A couple weeks ago I posted a rundown of what’s in my camera bag on the blog, so I thought a great follow up would be to review the bag itself. I’m going to jump right into it, then.
My thought process when looking for a new camera bag was to have a big bag (my think tank airport bag) to carry my lighting and extras, while carrying my main lenses and necessities in a smaller and lighter shoulder bag. Photo gear may not be super heavy, but any amount of weight gets heavy after carrying it for 8 hours, so keeping only the essentials on me saves my back over the course of the day. I landed on the Gracie bag by Jo Totes for a few reasons and I’ve learned a bit more over the year I’ve been using it.
Grey interior. You’d be surprised how often camera bag makers line their bags with black material, which automatically makes me want to scream. You may be thinking, “Whoa Sandi, this is a pretty petty gripe. Lining color?” but stop and think about it for a minute. What color are nearly all tech gadgets? Black. And do you want to be in a dark reception hall, fumbling around for a black flash trigger in a black bag? Nooooope. So yeah, I was relieved to find a light grey interior to provide lots of contrast.
Metal feet. The bottom of the Gracie bag has metal feet. My previous bag lacked this little feature and got very scuffed, dirty and unprofessional looking. This bag’s bottom still looks clean and new even after a year of use, plus it gives me that extra bit of confidence in my gear’s safety. I tend to set my bag down kind of rough if I’m trying to work quickly, so it’s nice to know there’s a little extra something between my gear and the ground.
Pockets! There are lots and lots of pockets on this bag. Two gusseted pockets with magnetic snap-close flaps on the front of the bag are a great place to store a card case, chapstick, extra batteries or anything else you need quick access to. There is also a long zippered pouch on the front I like to keep my phone in. On the back is a another flat pocket but this one has no closure. I often keep timelines, receipts and other paper in there because it’s easy to slip them in without having to stop what I’m doing and dig around. The inside of the bag has two more zippered pockets that span the length of the interior.
Color. Yeah, this one is petty. But I love the mint and it helped inspire my new branding so I’m giving it bonus points for the color.
Size. I know I said I picked this bag because it is small, so this isn’t really a con so much as me being kind of crazy, but I often find myself wishing this bag were an inch or two bigger. I can fit my camera with attached lens, two more lenses and a flash in this bag, which is all I really need… but it’s a tight fit. I guess it could be a good thing because it keeps me from overfilling it and then I’m just defeating the whole purpose of the two bag system.
Clasp. The clasp for the shoulder strap is a kind of overlapping lobster clasp, which I have alllllmost accidentally opened while picking my bag up from the base of the strap before. My hand grabs where the clasp meets the D-ring and then gravity works to leverage open the clasp… then I spaz out and catch my bag before it falls catawampus on the ground. Now that I know this is a possibility, I no longer pick the bag up that way, but it was a hard habit to break. I just wish they had stuck with a more traditional carabiner style clasp.
Shoulder pad. This “pad” is useless. In fact, I don’t even have it on my bag because it’s just a chunk of hard leather. I don’t necessarily miss having a shoulder pad on the strap, but I’m not even sure why this was included.
That’s it! Overall, I’m very happy with this bag and it performs beautifully for portrait sessions and wedding days. My gripes don’t keep me from loving the Gracie bag and I’m not planning to replace it any time soon. If you want to know more about the Gracie bag, ask a question in the comments and I’ll answer it for you! If you have this bag, do you love it or hate it? Let me know what your thoughts on it are!