Why, in general, is it so important to have a high-quality camera bag for your gear?
It's two fold. Protecting your gear is totally essential. I'm a technical shooter, so I'm looking for high-quality intentionality and wearability with how I use my bag—putting things in and out constantly as a wedding photographer. Having a bag that is going to wear and tear with how I'm using it is critical. Having a high-quality bag also communicates externally to those who see it that I care about quality and taking things seriously. Even if people don't know brands, they know the difference between a cheap bag and a bag built to last. Ultimately, how you dress, what bag you're wearing, what gear you're using, if you've dressed for the occasion, even down to a nice watch...all of this presents your brand. High quality is internal and external.
What have you found are the key characteristics of a good camera bag? What do you look for in one?
Utility and quality matter most. Will it accomplish everything that I need it to? I have my pockets for Advil, tissues, film, airtags, keys, lenses, a camera or two, itineraries...can it hold everything in a spot I can count on? For me, nearly everything revolves around function. After that is comfort. Is it easy to wear, is it easy to set down well, will it wear well, is it weather-proof, will it fall over?
What got you into photography in the first place?
I have always been an artist. In high school, I took a photography class—I wasn't really a sports or a theater guy. But like most in high school, I was looking for my "thing" and had an amazing photography teacher. He shared photos from the legends of photography. His mindset was, "Let's start analog, and talk about what makes a good photo." He would do slideshows during class, and we would talk through them. He would talk about the story behind the image. So first and foremost, my interest was in the history of photography. Then I shot on film, then went digital. I fell in love with the process, with the puzzle. I'm not afraid of failure. I love the process, the challenge of composition, light, the technical elements. It's the thing that I found that I was good at. I see the world differently than anyone else, as we all do. I started a business in high school, and then went to college, and then started wedding photography. But I fell in love with the ability to tell a story, be creative, and be a part of celebration. Story is a big part of the work, but not the only thing. It's connection, creativity, and story. Connection is fully with people, capturing the meaningful. Our memories don't hold up like a photo does. The photos I've shot of my family are the most impactful. For me, photography has a deep emotional connection in it, it's not just a job. It's capturing the human experience, the good, bad, and the hardness of life. It's capturing a bride crying from joy, and capturing the grief of distance when family can't make it. I want to tell the story and I want to remember. Be present first, but the photo is a bridge to validating the memory.
What are some of the features of Kelly Moore Bags that you've found helpful and important?
I love the quality of the bags. When it comes specifically to the Divide, it's not as big as my main bag, but it's perfect for smaller shoots because I can get what I need from it. The Taylor, for example, has good zippers, and that signature cushioning that's super important.
Regarding carrying styles, do the bags you choose vary based on the type of shoot you're doing?
Yes, totally. I have one bag that I use for every shoot, but am expanding my needs based on they type of shoot.
What's one thing you'd want people to know about what a good bag can do for a professional photographer like yourself?
Confidence is a big part of that. As a working professional, I'm an advocate for putting the right tools and right gear in front of you to help you succeed. Most photographers compromise on some areas, but the two main areas that I won't are rest and self-care, and getting high-quality items like my laptop, gear, and my bag. It's okay to treat yourself, and to have the comforts that give you the margin to take care of yourself outside of your business.
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Follow Grant's Work — grantdaniels.com