With Christmas just around the corner and gifts on people’s minds, I decided to whip up a little gift guide for those buying for a photography enthusiast. This guide isn’t for those buying for professional photographers (for the most part – some things on here might work for them), but this is for someone who loves photography, does a lot of it, but doesn’t have the equipment a professional has. Below the image, I will be linking to and describing every item. Enjoy!
- If there is someone in your life who loves photography and has a serious interest in it, I highly recommend buying them their first DSLR if they don’t have one already. This is not a cheap gift, but the difference in capabilities between a point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR is enormous. I’m not saying point-and-shoots are bad, but you typically cannot change the aperture, the ISO, the shutter speed, the lens, or add an off-camera flash. With a DSLR the possibilites are endless and a photographer at heart can learn the ins and outs of what makes up a beautiful image. For those new to the DSLR world, I would recommend the Nikon D3100 ($480) or the Canon EOS Rebel T3 ($430). Be cautious that once a person buys into one brand (Nikon or Canon), they will probably stick with that brand once they’ve invested in lenses since they are not interchangeable between those two brands. I have owned both brands (which was an expensive switch), and I personally gravitate toward Canon, but both brands are awesome. Please do some research before buying this serious of a present!
- If someone is serious about photography, they are going to want a serious camera bag. Well, not too-serious. I love my Jo Totes camera bag ($87) which is similar to the one pictured. It does not look like a camera bag, so I am less worried people will guess that there is very expensive gear in it, and it’s adorable so I feel happy carrying it around. There are plenty of other camera bags out there for men and women alike, so finding one for the photography enthusiast in your life should not be difficult.
- I never underestimate the power of a good book. I’m still reading constantly about running a business and photography because I strive to always get better. I couldn’t recommend Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson ($18) enough. I have read this book and love how it breaks down photography basics (that don’t seems so basic when you are first starting out) in layman’s terms. This is a book I still go back to every once in a while just to refresh my mind and look at things in a different way.
- Any person who loves photography will be taking lots of photos. Instead of carrying one memory card, why not carry many so you never run out? You will have to check what kind of camera they have and what type of memory card it supports (SD or CF are the most common). I recommend the SanDisk brand (SanDisk Extreme SD card – $32 for a 32gb – or SanDisk Extreme CF card – $53 for a 16gb) because they are extremely reliable. Even though I have a ton of CF cards, I would be ecstatic to open a gift of a few more because they do not come cheap, and the more, the merrier!
- Just as I promote carrying lots of memory cards I also recommend having a backup of all personal photography. Buying an external hard drive with the sole purpose of housing photos will encourage a photography enthusiast to take as many photos as their hearts desire since they will have plenty of space to store them. I have liked the Seagate products I’ve purchased, so here is the Seagate Backup desktop external hard drive ($120).
- When someone is more than just a casual photography lover, they will probably start wanting to edit their photos. Instead of forking out tons of dough on the full Photoshop program, I would recommend starting with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 ($70). It is designed for photo editing specifically and can do a lot of what Photoshop can do while also organizing and sorting your photos and allowing you to easily save and share them. I do 90% of my editing in Lightroom and could do 100% if I took the time to figure it out a little bit more. It’s much cheaper than the full-fledged Photoshop and is more user-friendly as well.
- If you know someone who likes shooting portraits of people, buying them a 5-in-1 collapsible reflector ($50) would be a nice gift. The reflector allows a photographer to adjust the amount of light in a shot as well as the direction the light hits the subject. It’s a great tool to take photography up a notch.
- I adore these Canon lens mugs ($24-$30) and think they would be a fun, awesome gift for the photography lover in anyone’s life. They are mugs that look just like camera lenses – how cool is that?
- A Rocket air blaster ($10) or LensPEN ($7) might not be the most exciting of gifts, but they both are essential for DSLR owners. Lenses are constantly getting attacked by dust, and blasting the dust off with air and wiping the lens off is essential for dust-free photos.
- Not all photography enthusiasts would love this next choice but if they are anything like me, they would love a Camera necklace ($10)! People tend to wear clothes and accessories that reflect their personalities, so help them reflect theirs by showing off their love of photography in the form of a necklace.
- I love funny art, especially when there are words and laughs involved. This “Oh Snap” camera print ($14) has both plus it incorporates photography. If there is a photography lover in your life who also is a little on the dorky side, he or she would probably get a kick out of this print hanging in their home.
- Since cameras and camera straps are not the most beautiful of objects (though I would argue my camera is the most beautiful object I own since I love it so much), you could beautify a loved one’s camera strap with a Camera strap cover ($35). They come in all sorts of colors and patterns if you look around and are sure to make someone smile when they can finally stand out in the camera strap department.
- I actually have this next item on my own Christmas list. It is an ExpoDisc white balance filter ($100). This handy little disc allows photographers to easily set the white balance and actually can be used to set the exposure for beautiful photos on the first try without having to do as much editing. Even my wonderful DSLR doesn’t white balance correctly on its own all of the time, so having a tool that is easy to use will help create the best color consistently in photos.
- Does the photography enthusiast in your life have any shelves that need filling? If so, consider buying him or her a Vintage camera ($65 but could be thrifted for cheaper). They can be found all over the place for all sorts of prices, but one thing is clear: vintage cameras look great on a shelf. I would love to have a whole shelf full of them one day! Even better if they still work!
- Someone who loves photography should love staying up-to-date on current photography topics and tricks. Consider buying a superscription a magazine like Popular Photography ($14) or Shutterbug ($18) for the monthly photography fix.
- Lastly, if they already own a DSLR or you are looking for a good lens for portraits for their Nikon or Canon body, consider the inexpensive (inexpensive for a lens, anyway) Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S lens ($200) or Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens ($110). Both lenses are great starter lenses that are great for portraits but also for anyone who loves blurry backgrounds since both lenses allow for a wide aperture that lets in a lot of light. This also makes them great choices for low-light photography.
I love sharing these gift ideas, so if you have any questions or would like some other specific suggestions, please shout them out in the comments section below. I would love to read any of your suggestions as well. Or, tell me what gift you would love to receive from this list.