Christmas is coming quickly. What are you getting for the photographers in your life? If you’re at a loss for ideas, then check out the following list. Fill their stockings with a selection of gifts that are not only meaningful but handy to have around. Each of these items are things that nearly any photographer will find invaluable!
Camera straps are one of those things that photographers don’t always splurge on for themselves because they’re too busy saving for some other piece of gear. What’s more, there are so many options to choose from. Opt for a personalized camera strap, look for a nicely padded strap, leather straps or colorful cloth straps. This is one gift that you can truly tailor to the photographer. Just make sure that you look for straps with metal clips. These provide a much more secure hold to the camera than the straps that come with plastic sliders.
Photography books are always a good idea – though you might double check the photographer’s library first to make sure that you aren’t gifting duplicates. Instructional books are always nice, even for advanced photographers because we all need a little refresher sometimes (and each book will have its own special wisdom that others don’t necessarily have). Another great option is a coffee table book packed with photographs from renowned photographers.
3. A Lenspen
Lenspens are nifty little tools with a retractable brush on one end and a soft cleaning tool on the other end. Most photographers keep a Lenspen in their gear bag for cleanup on the go. Best of all, this is a foolproof gift. Even if the photographer in your life already has a Lenspen or three, these tools have a habit of getting lost or broken. Spares are always nice to have.
4. A Multi-Tool
The Leatherman tool is the original multi-tool, a tool that is designed to double as pliers, a pocket knife and a few other foldable tools like screwdrivers and hand-saws, all in one. It’s the Swiss Army knife’s cousin, but even more versatile – and there are many brands of multi-tool out there, too, some of which aren’t as expensive as the Leatherman. The multi-tool is one of those items that the photographer didn’t know he or she needed until they finally received one. It’s a complete package, one that allows a photographer to trim stray twigs out of a shot, bend rigging wires or make a quick fix to a piece of gear.
These are those little flashlights that you wear on your head. They’re perfect for nighttime photography because they give you a hands-free way to illuminate camera controls and gear. Some of these headlamps, particularly the higher end varieties, are incredibly bright. In a pinch, they can double as off-camera lighting if the photographer needs to spotlight something or add just a touch more brightness.
6. A Lightscoop
Oh, the frustration of being on location and you either didn’t bring your off-camera flashes, you forgot the batteries, the batteries are dead or the flashes just aren’t working for any number of reasons. Maybe you didn’t expect to need a flash so you simply didn’t bother bringing your lighting kit. That’s where a Lightscoop comes in handy. These gadgets are designed to work with a DSLR’s on-camera flash so that the photographer can bounce light off a ceiling or wall. Lenscoops are compact enough to go in a photographer’s everyday gear bag and they’re inexpensive enough to make a great stocking stuffer.
Made by the same manufacturer that makes those handy, flexible Gorilla tripods (which are another great stocking stuffer if your photographer doesn’t already have a couple of Gorilla tripods of his or her own), these lights prove indispensable in the field. Wrap one around a tree branch to provide a bit of extra lighting or if you are shooting at night and can’t see to make adjustments to your gear, set one of these up to provide light to work by.
8. Rain Sleeves
Rain sleeves are one of those just-in-case items that many photographers carry to protect their cameras should it happen to rain while they’re out in the field. Rain sleeves are also something that tends to get lost, left behind, torn – you name it. In other words, you can never have too many rain sleeves, which makes them a great stocking stuffer!
If you happen to know which model camera the photographer in your life uses, then you’re in luck! There are lots of small, inexpensive items that you can get as stocking stuffers. Memory cards top that list but extra batteries are always handy, too. You may also consider more specialized items like a car charger for the batteries, an extender for the camera’s viewfinder or a remote shutter release.
10. Lens Cap Keepers
Lost lens caps are an all-too-common phenomenon. Lens cap keepers are an inexpensive way to keep track of those lens caps! These little devices are pretty simple: An elastic band that goes around the lens with a bit of string and an adhesive pad that attaches to the lens. Not only are lens cap keepers handy but as far as stocking stuffers go, they’re inexpensive, too.
Whether the photographer is on a prolonged trip or he simply forgot to charge his batteries before leaving (or forgot the batteries entirely, which happens more than I’d like to admit!), a portable battery charger is a handy thing to have. These days, there are all kinds of models. Anker is a popular brand but there are portable battery chargers in all shapes and sizes. Look for one that can do double duty, charging not only a smartphone or tablet but also camera batteries as well.
There are many more stocking stuffer ideas for photographers but these are all things that almost every photographer will be able to put to use in the field. Round up two or three of these items and the photographer in your life will surely be delighted with your thoughtful gift!