February 24, 2019
I wanted to share this little DIY project with you because I’m so happy with how it turned out, and it will fill a HUGE need in my life … so it might also be helpful for some of my other fellow shutter bugs out there.
As a professional photographer, capturing imagery is obviously very important to me. There are countless times in my personal life (vacations, day trips, special events, etc.) that I want to bring my “real” camera to … but I hate dealing with the hassle of carrying it around my neck all day OR if I decide to bring my camera bag then I end up emptying out all of the “extra” gear and filling it with my purse contents so that I don’t have to carry multiple bags. I have a couple of different “purse” design camera bags that are beautiful, but they are both one shoulder bags which is not going to work for any long period of time as my camera is just too heavy and I would be in too much pain. I need something practical, comfortable and, well, not ugly. So I set out on a search of the world wide web for my solution. What I was looking for was a backpack with a padded section for a dslr (with side or read access) and the rest of it to just be a normal bag. I was surprised to find that there are exactly 2 articles that met my needs and they were both over $400 and not very nice looking. Cue light-bulb moment … I CAN MAKE THAT!!
I had my backpack selection narrowed down to a half a dozen but in the end this one won out. I loved the colours, and the rear access was perfect. I can get the camera out quickly and easily without digging through the rest of the contents of the bag. It’s not too big and bulky on my small frame, it has lots of other pockets for my phone, wallet, etc. … AND drink holders on the sides which are imperative when you have a young child in tow. All of that for only $50CAD on Amazon. Wahoo … start the car!!!! (It’s actually a diaper bag, but I just ripped out the thermal bottle compartments in the front pouch and now there’s nothing “diaper bag” about it, lol)
Now for the supplies. I got a big slab of 1″ foam from FabricLand as well as some nice coordinating cotton fabric. The fabric is thick and durable, but really soft.
First I measured the base of the bag and cut a piece of foam to fit snugly. I then cut another piece the exact same size to act as the shelf between where the camera would be, and the rest of the large compartment. I covered the foam with the fabric and sewed it together on the sides/edges that would not be showing.
I then attached the foam pieces into the bag with sew-on velcro. This step was a pain in the butt because trying to stitch inside of a small dark backpack compartment isn’t easy, but it was doable. I kept placing my camera inside as I went to make sure that everything was fitting nice and snug how I wanted it. I intend for this to hold my Canon 5D MkIII with 24-70 lens attached (my lazy lens, lol), as well as my off camera flash. That’s all I want to carry for every day activities. Too much fiddling with extra lenses and you miss the great candid moments anyways.
Here is a diagram of what the layout of the foam inserts look like in the bag. The larger section fits my camera with lens attached (facing upward) and the skinny section fits my flash. All with rear access for quick accessibility and theft protection since it can’t be accessed at all when I’m wearing the bag on my back.
All of the foam pieces are attached to each other with sew-on velcro so they are easy to remove or shift around if need be, but they stay securely where I want them.
Here is what the large backpack compartment looks like from the top. See how I can still fit lots of stuff in there and it will all be sitting on the foam shelf while my camera lens is safely protected underneath.
I’m so unbelievably happy with how this project turned out and I can’t wait to put it to good use on our family vacation in a couple of weeks!
I hope this post helps someone out!