Know a photographer? Don’t know what to get him or her for Christmas? Here are some simple gift ideas for $30 or less.*
If you know a photographer who loves to take photos with a smartphone, perhaps more so than with an SLR, attachments like the Holga iPhone lens (pictured top) and Photojojo phone lenses (bottom) are pretty neat. You can find plenty more (for both iPhone and Android) in the Photojojo Store.
- Holga iPhone lens, $30, Photojojo
- Fisheye, telephoto, or macro phone lenses, $20–$25 each, Photojojo
Remote Shutter Release
A remote shutter release plugs into your camera and allows you to snap a photo (ideally with a tripod) without touching the camera’s shutter button. This is useful for long exposure photography or whenever you want to avoid camera shake. For example, I’ve used mine when shooting fireworks and water droplets.
- Aputure universal remote shutter release for Canon DSLRs, $8.84, Amazon.com
- Bower universal remote shutter release for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, $13.15, B&H
Macro lenses are quite expensive. If you know a photographer who is considering macro (and maybe saving up for that spendy lens), macro filters are something to keep them busy in the meantime. The above image was photographed with the 10x macro filter from the set.
Camera Cleaning Supplies
It may not be flashy, but cleaning supplies are always appreciated. Keeping your sensor and lenses free of dust and smudges is important not only for prolonging the life of your gear, but also to avoid pesky dust spots in your photos.
If you’re shopping for a food or still-life photographer, props make an easy and potentially creative gift idea. Search a thrift store or antique shop for interesting plates, bowls, glassware, flatware, linens, jars, vases, cake stands, and so on. The props in the image above were purchased from Big Lots and Goodwill for less than $5.
Photography Magazine Subscriptions
Reading the latest photography news, product reviews, and tutorials is one of the best ways for a photographer to keep their photography (and their interest in it) fresh.
Here are some magazine ideas:
Books make great gifts, too. Buy your photographer a book that covers a specific topic, such as food photography, portrait photography, or macro photography.
Food photography books:
- Food Photography: Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting & Shooting by Lara Ferroni, $13.50, Amazon.com
- Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz, $13.49, Amazon.com
Books on portrait photography:
- Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers by Christopher Grey, $23.07, Amazon.com
- Doug Box’s Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers by Douglas Allen Box, $26.37, Amazon.com
Macro photography books:
- Understanding Close-Up Photography: Creative Close Encounters with or without a Macro Lens by Bryan Peterson, $17.13, Amazon.com
- Close-Up and Macro Photography by Adrian Davies, $22.76, Amazon.com
Like camera cleaning supplies, batteries may seem like a dull gift. But if your photographer uses single-use batteries, rechargeable batteries are a big upgrade. I use them in my Canon speedlite. We also use the same batteries around the house. They make life easier!
These may not further one’s pursuit of photography, but novelty items are still fun. If your photographer is also a baker, camera-shaped cookie cutters would be perfect. Or add some lens-shaped shot glasses to their liquor cabinet. Again, Photojojo is a great place to look for fun and geeky photography-themed stuff.
Rather let the photographer decide? A gift card may seem impersonal, but if you’re feeling unsure what to give, they’re quite handy. A gift card could go toward a larger purchase (like a new lens), gear rental, or be used on a specific gadget a photographer wants that you may not know about. Here are some good places to buy gift cards:
*Just a quick disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post by any of the companies mentioned above. These are products I’ve either used or want to use myself.