5 Reasons Not to Buy a Leather Camera Bag | Tips for Photographers


Is it just me, or does it seem like the thing for photographers is to have / own / carry a leather camera bag? Maybe it is just me, but I know a few years ago when I was eyeball deep in searching for the "perfect" bag for my gear, it felt like in order to seem legit, you needed a leather camera bag. I fell into that trap super easily, researched for weeks, debated on costs, sizes, styles, blah blah blah, and finally pulled the trigger on what I thought, was the most perfect leather camera bag for me and my needs.

After using it for a couple of years, ya know what I came to realize? Leather camera bags just are not for me. And that's okay! Your level of legit-ness has absolutely nothing to do with the type of bag you carry, and it most definitely isn't defined by a leather bag! 

Let's say that at first, I felt "cool" with that bag of mine. I was quite pleased with myself. Look at me world! I have this genuine leather bag that houses my gear! *Vanna White motion*

But the truth and reality is, that after hauling this bag around to wedding after wedding, I became increasingly more and more aware that it just wasn't working out. A bad breakup was inevitable. 

Here's what I found to be true for me

  • 1. Leather is heavy. The bag empty weighs more than it should, and once my gear is inside, good grief, no. Just no. 
  • 2. Leather isn't so flexible...It doesn't give. It doesn't mold against your body, it hangs on you like a weapon that could easily take someone out. And that person that it could easily take out, could very well be your own self.
  • 3. One word: Bulky. It's just bulky and another word: unwieldy! (See #2 again, for full effect)
  • 4. It isn't as cool as it looks. Not in my opinion at least!
  • 5. Animals, man. It just isn't worth it. That one, I know, hisses might be heard across the internet, but that's okay. I am not a vegetarian, or a vegan, and I do buy products that are leather, and likely will again in the future. But there was just something about having this massive, all-leather bag that made me cringe a little bit, if I'm being honest. 

These reasons may or may not be the same for someone else, but they have definitely been the reasons I've figured out for myself. I'm all about reading reviews from others with experience on stuff, but nonetheless, in most cases I still have to figure it out for myself. I think some refer to that as being stubborn....hmm. 

Now, you might have read this and thought this girl is crazy, I loveeeee my leather camera bag! If so, then that's truly great, you do you! (see: #ydy). I'm certain some people love them, I'm unfortunately just not a fan! OR maybe you read this and thought, ugh, the confusion continues. If that's you - then I have some advice!! 

  • 1. Make a list of priorities. After I bought a leather camera bag for all the wrong reasons, I became a tad wiser, and before purchasing more bags, I made a list of what key elements were important to me. Things like, somewhat lightweight, lots o' pockets, multiple straps, magnetic closures, etc. The list helps, make a list!
  • 2. Maybeeee buy used ones in the beginning, as your test dummies, haha. That way, you aren't spending hundreds on bags that may or may not be ideal for you! I didn't go this route, but I can totally get on board with the idea! If you're spending less for used ones that are in good condition and then you realize you have another dud, just resell and try again! 

Alright guys, that's my advice!