How to Turn Any Bag Into a Camera Bag

By Brittni • Updated on 02/14/2024

How to Turn Any Bag Into a Camera Bag

Camera bags are a touchy subject for me. I’ve looked and looked and LOOKED for a cool bag that I don’t loathe carrying around. But I never found one that I like the look of AND can also safely carry my camera body and lens (meaning there’s some layer of padding / protection between my equipment and the bag itself). So, I decided to make my own.

I turned my fave mini weekender Clare V bag into a camera bag (that actually protects my camera and lenses). And I thought I’d share how I did it, in case you want to give it a try with one of your bags.

How to turn any bag into a camera bag

How to Turn any Bag into a Camera Bag

All you really need to make your own camera bag is a good quality, padded camera bag insert AND a bag that is large enough to fit the insert that also has durable straps for carrying heavier items. Sadly, my exact bag is no longer available, but sometimes they pop up for sale used (it’s by Clare V and called the Sandrine Speedy Handbag).

Most well-made bags are going to have handles strong enough to lug everything around with no problem. BUT it is something that you need to consider because the one thing you don’t want to have happen is your trap to break and have your camera equipment flying through the air.

I really like this camera bag insert from Amazon (which comes in several different colors and is less than $20), but there are TONS of options! Anytime I can shop for things on Amazon, I will! So here’s a link to all of the padded inserts they have, if you feel like browsing. Lots of good ones and different sizes too.

Covert any of these handbags or backpacks into a protective camera bag.

AND because you’re also going to need a cool bag, here are some of my picks that I think would be a perfect DIY camera bag…

(clockwise from top left) dune backpack from Yield Design
Loeffler Randall cruise tote from Need Supply
brown La Tropezienne bag from Clare V
Fjallraven Kanken Backpack on Amazon (lots of colors)
Apolis I’m Here market bag from Need Supply
suede tote in dirty sand from Madewell
Vere Verto taupe bucket bag from Need Supply
drawstring grid backpack from Baggu
prague satchel from Madewell
Creatures of Comfort blue bucket bag from Need Supply

I’ve been using this bag as a camera bag for about a month now and finally got around to shooting it and posting. This post is clearly long overdue. And I’ve been really happy with how its working out. No one would ever know that bag is a camera bag unless they opened it up. And it fits everything I need for shoots!

Totally taking this guy with me to the Caribbean. We head out this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited.

Cropped jean shirt, black jeans, and a big bag.

How I turned my fave Clare V bag into a padded camera bag

How to turn any bag into a camera bag. Click through for the details.

How to turn any bag into a camera bag!

Do you have a study bag like this that would be a good fit for a camera bag? Curious to know!

17 comments | Click here to reply

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Hi Oana. My shoes are from Madewell and they’re on sale right now. I have ’em in two colors – they’re my fave. Here’s the link:


I NEED to know where’d you get those gorgeous sandals from! They’re everything I’m missing in my life right now :))


Can’t wait to try the cute white bag for me! also, my camera will love it. By the way, the idea is really superb. Anyway, keep up the great work always.


Who knew all you needed was an insert to turn a regular purse into a camera bag? I need to do this myself because the camera bag I currently have isn’t necessarily stylish, and I hate carrying it around.



OMG! This is perfect! We’re headed to Boston soon and was just looking at super expensive bags, love that I can reuse one of my old faves 🙂


This used to be such a struggle for me too! But I decided to buy the Olympus Pen camera recently and I just wear it cross body and it’s literally made my life 100 times easier 😀

Kumba Dauda

THIS IS AWESOME!!! I’ve never been happy with my camera bag but now I can make my own! So cool!

Sharon Garofalow

Thanks you. I was searching for a cool less-expensive way for a camera bag gift for my boyfriend (he is a photographer). I was thinking about sewing a backpack with camera bag inserts for his small shoots (or when I need to take his camera with me :D).

Definitely on my To Do list now! 🙂

Eva P.

Expected a DIY… but this works just as well! Thank you.

Shwinle Win

Glad to hear that Grendel. I suspected that would be the case with some people. I couldn’t be the only one that couldn’t find a cool camera bag to use, right?!


This blogpost is so timely! I’ve been looking for an inconspicuous looking camera bag but couldn’t find one that I like but with the camera bag insert you can definitely convert any bag to a camera bag. Perfect- thanks for the tip. 😉

Grendel Alvarado

Thanks Michelle. 🙂


This is an amazing idea, and these options are way more stylish than the usual camera bag!


Pretty straightforward, huh Rena?! 🙂


Okay, makes sense 🙂
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

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