19 Of The Most Desirable Gifts For Photographers
Gifts for photographers. There are tons of them available, from the very useful, to the silly, right to the possibly annoying.
If you do need to buy a gift for a photographer, it’s easy to find one. The choice is getting bigger everyday as new items are being developed.
Some items promoted as gifts for photographers are anything but. Here I’m only going to list items that are useful to photographers.
Leave camera shaped mugs and watches where they are. They’ll eventually find their way where they belong, in the bin.
It’s unlikely that any photographer has too much gear, no matter how much they have. If they do, there will definitely be a useful photography book they don’t have.
The photographs used in this article are all mine, and show some of my own gear.
They are merely to brighten the article, and are not provided by any of the merchants with whom I’m affiliated.
There are some affiliate links on this page. If you click one, and make a purchase, I will get a small payment. It wont cost you any more than if you went directly to the site.
1. Get ON1 Photo RAW for a photographer
The best format for photographs is RAW. The files of RAW photographs retain much more information than JPEGs.
That means that there’s much more to work with when processing them, giving a potentially better edit.
RAW files do need to be processed, they’re only data until they are.
ON1 Photo Raw is a perfect tool for the job.
It’s marketed as an alternative to Lightroom, one of the most popular photo editors.
While Lightroom is subscription only, you buy ON1 Photo RAW and it’s yours forever.
Lightroom is also cloud based while ON1 Photo RAW lives on your hard drive.
ON1 Photo Raw is an excellent programme.
2. A Flashgun is a very useful gift
A Flashgun, or Speedlight are the same thing. They make great gifts for photographers.
It’s a light unit that fits onto the hot shoe of a camera. It provides an alternative flash of light to the built in unit.
They can be swivelled and the light bounced off a ceiling or wall. Always bounce it off a white surface.
A Flashgun can also used off camera. That’s done either by a cable, or a transmitter and receiver, one on the camera, and one on the light.
They’re better than a camera’s built in flashlight, and a really useful addition to a photographer’s gear.
Flashguns on Adorama.
Flashguns on Amazon.
3. A photographer could love a Monopod
A Monopod is similar to a Tripod but has only 1 leg rather than 3. It’s used to steady a camera when taking a shot.
It’s easier to assemble than a Tripod and takes up less room.
The entire Monopod plus camera can rotate to take a photo.
It’s very useful for sports and wildlife photography.
A Monopod is easier to transport, quicker to assemble, and sometimes better than a Tripod in outdoor situations.
Monopods on Adorama.
Monopods on Amazon.
4. Smart Phone or Cell Phone
Most people have a Smart Phone by now so it’s unlikely you’ll buy someone their first one.
There are two things about them that can make them a useful gift for a photographer though.
The first is that they’re evolving at a pace. If someone has one that’s even a year old, there’s probably ones with higher spec cameras available now.
Another reason is that they’re not the most durable of machines. They’re level of performance tends to start dropping after a few years.
Most photographers still use cameras but most will also like a Smart Phone. It’s easier to always have with them with you.
Smartphones on Adorama.
Smartphones on Amazon
Smartphones on DealExtreme.
5. D P S Photography Course or eBook
Digital Photography School is one of the best Photography blogs anywhere online.
Over the years they’ve created great photography courses and published equally good photography ebooks.
Among the courses they have on offer are;
Landscape and Nature Photography Course.
31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer.
Their ebooks include;
Fast Flash For Portrait Perfection.
The Art Of Self-Portraiture.
There’s a whole lot more than that, and well worth a look. They make great gifts for photographers.
Check out the Books and Courses at Digital Photography School.
6. Memory Card make great gifts for photographers
Memory Cards are one of the most vital pieces of a photographers kit.
When the photographs have been taken until they’re transferred elsewhere, the live only on the Memory Card.
Loss of or damage to any other piece of equipment will not lose the photos. Loss or damage to the Memory Card will.
They’re very small and may not look like great gifts but most photographers will appreciate one.
They used to be very expensive, but the price of Memory Cards has fallen, recently so they’ve become more affordable.
Memory Cards on Adorama.
Memory Cards on Amazon.
7. Medium Format Camera
Medium Format Cameras seemed to be an expensive and indulgent camera just a few years ago.
However with some other manufacturers producing more affordable models recently, that’s not the case any more.
They are excellent cameras that any photographer would love, and may be able to afford now.
Bigger cameras have bigger sensors. They can have more megapixels AND/OR bigger megapixels.
Bigger megapixels contain more detail meaning better quality photographs.
The biggest cameras available are Medium Format Cameras, and take the best quality photographs.photographs.
Medium Format Cameras on Adorama.
8. Fingerless Gloves, a thoughtful gifts for photographers
These are particularly useful to outdoor and night photographers. Even photographer who don’t usually practice these types of photography might find occasional use for them.
Normal gloves with fingers are warmer, but it’s hard to handle a camera wearing them.
With fingerless gloves, it’s easier to use a camera, and most of the hands are warm.
In winter or at night, they can make photography easier and for longer.
Fingerless Gloves on Adorama.
Fingerless Gloves on Amazon
9. Joby Gorillapod
One of the most useful, or even essential bits of photography equipment, is a tripod.
Normal tripods are big, a little awkward, and need to stand on flat ground.
Sometimes photo opportunities present themselves that require a stabilisation devise, but not a standard tripod.
Such a devise is a Jogy Gorillapod. It is a tripod, but with flexible legs.
It holds a camera absolutely steady, but the legs can wrap around things.
This allows it to be attached to a gate, a post, a railing, or other similar things. Held tight like this, it makes impossible photos almost routine.
Joby Gorillapods on Adorama.
Joby Gorillapods on Amazon.
10. Camera Straps are so useful
Cameras generally come with a strap, which are always adequate, but not always exciting.
These straps usually have the brand name prominently displayed.
Some people like to get either a stronger or better looking one, that’s unbranded.
It’s not only important to have a strap on your camera, it’s equally important to use it.
When the camera slips out of your grip, when in use, and gets smashed, it’s too late to use use it then.
One could be a great gift for a photographer.
Camera Straps on Adorama.
Camera Straps on Amazon.
11. Camera Microphone for those who shoot video
More and more photographers are shooting video as well as still photographers.
There are few if any digital cameras that aren’t capable of shooting video.
It’s unlikely that a serious photographer wouldn’t have a camera that couldn’t shoot serious video.
The cameras also have the capability of recording sound with the video.
However, the sound quality is not always as good as the video should have.
A good microphone can add more than it’s cost to video capability of top class cameras.
Camera Microphones on Adorama.
Camera Microphones on Amazon.
12. Remote Shutter Release
A Remote Shutter Release is a great gift for someone who uses a tripod, and doesn’t have one. It’s useless for someone who always shoots handheld.
They come either as an electronic remote unit, or one to be attached by cable.
The electronic unit gives greater options, but both are very useful for tripod assisted photography.
Just make sure that it’s compatible with the photographers camera.
Remote Shutter Release on Adorama.
Remote Shutter Release on Amazon.
13. Exposure X5
This is software that processes RAW images. It also works with other file formats including TIFF, JPEG and PSD.
It works both as a standalone application os as a Photoshop plug-in. Not everyone wants to use Photoshop so this is a viable alternative.
Exposure 4 is an advanced RAW editor that provides great creativity, speed and reliability.
It doesn’t require a subscription.
Just click to try Exposure X5 FREE today.
14. A Film Camera to roll back the years
The era of the film camera being the only option and therefore the go to camera is definitely over. Yet there are some film cameras still being manufactured.
There are many fine used film cameras still to be got also. Most camera shops have a few for those who want one.
Load a roll of film into a camera, and you’re limited to the number of shots it contains. That’s usually 24 or 36.
This limitation slows you down and makes you take care over each shot. The film roll can only be used once.
With digital a memory card holds many more images. When you download them you can reformat the memory card and use it again.
I doubt if any photographer would ditch their digital cameras and go back to film. However I expect most would like a film camera to use occasionally.
It may be possible to get a good used camera of the same make as their digital cameras. Even better if you got one that can use the same lenses.
I use Canon EOS DSLRs. Last year I found a 30 year old camera compatible camera. It can use my new lenses and I use a lens that came with it with my digital cameras.
The photograph shows the pre-owned film camera I bought last year. I think it’s the best bargain I ever got.
Film Cameras on KEH.
15. SmugMug for a portfolio website
If the photographer you want to buy a gift for has lots of photographs, but no website, give them one. Give them a SmugMug website.
These sites are great for portfolios of a photographers work.
They can store and show off their photos. There’s also a facility to sell them, and they look so well too.
As well as selling the photos, they can be printed and sold on a range of gifts.
They’ve also got a facility on their site to give a gift of a SmugMug website making it easy.
Learn about SmugMug here.
16. Camera Cleaning Kits are nice gifts for photographers
Dust and dirt can get onto lenses and sensors. It can be tricky cleaning them, and you must take care to do it without harming the equipment.
There are cleaning kits available to do the job. Just read the instructions and do it right. It can be expensive if you do make a mistake.
These are something every photographer should have. Most do, but it is easy to forgot to get one.
Even if the photographer has one, they do get worn, and a new one will probably be appreciated.
Camera Cleaning Kits on Adorama.
Camera Cleaning Kits on Amazon.
17. Reflectors for portrait photographers
Reflectors are used to reflect some light back in parts of an impending photograph, that are in shade. They avoid shadows that will be too dark.
Usually they’re used for portraits, mostly outdoors. Sunlight comes from one direction. A reflector bounces light back to avoid strong shadows on the unlit side of the sitter.
They are positioned out of shot, and at an angle to direct the light where it’s required.
It’s also possible to use them indoors, when a subject is being lit by natural light through a window. In this instance the photo could be a still life as well as a portrait.
Reflectors on Adorama.
Reflectors on Amazon.
18. Flash Drive for more than photographs
A Flash Drive may not be the most exciting present to give someone, but it might be something they need.
The photographer might regard as a good present to get. They’re something a photographer will never have too many of.
A Flash Drive, also called a Memory Stick. is different to a Memory Card.
The Memory Card fits inside a Camera and records photographs as they’re being taken.
A Flash Drive stores data, including photographs off line. They can be used to transfer data between computers.
I have a desktop and a laptop, and use a Memory Stick to transfer files between them.
Flash Drives on Adorama.
Flash Drives on Amazon.
19. A Tripod Head can be welcome
Tripods generally come with a head, although you can buy the stand and head separately.
There are different types of head available. When bought separately any of the various heads can be matched with the legs.
Sometimes a photographer can have a complete tripod, but in hindsight might desire a different head.
If you want to buy a photographer a gift of a Tripod Head, check with them what they’d like.
There might be one they’d love to get, and another they don’t.
Tripod Heads on Adorama.
Tripod Heads on Amazon.
When buying a gift for a photographer
Some of the items listed above can be bought as gifts for photographers without consultation or investigation.
Things like Cleaning Kits, Fingerless Gloves or Memory Sticks are safe gifts. These are always useful, even if the photographer has them already.
Just check that they don’t have a particular Photography Book before buying it. Provided they don’t, most Photography Books would be very welcome.
Items like Monopods or Reflectors should only be bought, if they don’t have them, or they need replacing.
If you want to buy a new Camera, Lens or Filters, check with the photographer.
Check that they want the item, and which one.
It wouldn’t do to buy a lens they already had, or one for a different brand of camera.
Equally bad would be buying a camera body to use with several lenses of a different make.
All photographer like new gear, but only what they want or need, not what’s incompatible or useless to them.
The items listed in this article range in price so you can spend what you like on these gifts for photographers.