2013 Gift Ideas for Photographers
The holiday season is upon us, and gift ideas are being tossed around. The friends and family of photographers, however, don’t have an easy time. Most photography gear is quite expensive, and we’re picky about our accessories. To make matters worse, it’s difficult for us to come up with economical gift ideas for ourselves. So I’m going to help you out. This article isn’t really for the photographers – it’s for the friends and family of photographers. So after browsing through this list, if you think my suggestions are worthwhile, share them with those who are asking you for gift ideas. All of the headings are clickable for easy shopping.
Gifts Under $100 USD
- ExpoImaging ExpoDisc ($99 USD) – Perhaps the best white balancing system that we’ve seen, this is an absolute must-have for any photographer, but especially for those working in commercial and portrait photography. Two years ago, we got our hands on one, and it is still our favorite white balancing solution. It comes in many sizes for your filter, but you might as well go for the very large 77mm version that can easily be used with any lens. The ExpoDisc is available in Neutral White (which we recommend) and Warm White (both are $99 USD). When in doubt, go Neutral White because you can easily warm an image up in post.
- Manfrotto 681B Monopod ($70 USD) – Tripods are ideal, but they aren’t always feasible. Some facilities won’t permit the use of tripods, or sometimes a tripod isn’t mobile enough for scenarios like sports photography. The Manfrotto 681B is an excellent entry-level aluminum monopod that would be a great asset to any photographer’s field kit.
- Rogue FlashBender – Large ($39.95 USD) – It’s been two years since I got my set of FlashBenders, but the large bender is the one I use the most. It’s an awesome modifier for your mobile kit, which is especially handy for the urban explorers. But it’s talents don’t end there. It doubles as a bounce card, it can be bent into a half-tent for macro photography and you can both bounce and flag the light source with the same modifier (for those non-photographers reading this – trust me, that’s a cool thing).
- Essential Joe McNally Books – If photographer’s were rock stars, Joe McNally would be Mick Jagger. McNally has been around nearly as long, and he’s done it all. He’s photographed celebrities, early space shuttle launches and everything in between. His photographs are used in advertising campaigns, appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. With a resume and experiences like that, you can imagine he has a lot of great stories and wisdom to share. Therefore, I contend that every photographer should read his two most acclaimed books: The Moment It Clicks ($30.68) and Hot Shoe Diaries ($25.35).
Gifts Under $25 USD
- ReadyCap ($16 USD)- A convenient lens cap and filter carrying solution that any photographer will like. We reviewed the ReadyCap a few weeks back and was pleasantly surprised at how much we liked it. Until January 1, 2013, you can get it from their website for an introductory price of $16 USD including the ReadyCap base and one adapter ring.
- LensPen DSLR Pro Kit ($16.95 USD) – We love the LensPen – a great and easy-to-use tool for keeping your lens clean. But this kit also comes with the FilterClear for cleaning filters and the MicroPro for cleaning your eyepiece, all wrapped in a nice little pouch. It’s a must for any camera kit.
- Eneloop 1500ma Rechargeable AA Batteries (About $18 USD) – Well, cameras usually have thier own battery packs, but most camera flashes use AA batteries. Regular rechargeable batteries don’t last long under the power of a flash. Eneloop batteries, however, are Ni-MH and they last a long time. Not only do they hold their charge a long time, but they also hold their total capacity throughout the years. You can get eight batteries or a pack of four batteries with a charger for about $18 USD.
- OP/TECH Lens Wraps ($10-13 USD) – A great replacement for lens bags: Lens Wraps are an excellent way to provide some extra padding for your lenses while they are stashed in the camera bag. They’re quite versatile, able to cradle not only lenses, but flashes and other accessories. They’re easy to use and they offer more protection than your typical lens case. Any photographer on the move would appreciate Lens Wraps.
- Film Roll Thumb Drive ($20 USD) – This 4 Gigabyte thumb drive is made out of recycled 35mm film cartridges. There will come a day when many will not be able to recognize the 35mm film cartridge for what it represents, but even an exclusively digital photographer will have respect and appreciation for these gems.