Finding appropriate gifts for portrait photographers can be tricky, so if you’re looking for some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. We have some neat gift suggestions that are sure to please any portraitist, from beginner to pro.
While most portrait photographers already have their tried-and-true studio configuration, that doesn’t mean you can’t gift them with a nice strobe. We recommend Profoto’s A2, a monolight that is somewhere between an on-camera flash and a larger studio strobe with the right mix of size and power. Outputting up to 100Ws, this little guy will complement any preëxisting setup as a solid fill or hair light, and is great for run-and-gun applications. It is notably compatible with Profoto’s fabulous CLIC modifiers, which are worth browsing if you want to accessorize.
Supplementing your light sources with modifiers is a keystone of portrait photography. You might consider gifting an umbrella, softbox, or beauty dish to round out a studio setup. Barndoors and grids are also great options, or a mini softbox if your giftee enjoys working with their on-camera flash. If you plan to give a light modifier, make sure you know the size, make, and model of the strobes they will be used with, as well as any space constraints in the studio.
Read More: Choosing a Modifier for Portraits
Westcott Eyelighter 3
The Eyelighter 3 from Westcott is practically a portraitist must-have, especially if you do headshots. This reflector features an arc-shaped design that naturally mimics the curvature of the human eye, resulting in breathtaking catchlights that your subjects will love. While silver is the most popular fabric for the distinct look it creates, users can also use the reversible black, sunlight, and white fabrics to achieve their desired lighting effect. This reflector assembles and tears down easily, so it is a great option to take on-location.
A battery grip might not be the flashiest gift for a portrait photographer, but it is sure to be one of the most practical. This accessory is useful because it extends the battery life of your camera while improving its ergonomics, especially when shooting in portrait orientation. Many grips also have well-positioned buttons to access your camera’s most essential features easily, contributing to a more comfortable shooting experience.
Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8 Lens
While you might be inclined to stick with your preferred portrait lenses, you can always shake things up with an effects lens like Lensbaby’s Velvet 85mm f/1.8 Lens. This uniquely short telephoto lens produces a mid-20th century-inspired image quality that is well-suited to portraiture. We would describe the overall look as dreamy or velvety, emanating a distinct glow that you dial-in with your aperture. This lens definitely has a learning curve, so we like it as a gift for experienced portrait photographers.
Backdrops are an important part of portrait photography, which is why a simple Background System Kit can be a great gift for new portraitists. This complete system from Impact features a versatile combination of black, white, and chroma green muslins, as well as a support system and carrying bags. Throw in some gaffer tape, a sandbag or two, and a handful of clamps, and you have a professional setup that’s ready to roll.
Read More: Choosing a Backdrop for Portraits
Nanlite PavoTube II 6C
You might consider spicing up your portraiture with an RGB tube light that can be used for anything from fill to hair light, or even as a key light in a pinch. We like Nanlite’s PavoTube II 6C, which is compact enough to travel with and super easy to use. With a CCT range of 2700 to 7500K and the full color spectrum in RGB mode, this light can be useful in practical and creative capacities when shooting portraiture. We recommend pairing it with a light stand and an egg crate to optimize its performance for portraiture.
Photo Imaging Software
We all hate buying software, but someone’s got to do it, right? Giving a portraitist a year-long subscription to their preferred photo imaging software can allow them to shop for the stuff they really want, which might be the greatest gift of all.
Godox Lux Senior Retro Camera Flash
If you’re looking for a statement gift, this Lux Senior Retro Camera Flash from Godox might be your perfect match. Fully kitted out with dials, knobs, and an unfolding flash parabola, this surprisingly diminutive strobe delivers a stronger light well-suited for portraits and fashion photography. It is a great choice for portrait photographers looking to try their hand at old-school shooting, or for those who simply appreciate an eccentric piece. It is definitely a head turner, so be prepared to answer all kinds of questions including, “Will you take my picture?”
Portrait photographers, did we leave out your favorites? Share your recommendations in the Comments section, below.