Buying gifts for photographers can be tough and sometimes expensive, but it doesn't need to be, and if you're unsure of what to buy then our list is going to make your life a lot easier. Maybe you didn't realize this – but if there is a photographer on your shopping list – you have no shortage of gift options! This list of photography-themed presents contains something that every photographer will love.
We have approached our gift giving guide by breaking it down into four categories:
1. Cheap Gifts for Photographers – less than $250.00 USD (And many less than $20)
2. Mid-range Photo Gift Excitement – $250.00 to $600.00
3. Photographer hugs that might break your spine – $600.00 to $2000.00
4. For the photographer who has just about everything – Over $2000.00
We also tried to make our selections in keeping with these general principles:
We wanted to select items that are extremely useful, but not the obvious. For that reason, we've left off camera bags and tripods.
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.
Also, we wanted to keep things simple. We wanted everyone to be able to find the products listed. So, all our product suggestions came right from Amazon – including the pricing. Click the link, and you're there. Secondly, we tried to find those special items (that everyone under the Sun isn't already talking about, and everyone already doesn't own). When your photographer receives one of these gifts, they'll stand out at the camera club. Note: These are affiliate links so if you click the link and buy, we get a commission. Let's start our list from the least expensive stocking stuffer and work our way up to the colossal mega-gift.
Cheap Gifts for Photographers – less than $250.00 USD (And many less than $20)
Why not buy, download and email some of our own Light Stalking Lightroom presets to your photographer friend? These presets will get them some amazing looks in their photography and are the perfect last minute gift as you can just send them the files (they are an electronic download so you can even email them if you like!).
Anyone, who loves photography, could see this little baby sticking on the bumper of their car. This vinyl decal bumpersticker proclaims to the world who you are and what you love to do! Best of all, it's under $8.00 USD. Not a bad way to tell your photographer that you love them and still stay on budget!
Photography is an expression of one's self. Most photographers love to tell the world that this is their art. But, maybe your chosen one doesn't have a car for a bumper sticker? Or, they're more into a fashion statement? How about a camera lens wrist band for under $8.00 USD? These little honeys come in black or white, (Did you catch the pun there?) and present the lens barrel markings of of several popular lenses. This particular gift option would really hit it off with the younger crowd.
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.
The “Evolution of a Photographer” T-Shirt is a funny look at humanity and photography. It's guaranteed to bring some smiles. This unisex shirt comes in all sizes. It's made of pre-shrunk cotton and the graphic is a full screenprint – no cheap vinyl here! This t-shirt is about $16.00 USD depending on the size.
Not a great big builders spirit level but a small one that sits on the hot-shoe of your camera. Whilst most camera now have a horizon indicator, a good photographer’s spirit level will allow you to check your levels in three planes. Perfect if you are shooting panoramic photos, architecture or even video. At about $9, this cheap piece of kit is great value.
The ‘Selfie has become an art all of its own. Photographers everywhere are clicking selfies in locations from birthday parties to the top of Mount Everest. The Click Stick can help your photographer take their Selfie images to an entirely new level. The Click Stick needs no batteries and no Bluetooth connection. It works with virtually every smartphone, although Android users will have to download an App. This gadget is fun on the pocketbook too- as it is only about $9.00 USD.
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 $11.00 USD, or less!
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 $10.00 USD.
This little honey is a must-have for any photographer, and at a cost of less than $12.00 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!
Until you try something different, you will not know how hard and unforgiving your default camera strap is. There are a number of companies out there that do know this and have spent the time designing straps that are comfortable, distribute the weight evenly and even look good. Once you have used a comfortable third party strap, you will never go back. For those that need a little inspiration to carry a tripod, there are also very good straps for carrying your three legged friend too. This one is about $9.
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 $90.00 USD or less- we want one!
This next gift idea comes in a small package, but delivers big satisfaction. One thing photographers hate is missing a shot because they're waiting on their memory card to write the previous shots. Check out the speed on this latest option for memory. That's right! It says 300 mb/sec, and it has a 260 mb/sec write speed. Only a few years ago you would have paid double the cost of this card for less than a quarter of the speed. This Sandisk memory card comes in at around $60.00 USD.
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 $150.00 USD, or less, it's a steal. You'll save more than that in chiropractor bills.
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!
Mid-range Photo Gift Excitement – $250.00 to $600.00
At $249.00 USD, 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.
We've upped the ante here a little bit to $300.00 USD. But- The Westcott Eyelighter is a great tool for any photographer, at any level. Most beginners start their lighting techniques by bouncing flash. Unfortunately, this technique can still create harsh shadows in portraits. The Eyelighter is designed to bounce light back up into the face- thus brightening those shadows. But, it's the curved design that makes it so versatile. It envelopes a subject with light. Macro photographers would love this. So would product photographers. The uses for this handy device are almost limitless!
The file sizes for digital photography just keeps growing. Photographers need a reliable place to store all those images. The Transcend, 1 terabyte, solid state, digital drive provides plenty of storage- along with the reliability of the Transcend reputation. This drive reads and writes at a lightning fast 410 mb/sec and 380 mb/sec. It's ultralight, compact, and yet extremely durable. Any photographer would love to find this under the tree! The Transcend 1T drive sells for around $500.00 USD.
This next suggestion will have the recipient ripping off the wrapping paper faster than you can say, “Old Saint Nick”. The Flashpoint SL-360K1 electronic strobe provides the power and versatility of units costing 2 or 3 times as much. It's a great addition to the tool kit of the photographer who has everything, AND, it's the perfect starter strobe for that new photographer who wants to elevate to the next level. It has a whopping 360 watt-second output and variable range settings down to 1/128th. It comes with an external battery supply and standard reflector. This unit sells for around $260.00 USD
Photographer hugs that might break your spine – $600.00 to $2000.00
With all the video features that are now being packed into DSLR cameras, many photographers are trying their hands at video production. But, here's a tidbit of information that most people don't know. How you support your camera when producing video can make, or break, your production. Nobody likes to watch a shaky movie with abrupt starts and stops. This gift is the ultimate support package for a budding videographer. The Manfrotto 504HD head will provide silky smooth pans and tilts. The carbon fiber legs are lightweight, yet sturdy. The entire package comes with a nice carry case to make location changes easy peasy! This combo prices out at around $950.00
This suggestion sends shivers just talking about it. It's guaranteed to bring shrieks of excitement from any photographic techno-geek. This present provides photographic fun along with the ability to FLY! Who wouldn't want that? The DJI Phantom Quadcopter Bundle includes everything a photographer needs to shoot images from the air. This awesome gift is priced at $1150.00.
If you've been involved with the photography world (at all) in the last couple of years- you've undoubtedly heard the term mirrorless, mirrorless, mirrorless. Yes, that's right. Mirrorless cameras are taking the photography world by storm, and Fujifilm has been, (and continues to be), on the forefront of that evolution. So, what's the big deal? Mirrorless cameras offer the image quality and versatility of the big DSLR cameras- without the weight and bulk. There's no breaking your back hauling this camera around Europe. The X-T3 offers a superb 26.1 megapixel sensor and interchangeable lenses. It's weather resistant, dust resistant, and it can work consistently in temperatures as low as 14F / -10C. It also sports an eye-popping 3 inch LCD screen. You can pick up this amazing camera WITH an 18-55mm zoom lens for $1899.00 USD.
Gifts For the photographer who has just about everything – Over $2000.00
Every photographer fantasizes about having that BIG glass hanging around their neck. Most of us, however, don't want to take out a second mortgage to acquire one, which is why we're SO EXCITED to tell you about the Sigma 120mm – 300mm f/2.8 zoom lens. That's right- a long telephoto zoom lens that has a FIXED maximum aperture of f/2.8. PLUS, it prices out at almost half of what an OEM 300mm f/2.8 lens would cost. This lens offers superb image definition, along with the convenience of a fast zoom lens. What else could you ask for? The Sigma 120mm – 300mm f/2.8 lens prices out at $3,799.00.
We've saved this beauty for our finale! Not everyone will have the pocketbook to make this investment. BUT, there is nothing that says, “I love you,” like a Leica camera. Leica is the Rolls Royce of the photography world. Leica cameras are known for their superb optics and unparalleled construction. This is a camera that a photographer will keep for the rest of their life. This model features a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor. It has the classic, “Leica street photographer” design. It can shoot up to 3 frames per second for a maximum of 24 frames- so you won't miss the shot. It has interchangeable lenses and features a virtually indestructible magnesium alloy body. This all comes with a price of $7,950.00. But your photographer is worth it- Right? (wink) We hope you found these gifts for photographers interesting. We wish you have a safe and happy holiday season!
About the author
Kent is an occasional writer at our place, and also handles the weekly “Picture of the Week” contest. He has been involved with photography since 1974 and you can get to know him better here