What are the best and hottest gifts for photographers this year? We’ve got a list!
Do you have a photographer in your life? Do you know what’s on her holiday wish list? You better believe she has one! If you need ideas, we have you covered! From stocking stuffers to new gear, we have a list of gifts for photographers sure to please any shutterbug.
I’ve provided online links here. But don’t be afraid to scour your local camera shops, specialty stores or large local retailers for these items, too.
Gifts Under $20
Sometimes your special someone needs a little special something, emphasis on the little. Check out these gifts for photographers under $20…perfect for stocking stuffers!
Lens Pen ($8-$12)
You can never have too many lens pens in my opinion. One end features a brush, the other holds a microfiber cleaning tip. These tools are great for a quick cleaning of your lens, filters or camera body itself. Tuck one in your camera bag, glove compartment or purse so there’s always one on hand. Find it here.
Memory Cards ($12 and up depending on size, speed and brand)
Memory cards are another item that more is better. They break down, get lost or just fill up with a busy photographer’s schedule. Ask your photographer for his favorite brand and preferred size (or sneak a look in his camera bag!) then pick up one! Just be sure to buy memory cards from a trusted source, as corrupt and recycled cards do occur. Find them here.
Memory Card Holder ($12-18)
Where does your photography keep his memory cards? If he’s like me, they may be kept in a pocket or loose on his desk. (That’s a big no-no, by the way.) Give him a great memory cardholder. This cardholder can hold 12 SD or micro SD cards. It’s also water and dustproof. I keep my case tethered to my camera bag so it doesn’t fall out during a shoot. By placing the cards in a different direction (my full cards go in face down) I always know which ones are clean and which ones are full! Find one here.
Shutter hugger ($18-$19)
These adorable little guys hug the camera’s lens without getting in the way of the shot and make looking at the camera much less intimidating for little eyes. Perfect for any photographer who shoots babies or young kids on a regular basis. I have three that I rotate in my lineup with my preschools and private schools, and I take them on family sessions with young kiddos. These snuggly buddies give kids a place to focus on for the “look at the camera” shot and are a great way to break the ice with shy subjects. Get one (or two!) here.
Gel Kit ($12-$15)
These colored gels slip over a speedlight to change the light color. Gels are fun and offer unlimited creative opportunities for flash photographers. Fix white balance, add colored rim lights or just experiment! Get yours here.
1000 Creative Writing Prompts ($8)
Writing and blogging is hard y’all! Give your photographer turned writer some help with this prompt book. It’s the perfect cure for writers’ block and can help spark ideas for blog posts or just get the creative juices flowing again. Buy it on Amazon.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert ($14)
I firmly believe that every creative soul out there should read and own this book. Gilbert talks about the creative process, why it’s important to make it part of your life and how not to let it take over your life. Her prose is equal parts funny, inspiring, poignant and brutally honest. I’ve read my copy cover to cover twice and pick it up whenever I need some creative support. Buy it on Amazon.
Gaffer Tape ($5-$20, depending on the length of the roll)
Gaffer tape turns any photographer in MacGyver. Use it to tape up backgrounds, tape down rugs, secure lighting or wires. I once used some to cover a hole in a groomsman’s tux so it didn’t show during the wedding. Gaffer tape has the strength of duct tape, but is easily torn by hand and doesn’t leave the sticky icky film of duct tape behind. Your photographer might think you’re a little nuts for throwing this in as a gift but he’ll thank you the first time he uses it to solve a problem or save the day. Find some here.
Pens ($4 and up)
I love me some office supplies. And I love getting new pens. They are always on my list of stocking stuffer and a welcome gift anytime of year. Ask your photographer for his favorite brand, then purchase a large box. If they are on the more expensive side, splurge on one or two and tie them to the tree for Christmas morning. You can buy everyday pens so your photog never runs out, or splurge on a pack of fun colored pens like this one. I love these for marking my calendar and planner or for sending fun and vibrant notes to clients!
Camera remote ($9-20)
If your photographer doesn’t have a remote for her camera, buy one and surprise her this holiday. Remotes are awesome for making sure your photographer is in the shot, not just taking the shots. They also work well when completing long-exposures or any other time where she wants to eliminate camera shake. You’ll need to know the make and model of her camera to find a compatible remote. The camera brand’s remotes are great, but I’ve also had awesome experiences with the Amazon Basics version. Find a Nikon version here.
Camera cleaning kit ($10-$20)
Help him keep his gear in working order with a camera cleaning kit. These kits usually feature brushes, an air-blower and some cleaning spray and wipes. Clean lenses, camera bodies and other gear and keep everything in tip-top shape. Find one here.
Photography Socks ($20)
For a bit of fun and whimsy, add these photography themed socks to your gift giving list. Your photog will relate to them and love them! If these socks aren’t quite your thing, get on Etsy and search “Gifts for Photographers.” There are literally hundreds of fun options and you’re bound to find one you think your photog would love. Order them on Etsy.
This bit of gear will definitely NOT fit in a stocking, but makes should be on any gifts for photographers list. Reflectors are amazingly versatile. They can bounce light back into the scene indoors or out. Reflectors can serve as a colored background for smaller objects. They can also be used to change the color of the light bouncing into the scene. I’ll have an assistant use it to provide shade or eliminate harsh highlights on faces, hair or clothing. This kit gives you a white, silver, gold, black and translucent options for the price of one! Reflectors come in a variety of sizes but I always recommend the 42″. Grab yours here!
Here are a few ideas in the $25-$100 range for your favorite photog.
The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone by Lindsay Adler ($26)
This book is ah-mazing for portrait photographers. Adler breaks down different body shapes and how to pose them for more flattering portraits. She doesn’t just provide a few poses to copy. Instead, she lays out basic principles that any photographer can learn and then apply to any subject they encounter. This is one of those books that I’ve read multiple times and refer back to for ideas and inspiration on a regular basis. Get it at Amazon.
Extra Camera Battery ($30-$100)
Brand-name camera batteries are expensive little buggers. But if your camera runs out of juice in the middle of a shoot, you’d have paid three times that to have an extra. Give your photographer the gift of extra time with a new camera battery. Find out the make and model of his camera then order a battery for it. This is one case where I advocate buying it from the camera manufacturer because third party batteries can be very hit or miss. See a Nikon EN-EL15 on Adorama.
Rechargeable Batteries and Charger ($50-$75)
If your photog shoots flash and doesn’t use rechargeable batteries, she’ll love this gift. Buy her a set of four or eight rechargeable batteries and a charger! I recommend the Enloop or Powerex brand. These batteries are built specifically for high-drain devices like speedlights. They help your speedlights run longer, recycle quicker and stop overheating.
This can feel like a ridiculous amount of money for batteries, I know. But these brands stand up to the rigors of shooting flash and last for a long-time. They more than paid for themselves in a single year vs. using traditional AA alkaline batteries. I get my Powerex Pros here.
Crushproof Carrying Case ($50 and up)
If your photographer is in need of some organization for their gear, I suggest one of these. You can get the brand name cases like Pelicans, or go with a reputable off-brand case. The linked case is 16” and will house any number of items. Use them for speedlights and triggers; strobes; lenses, GoPro cameras, drones, etc. Look for one that has pluckable foam for easy customization and is waterproof and crushproof for maximum protection. It’s not Pelican but it’s tough.
Camera Rain Cover ($45-$75)
I’ve used a plastic bag in a pinch to cover my camera and lens to shoot in the rain. But this rain cover works so much better and looks more professional. It’s like a really nice rain coat for your camera and lens. Rain covers are great for sports and landscape photographers, especially, as they are out in the elements more than everyday portrait shooters. I photographed a football game and steer show in a literal downpour with this rain cover and my camera was warm and cozy the entire time. Can’t say the same for my feet, though! Get my favorite rain cover.
Collapsible Outdoor/Garden Wagon ($50 and up)
Save wear and tear on the body and stop making multiple trips to the car to fetch gear. These collapsible wagons can hold so much gear, it’s almost ridiculous. I use mine to transport light stands, backdrop stands, backdrops, strobes, camera bag and lighting accessories in one trip. Or use it to haul props, gifts, snacks and lenses. They are incredibly useful for on-location shooting for any photographer who has more gear than he does hands. When it’s not in use, the wagon folds up and can be tucked away into a corner. See it here.
Joel Grimes One Light Master Class
This is an awesome one-time course for photographers interested in learning and using off-camera flash. He tackles the fundamentals of lighting like the zone system in easy to understand language and will have your favorite photographer shooting amazing one-light setups with confidence and ease! Register now.
Does your favorite photographer have two cameras but spends pulling one or the other out of his bag? A two-camera harness is a great solution. Each side of the harness can hold a camera. So a photog can carry a main and a backup camera or a telephoto and a wide angle lens at the same time. The weight of the cameras is distributed across the shoulders instead of the neck. A camera harness makes shooting multiple cameras so much easier and is easier on the photographer’s body to boot. See what in the world I’m talking about here!
Big Ticket Items ($100 and up)
If the photographer you know is anything like me, she has a list of high-dollar equipment she wants but can’t yet afford. Consider surprising her with one of those items on her wish list! The catch is these wish-list gifts for photographers are usually something very specific like a certain focal length of a lens or brand of a camera bag.
Check with your photographer for the specifics, but these should give you some ideas on what might be included on his or her dream list! If you want to have something to put under the tree but don’t know if you can get it exactly right, ensure you buy from a dealer with a good return policy and window that fits your gift-giving schedule.
Godox AD200 Pro Strobe
Forget the speedlight…carry this instead for off camera flash. The AD200 is the size of a speedlight but as powerful as a small strobe. They are perfect in-studio or on location. The AD200Pro has impressive core features such as 200Ws of power adjustable in 9 steps from 1/256 to 1/1, recycling from 0.01 to 2.1 seconds, and flash durations as short as 1/15,380 sec. The flash runs on a removal, rechargeable lithium battery that will give you up to 500 full power flashes and thousands of lower power flashes. Buy yours here.
50mm f/1.8 lens AKA the Nifty Fifty (About $300)
If you or your favorite photographer are still using the lens that came with your camera, you might be ready for an upgrade. A nifty-fifty lens is a great next step. This lens is a huge step up over the kit lens in terms of the build quality, glass quality and low light performance. They are also incredibly affordable! See Canon’s version.
Upgraded Camera Bag
What photographer wouldn’t love a new camera bag that fits all their gear? Camera bags come in lots of different shapes and sizes, but I’ll include two popular versions here. Look for a bag with lots of pockets and room for a camera body and a few different lenses, as well as a padded shoulder strap and sleek exterior.
Monitor/color calibration system
Help ensure client prints match what you see on the monitor with a monitor calibration tool/kit. The tool hangs off of the front of the monitor and makes adjustments to its profile so what you see editing is what clients will receive printing.
This isn’t a sexy or particularly exciting as gifts for photographers go, but it’s incredibly useful. Ideally, photographers are calibrating their monitor several times a year, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving. See it here.
Want to know more about calibrating your monitor?
Photography blind ($100-$400)
Blinds help keep the photographer hidden when shooting wildlife! They can let the wildlife photographer get closer to the action and stay dry and out of the wind. Some blinds are available through photography websites or stores, but I’ve had better luck using blinds made for hunters. The bigger the blind and the more people it can accommodate, the more expensive it is. See this hunting/photography blind.
Beginner Drone – DJI Mavic Mini ($400)
If your looking for one of the most fun and exciting gifts for photographers, consider an entry-level drone. These are fun to fly and have a lot of different uses personally and professionally. The DJI Mavic Mini gets great reviews for ease of use and battery life as well as durability. The pilot will need to get a license from the FAA to fly it legally and may need additional insurance to offer drone services professionally. But drones are fun for the whole family – my 7 year old loves afternoons when we take the drone out to play. Get the Mavic Mini here.
Gimbals add a huge amount of stability to video efforts. A gimbal can also let the videographer grab new and different angles that traditional tripods or hand holding simply don’t allow. Gimbals are expensive, ranking right up there with upgraded lenses in terms of cost. But the DJI Ronin-S 3-Axis Gimbal is a small tool with a ton of capabilities that will take videography to the next level. Check out the DJI Ronin-S here.
Photography At the Summit – A Nature, Wildlife and Conservation Photography Workshop
Visit my home state and former stomping grounds, Jackson, Wyoming, and immerse yourself in all things wonderful Wyoming. Learn about wildlife photography, enjoy our stunning vistas, crystal clear night skies and small-town charm. Learn from and shoot next to some of the best wildlife photographers in the business. The price tag ain’t cheap, but the experience is priceless! Find more info.
Subscriptions – Ongoing gifts for photographers
One of my favorite Christmas movies is Christmas Vacation. The scene where Clark Griswold gets a jelly of the month club instead of his Christmas bonus is one of the most often quoted lines in my family.
“Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.”
If you want to give a gift that keeps on giving the whole year, consider a gift subscription! Ideas include the following:
- Photography related magazines
- Cole’s Classroom Education
- Ashe Design for school and sports templates
- Shootproof (online gallery hosting options)
- Squijoo for portrait templates and marketing material
- Trunk Club or Stitchfix for professional clothes and accessories
- Vimeo for video templates and editing tools
Gift Cards – The Most flexible of gifts for photographers
Gift cards can feel a little impersonable, but they always fit. These are a great idea if you aren’t sure of the exact make or model of gear your photographer needs or if you want to contribute to a big ticket item without footing the whole bill. Below are a few ideas of the stores or sites where photographers would LOVE to spend their money! And don’t forget about local stores and businesses. Support the people who support you!
- Adorama (Photography, electronics and more)
- Ashe Design (School and sports templates)
- Backblaze (online backup service)
- B&H Photo (Photography, electronics and more)
- Crutchfield (Photography, electronics and more)
- Creative Live (Photography education)
- Etsy (Photography themed gifts, templates or gear)
- Flashgear.net (off camera flash equipment)
- Greater than Gatsby (presets and actions)
- Hobby Lobby (props, office décor, stationary, etc.)
- LemonDrop Shop (photography backgrounds)
- LensPro2Go (equipment rentals)
- Luxe Lens (presets and actions)
- Michael’s (crafts, props, stationary, etc.)
- Miller’s (order prints for your home this time, not clients!)
- Moo (super cool custom business cards)
- Newborn Photography Props
- Queensboro Embroidery and Apparel
- R2 (photography backgrounds)
- Vistaprint (print promotional material or themed business items)
Holiday shopping can feel intimidating. But it doesn’t need to be. Check out these ideas for 2019 gifts for photographers and build your wish list, or gift list, for 2019! Happy shopping!