Do you carry your photography equipment in a bona fide camera bag? There’s a contingent of photographers who think camera bags are thief-magnets and instead use other bags. While I have to agree that if you leave your camera bag just anywhere, with all your costly equipment inside, you’re kind of asking for trouble. Yet I don’t think the solution is to use a diaper bag or some other incognito carrying case not designed for camera equipment.
If you’re the proud owner of some serious camera equipment, theft shouldn’t be your only concern when out on a shoot. You also need to think about the elements—heat, rain, and other moisture—and have a quality case that protects from them. You’ll also want compartments designed to fit and organize the accessories you own, so that they, too, are well protected (not to mention easy to find right when you need them; a photo-op won’t keep forever). Note that when rain is really a concern, hard cases that aren’t just water-resistant but waterproof are a necessity.
The best way to prepare for the potential theft of your equipment is to have it insured. Keep it close to you at all times while you’re shooting, too. If you still want to toss your camera and equipment into a diaper bag, go ahead. Just be sure to put it in an actual camera bag first. Want to get really crazy about fending off the bad guys? Check out this photographer’s experiment in “uglifying” his camera while shooting in Rio de Janeiro—and managing to trick thieves into preferring his cheap mobile phone over his pricey camera!