11 Gifts for Photographers
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Every year as December rolls around, I start getting text messages and emails about good camera gifts. Often I get asked about good entry level cameras. I’m really out of touch with the current market of camera gear for beginners. The last time I looked at entry level cameras was over 5 years ago. Usually, I recommend looking through wirecutter’s camera guides. They are well researched, incredibly extensive and there’s a recommendation for basically every possible situation.
Anyway, photography gifts are challenging because gear is pretty expensive and it can be difficult to know what someone already owns. If you’ve set your heart on getting the photographer in your life some photography related gift here’s a list of fun ideas that they likely won’t already have:
I’m a big proponent of gifts that are a bit frivolous. Or items that might be too extravagant. For example truffle salt at $30 for a small jar is a little excessive to get for your own pantry but it’s a perfect gift for a food enthusiast. A crystal ball is definitely frivolous and at $50 I would never buy it for myself but it makes for a very fun prop.
Instant film is always fun. As a photographer, I love the simplicity and immediacy of instant cameras. Most photographers I know have some sort of instant camera but there’s so many out there that you can always find something a little different. A lot of folks have Fujifilm Instax minis but the wide version is just as fun and seemingly less common so that’s a good option if you want to get something new. Additionally, Polaroid Originals has a fun selection of Vintage Polaroid cameras that would make for a very fun gift.
Magnum has a wonderful collection of contact sheet prints. They have all sorts of categories of as well, such as celebrity, animals, historical events and landscape so you can choose something that will be a particularly good fit. Additionally there’s a Magnum Contact Sheet Prints Paperback available via Amazon for under $30. Hunting down a hardback version for under $200 is a feat so the paperback is nice and more reasonably priced. Additionally, Magnum does print sales every couple of months where you can get a print for about $100 but you’d have sign up for their newsletter and plan ahead.
This might be a little too far on the frivolous scale but a GoPro Dog Harness just seems like so much fun! If I get a GoPro, I’m definitely getting one of these dog harnesses.
Magazine subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving. I actually love receiving subscriptions since I’m a huge fan of print but try to keep my overall number of subscriptions to a reasonable level. Plus, anytime you get someone a subscription they get reminded of your gift once a month or quarter, which is kind of nice.
This summer, about 7 people recommend that I read and go through The Artist’s Way. It felt as if it came up during every coffee hang out. It’s a book for blocked artists that takes you through 12 weeks of exercises. It’s fun to work through and I did find myself inspired to take on new projects and try out different perspectives. This book makes a good gift because it works for any sort of creative. Plus, I’ve found it helpful to refer back to multiple times so it’s a nice to have item.
I hate photography gift guides that are all cheap filters and cheap lights and other unexciting gear. For a moment, I contemplated making this list all frivolous and fun but I suppose some folks might want to get something that’s a bit more practical. Cleaning kits are always helpful and it’s always nice to get a new one so here is the practical photography gift.
Any photo book would make a great gift. They’re generally a tad expensive so buying them for yourself feels like a bit of a splurge, which makes them ideal for gift giving in my opinion. I tend to prefer gift giving to be light and fun so I veer towards more lighthearted options like Escape by Gary Malin. It’s beautiful and a joy to look through.
So I have wanted a pixelstick for years but it’s basically a very expensive photo prop so I’ve resisted. If you want to get a totally frivolous item for the photographer that has everything, this is probably it.
Most lens are prohibitively expensive to get as gifts but the lens baby is inexpensive, very fun to use and tiny. It’s a perfect little gift. The lensbaby is an expensive take on a tilt shift lens and while it’s not ideal for
I think most pro photographers already have all the camera bags and straps that they could ever want or need. The Roma by Ona Bags is a nice extra. I’m actually contemplating scooping one up for myself. It’s a little insert to stick in your luggage or a weekender. These days, I often put extra lens in my carry on and wrap them in a padded velcro wrap but I think this could be a sleeker option.