Let’s be honest: photographers are hard to shop for!! Well meaning gift-givers may have no clue if said shooter actually needs said gadget, will use it, if it will work with their camera, or what it even does! And with wish list items often starting in the hundreds of dollars range, well, it’s not always an easy task to make your shooter happy!
So we’ve whipped up a different kind of gift guide. This isn’t just a list of specific products to buy, but rather general ideas of items that any photographer could use! With examples and suggestions!! Hooray!
Let’s dive in, and see if we can’t make that photography lover in your life squeal with happiness when they unwrap their present! (Or at the very least say “Hey, I could totally use this!”)
(Photographers: feel free to leave this post open on all the computers around the house for a subtle hint. Or leave printed versions on every flat surface if you’re not into subtlety.)
These are the things that every photographer needs. Solid gift ideas that will actually get used!
1. Memory Cards: Ok, so it’s not a sexy gift, but a new memory card is mega useful. Get them a bigger one or a faster one and they will use it literally every time they take a photo!
2. Spare Batteries: Again, kinda dull. But when their main battery runs out, and they grab the spare and can keep right on shooting, they’re going to mentally hug you.
3. Passport Drive: These little buggers are super useful for anyone. For photographers they are especially handy for transferring photos offsite, so those precious images are safe!
4. Camera Straps: There are so many nifty camera straps out there you can really find something that any shooter will love. Some are focused on function, and others are more stylish. You could also grab them a sweet leather hand strap — an accessory Lauren won’t shoot without!
5. Camera Bag: Picking the right camera bag is a tricky process, but do it well and you just may become a hero. For the ladies, there’s the mega popular Kelly Moore line. Guys have one option over at Kelly Moore, or the more adventurous might enjoy the National Geographic line. They’ve totally got Indiana Jones appeal.
Maybe your shooter has all the serious gear they need, but would appreciate something fun! Here are a few ideas.
6. Holga: A plastic camera with infinite possibilities. These are tons of fun, and really get the creative juices flowing. They shoot medium format film, so you might want to grab a couple rolls of that too.
7. Polaroid (film): The original instant camera. They aren’t easy to come by these days, but you can hunt on eBay for one, and pick up the film over at The Impossible Project.
8. Polaroid Zink: The next generation instant camera is the Polaroid with Zink (zero-ink) technology. These look like mega fun!
9. Fuji Instax: Like a newer, more affordable version of the Polaroid! You just can’t beat the magic of seeing a photo develop before your eyes. There are a few different models to fit different price points.
Ok hear me out. I know “cleaning supplies” are the last thing you think of when brainstorming gift ideas, but these make awesome stocking stuffers!! It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro, beginner, Canon, Nikon—all photographers need some cleaning gear. A clean camera is a happy camera, after all!
10. Lens Pen: A cheap, portable, invaluable gadget. Keeps lenses clean and free of photo-ruining smudges.
11. Microfiber Towel: You can grab big ones or small ones, but whatever kind, these towels make sure your camera is shiny.
12. Rocket Blower: Your photographer might not have one of these, but they should. They dislodge dust from lenses and sensors. Which pretty much will save hours and hours of tedious work in Photoshop!
If your lucky photographer is just getting started they might need some software to get them going! Here are a couple ideas for software to get ‘em.
13. Lightroom: The industry leading photo editing program. Lightroom is tops for photo editing, and also awesome for organizing all those shots. Easy enough to learn for beginners, but powerful enough for pros. We heart Lightroom!
14. Photoshop Elements: Maybe your shooter likes to do crazy cool compositing or shoots portraits where retouching is necessary. Photoshop Elements has tons of powerful features, at a very sweet price!
That’s a fancy word for “things you plug into your computer”. But these gadgets can make a world of difference when working on your photos!
15. Wacom Tablet: A must-have for any photographer. These take a little getting used to, but once you do you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one. They make photo editing feel more like painting. Seriously awesome, and with tons of different models for different price points! Check out our post on why these are so awesome!
16. Mouse: Seems weird, but actually one of the quickest ways to boost your computer performance is with
a better mouse! Lauren uses a Razer gaming mouse, and we’ve heard good things about Logitech mice too.
Books, Movies & Magazines
Photographers need inspiration and there’s nothing better than flipping through a gorgeous photography book or watching a great movie to get the creative juices flowing!
Check out The Book List for Photographers and The Ultimate Documentary List for Photographers for some ideas. Walk around a bookstore or two and see what jumps out at you. And when in doubt, grab an Amazon gift card and let them go wild!
There are also tons of photography related magazines out there. You can pick up a few different ones for variety or hook them up with a subscription to their fav. If they have an iPad, check out Zinio for lots of great magazines in digital format.
Lenses & Cameras
This is often what a shooter wants most: a snazzy new camera or a shiny lens. But, as you’ll be looking to spend many hundreds to get a good lens, and many many hundreds for a camera, this isn’t always a viable option.
17. Oh, you’re a moneybags are you? Ok, well if you want to get that special someone a camera, start off by grabbing our free Camera Buying Guide to help you understand just what all those numbers and letters actually mean!
18. If you don’t have the cash to get them the latest full frame DSLR, consider picking up a high quality point and shoot that they can take with them anywhere. We’re big fans of the Sony NEX series. Check out our month long field test of the Sony NEX-3 here.
Are lenses more your speed? It’s not an easy task to pick a new lens for someone else, but it will be extremely appreciated if you get it right!
Need some ideas of which lenses are most useful? Check out The Portrait and Wedding Photographer’s Tool Kit // Part 1: Lens Selection and The Photographer’s Wedding Day Gear Kit for some of our favourite lenses.
19. Wanna get a little funky? Check out the Lensbaby Composer for something fun and a bit more affordable than big time lenses!
And, of course, the gift of learning is always awesome! Queue the quick self promotion! :)
20. If your photographer is looking to get more control over their camera check out our Extremely Essential Camera Skills tutorial.
21. If they want to edit their photos with Lightroom, Super Photo Editing Skills will get them there.
22. And if they want to design albums with InDesign, check out Awesome Album Design Skills.
Photographers come in all shapes and sizes, and have all sorts of different types of gear that they are into. But I’d wager that there is one thing that all photographers want. And that is support. Show your photographer that you support their passion, either with a nifty gifty, or just by being interested, and they’ll be a happy little shooter indeed!
Well, hopefully that gives you a bit of insight into some awesome gifts for the photography lover in your life! Happy Holidays, and happy photographing!
Got any awesome gift ideas for photographers? Share them in the comments below!