag to tell all my friends I am pregnant :)
Also, I think the other bag may be available upon request. It would be worth a try to contact her. I know she does many special orders, so it may be a wait, but I think it would be well worth the wait! :)


19 Jaimie July 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I have a Kelly Moore bag. I can fit my camera + lens + diapers and wipes, wallet, keys and more into it. It’s great! Pricey, but very well made and worth it. I can see carrying this bag for years.


20 Lindsay July 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I was going to mention Kelly Moore bags and Jaimie beat me to it, but another option is a Jo Tote – just as cute and not as expensive! Check out


21 Jenilyn July 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I just had this same problem a few months ago and ended up doing a ton of research. I wanted to stay within a lower budget and I ended up getting a Built NY camera bag from amazon, around $40. I love it, its just the right size to hold my DSLR plus an extra lens and I can also put the whole thing into my bigger bag or just carry it alone, also, my husband doesn’t mind carrying it because its not too feminine. Good luck.


22 Becky Sue July 19, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I second the Jo Totes. I can fit a laptop, camera, 2 extra lenses, wallet, etc. when traveling.


23 Heather HS July 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Try something like this:,1913,8.htm

I’ve also seen some that are just a big square that velcros together… not sure if that is part of a larger accessories kit from Lowepro.


24 Kate Reymann July 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I third? fourth? Jo Totes, which my husband so kindly got me after Gabrielle featured them on her site. I love mine as well. My kiddo is 21 months old so I don’t have to carry as many things around now but I am amazed at how much I can fit in.


25 Macy July 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I use a Think Tank Urban Disguse 60 ( to travel for work, and while I love it for my gear and laptop, it’s not so great to tote my toddler’s stuff. For camera + kids tuff, I love my Emera bag. I have the black quilted bag, and it is the perfect camera/kid/tote everything bag. Especially when I travel. I love that I can fit my camera, a couple lenses, magazines, wallet, diaper, phone, etc. etc.

That said, I’m totally coveting the new Kelly Moore hobo bag…in yellow…


26 Ayme July 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I just bought my first DSLR recently too. I spent so much money on it that I just listened to the pros and bought a proper camera bag. Ugly as it is, I can’t deal with the thought of my camera being unprotected. It’s backpack style so that helps a little at least. I’m not very stylish anyway :)


27 leslie July 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm

i have a beautiful bag from Ketti Handbags, just for my DSLR. I love it, just got it!


28 Mama DB July 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I have the Belle Epiphanie bag. It holds my camera, charger, extra lenses and I can jam my wallet, phone, keys, 4-5 matchbox cars and still have room left over. Love my Epiphanie bag!


29 Candee September 10, 2010 at 11:20 am

Mama db!
I want the Belle bag so bad, do you have pictures of you wearing it? I’ve been Googling trying to find some pics to see how it looks with and without the shoulder strap — you know, if it’s super bulky.


30 Kyra July 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I have a camera bag from best buy that is kinda big that I will carry separately but when I just want to carry my DSLR in my diaper bag I bought the largest size Vera Bradley makeup bag, a couple smaller ones for lenses and I have a VB lunch box that is waterproof and pretty cushy too that I use sometimes. They are all small and cushy enough to protect!


31 LP July 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Well, I don’t own one of these and they certainly don’t appear as stylish as some of the ones named above, but they look pretty great. They’re called SLR – Sloop bags.


32 Ann July 19, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I like keeping my camera in my regular bag (along with the diapers, rock collections, board books and last years parking tickets) but I was beating up my dslr so I made an open-top box from a padded shipping envelope and packing tape. Ugly? Yes. But no one sees it and I can toss it in any bag I want. It’s open top means it’s a breeze to grab my camera and pop back in while protecting the bottom and sides where it normally gets carelessly whacked :)


33 MGF July 20, 2010 at 2:13 am

Love Love Love my Epiphanie Bag. Had mine since she first introduced them. I have Ginger, but now I want Belle too.


34 Tabitha (From Single to Married) July 20, 2010 at 7:48 am

Where have I been the past few years? I had no idea that they had such fantastic camera bags!! Of course now all I use is a huge diaper bag (well, a cute, huge diaper bag, but still). I’d be interested to hear if someone has found a stylish small bag that can be slipped into a diaper bag. :)
Will definitely keep this info for future reference though!


35 bdaiss July 20, 2010 at 8:13 am

Oy vey. I love those. But yeesh! I can’t spend that much on a bag. I searched etsy and some other options but haven’t found anything I love that I can bring myself to spend the money on. So instead I’m going to make my own. My sewing machine is just back from the doctor and hopefully I’ll get started this weekend (along with a bunch of projects for my kids). I figure this way it will cost 1/3 of those designer bags and I’ll get EXACTLY what I want. I’ve sketched out the design, now I just need to make up my mind on fabric. Wish me luck!


36 Katie @ goodLife {eats} July 20, 2010 at 8:18 am

I have two, an epiphanie (turquoise bag) for when I need just my camera and a jotote for when I need to bring camera and laptop. they have a bunch of new styles now, but at the time I bought they just had the olive and red totes. I have the red and a 15 inch laptop fits well in it with a camera and lens.


37 christine July 20, 2010 at 9:24 am

Thank you for posting this! I just traveled with my 11-month-old for the first time a week ago and ended up leaving the DSLR at home because I was overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to manage it with all the baby things I have to tote around. How do you always know what to post just when I need it?!


38 maile July 20, 2010 at 9:51 am

What a happy surprise to see a post about our bags here, thank you so much! I loved reading through all the comments too… such great feedback. We’re always working hard to create products that are truly useful, not just for pros, but for everyone with a camera. So if anyone has specific ideas about bags you’d like to see in the future, please let us know at Thanks again! xo


39 elz July 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

My Epiphanie bag. I love it. Makes a huge difference! And, they are very pretty.


40 helena July 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Got this one ( in Switzerland last summer. Love that it’s structured and waterproof and the strong velcro has kept its expensive contents from being dumped out by kids.


41 Yvette at Yvette's Home Sweet Home July 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I have been dealing with the same problem since my camera is like an extension of my arm, but I still have to tote around a diaper bag. I want something uber-girly and not so utilitarian (like the boxy, boring, black bag I currently lug in addition to my diaper bag.) Love the little hand bag from Etsy. My dream bag! Like most of the others, I too have a hard time parting with $200 on a camera bag. Especially when I could buy a fab leather purse for that much! Ouch!


42 Kathryn July 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I use a Zing Standard slr cover. It’s a kinda weird looking neoprene cover for the camera, but it allows me to toss the camera into whatever bag or purse I want to carry. I’ve got my eye on a nice camera bag for the times when I want to carry multiple lenses.


43 Jens July 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

I purchased a Jo Tote last year before Epiphanie bags started up. Then I saw the beautiful bags from Epiphanie and HAD to have one (I preordered the Lola). Earlier this month I ordered a Rose bag in bronze from Jo Totes…and I haven’t stopped using it since. Do you notice a pattern here? I am addicted to camera bags! It’s nice that there are options out there right now.


44 whitney July 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I bought a Zing camera cover ( and just toss my dslr into my purse. Love it! And can still shop at the Coach outlet.


45 Stacie Smith July 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I’ve got the brown Epiphany bag. Love it! Guy at the xray at airport security gave me quite a look after he saw the lens I tote in it.
Also want a Ketti bag, cause I just can’t get enough stylish bags. Giveaway going on now!


46 Meg July 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Kelly Moore bags are AMAZING! so chic and functional. The bags come with two straps that you interchange (or attach at once). A short one for an over-the-shoulder look. A long for an across the body look.


47 Boston Mamas July 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

So happy to see this post as I just took the plunge and got a real camera! Right now I’m carrying it in a smaller handbag inside my tote. Very cumbersome.


48 UK lass in US July 29, 2010 at 9:57 am

I have a small padded and waterproof lunch sack (bought for a $1) that fits my DSLR. I put that in whichever bag I am using. So far, so good…


49 beth olderman November 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Hi. I’m kind of late to add my two cents — but anyways…! We’ve heard from plenty of our friends who own a Mrs. Smith’s Diaper Bag that they have multi-tasked it into a camera bag as well. They use the insulated bottle holders as lens holders and the pull-out drawer for other attachements. There is still plenty of room for diaper bag essentials as well!


50 AndressaNewMam December 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I have found an awesome camera backpack that is not a guy bag. It is perfect for women and comes in two different colors including a beautiful blue and gray which is the one I got. The dividers are movable so you can organize your gear, laptop, diapers and wipes, wallet, keys and more into it. Best of all: I only paid $100,00 and it fits my laptop and my camera gear.

Check the website out:
I bought mine from


51 Photocrazinessmom December 22, 2010 at 8:23 am

I’ve tried many different bags, but I can’t get all my stuff in a purse like that. So after researching a lot, I have found an awesome camera backpack that is not a guy bag. It is perfect for women and comes in two different colors including a beautiful blue and gray which is the one I got. Best of all: I only paid $100,00 and it fits my laptop, my camera gear, diapers and wipes (for moms), wallet, keys and more into it. It’s great! . Check the website out:


52 Dianne May 29, 2014 at 5:57 am

I have just loved reading through everyone’s suggestions! I have just ended up getting one from – it wasn’t cheap, but it’s real leather and looks pretty special! There seem to be so many choices!!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: