I first found out about Barber Shop Bags almost exactly a couple of years ago at The Photography Show in Birmingham. Back then they were a new company who had made the journey over from Italy to host a small stand at the show and start getting the word out to the UK market about their exciting range of camera straps and bags. At that time I was having some early thoughts about changing up my strap / bag set up and was considering moving from a single body to a dual body set up, so I spent a good amount of time on the stall chatting to them and checking out their gear. Suffice to say I liked what I saw. They brought that effortless Italian style and had blended it with practical functionality to create some very good looking and extremely well thought out and presented gear. I exchanged contact details with the team on the stand and we proceeded to stay loosely in touch.
Somehow 2 years whizzed by with me still using my old strap and bags, and then in the pre-season lull of January this year I finally got round to thinking about actually getting some new gear. In a serendipitous bit of timing I got an email from Barber Shop, we started talking and they offered me the chance to trial one of their straps and bags in exchange for doing a review and getting the word out to my friends in the UK. Deal! This was kit I was very excited to try out and from an awesome little company whose brand sits very well alongside mine. They made the same offer to my good friend James Melia of Melia Melia Photography and so a couple of weeks ago James and I hooked up to try out our new bags and straps. James lined us up an awesome couple and with him and his wife expecting their first child fairly imminently it seemed a good opportunity to grab a few pregnancy portraits of those guys too.
James and I both got a Cross Body Strap: a 2 / 3 body bridle style camera strap, mine in dark brown leather and James’ in black leather. These straps allow you to carry two DSLRs which sit more or less on the hips and the option for a third smaller camera that hangs centrally. For the bags James got a small “Page Boy” messenger bag in black cordura and leather and I got the larger “Bob Cut” messenger in blue canvas and dark brown leather. For me the Bob Cut was the perfectly sized accompaniment to my strap. I was fitting either 3 lenses and a speedlite in it or a body with lens attached + 2 lenses and a speedlite. The removable dividers allow you to configure it to work for you. It gave me the flexibility to switch down to shoot primarily one body which I liked. There was also plenty of room for all my other bits and pieces: Magmod modifiers, batteries, prism, flash triggers etc.
Here’s some photos from me and a couple from James with my thoughts on these products. Keep reading to the bottom for a limited discount code that you can use till the end of April!
The presentation and branding is just lovely. It’s a treat for any photographer to acquire kit like this and you’re wowed from the second you get your hands on the packaging. Most of the metal work on the straps is branded up which looks nice!
All bags come with a complimentary, personalised leather tag. A nice touch!
My first impression is that Barber Shop have found a good balance between aesthetics and functionality. The bags obviously look very stylish and are going to look great alongside the sort of clothes your average wedding photographer wears. But the build feels pretty solid too. The fabric feels like it’ll be durable and the strap and clips are heavy duty enough to take the toll of what a working photographer will throw at it over a decent amount of time.
The cross body strap is very comfortable to wear. I shot my first wedding using the strap on Saturday and finished the day with zero shoulder and back pain which was a novelty! It distributes the weight of the cameras very well and the cameras hang comfortably at hip height for the easiest of access. These straps are going to appeal to hybrid shooters with the option to carry a film camera via the central straps.
The smaller, “Bob Cut” messenger.
There are lots of well thought out little features like this leather sheath that covers the clip which attaches camera to strap. As well as looking good, this prevents anything getting tangled up in the clip. There’s a second security strap / clip making the chance of the camera coming loose, detaching and falling nill.
My sexy model Mr James rocking the three camera look.
Here’s some photos of the straps being used in action, James working 2 bodies in comfort.
I love the little details…
You can see the secondary security strap / clip in this frame.
It’d be rude not to post a few of the photos I took on the day!
One of the big selling points for me was being able to get an excellent strap and an equally excellent messenger bag that matched and looked good together. I can’t think of another supplier out there who offer such a well paired combination. I’m not some fashion diva but I do put a fair bit of thought into what I wear and how I present myself at a wedding: it’s all part of my brand. So to get a nicely coordinated bag / strap set up is quite pleasing!
So to summarise, this is great kit with a thumbs up for both look and quality. You’re buying from a European company so there’s no import tax going to sting you and they’re lovely friendly guys who’ll be happy to field any questions via the Live Chat function on their website. I’m also happy to answer questions if you have any. Feel free to ping me a facebook message. Those attending the April Rock Your Shot workshop in Sheffield can check out my kit in the flesh.
To see Barber Shop’s full range visit them at http://www.barbershopbags.com/
I’m pleased to be able to offer you all a 10% discount code valid across Barber Shop’s entire range until the end of April. Enter AMBASSADORBBS10 at check out.