The one thing you don’t gift a photographer is a framed photo.
Everything else is fair game.
Thanks to the spirit of giving, the right gift can ensure Christmas arrives early for your loved ones. This article is for the photography enthusiast in your life. They could be professionals or rank beginners in photography – technology has them covered. Technology is the new magi and like the classic tale, let’s hope everyone is touched by the gifts you choose.
But what do you gift a photographer?
Flummoxed because you aren’t one yourself. There are so many choices. Yes, there’s room for confusion… and then there’s space for thoughtfulness.
I have three thoughts on this:
It shouldn’t be commonplace. Stay novel but practical.
It shouldn’t be too camera technical. Professional photographers have their own tastes because some things are specialized.
It shouldn’t feel too expensive. They will feel bound to give you an expensive gift in return.
This last one is a nice thought to encourage sometimes. So, let’s shop!
Catch The Eye with a Camera Sling Strap
The cheapest option is not always the best.
Your gift could just become a permanent fixture around your friend’s shoulders. Think of them as belts. It helps to have a few that match the photographer’s personality. So, how about some personalized camera straps?
Maybe, you can find one on Phatstraps.
Choose from fabric straps, reversible straps, woven straps, and even straps that look like scarves and neckties. You can also have the straps personalized with embroidery or fonts. As far as I could tell, prices start from approximately $33.
Look into the specs for each strap before you buy one. You could also just buy a gift certificate from the site and let your friend make the choice.
Etsy is another place for finding a unique camera strap. You won’t find such handmade picks anywhere else.
Inspire with Posters
Does a poster say you are cheap?
Not when you frame it nicely and send it to someone to brighten their day. I have been in a photography rut a few times, and just then I spy a 6″ by 4″ frame on my desk that speaks the Alfred Stieglitz quote:
“Wherever there is light, one can photograph.”
Downloading a well-designed cheat sheet and blowing it up into a larger size is an easy way to gift a poster. For example: The 10 Rules of Photography cheat sheet by Scott Toman is perfect for a photography beginner. Something that is in black & white or looks weathered often works well.
Try this Etsy Printable Wall Décor idea which is motivating on a bad day for just $5. Or this minimal abstract black and white photograph of the Chicago skyline for $30 to inspire your friend’s own creativity.
Photography poster prints are also available on Amazon. I love this Grand Central Station-Vintage Black and White photography poster print for just $5.99.
A few more choices on Amazon:
A Visual Compendium of Cameras Poster ($29)
Life is a Camera inspirational motivational photography quote poster ($9.95).
Photographic Camera Invention art vintage poster print ($19.95).
Tip: Whenever you are buying a gift on Amazon, take a peek at the Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed section. A few more gift ideas pop out.
Keep Your Lenses Safe with The Photorito Lens Wrap
The burrito for your lenses.
And hope no one takes a bit on this lens wrap that looks like just like a burrito! The burrito-style is a padded sleeve with a built-in band keeps your lens in place.
A Retro Camera Pencil Sharpener for The Desk
An office product that screams photography.
Okay, no one sharpens pencils anymore. But I can bet a dollar that you will twirl that handle more than once in a day. There’s something beautiful about a retro camera.
The pencil sharpener disguised as a camera is functional. Made of plastic, it even has a lens that lets you look into the drawer of shavings. From the reviews I understand that it sharpens pencils quite well. For $13.68 on Amazon, you can gift this one for a lark.
Timelapse with Camalapse
Time to forget photo stitching.
The word “panorama” almost suggests wide 360 degree open vistas. Video that pan 360 degrees are the trend too. Camalapse is a simple rotating stand for your iPhone (or other cameras) that helps you capture pro-quality 360° timelapse videos or still shots.
It prevents the shakes and the aches when you try to do a pan with bare hands. The rotating accessory can support a camera up to 5 pounds and rotate 360 degrees in an hour or less. Perfect for star trails or any other timelapse.
Camalapse 4 is available on Amazon for $29.99. You can also buy it from the retailers mentioned on their site.
Precise Image Editing with a Personalized Controller
It’s a “Palette” …but it’s hardware.
Let’s sit down to edit. With Palette’s magnetically connected sliders, dials and buttons. The physical sliders and dials offer photographers tactile feedback which improves the editing experience. Palette has 18 modules which you can customize to your workflow.
I will direct you to the How It Works page and the video below a better look at the hardware:
Palette is open for pre-orders. According to the site all kits will start shipping in late November. Perfect as a unique Christmas gift for your favorite photographer. The Aluminum Starter Kit is $199 while the Aluminum Professional Kit is $499. Check out the other Palette kits too.
Say Warmth with a Mango Spot Camera Lens Thermos
For a shot of tea or coffee after a hard day’s shoot.
I saw Ben Long pick one up while explaining all about lenses in a Lynda.com photography course. Ever since, I have wanted one. If you are listening, then the Mango Spot Best Camera Lens Thermos is available for just $10.99 on Amazon. You won’t miss it because it looks exactly like a 24-105 mm USM lens. There’s another larger one that resembles a 70-200mm F2.8 IS Lens for $14.
Take your pick. Search for a mug that resembles a Canon or a Nikon lens. Your photographer friend is bound to be one or the other…so you need to get this right.
Search a bit harder on Amazon and you will even come across other variants like the Thumbs Up Camera Lens Shot Glasses.
Expand Shooting Options with Triggertrap
Control a camera’s shutter remotely.
Triggertrap is an app based remote shutter release. Take photos without being close to your camera with an iPhone, iPad or Android. Plus, use the Timelapse and Sensor modes to expand the range of shooting options.
For example, you can use the sensor modes to set off shots with sound, vibration, motion, or facial recognition. Check out the Triggertrap Flickr Pool.
The Triggertrap Mobile Kit with the dedicated cable supports over 300 camera models. The video below and the website go into the how-to of the mobile kit. The app is free but the camera-specific cables retail for $37. If you switch your camera body, instead of buying an entire cable kit again, buy an additional cable connector for $13.
Keep It All in Sync with The Eyefi Mobi Pro
Seamless transfers for your RAW and JPEG photos.
The Eyefi Mobi Pro Wi-Fi SD card is an oldie but a goodie. It automatically transfers JPEG, RAW, or video to your smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac. Eyefi Mobi Pro is a well-known name in wireless cards; especially so because it works with all camera makers. If your friend has an older Wi-Fi less camera, then the 32 GB SD card is a must for the bag.
The card not only makes it easier to transfer photos but also enables quicker sharing of those memorable shots. Backing up to the Eyefi Cloud is a fallback option if the memory cards get filled up in the field.
Hit The Heights with a Camera Drone
When it comes to aerial photography, you can’t top a drone today.
Aerial photography with drones is the rage today. There is a good chance your photographer friend still does not own one. While you can get cheap drones for less than $100, it’s better to up your budget with anything that takes flight with a camera.
The good news is that you don’t have to pawn off your stamp collection. The Parrot Bebop Quadcopter Drone comes well recommended at a “budget mark” of $454 on Amazon when we went to press.
The Parrot Bebop carries aloft a 14 MP Full HD 1080p Wide-Angle Camera. 3-Axis stabilization and speed control should make for great panoramic aerial shots. It is a common drone so finding spare parts shouldn’t be a problem. With the cross-platform piloting apps you can control the quadcopter with a touch and get a 180-degree viewpoint via the mobile screen.
Do check out reviews in detail especially about durability and battery performance. Also look at the more expensive DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter (Standard model available for $699 on Amazon.)
What Will You Gift?
Ideas wanted. Giving gifts is a subjective exercise. Your gift list for Christmas will be different. With the above I have assumed the role of a photography neophyte. Have I succeeded with the novel factor? Are the gifts above worthy enough for filling the stockings?
Announce your wish list below. Maybe, a colleague, a friend, or your spouse will peek in and put it on their short list.