I used to loathe the term “mom-tographer” (ok, I still think it’s annoying) but I’ve come to embrace the fact that yes, I’m a mom and a photographer and that comes with certain challenges and blessings. Are there diapers in my camera bag? On occasion, yes. Do I always have a cute model at hand? Yep. Are my kids always willing to be photographed? Nope. Do I have to call 10 babysitters before I can find someone available so I can go out and do a shoot? Yes. But I make it work and I love it. Here are 8 of my favorite & wish list photography products for mom photographers, plus a giveaway of #1, so make sure you read all the way through.
1. The Nadine Travel Tote from Aide de Camp
Casual luxe meets functional utility with Aide de Camp’s new collection – the Nadine Travel Tote. Crafted from premium European canvas, this stylish, lightweight tote is designed to meet the carrying needs of busy, active women. Whether you are a traveler, mom, photographer or a creative-type, you’ll love its versatility and clever features.
So what makes the Nadine different from the other myriad camera bags made specifically for women? Aide de Camp sent me the Nadine to try out and I’m totally in love with it. First of all, my favorite feature of all the ADC bags is that the customizable camera padding insert is removable, so you can use it as a “regular” bag if needed. It would be perfect for a gym bag, travel tote, diaper bag or shopping bag with or without the camera insert.
Secondly, I love the fact that the padding in the laptop sleeve is removable and can double as a baby diaper changing pad (brilliant!). You could also use it to kneel on if you happen to be shooting down low on hard floors or use it as a seat cushion at a concert or baseball game. Seriously, so clever.
I love the generous size and light-weight nature of the Nadine; Many large camera bags made for women are leather or faux leather and tend to weigh a ton on their own without any gear inside, and lighter weight nylon bags often feel too flimsy to carry a large load. The Nadine is made of a premium, lightweight, water resistant European canvas, and this durable canvas has an upscale, fashionable feel. It’s perfect.
Hyper-organizers like myself will love the two zipper compartments and Aide de Camp’s signature flap pockets, which are handy for stowing away small items such as SD cards and accessories.
By popular request from its customers, Aide de Camp has included a rear trolley sleeve for slipping onto the handles of your rolling suitcase. So you can say goodbye to fumbling with multiple bags as you navigate through airports!
I recently took a weekend road trip to the Oregon coast with my husband and although we didn’t fly, it was the perfect weekend travel bag. I stuffed it full with my MacBook Pro, Sony A6000, Book Yourself Solid workbook, three other books to read, huge wallet and clutch, cell phone, a sweater, and snacks. I used the padded camera insert to organize the little things and keep the camera nice and safe. If you’re on the lookout for a new, versatile, stylish camera bag, I highly recommend the Nadie from Aide de Camp!
Want more info about my favorite camera bag brand? Check out these articles.
2. Peak Design Slide Camera Strap
I’ve tried several camera straps through the years, including a few designed specifically for women. But my current favorite is the Peak Design Slide Camera Strap. Even though it’s not specially designed for women, the Slide strap used in the sling position is the most comfortable sling strap I’ve found (and I’m very well, ahem, endowed.) It sits so nicely on my hip or at the small of my back when I’m walking around not using the camera, instead of banging around all over the place like other straps I’ve tried. I love the versatility of the Slide strap as well. It can also be used as a neck strap or shoulder strap. We’re all about the versatility, aren’t we Ladies????
3. Camera Creatures
Until you attempt to photograph a baby or toddler, you will never understand the value of something like a Camera Creature. Have you ever attempted to hold a squeaky toy above your lens while you also focus and push the shutter button at the same time? It’s practically impossible. Even worse is having 5 parents, grandparents and siblings standing behind you trying to get said baby/toddler to smile, resulting in the child not actually looking at you and your camera at all but off in 5 different directions. UGH!
Enter the Camera Creature, a cute little toy that wraps around your lens. With this handy thing firmly in place, you can more easily entice the young ones to look at you – Only in the absence of other distractions and only until the novelty wears off, so make sure you use it strategically.
4. Photography 101 Workshop
Many moms I chat with often ask what would be the best and fastest way they could learn to take better pictures of their kids. Usually, they have a knack for taking pictures but need some help with mastering the technical side of things. If you and/or your mom-friends are looking for a way to improve your skills in a flexible, go-at-your-own-pace manner, I highly recommend the SLR Lounge Photography 101 course. This video course is broken up into short segments with specific assignments given after each “chapter” so you can immediately go and practice what you learned before moving on to the next one.
This video course is broken up into short segments with specific assignments given after each “chapter” so you can immediately go and practice what you’ve learned before moving on to the next. You can upload your practice photos to the Critique section of the website for feedback from the community, including some of the expert photographers (like yours truly) so you’ll know what you did well and how you can improve.
Being able to work on it as your schedule permits is the most mom-friendly thing ever; If you have an hour each day during nap time, while the kids are at school or even after they’re in bed at night, that would be the perfect time to watch a chapter and learn something new. When was the last time you did something just for YOU? Head on over to the SLR Lounge store right now and invest in a new skill.
5. Polaroid Snap
Ok, guys. If you don’t have an instant camera you are totally missing out. Not only will your kids and all their friends think you are the coolest, you will have many, many moments of instant gratification pleasure using a camera like the Polaroid Snap. The awesome thing about this little retro style camera is that in addition to a print you also get a digital copy of the image to post online, use in your digital scrapbooking or store on a hard drive, never to be seen again (you choose). Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of the Polaroid Snap (I just got it in the mail today and I’m so excited to try it out! I already use and love the Fuji Instax Mini, so I’m curious to see how this one compares).
6. Aide de camp Bailey Insert Pouch
Ok, let’s say you already have a gorgeous handbag or tote you love so you don’t want to buy a separate camera bag, but you would like to keep your expensive camera nicely protected with a little padding inside said bag, this insert will help. If wrapping your camera in a scarf or old t-shirt is seriously cramping your style, listen up. The genius designers at Aide de Camp come to the rescue again with the Bailey Insert Pouch.
This little lovely is basically the ADC signature padded camera insert inside a zippered canvas pouch that you can transfer from bag to bag. It’s the perfect size for smaller DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. I keep my Sony A6000 in the pouch on my shelf and transfer it to my larger handbag when I’m headed out to the park or some other outing with the kids. When I won’t need the camera I just remove the whole pouch. Brilliant!
7. Lollipop props mini studio system
If you have any intention of photographing babies and/or toddlers on a regular basis and don’t have a full studio set up, I recommend you go with the Lollipop Props Mini Studio System. This little setup is light, portable and compact for easy storage. There are a variety of backdrop and floor drop options for the system so you can always update your look, or you can simply use fabric from the fabric store to change it up. The pop-up style is easy to set up all by yourself and it’s a completely stand-alone unit so you don’t need any additional backdrop stands or clamps. See how I use the Lollipop Props Mini Studio System and read more about it in the following articles:
8. Savage 500W LED Studio Light Kit
Are you needing to add a pop of light to your indoor sessions but the thought of using flash (not to mention the cost) totally scares the heck out of you? If so, a good place to start might be with a continuous light setup. This handy, affordable 500 watt LED studio light kit from Savage looks like the perfect starter lighting kit. A friend and client of mine is setting up a little studio space in the corner of her hair salon so she can take before and after photos and I think this kit would be ideal.
One thing I like about continuous lighting, especially for shooting kids, is that you don’t have to worry about the flash not firing if a kid gives you an awesome expression (which can be totally hit or miss). Plus, you can use these for lighting video clips as well.
Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for. Aide De Camp is giving away a Nadine Travel Tote in cream to one of our readers. Simply share this post on Facebook and tag us, and comment below with your thoughts and we’ll randomly select a winner on April 15th, a week from this posting. Possible comments might include what feature you’re most excited about, why you need a new camera bag or your overall thoughts on the product in general. The giveaway is open internationally. Enjoy!