As the Holiday Season approaches gift giving is on our minds. The good news is that if you have a photographer on your list the options are almost endless. We thought it would be fun to put together a sample of our favorite gift ideas that any photographer would love to discover under the tree. If you're a photographer, you can use this to make some suggestions to Santa Claus. This list of 10 cool holiday gifts for the photographer will give you some pointers on selecting fun unusual presents for the shooter in your family.
Note: The links to Amazon are referal links meaning Light Stalking gets a small commission if you choose to buy them.
Here was our criteria in making these choices
1. We wanted our suggestions to be affordable. So, we've left out the latest and greatest camera bodies and lenses. All the items on our list cost $250.00 USD, or less. Most of the suggested gifts are less than $100.00 USD.
2. We wanted to select items that are extremely useful, but not the obvious. For that reason, we've left off the camera bags and tripods.
3. Photographers are a curious lot. They love experimenting, and tend to be gadget hounds, so we ran each gift through the “how cool would it be to get this” filter.
4. We only chose items that should be universally available through online retailers.
5. We only chose items in which the manufacturers had website information so that you to do your own exploration as to what all they offer.
Here is our gift list for 2013
This little honey is a must-have for any photographer, and at a cost of less than $6.00 USD, it's in the stocking stuffer category. Keeping a lens clean is always a priority. However, sometimes it's inconvenient to pull out lens tissue and a liquid cleaner. Come on, admit it, who among us hasn't hesitantly cleaned our lens with our shirt? The Lenspen is a fantastic tool. It's small and compact; it takes up no room in the camera bag. On one end of it, there is a retractable brush to remove the big chunks on the lens, or, dust the crevices of your camera body. The other end is a microfiber carbon tip. It cleans the lens the same way as a lens tissue: in a circular motion. But it requires no moisture to remove greasy fingerprints or nose smudges. Having used this product for several years, we are amazed at how well it cleans and protects our valuable glass!
The Spider Holster-
We were truly impressed with this product after watching a nationally renowned wedding photographer work an entire wedding with this rig hanging from his hips. You can purchase this a one, or two, camera option. The cameras hang from your hips like the “Old West” six guns. They have a quick release mechanism that allows you to pull them off and hang them back on in a flash. What we really liked about this product is that it removes the weight and entanglement from your upper body: no straps slipping your shoulder, and no harnesses that look like you're wearing a parachute. It's easy on the back and the neck because that weight is being carried by your largest muscle group. The Spider Holster is a great gift for any photographer that carries one or two cameras over the course of a day, and at $235.00 USD, or less, it's a steal. You'll save more than that in chiropractor bills.
The Lens Cup-
This gift idea has absolutely nothing to do with taking photographs. It's simply a statement about looking cool and letting the world know who we are. What photographer wouldn't want to walk into his/her office, or studio, gripping one of these awesome looking cups? The lens cups can hold hot or cold liquids. They have models that look like Canon, or Nikon, lenses. You can find these online for $35.00 USD, or less!
Photive Wireless Shutter Release-
Experienced photographers will already know the value of having an electronic wireless camera release. But, if you have a budding photographer on your gift list this is an inexpensive (and valuable) gadget to add to their camera bag. This device lets you fire your camera remotely. It comes in handy for low light situations so that you don't jiggle the camera. It's also quite effective for child portraiture, and animal photography, as it allows the photographer to remove themselves from behind the camera. You'll want to make sure you get the right model for your photographer's camera as they have different configurations. We've highlighted an inexpensive beginner's model. There are many brands on the market that do a variety of functions, so you may want to do a little research before you buy. This particular model sells for less than $20.00 USD.
Portable White Balance Filter-
The JJC White Balance Filter is a great gadget for the discerning photographer. It's lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to use. You simply hold it in front of your camera lens to take a custom light balance reading. No more photographs with a green, blue, or red tint! It's large enough that it will cover any lens and doesn't require attachment which makes it quick to use. If your photographer is technically oriented they will love this gift, and it's less than $20.00 USD.
Any photographer would appreciate this in their Christmas stocking. But a word of caution, make sure you get the right size for their camera model. This device is invaluable when outdoor photography, or any work that needs critical focusing. It hangs around your neck by a lanyard. When checking your image, you place it against the LCD screen on the back of the camera. It helps to see the image by shielding the sun and provides a magnified view to check focus. It's small, lightweight, and at $130.00 USD or less- we want one!
Diana F+ Lomo Camera Kit-
At $250.00 USD, or less, this item is the most expensive on our list – But the coolness factor totally makes it worth it. We know a lomographer who takes this camera everywhere she goes- and every time we've been with her- someone comments on how cool her camera is. This kit is for the photographer who loves to play and experiment. Now, this isn't digital; it requires film and processing, but that's part of the retro feel. Don't let the all plastic construction throw you off, this is a high quality product. And, it comes with enough gizmos to keep you fascinated until the next holiday season! With lomography, practice makes perfect, but a big part of the fun is how this kit entices a childlike attitude of playtime.
Domke Protective Wrap-
This useful item falls less into the exciting category, but at less than $15.00 USD, it makes a great stocking stuffer. What makes this item super handy is for those moments when we don't feel like carrying the camera bag. When you pull out your camera, or an extra lens, and through it into your purse, backpack, or carry-on luggage. Knowing that your precious equipment is going to be tousling around, you don't want it to get scratched or dirty. Simple solution, wrap it in a Domke Protective Wrap. It's padded, nylon-backed for liquid resistance, and completely constructed with velcro fabric: thus making it easy to wrap and protect anything.
Bower Ring Flash-
Ring flash is one of those accessories that the average photographer might not consider until they're used one. The ring flash is an extremely versatile tool for fashion photography, portraits, macro, and travel work. This type of flash unit can be quite expensive. We did some research and found one for under $100.00 USD that received regular high marks. If you'd like to buy a gift that is a little out of the ordinary- this might be the ticket. While this unit would not (most likely) hold up to the rigors of professional use, it is a great way to give your photographer-loved one a taste of what it's all about.
Green Screen Kit-
If your photographer already has every gadget ever made; we're willing to bet they missed this one. This suggestion definitely falls into our “out of the ordinary” category. What we like about this kit is that it comes with everything you need to get started for under $200.00 USD. A green screen allows the photographer to quickly and easily drop out backgrounds. This would make it easy for your teenage photographer to drop their buddy into a spaceship, or put them on stage at a Rolling Stones concert. This kit is definitely a beginner's setup. But it comes with the background, a background stand, and even some lights. I can't imagine a young photographer who wouldn't dig finding this on Christmas morning!
We hope you find this list helpful, and we wish you the merriest and happiest Holiday Season!