I don't know what it is like in your home, but the person I live with only temporarily tolerates my photographic filth. I have issues with putting my camera bag away in a closet—that seems sacrilegious—so it stays out most of the time, but when lenses, lens hoods, tripods, lens caps, memory cards, nodal rails, macro rails, dust blowers, and adapters end up strewn across the place, there is the potential for Marie Kondo-like interventions. Maybe you are a minimalist shooter with everything camera-related you own in one small shoulder bag. But it is more likely that you are like me and the rest of the Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) crowd and faced with daily photo gear storage challenges. Let's be honest here, if you are a gear minimalist, you probably aren't reading this blog, or this article.
Most photographers carry their gear around in a shoulder bag. But, if your bag is bulging at the seams as you add new lenses and accessories, or, if you only carry some of your gear into the field, a quick-and-easy and multipurpose storage solution is an additional shoulder bag. You could have your daily bag out with you, but keep a larger bag in the closet to store overflow gear out of sight and protected. And, with a large bag in the closet, you are ready to go if you need to head out on a shoot with all your gear.
Similar in purpose to the additional larger shoulder bag, I personally use a camera backpack for closet storage in my apartment. I press the bag into service when I need to travel with a lot of gear. A large camera backpack can swallow a lot of gear (sometimes more than you want to carry, weight-wise). Shoulder bags and backpacks have padded dividers for protection, but the camera backpack, depending on the design, might give you more protection for storage with zippered enclosures instead of just a loose flap. Additionally, strip out the dividers and extra lenses and you might have a great day or travel backpack.
Personally, I use a travel backpack that has a camera insert. I store my "extra" gear in the insert and remove the insert for travel or leave it in for a photo mission when I need more gear than my shoulder bag can carry.
An extension of this idea would be the travel luggage-like roller case.
Do you already have a non-camera backpack, duffle, or shoulder bag taking up space in your closet? The quickest, cheapest, and best way to convert that bag into padded photo gear storage is with protective wraps. These padded nylon wraps have so many functions and purposes. You can wrap up lenses, camera bodies, filters, and any type of photographic accessories in no time at all. While they don't give you all the protection of a thick padded bag or backpack, they will work well for the gentle handling of closet storage in a non-camera bag.
Another multi-purpose idea is the hard and watertight case. Nothing will give your gear more protection while it is not being used than a hard case that can survive impacts and a deluge of liquid. If you are a travelling photographer, there might very well be a day where you need that hard case to protect a lot of your kit on a trip to the back woods of somewhere. Grab one of these cases for excessively protected storage of your stuff, but be ready to put it to use when needed for rugged outings with your gear.
Is that a wine refrigerator full of camera gear, because that would be so freaking cool?! Nope, it is a Ruggard Electronic Dry Cabinet. Still super cool. And dry. These cabinets have adjustable shelves, internal LED lighting, adjustable humidity, and locking doors to keep people from borrowing your gear. Cases from other brands have fingerprint scanners and metal doors for extra security, but they don't look as cool and you cannot admire the results of your GAS if you can't see through the door! If you live in damp environments and want to give your gear extra protection, B&H Photo sells a variety of Archival Dry Cabinets and Dehumidifiers to protect your gear when it is not out in the field or joining the family on holiday.
This one might be obvious to some, but shelving is a great way to store your gear—in or out of an enclosed space. Most of the shelves at B&H Photo are designed for home entertainment and audio gear, but, hey, a shelf is a shelf and some of these are beautiful—much better than plastic shelves from a big-box store—and would be perfect for storing photo gear. Most partners and roommates probably won't be super excited about a shelf dedicated to your love of all things photographic, but adding shelving or a cabinet inside of a closet is a great way to increase surface area for storage, as well as add a bit of protection for your gear.
If you have a studio, a home studio, or maybe shoot in your back yard or close to where you live, there is the scenario where you carry stuff out of a closet, put it on the table, go back to get more, put that on the table, etc. Then, when you are finished, multiple trips are required to clean up. What about using a cart to bring gear out of storage and then back when you are done? Professional Video Production Carts, including the heavy-duty sided carts you see moving your favorite rock band's gear, will allow you to keep your gear together and easily wheel away into a storage closet when the other half gets annoyed with your toys. Less rugged, but possibly more versatile, B&H Photo carries a ton of different Mobile Carts and Presentation Carts—some with enclosed cabinets and expanding work surfaces—perfect for a home for your laptop while shooting tethered. You can even accessorize your cart with myriad brackets, cup (lens?) holders, hooks, drapes, and more.
My last solution for camera gear storage is kind of an eyesore on its own, but, if you can get it into a closet or somewhere that the other half doesn't have to see it all the time, it is a serviceable storage solution—a rolling tool chest.
B&H Photo sells some portable variants, but I am talking about the big ones that you see at your local garage or your own garage if you are a grease monkey. I keep everything from lenses to cable releases to instruction manuals to lens cleaning gear in mine. There is rubber padding in every drawer—good for protection from scratches and such, but I don't roll the chest around often.
How do you store your photo gear to keep your place clean and organized, your partner or roommates from being annoyed, and curious kids from getting at things they shouldn't get at? Let us know your storage solutions in the Comments section, below!
I went with the Husky Drawer Tool Chest and Rolling Cabinet, similar to the Stanley's in the slideshow. Thanks for the valuable information!
You are very welcome! I hope you like it. I am still super pleased with my Stanley cabinet and store a ton of stuff in it!
Thanks for reading!
Good info here; might want to consider reading this blog post too:
[Link Removed. See related Frontline Insurance article.]
Lots of additional information there. Regards