Guess what? You are very lucky to be shopping for a photographer or a photo enthusiast. Do you know why? Because there are a ton of things your special shutterbug needs and wants to add to their passionate pursuit of the ultimate photograph. The other good news is that there are completely useful and thoughtful photography-related gifts for any budget. Yeah!
But, just in case you can't think of what to get the photographer in your life, or if you are a photographer who does not know exactly what to put on your wish list, here are some ideas.
Is your favorite photographer a fan of Adobe Lightroom? Well, the Loupedeck might be the ultimate gift for them. It is a dedicated interface that allows super-fast post-processing adjustments without your mouse, pen and tablet, or keyboard shortcuts.
Unless they are a wide-angle lens junkie, almost every photographer experiences the need to get closer to their subject—usually without getting physically closer. One way to get closer without buying a new lens is with a teleconverter. They have different magnifications and are available in a variety of lens mounts. A warning to the gift-giver: check and double-check compatibility with your photographer's lenses and cameras because teleconverters can get pretty specific.
Let's admit it. Most ugly holiday sweaters are itchy. You need to wear a T-shirt underneath them. Several top brands sell logo T-shirts—perfect for the gear-obsessed fan—and the Kondor Blue shirt comes in short sleeve, long sleeve, and is even designed for lens cleaning. Bonus!
In fact, B&H has an entire lineup of apparel and photo collectibles—pens, umbrellas, drink mugs, cuff links, etc. Feel free to get lost and fill up your shopping cart on those web pages!
The circular polarizing filter remains ultra-relevant in today's digital-photography world simply because it is one of only a few filters whose effects cannot be digitally simulated. The polarizer allows you to darken blue skies, add contrast to clouds, reduce glare, and even see deeper into glare-reflecting water. If you are gifting a polarizing filter, I would recommend three things: 1) get the one that fits the recipient's largest lens. This way he or she can use it on smaller lenses using step-up rings. 2) If they use wide-angle lenses, get a slim filter. And, 3) get a high-quality one. A good polarizer is a life-long photographic partner and, when it comes to filters, price (to a point) indicates quality and performance. The last thing you want to do is give someone an inexpensive filter for an expensive lens.
Step it up a notch (or a lot of notches) with this Singh-Ray 77mm Gold-N-Blue filter. A B&H Photo colleague says that it “does things no conventional polarizer can do” with its variable color features, so I had to test it for myself. It is pretty awesome!
Now here is a gift with practicality that extends well past the photo world—the flashlight. Yawn, right? No! Photographers are often geeky tech nerds and cool, powerful, high-tech flashlights are right up many photographers' alleys. They come in all shapes, sizes, and brightness levels. Whether your photographer is into light painting, or just wants to find his or her way to the kitchen when the power goes out, a flashlight or headlamp makes an awesome gift.
6. Lens-Cleaning Stuff
Believe it or not, your favorite photographer probably uses his or her T-shirt to clean their lens. I will not admit publicly to doing this, but I will tell you that it is not the best solution for your expensive optics, and it makes your T-shirt dirty! Stuff a lens cloth, lens tissues, and some cleaning solution in a box and you have got yourself a super-thoughtful photography gift. And send them this link! Oh, by the way, this stuff works on eyeglasses, binoculars, and telescopes too!
Here is a curveball cleaning product you can give, as well: the Delta 1 Camel Hair Brush is infinitely useful as a cleaning tool for all of your gear.
7. Variable Neutral Density Filter
Here is another useful filter for the photographer's camera kit—the variable neutral density filter (VND). Unlike the polarizer, you can simulate this filter's effects in post-processing, but only if you are a Photoshop maestro! The neutral density filter simply darkens the image and allows you to shoot at a slower shutter speed. This permits motion blur during daylight hours, silky smooth waterfalls, and wave-less seas and rivers to flow through your images. The variable part of the VND filter allows you to dial-in the darkness to your liking and give you precise control of how much movement occurs in the frame.
8. Camera Strap
Doesn't everyone like to advertise the camera make and model they are carrying via their camera strap? I could go off on a tangent about providing free marketing for camera manufacturers, and, if you love your camera, there is no shame in promoting the maker—maybe, if you are lucky, they will cut you a check for your hard work as a mobile billboard (it's definitely in the mail)—but let's just say that there are much better options for carrying a camera than the standard branded shoulder strap that comes with your camera. Seriously. Step up your game with a new-and-better camera strap like the BlackRapid Sport Breathe Camera Strap. Folks around B&H Photo are raving about the Peak Design Leash Camera Strap and the Peak Design Cuff Camera Wrist Strap.
9. Modify Your Flash
The ubiquitous camera flash is nice, but, to help it reach its full potential you can modify the light that it emits. Shaping and controlling light is the key to successful flash photography, but stock camera flashes only have so many included accessories and tools. MAGMOD makes a great line of high-end flash modifiers inside of a modular, versatile system that includes diffusers, bounces, gels, and more. We have other brands, of course, and our full line of modifiers can be found here.
10. Rain Cover
This is a gift that will be unappreciated until it is needed. And then, guess who becomes the hero? You do! Many of today's cameras are weather-proofed and that is a great thing—but it still doesn't help you when you get water drops on your lens or viewfinder. The best way to protect your gear, and keep your optics clean so you can keep shooting, is with a rain cover. They come in all shapes and sizes and some are more rugged than others. Some are glorified plastic bags that you can keep in your camera bag for when the skies open. Others are designed for a lifetime of foul-weather photography.
11. The World's Most Awesome Gift Card
How do I know that the B&H Photo Gift Card is the best gift card in the entire world? I know this because I have put both the standard physical gift card and the electronic version through a thorough hands-on field test. Get one today and, feel free to send me one!
Photographers, tell us, in the Comments section below, what is on your wish list. Those shopping for photographers, feel free to engage us to see if we like your gift ideas, or have suggestions! Thanks for stopping by!