Convert a Purse Into a Camera Bag

I am picky when it comes to camera bags. Or, as I prefer to call them, camera purses. But I’ve bought a few different brands over the years for the different cameras and lenses I’ve owned. Lately though I’m wanting a smaller bag, one that I can just fit one camera with a lens attached, that looks unassuming so I can take my camera to the office with me regularly.

I have a larger bag that holds all my equipment. I have a smaller bag that only holds my one camera, but it looks like a camera bag. I have a backpack too, which is great for traveling or doing a lot of walking. And I have a messenger bag that I recently sold because I never really used it. But none of those are what I’m wanting right now. I have an idea of what I’d like and I actually found a bag that works… they just don’t have a color that I like and I refuse to spend that kind of money on something I’m not in love with. So I decided to try something different.

I purchased a shockproof, padded camera bag insert with the hopes of finding a purse I like to convert it into a camera bag. My Canon camera and 35mm lens fit in it perfectly and I was really happy with how it all worked out so nicely — and for not a lot of money. But then I was on the hunt for a purse… and carried this insert with me into four stores to see if it would fit.

I got really lucky at Target, y’all! I’d actually seen this grey bag online months ago thinking it was cute. Lo and behold, the padded insert fit inside it perfectly. (There was a lot of perfect going on.) And again, for not a lot of money. Although… I was surprised that the Target purse cost as much as it did ($40), but that’s still A LOT less than what I was shopping around for before this idea struck.

So now I have an anonymous looking purse that I can stuff my big camera into. As well as my wallet, keys, sunglasses and some extra memory cards. I really like how it turned out… but it isn’t perfect. (Perfection is never meant to last.)

Yep — there are some cons. For starters, the shoulder strap is far too narrow and tends to dig into my shoulder when it’s weighted down with a full load. I thought a good fix would be a shoulder strap pad (thank you again, Amazon), but it’s not a foolproof fix. Also, the purse was not created to hold a lot of weight. Even though it is large and lots of women could fill it up and make it heavy as hell with all the normal things we tend carry around… it is not designed for that. I’m already seeing a bit of wear from where the shoulder strap hooks on the bag; the threads that hold it to the bag are beginning to stretch more than I’d like it to.

The wear is going to happen regardless, but this is why a normal purse isn’t a great to convert to a camera bag. And I didn’t consider that before I ventured down this road. So I’ve come to the conclusion that this fix is temporary. I’ll continue to use it as I long as I feel comfortable, but if the integrity of the bag is compromised, I’ll likely stop using it to tote my camera. A plus is that I do have a cute new purse no matter what.

Now that the Kelly Moore “Kate” Messenger bag is sold, I’ll be searching for a new camera purse that is made for toting cameras and is more my style. Fingers crossed they have the size and color I want… otherwise I might just keep waiting.