Last minute Christmas gift ideas for Photographers
What to buy to keep the photographer in your life happy
Keen photographers can be difficult people to buy presents for at Christmas. While it’s often easy to guess what they’d like to find under the tree on Christmas Morning, these ideal items are likely beyond the budget for most common households. With camera bodies, lenses, high-spec flashguns and studio lights off the menu, concerned spouses, siblings and parents across the globe must find inspiration for gift ideas elsewhere. Luckily, since photography is such a broad subject, with multiple genres and specialisms, there are countless accessories and ‘add-ons’ to be found, that can make thoughtful and genuinely useful presents. He we have provided an inventory of the best products to consider for your shopping list, each of which will find a place in any photographer’s kitbag, effectively helping to improve their creative results from day one.
An enthusiast or semi-professional photographer can never have too many memory cards. As common camera resolutions continue to increase, the file sizes they output grows in parallel, meaning cards fill up more quickly, introducing another aspect to worry about when out-in-the-field: running out of memory capacity. The last thing any photographer wants is to be conscious of saving potential frames for later, in case a better shot materialises. 8GB cards can be found for between £5-10, so a couple of these will make an affordable, but welcome stocking filler.
Quick release (QR) plates are accessories which enable a camera or lens to be attached to a tripod head. If a photographer operates multiple cameras, which they may choose to do to save time changing lenses, a useful present would be a selection of spare plates that they can place on each of their cameras. This allows instant switching and fewer missed shots. Always check that the plate(s) you buy are compatible with their tripod system, information which can be found by researching the tripod head make and model.
Storage is also an ongoing challenge on the image archiving front. A photographer can produce tens of thousands of images per year and with RAW files often in the range of 20-30MB, hard drive space can be depleted quickly. External HDD’s come in a range of types and capacities; today it is advisable to buy models with at least 500MB of storage, however, 1TB drives can be found for as little as £50 and offer greater longevity.
Not every photographic effect can be replicated in Photoshop – polarising filters and ND (Neutral Density) filters remain essential accessories for landscape photographers. For beginners who own standard lenses with 52mm filter threads, good quality filters can be found for between £30-50, although larger diameter models can be comparatively expensive. If this is the case and the person you are buying for owns larger types, consider treating them to adaptor rings, which will allow them to place these on multiple threads. Expect to pay around £10.
Since they’re going to need somewhere to put all of their new accessories, you should also consider investing in an add-on bag or pouch for your photographer. Most bag manufacturers produce smaller pouches and accessory storage units that affix to a larger main bag via a unique clip-system. Lens pouches are firm favourites as are tripod holsters, all of which range in price, starting around £15 and above.
6-Lens cleaning kits
A simple but vital asset, cleaning kits often come equipped with micro-fiber cloths, optical wipes and blower brushes, for gently removing dust and dirt from glass and LCD surfaces. Always welcome to outdoor shooter.
Portrait photographers using external speedlights love these accessories, as they quickly and easily control the colour of the light from their flashes. Bought in sets, they clip over the flash head to create bold coloured lighting effects or to subtly warm the light, to flatter skin tone. Try starting with a CTO gel (Colour Temperature Orange) for the latter function, as these will often receive the most use.
Surprisingly affordable, a set of radio triggers can be sourced for approximately £35 and truly add versatility to any flashgun system. Often bought as a duo of Transmitter and Receiver, radio triggers reliably control off-camera flashes, allowing creative use of directional lighting and exposure. Look for units with at least 4 channels and a 100 meter range.
9-Macro (close-up filters)
A special type of filter, these screw onto the front of any lens and produce a magnifying effect, for more detailed close-up images. A true macro lens can cost up to £1000, but these will set you back between £35 and £100 and offer good image quality in a more portable package. A perfect gift for anyone experimenting with macro imagery.
10-A subscription to Digital Photographer!
What photography wish list would be complete without this essential accessory for enthusiast and pro photographers? Every month DP reveals more pro ‘tricks-of the-trade’ that are relatable and can be immediately put to use, to create next-level imagery. What sets the magazine apart from other titles on the market is the focus on real-world scenarios – offering techniques for the working photographer, to allow them to expand their business and stand out from the competition. Buy a subscription for someone you care about this Christmas and we know they’ll love it!