When I first began my adventure in photography I was gifted a gorgeous teal Jo Totes camera bag. I absolutely adored my bag. For years I have refused to replace it despite the fact I was having to carry multiple bags to fit everything inside and it was getting very ragged looking over the years. I couldn’t just toss my beloved bag to the side after it had been so faithful to me, but then in the midst of Rebecca & Ryan’s engagement session I couldn’t find a battery when I needed it quickly. Thankfully I found it without interruption of their session but I decided then it was time to get something larger for sessions.
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Fate works in a funny way. A few days after their session I was on Facebook when an ad popped up for Connie & Co. I hadn’t heard of the company before but two things caught my eye: First of all, their bag was named after a Disney princess which is the best way to convince me I need just about anything. Second their shade of blue was almost a perfect match to my branding colors of teal, pink & gold.
I contacted the owner to ask a few questions, we chatted for a while and THREE days later my bag arrived. Yes, I said three days. I couldn’t believe how quick the shipping was on this bag y’all. I am one of those people who Amazon has ruined. I hate waiting for items to ship and anything that takes longer than 2/3 days starts to annoy me. I have to give Connie & Co. 4 stars for fabulously fast shipping. Side note: They required a signature for delivery so expect some delays in shipping if you aren’t home at the time of delivery or you’re not a go-getter who will pick it up from the post office.
In the interest of being completely transparent I need to go ahead and state that I did receive the Ariel bag in Aqua complimentary from Connie. With that being said, I pride myself on always providing you with honest information so I’m not going to make this entire review fluff & stuff. It’s 100% honest.
When I opened the box two things immediately occurred to me. The first being that the bag color was gorgeous. Perfection. It’s not quite teal but also not a blue… somewhere in the middle. A perfect mix. The second was the bag had a slight odor. It reminded me a bit of a handbag/shoe store scent. Don’t let it deter you though. I sat mine out for a few days and it disappeared.
Update: Connie & Co. sent me another bag to give away to a photographer volunteering with Operation Healing Hoover and the scent didn’t exist with that bag. My bags scent may have been a fluke. And the rose gold bag is absolutely stunning. I almost gave up my blue bag for it… almost.
Let’s dive into the guts of the bag…
This bag is massive. I’m a petite 5’2″ photographer which had made me steer clear of large bags. I have used this for a couple of sessions and after a few sessions use I really love having most of my gear in one bag and just a pocket or two away at all times. I can load it up with all the lenses, bodies, batteries, memory cards and accessories I need for an entire session and not have to carry anything else except reflectors and light stands. A huge win for me!
The colors and fabric are beautiful. I already touched on the exterior color so I’ll skip that and mention that I absolutely love the inside! I’m usually very particular about prints because they tend to be very busy but the light blue stripes and pink roses inside are lovely. The fabric seems to be of good quality and the padding is very sturdy. A little annoyance that I would love to see changed in the future: the small dividers do not have velcro on all sides so you can only connect them on their sides to the larger velcro dividers. This drives me a little batty since some of my lenses are smaller and I’m spoiled to being able to use the smaller dividers together to make small squares in bags. I think I’m going to pull the dividers from my old bag and use them since they have velcro on the sides. My 50mm lens doesn’t need a huge section to hang out in and I don’t like my lenses touching one another.
The hardware isn’t too flashy. I’m a simple gal. I like things that are pretty but not flashy. The bag has zippers for each compartment and that’s it. Nothing else to get hung up when I’m pulling it in and out of my car, flipping it over my shoulder, etc… And if it’s too plain for your taste I’m sure you could throw an embroidery or bedazzle some of it. Maybe?
So far I really love this bag. I haven’t had time to really break it in during sessions as we’ve been dealing with major flooding in West Virginia but I plan on putting it through the ringer in the next few months. I’ll be sure to update here. I’m hopeful that it will hold up as well as my beloved Jo Tote bags which lasted me years.