Here’s Why You Should Always Ask a Photographer Before Buying That Thoughtful Christmas Gift


Everyone Should Be Grateful, But There Are Just Some Things….

To a photographer, hearing the song “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” often evokes a subliminal desire for a beautifully wrapped professional lens lying discreetly under the Christmas tree. Are you visualizing it now?

The problem is, if left to the non-photographic folk, there is a very strong possibility that what you do receive on the 25th may at best be a little disheartening – no offense, though.

Image by tookapic

If You're Going To Buy Some Photography Gear For That Someone Special, Make Sure You Know, Like Really Know What They Want

Today we are going to take a look at Christmas presents for photographers to avoid. As most of you reading this will be photographers, we strongly suggest you print out the article and leave copies subtly distributed around your home.

This isn't to sound like a bunch of spoilt kids but just to gently make you aware that sometimes, well-intentioned ideas are not always the best.

The Lightweight Tripod

There can be nothing worse (well, there might be something worse) than waking up on Christmas morning, excitedly unwrapping the big box under the tree to reveal a brand new lightweight tripod.

You see, your idea of a lightweight tripod is a marvel of modern high-tech composites that is as solid as a rock even when a tropical storm sweeps through.

Your partner’s idea, however, will be something different. They will be pleasantly surprised that the gift you desire this year, is cheap, very light and on sale in Walmart for $45.

They will not be aware that the plastic monstrosity they have purchased will fall over quicker than you did at the office Christmas party. They also will unlikely understand why the tripod head should be bought separately too.

Photo Calvin Wray

A lightweight tripod swaying gently in the wind.

The Camera Drone

Drones are have become the big thing in photography recently. The ability to soar above your subject and film and photograph them from a unique perspective have made these marvels of modern technology an item of desire.

The problem is, though, that there are many many drones to choose from but very few that are designed with the photographer in mind.

Unless you specify the make and model of the drone, there is a good chance you are going to end up with a toy helicopter whose sole purpose is to annoy the cat.

You may get lucky and get a real quadcopter with a camera but there is a good chance this will fly like a brick for all of two minutes sending back images that would not look out of place in a museum of digital photography.

Worse still it’s limited technology could end up with you watching it chase a herd of sheep into the distance before its tenuous grip on aeronautics final gives out and dunks it in a large pond. Like most pieces of gear, you really do get what you pay for with drones.

Photo by Chris Martin

You will not improve your portfolio with this.

Digital Photo Frame

He or she is a photographer, they love displaying their work right?

I know, I'll get them a digital photo frame. No! Wait!

When you spouse or partner displays their work, do they do it on a 4” low-resolution screen that looks like you are viewing the image through the Christmas stocking? Often not, they print them off and display them as 20x16s in real photographic frames or showcase them on 32” color calibrated screens.

A digital photo frame is great for holiday or family snaps but you have to try and appreciate your partner did not leave the house at 4am in 10 degrees F and spend 6 hours on a remote beach to display his or her images on a screen barely bigger than a camera's LCD.

Photo by Sean Hobson

Would you display 36MP of digital magnificence on this?

Lens Mugs

Lens mugs are brilliant fun things for a photographer to have. Filled with hot sweet coffee they are the perfect accompaniment to those long hours in front of a screen full of images.

Unless of course, the photographer in question is a Nikon shooter and he is being forced to drink from a Canon lens mug. Then the coffee becomes very bitter indeed.

Photo by Denis Dervisevic

This would sour the cream for a Nikon shooter.

A Film Camera

Film has made it’s revival and is not going away soon. And let's be honest, your photographer partner is going to love the amount of thought that you put into their gift. You will bask in the glow of your magnificent idea for a couple of months.

Then there will be the creeping realization that the large board blacking out the bathroom window is not going to be taken down soon. The smell of formaldehyde is becoming prevalent and you cannot fit the pork chops in the freezer because it’s full of rolls of film.

Nostalgia is sadly not always all it’s cracked up to be.

Photo by Juozas Šalna

This will be your life if you gift a film camera.

This time of year, the photographic sites are full of great ideas for gifts. All of these ideas a fraught with dangers that could lead to a very frosty morning in front of the tree. If you truly want to get your partner a photographic gift, here is our top tip.

Christmas Presents For Photographers – let them decide which one, unless you really do know them well…

Further Resources

Further Learning

Fundamental Editing is “A Complete Step By Step Guide To Photographic Editing From Best-Selling Photography Teacher, Kent DuFault.
Learn the fundamental editing steps required to completely change and improve your photography!

About Author

Jason has more than 35 years of experience as a professional photographer, videographer and stock shooter. You can get to know him better here.

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