This is a bit of a departure for me and when I was approached about reviewing the Selfie Bag my initial reaction was one of amusement. Anybody who knows me, will know I’m not a selfie person and my relationship with my phone is one of pure necessity in an emergency. That said, I am getting better, on a good day, actually find it in less than 5 minutes! Joking aside, one of the reasons I am trying to love my phone is because I know I desperately need to up my game when it comes to Instagram for example.
When I was contacted by Rose, she pointed out, the set wasn’t just for selfies, but could be used for taking pictures of featured books or updating other pictures on my blog (hah, she had seen my photo’s then). Plus the bag was also obviously the ideal thing for carrying books on the move. Given all those positives I’d have been daft not to try it out. I was honest when I responded to Rose, and did admit to my shortcomings in the selfie department, but admitted I certainly needed to up my game elsewhere so if the company was “happy with an aging, selfie novice giving it an honest review” then I was happy to oblige. So what exactly is the Selfie Bag?
The bag itself is a heavy duty, quality canvas bag and not flimsy like many of the tote bags on the market today. It’s certainly eye-catching (if you’ll excuse the pun) and while the design wasn’t initially to my personal taste, I’ve warmed to it. That said, I doubt they were aiming it at 63 year olds, but going forward perhaps the option of a few alternative designs might widen its demographic appeal. It’s not just youngsters that blog! It’s certainly roomy and inside the bag there’s a handy pocket, which is wide enough and deep enough to be useful – it’ll take a phone and just as importantly a Kindle – as well as keys etc. To be honest I’d attach keys to the large carabiner type clip that secures one of the bags accessories. A zip top keep everything safe and secure once you’re on the move.
So what’s in the bag and what did I think?
- Bluetooth tripod selfie stick: this is clearly the key essential for selfie lovers as it’s perfect for group photos, holiday snaps and for when you want to get your whole outfit in the pic.
This was what I was keen to try out, less so as a selfie stick but as a bluetooth tripod. First of all, I must say it’s simple and easy to use, but the details/instructions on the box are more detailed than those on the User Manual so you might initially want to keep the box to hand.
As a book blogger my pictures are far more likely to be of books than selfies. The main issue I have when using my phone is taking a photograph without blurring. Cue tripod, and problem solved, it’s easy to angle and very sturdy – I might just need to up my game in the accessorising and settings department though! The extra little gem though is the bluetooth facility which is brilliant. It’s very simple to link to the phone and the wireless ‘key’ easily slides off the selfie stick so you can operate it independently of the stand which gives even more flexibility when creating the perfect picture.
Now as a pure selfie stick it does the job it’s designed to do, not that I’m an expert on these, but I had a play and may well inflict a selfie on you later! What I also did was wonder round the garden and take pictures using the stick for plants and flowers I wouldn’t have been able to get down to without the selfie stick. That’s possibly a lie – I’d have got down, it’s the getting up again that’s problematic!
So in short I loved this. It sells itself short in promoting the ‘selfie’ aspect as it’s far more versatile. I’ll certainly be using this going forward.
- Pop up reflector: aimed at getting the perfect lighting for your selfies this pop-up reflector comes supplied in its own mini bag.
I’m less sure I’d personally have any use for this, but I have no reason to think that this won’t do the job. My main comment would be be careful when you release it from the bag, it has a tendency to spring out so make sure you’re prepared for it. Getting it back in can be fun too
- LED ring light: This ring light handily attaches to the top of your phone, plus it comes with a lead to charge and has 3 settings so you’re sure to get just the perfect lighting.
This is a nifty little light that gives off a decent level of lighting and is certainly something I’ll use. Lighting is one of my bug bears as I live in an old house where depending on the weather the light is either all or nothing. Turning on the electric light just creates additional problems with shadows. Consequently I have a very boring standard go to background plate that I tend to use for all my photographs which hardly makes for engaging images.
Selfie Guide: bag yourself the perfect selfie with our guide, free inside each Selfie Bag! Our exclusive brochure has all the selfie tips you need, including advice from Selfie Queen, Kim Kardashian and other selfie lovers.
This is less a guide and reads more like something you’d use to sell the idea of the bag. If you’ve already bought it, it doesn’t add a great deal. A double page spread featuring the Selfie Queen KK suggest the use of right lighting, take lots of photo’s and edit. The rest of the leaflet has a couple of do’s and don’ts plus some further tips from another blogger.
I’d have preferred some more practical suggestions for using the equipment supplied and more guidance about taking photographs. As I said previously, regarding the stick, I think constantly selling the ‘selfie’ concept misses a trick as the supplied kit has a far wider usage. I used to make jewellery and had my own website. Taking images was always problematic and this would have been a great help.
So what’s my verdict? It’s a resounding positive. I’m now using the bag as my blogging bag to carry my copies of The Bookseller (it’s wide enough), my diary and assorted notes and papers. I keep the selfie stick to hand in an additional long pocket that keeps it secure without having to rummage for it. As for books, just to test it out I easily managed to fill it with 6 paperbacks (3 trade and 3 mass market). This will certainly be coming with me to Harrogate so I’ll have no excuse for not having perfect pictures this year – or room for books!
Just an added note on cost. As any self respecting Yorkshire lass (or lad) would do I wanted to see how the costs stacked up as it’s not necessarily what I’d consider an impulse buy. Well a quick search on a certain well known site showed that both the selfie stick and LED light options started at approx £10 each and the pop up reflector was £5. So we’re at £25 without the bag, so it is well worth the money. It would make a great present for a selfie obsessed teen or would be blogger, even an aging one like me it seems.
After all that I promised you earlier (or threatened you with) a selfie – so here we go.
The Selfie Bag is produced by the Cotton Bag Co who also offer a range of other canvas bags. The company is UK based, in Wiltshire and I’m happy to see it takes an ethical approach to production, it’s staff and suppliers and the environment.