Do you need to buy a gift for a photographer? Here is my yearly list of gift ideas……
Before buying anyone a gift make sure that you know what type of camera that they have. It is no good to buy a lens that fits a Nikon when they shoot Canon. If you are unsure get them a gift certificate.
Lenses/camera – unless someone really needs a new camera it is more important to get better lenses than to get another camera body. A GOOD lens will do far more to improve a photo than a camera body will. Don’t upgrade a camera just to get a new camera, save the money and get some pro lenses it will amaze you the difference. If you are unsure of the type of lens that they want / need then give them a gift card or better yet give them an IOU so they can go any place to get the lens.
Flash – Before buying someone a flash make sure that they want/need it. I know many people that have flashes and never use them. It does not good buying a nature photographer a flash. Also, again make sure you know the camera make and model as some flashes will not work on some cameras. Honestly unless they have asked for a flash specifically I would stay away from this.
Tripod – If you are getting a tripod for someone, get a good quality one. A cheap one will break or move too much, there is a reason that some tripods are $19.00 and some are $200.
Monopod – A cool gift for someone that likes hiking is a walking stick with a tripod head built in. Also, if you have someone that wants a little more stability when shooting a monopod gives that without the weight and size of a tripod. The older I get the more I appreciate a monopod for hiking and taking pictures.
External Hard drive – most people never have enough storage space for pictures. An external hard drive can fix this problem. 2TB’s is a great size for most photographers.
Blank DVD’s – This is one product that most photographers can always use. Again like in other areas get the good ones Sony, TDK, Maxell, Fuji. I would not suggest CD’s any longer as they just do not hold enough.
Hand Warmers – (okay I am a wimp and I admit it) My daughter bought me a set of reusable hand warmers a few years ago, WOW are they nice. Last about 20 minutes and will take the cold off when shooting, or keep with in case of emergency. I also like the one use hand warmers as they get a lot hotter and last longer than the reusable ones.
Warm clothes – (see wimp comment above) – Standing and shooting is different than doing other things outside. If you have someone that likes to shoot outside in cold weather this is great! Warm boots are nice as well. Met up with a photographer in Waterton in September with a heated jacket, another great idea for a gift.
Camera bag/ backpack – Most people have a camera bag that they have outgrown. A new camera bag that holds all the equipment is a great idea.
Photo Course/Adventure/Expedition – (I had to put this in ) One of the top presents that we sell at Christmas are our courses. A location course, studio course or adventure is a great gift. It is a gift that keeps on giving as the knowledge that they get from the course will be with them for a long time.
Frames – Many photographers that I know have lots of pictures but few frames. Some good quality frames are a great gift as they can get pictures printed and have some place to display them.
Prints – Get a image printed and framed for the person on your list (either one of their images or one of your images). There is nothing like opening a gift to find one of your images professionally printed and framed. Or if you are the photographer give some of your images as gifts, it is a lot more personal than a tie, socks or a box of chocolate.
National Park Pass – Have someone that likes to go to Waterton or Banff? Get them a park pass. It will be a gift that they will use all year.
Gas Gift Card – As above it will be something that will help them get out and take some pictures, even if they usually shoot around Lethbridge they will like the fact that they have a tank of gas that they can use to drive around.
Food – I love having something to snack on when shooting so I do not have to take a break and stop at a restaurant. There are so many ideas that you could do such as a bag of trail mix, a box of cookies (home made or store bought), granola bars and more. One photographer that I know got a “road kit” as a present, in the box was snacks, a couple bottles of water, hand wipes and even a gift card for a popular fast food restaurant that they could use if very hungry and it was all done up with a note saying what it was and wishing them happy shooting.
SPOT – For those that like to get away when shooting a SPOT is an emergency locating device that can be used even when there is no cell service. It does require a yearly fee but gives you an idea for future years.
AMA – This is a great gift for ANYONE but even more so for a photographer. The roadside service for running out of gas, needing help to change a tire or even to get a vehicle unlocked.
First Aid / Emergency Kit – Many photographers are out in secluded sites taking pictures and a first aid/ emergency kit is something that you hope they will never need but sure will be appreciated if they need it. I actually make them myself and toss in granola bars, matches, fire starter and a emergency reflective blanket. You could put together a few different items (hand warmers, ready to eat meals, etc) to suit the person that you are giving it to and it could be more than just for emergencies.
Take a photographer out for a day of shooting – I know many of us photographers are antisocial – just joking. Set aside a day, pack a lunch and head out with someone, it could be taking pictures in Lethbridge, going to Waterton or Kananaskis or any place. I had one lady come to one of my courses that said she would love it if her husband would go out with her when she was shooting. Another person came in and bought a day class for their spouse so they would have someone to go out with them and take pictures (the person that bought the class was not able to go out with the photographer) and wanted them to have someone to go to Waterton with them.
Babysit for a day – If you know a photographer that has a little one or two offer to look after the kid(s) for a couple hours or a day so they can get away and take pictures.
Tablet – There are many uses for a tablet when shooting and a good tablet will help the photographer on your list to stay in touch, use apps for tracking the planets, finding out about sunrise and sunsets, and even using the tablet as a viewing tool or remote shutter (if their camera allows that) and much more.
Buying a gift for a photographer on your Christmas list does not have to be expensive, it can actually cost very little with a little thought. I hope the ideas above help you in getting a thoughtful gift for the photographer on your list.