Here it is. I finally found time to make this list as a way to answer all the emails I get from photographer’s spouses who are seeking the perfect gift for their loved one.
It’s hard to buy photo gear as a surprise for someone. That’s because photography is such a gear-driven endeavor that not just ANY camera will do. So rather than pick lots of cameras or lenses, I am mostly focused on accessories.
My criteria were simple: I wanted to pick gifts comprised of gear I actually own/use. I wanted to pick gifts that were a good value for the money. I wanted to pick gifts that were reasonably affordable.
So here’s my list – in no particular order – happy shopping.
If the photographer in your life uses a flash on or off their camera, then be sure to throw this in the gift basket. The Rogue FlashBender Kit is a must-have item. It turns any flash into a real, professional tool. I use mine regularly and love it.
If you’ve got less than $50 to spend, this is a no-brainer choice. My pal Scott Kelby is the number one best-selling author in this category for a reason. He’s an excellent teacher and writer and has a passion for the subject matter. You can’t go wrong with this boxed set. Scott Kelby knows his stuff and wants to share it with every photographer you know.
There are lots of times when photographers want or need a tripod but they don’t have one because it’s just not practical (or allowed) in certain situations. Enter the Gorillapod. I have about a dozen of these things in various assortments and they have saved my bacon more than once. Every photographer needs at least one of these – so sneak through your loved one’s camera bag and if they don’t have one – buy this one for them as a gift. They’ll appreciate it.
The Nikon P7000 is the only camera on the list and it’s a safe bet for anyone who needs a compact camera that shoots pro results. In the right hands, a P7000 can be relied upon to generate publication quality results at a bargain price of less than $500. If you know someone who wants to step up from the cheap point and shoots or who needs a backup camera to support their DSLR, then the P7000 is a great choice. I love mine.
Some of the best outdoor photography happens in weather. And if you want a very affordable but very high-quality rain protector for your shutterbug, this is it. I own several much more expensive rain covers but none more effective as the Opteka.
Whether your photographer uses Aperture, Photoshop or Lightroom, the Nik Software Complete Collection will round out his/her ability to post-process images like a pro. I use this collection every single day. From HDR to black and white conversion, to noise reduction and sharpening, the Nik software does it all and does it well. If I were only allowed one post-processing suite to use beyond Aperture, I’d pick this suite in a heartbeat.
Every photographer needs a reflector at one point in time or another. Lastolite makes some of the best. Their unique TriGrip style is my favorite. It’s very easy to hold and easier to move around to catch the light. It’s affordable and durable and a can’t miss gift for any serious photographer.
Most children are captivated by snow, but how many go on to make it their lifework? This beautiful biography, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, tells the true story of a Vermont farm boy who was mesmerized by snowflakes and who is credited with being the first person to photograph snowflakes.