Best Gifts for Photographers
It's time to start wondering what you'll give your favorite photographer for Christmas. We all know that photography isn’t just a vocation, for most of us it’s also an avocation, a hobby, a passion, even an obsession. Here is a comprehensive gift list, vetted by photographers from all over the world (true fact).
Whether the photographer in your life is a hobbyist, a pro, a dabbler, or a phone-photo fanatic, you’ll find great gift inspiration for every photo-personality.
Gifts For Fun
There are tons of great, impractical, camera and photo related doodads out there. Here are a few that have been photographer tested and approved:
There are a number of different versions of the lens mug out there, make sure you know your photographer’s camera brand so you can buy a mug that matches their gear. Prices range from $12-$50 depending how fancy you want to get.
It's always handy to have a flash drive in your bag. It's even cooler if it looks like a tiny camera.
Gifts for the Gear Junkie
The gear junkie always wants the cool new gadgets and loves to try everything that will change it up, speed it up, or up-size what they already have.
Make it easy for your favorite photographer to edit personal projects with a WiFi SD card. Wirelessly transfers photos to computer or other WiFi enabled devices without having to remove the card from the camera.
For those who want to try some first-person, action photography at an entry-level price.
An inexpensive and convenient way to have professional quality light metering in an instant.
For the big spender, a gift needed by every gear-minded photographer: storage on wheels.
For the Throwback
Is the photographer in your life longing for the good old days? Consider one of these film camera options.
Old medium or large format cameras are an amazing gift any photographer. Even a photographer who doesn't miss the darkroom, old cameras are cool to collect, display, and enjoy.
Let your photographer go old school with a real Polaroid camera from the Impossible Project, a company that purchased all the production equipment from the last Polaroid factory when they ended production in 2008. Real Polaroid film included.
Go new school with the modern instant camera, in this case the Fuji Instax Wide which provides larger instant prints than other cameras on the market.
Photographers who are passionate about printing will enjoy these gorgeous handmade photo albums sized especially for 4x6 or 5x5 prints.
For the Fashionista
Does your photographer always looks fabulous, even when rolling around in the grass to get the perfect shot? There are a number of lovely accessories that can make your photographer ready for his or her closeup.
So many cute camera cufflinks to be found on etsy. This pair is particularly smart.
There are a lot of great options for fun and fashionable camera straps - from straps that look like scarves, leather straps, handwoven, or even different sizes - hand straps and cross-body straps. One thing to consider when selecting a strap is safety of the camera. There are a few straps out there that have very insecure-looking fastening systems. Purchasing a camera strap is one case where function trumps fashion. Nobody wants to replace $4500 of camera equipment because of a $40 strap. Look out for flimsy clasps, anything with a loose buckle, or something easy to jar or bump causing it to dislodge or fray.
Here's a great strap with a solid-looking fold back buckle attachment that is standard on most cameras.
A gift certificate from Camera Straps Made With Love would probably be a big winner.
Camera purse or messenger bag
Camera bags - you know, the big black ugly things that are difficult to lug around and are so obviously carrying gear. When carrying a camera case, most people still need another bag to hold their personal belongings. What about giving your photographer a sweet-looking bag that's not just style-conscious, but totes camera, lenses, wallets, phones, and anything else we might need?
Most people would be surprised to discover that this is a camera bag. It's got tons of functional pockets for personal and professional items and comes in a bunch of modern colors.
Sexy and completely functional answer to the ordinary camera bag, the Ona bags, briefcases, and purses are durable and well-padded.
For the Propaholic
Gifts for that photographer friend who just can't resist buying the ugly vintage rocker on craigslist because it might be great in a photo someday. These dual-purpose gifts can be great props but also just great gifts for anyone.
These blankets are just begging to be photographed. And not only are you giving a beautiful gift, for every blanket sold, Sackloth & Ashes donates a blanket to a homeless shelter.
Nothing is more inspirational for food photographers than gorgeous wood surfaces. Everything looks beautiful on these artisan cutting and serving boards.
Yes, hats are considered props, largely because they're taken off and held in the hand. An excuse for this super-cute hat? Call it a business expense.
For the Book Lover
An amazing book of almost unbelievable natural and man-made wonders. And while you're at it, a subscription to National Geographic Magazine never goes wrong. Just $15 for a one year subscription to some of the most fascinating photojournalism in the world and includes membership to the National Geographic Society.
Photos from the 1955 Edward Steichen curated exhibition of photographic works from 273 photographers which Steichen described as "a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world. Photographs made in all parts of the world, of the gamut of life from birth to death." A treasure.
Beautiful prose and a spellbinding visual story.
For the Workaholic
Many photographers put in very long hours, particularly around the holidays which is our busiest season. Often shooting and editing seven days a week, photographers suffer from neck and hand cramps, sleepless nights, eye strain and headaches. These are suggestions directly from professional photographers. Sometimes the greatest gift is just to forget about photography.
Work out the aches and pains of a sore neck from holding 7 pounds of gear around your neck for hours, sore wrists and arms from editing for days on end, sore legs and back from squatting and crouching for all those adorable little cherubs, and headaches from squinting. Massage can be therapeutic or simply for pleasure. Shout out to David Blatt of Evolution Wellness here in Denver, awesome acupuncturist and massage therapist.
The definitive curative and restorative for the busy photographer: wine. Pick up a delicious bottle at the local liquor store and match it with a funny personalized wine glass from ShatteringSentiments.
Want to learn more about photographers? Check out my Day in the Life of a Photographer Session.