The holidays might seem like a long way off, but we all know how they can creep up on us. To save you from the last minute panic buying, or just if you want to treat the photographer in your life to a nice gift, we’ve come up with an extended list of fantastic gifts for photographers.
We cover everything from the low-budget stocking fillers to the more high-end, luxury gifts. Not only that, but we actually tell you what type of photography each gift would be best for!
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Budget Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Whether it’s your spouse, sibling, or random coworker you picked up in the Secret Santa at work, there’s something here for all types of photographer. You may have already bought your husband his ‘main’ present, or you could just want to treat the beloved photographer in your life. Maybe you just don’t like them all that much? Either way, as the old cliche goes – It’s not the price tag that counts, it’s the thought.
This is something I recommend to all photographers, no matter what their skill level or preferred genre. It’s a very affordable and portable reflector that can be used to ‘bounce’ light into specific areas of your image. This can be used to fill in deep shadowed areas in portraits or macro shots or to imbue a warmer or cooler light onto your subject.
It’s not limited to that though. I also use it as a makeshift backdrop in macro and food photography, or as a diffuser on those bright, sunny days. It really is an incredibly versatile and budget friendly piece of kit.
There are plenty of brands out there to choose from, but I would recommend going for Neewer. They’ve been producing budget friendly photography accessories for years and have a well established brand and their products are generally good quality.
Recommended for… All photographers – Macro, portrait, wedding, food, still life, pet.
Sticking with the light manipulation theme, next up is a cheap and cheerful flash diffuser for those photographers who opt to use artificial instead of natural light.
This handy tool attaches to your speedlight and is used to ‘bounce’ your flash to produce more natural looking lighting in your image. It can also be wrapped around the head of the flash unit, focusing the light from your flash. It comes with two options to choose from as well – A neutral white reflector that softens the harsh light of your flash and a reflective silver that effectively increases the power of your flash.
Recommended for… Portrait, wedding, and macro photographers.
Camera Rain Cover
If you’re a photographer who loves spending time shooting outdoors, and you’ve been following my recommendations of taking advantage of the bad weather, then sooner or later you’re going to find yourself caught in a downpour.
Now, photography gear is a lot more durable than many people think and can easily survive a bit of rain, but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. When dealing with expensive camera equipment, it’s definitely better to be safe!
This foldable rain cover protects your gear from all but the most torrential of downpours. It comes with a viewing window and arm sleeves so you can even still use your camera when it’s attached. Of course, a shower cap or plastic bag technically does the same job, but for the cost of a lunch out this is well worth buying.
Recommended for… Any outdoor-based photographer
Photography Cleaning Kits
You’ll be hard pressed to find a photographer who doesn’t like to keep their camera equipment clean. Even the messiest people (Read: Me) hate seeing their prize possessions dirty, so cleaning kits will always be a welcome gift to a photographer.
The one displayed here is a simple lens cleaning kit with cleaning fluid, microfibre cloths, a dust blower, and a soft bristled brush that covers all the basic needs of camera care.
If you’re feeling more adventurous you can always opt for a sensor cleaning kit as well, which is a cost effective and surprisingly safe way to get rid of those pesky sensor spots that plague your images. I use the Visible Dust range for all my sensor cleaning needs.
Recommended for… All photographers.
Remote Shutter Release
When operating in low light conditions, camera stability is absolutely crucial to getting sharp images. During these longer exposures even the tiniest movement of your camera can ruin a shot, and that includes the movement you cause simply by pressing the button.
You can completely eliminate this by getting a cheap remote shutter release, which attaches to your camera via a wire and allows you to fire the shutter without ever touching your safely mounted camera.
This eliminates the camera shake issue, but it’s also a necessity for any of those shooting really long exposures (such as night-time images or when using a neutral density filter). Often you find that the widely used maximum of 30 seconds shutter speed just isn’t long enough when shooting long exposures. By using a remote shutter release you can operate in Bulb mode, which basically keeps the shutter open for as long as the shutter release is pressed. This cable has a locking button, allowing you to open the shutter, lock it open, and then leave it until you’re ready to close the shutter and complete your image. For anybody thinking about long exposure photography, this is an absolute must-have.
Recommended for… Landscape, long exposure, and astrophotographers.
Memory Card Wallets
Memory cards are pesky little things. One the one hand, I absolutely love having such a huge amount of storage in such a tiny little package. On the other hand, my God do they go missing a lot!
It seems like they have a mind of their own, and I was constantly finding them in the bottom of bags and in random pockets before I did the sensible thing and got myself a memory card wallet. It costs next to nothing, but after buying one (and using it) you will never lose another memory card.
Honestly, I’ve no idea how I went so long without one, and I’m sure that had I bought one earlier I would have saved a significant amount of money that I spent replacing lost SD cards.
Recommended for… All photographers
Lens Travel Mug
This is a classic as far as photography based gifts go! I actually got this as a birthday present from my brother three years ago, and despite the wallet pleasing price it’s been an ever-present addition to my camera bag.
It’s the perfect size to put in your bag along with a flash of coffee when preparing for a long day shooting. Not only that, but the looks you get from passers by as you stand by your tripod appearing to drink out of your lens is priceless!
Recommended for… All photographers who enjoy warm beverages!
For the photographer who likes to dress smart, you can’t go far wrong with a set of camera cufflinks.
They’re not expensive at all, and they’re perfect for adding that little personal touch to a three-piece suit. There’s not really much more to say about these, but the fact that I wore them on my wedding day should make it clear how much I liked them!
Recommended for… Photographer’s who like to dress smart.
Our Very Own Forest Photography Lightroom Presets
Forest Photography Lightroom Presets
Give your forest photography that final flourish with our exclusive Forest Photography Lightroom Presets bundle.
Any landscape or nature photographer will tell you that they much prefer to be out in the field doing what they love rather than stuck in front of the computer screen post-processing.
It can be a time consuming thing when you’re critical about your work, but it doesn’t always have to be. If you use Adobe Lightroom, like millions of photographers worldwide, you can import presets that turn a 20 minute editing session into just seconds. With a single click you can apply a whole array of adjustments to your image.
Not to blow our own trumpet, but we think we’ve created a perfect set for any of you who head into the forest to capture images often. We offer ten dedicated forest photography presets to cover a range of different conditions and seasons, and all for just $10! You can read all about the different presets on the product page above.
Recommended for… Landscape photographers who like the forest.
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Mid-Price Gifts for Photographers
Moving up the notch a bit, we get to the more mid-range gifts suitable for photographers. These won’t break the bank, but quality does come at a bit of a cost. This is for those accessories that demand a good build quality, but fortunately there are plenty of them around to sink our teeth into!
Upgraded Camera Strap
That branded neck strap that comes with the camera might seem like more than capable of it’s job, but there are more than a few downsides. Firstly, the brand name draws attention to the fact that you’re carrying an expensive bit of kit.
Most important is the fact that they’re just not that comfortable to use. They’re thinly padded and often rub against the back of your neck, and the incessant bouncing of your camera off your chest is incredibly annoying towards the end of the day. Bending over is a no-go too, unless you want your camera dipped in a stream or smashing against the pavement.
You can buy camera straps to suit any of your needs, but my favourite are these sling strap designs, and I use this Op/Tech one all the time now. The sling design means that you camera hangs comfortably by your waist when you’re moving around, but with a single swipe you can have it up to your eye in the blink of an eye. It’s comfortably padded as well, and seems to distribute the weight a lot better than the default straps.
It also uses clips to attach the camera, meaning that you can quickly and easily detach it from the strap. This is especially useful when mounting it on a tripod in the wind, when you don’t really want the strap flapping around and shaking your camera.
Once you upgrade your camera strap, you’ll never even consider going back to your old ways.
Recommended for… All photographers
This is one of those accessories that you never think you need, until you get one. Honestly, I don’t know how I ever managed to get by without my L-Bracket, and it now stays attached to my camera 100% of the time.
It’s basically just an L-shaped piece of metal with grooves in the side that allow it to slide into arca-swiss compatible tripod heads. What this means is that you can quickly change from landscape to portrait orientation without having to fiddle around with your tripod ballhead.
Anybody that’s ever tried to shoot portrait oriented shots with their camera mounted on a ballhead will know exactly how much hassle it is. You have to find the slots in your ballhead to rotate the tripod plate, then fiddle around with all the knobs to allow you to rotate the tripod head, and then refind the composition you were looking for. With an L-Bracket, all you need to do is slide you camera off the tripod plate, turn it vertical, and slide it back in. Since buying one of these I’ve realised that I actually shied away from shooting vertically oriented shots because of how annoying it was, whereas now I shoot almost as many portrait shots as landscape ones.
You can get cheaper ones than this, and you can get much more expensive ones as well. After trying a few out I prefer going for the middle ground, which seem to offer just as much quality as the high-end products and feel of a significantly better build quality than the bargain bucket ones.
Recommended for… Any photographer who uses a tripod.
Foldable Light Tent Studio
If you want to buy a great little pastime for your photography loving loved one, this is the way to go. Yet again this is a gift I’ve received in the past, and it’s one that still provides me with hours of preoccupation.
It’s basically a small home studio which offers the perfect location for all types of home-based photography. I use it for still-life and macro work when I’m experimenting, but it can also be used for product photography. The backdrops are clean and varied, and you can spend hours in front of it just experimenting with different compositions on those slow days where you can’t get out and do your usual photography.
You can buy cheaper versions of this, but they tend to be a bit low on the quality front. This one is a nice middle ground that offers great value for money but a good build quality to boot!
Recommended for… Photographers with an interest in still life, macro, or product photography.
Joby entered the photography scene years ago with their ingenious approach to travel tripods, and their range continues to expand.
Rather than the solid legs of traditional tripods, the Gorillapod’s legs are constructed from a number of rotating leg joints connected together. What this results in is a tripod that can be attached to almost anything! It can be wrapped around lamposts, fences, and even tree branches to provide that much-needed support for your camera no matter what the situation.
The leg joints feel nice and solid, and as long as you wrap it around firmly it doesn’t budge a bit. The flexible legs mean that the Gorillapod can basically be bundled up into a pocket sized ball as well. Obviously it’s not a replacement for a full-size tripod, but it is, in my opinion, the best mini travel tripod available.
Recommended for… Travelling photographers
Adobe CC Subscription
Some photographers prefer other programs, but the vast majority of photographers choose Adobe’s versatile and well supported set of programs to cover all of their post-processing needs.
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They have switched over the a subscription based format over the past couple of years, but even the recurring cost of $9.99 per month for the Photography plan is an absolute bargain for any serious photographer. You get all the latest updates for both Lightroom and Photoshop (and they’re both updated regularly), and it even comes with 20GB of cloud storage. You can buy the Adobe CC Photography Plan subscription here.
Recommended for… All photographers
Circular Polariser / ND Filter
If you’re a long time reader of this site, you’ll know that I recommend a circular polarising filter at almost every opportunity. It’s a filter that can truly transform your photography, as is a neutral density filter.
The CPL filters cut out polarised light from the sun, which primarily deepens the blues of the sky. The secondary results are just as impressive though. Atmospheric haze is reduced to produce clearer images, and the glare on the surface of water is drastically reduced as well. It’s a must-have for any outdoor based photographer.
Neutral density filters are an important part of any landscape photographer’s bag too. In the simplest terms, they’re just a dark piece of glass to put in front of your lens. This results in increased exposure times, which allows you to blur the movement in subjects such as water and clouds. They come in a variety of strengths, and buying a single screw-in ND filter is a perfect way to find out whether you want to pursue long exposure photography. If you do, there are some more professional filter kits listed below!
Recommended for… All outdoor and nature photographers
Macro Extension Tubes
Much like the ND filters listed above, macro extension tubes are a perfect, budget friendly way to experiment with a new genre of photography.
Rather than spend hundreds on a dedicated macro lens you can spend a fraction of that and transform your current lenses into macro lenses. What these do is increase the distance between the rear lens element and your sensor, which allows you to focus your lens much closer than normally possible. This, in turn, increased the magnification you can achieve. The more extension tubes you attach between the lens and the camera body, the higher magnification you can achieve.
Admittedly these are somewhat more limited than a dedicated macro lens. For example, while the close focusing limit is improved, it does cut out the ability to focus on things far away. Basically, the range of focus you can achieve is limited massively. However, it’s still a great way to find out whether you would enjoy macro photography. In addition, you can even add them to a macro lens to achieve even closer focusing and delve into the realm of super-macro photography.
I would recommend buying a set like this, which have all the contacts required to keep your lens in communication with your camera. Without them you have no exposure metering or autofocus.
Recommended for… Photographers looking to experiment.
Everybody who has been interested in photography for more than five minutes knows that the pop-up flash that comes attached to most cameras is practically useless in most situations.
It’s harsh and poorly positioned, and the lack of any ability to rotate or tilt it means that it’s blindingly (excuse the pun) obvious when it’s been used. So, one of the first purchases for any aspiring portrait photographer is a good speedlight.
You don’t have to go straight for the big guns though. The Nikon and Canon flashes can set you back almost as much as your camera, a price tag that puts most people off buying an external flash unit. Fortunately, we’ve got a nice budget friendly option that comes with a surprising level of quality.
There are plenty out there, but the Yongnuo YN560 IV is well known as one of the top budget speedlights available. It doesn’t have TTL capability, but that’s not too much of an issue in my opinion. It tilts and swivels so you can bounce your flash to soften it, and it even supports wireless triggering for when you get a bit more experimental! Honestly, this is the best bang for your buck flash unit around.
Recommended for… Portrait / Pet portrait photographers and anybody wanting to experiment with flash photography.
Taking the lighting game up a notch is the Lumecube. These nifty little things pack a punch, with up to 1,500 lumens of light emitted per Lumecube and a host of features to sink your teeth into.
The Lumecube, in essence, is a portable flash and lighting unit that can be controlled via an app on your smartphone. This makes it a fantastic external flash, because it’s built-in optical sensor also allows it to be used as a slave to other flashguns you might be using.
Not only that, but it’s waterproof down to 100 feet and has an impressive two hour battery life when operating at 50% power. It’s fantastic when used as an external light source or a torch, and can also be used for some impressive light painting when doing night-time photography.
Recommended for… Portrait photographers and photographers who shoot at night.
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External Hard Disk
If you don’t have one of these, or an alternative backup system, I recommend getting one right away. Think about it – You put hours and hours of work into capturing your images and processing them. They harbour some of your fondest memories, and in my opinion that’s something worth protecting.
If you’re shooting in RAW format you’ll be quickly eating up your hard drive space too, so investing in a decent sizes external dark disk drive is an absolute must. I have two that are dedicated to my photography files, so I can breathe easy knowing that there is a very small chance of me losing years worth of images.
There are plenty of budget HDDs available, but this is one area where it’s definitely worth spending extra on to get a well known and trusted brand.
Recommended for… All photographers