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2015 Holiday Gift Guide

A lot of us are just coming out of the fog of Christmas photography rush orders and holiday shipping deadlines for photo products. We finally have time to breathe, and browse, and shop! I’ve put together a list of gifts that I’d personally recommend that hopefully, a little bit different than other lists you’ve seen. Of course, some are super fun repeats, but I’d be delighted to hear if one of these items tickles you. Let me know in the comments.

Lets start with some fun Because we all need fun!

Fun

PolaRoll

polaroll
This retro camera toilet paper holder is keeping me rolling with laughter… My friend, Melissa McClure told me about this. Shes a wedding photographer and has a retro style that is to die for. When she showed me this, I seriously laughed out loud. Now, it doesn’t fit in with my bathroom decor, but Im seriously tempted to make an entire bathroom themed around Polaroid and our Insta culture. You can even get matching toilet paper. This would be the perfect detail for a photography get together. It has been in and out of stock, and the status keeps changing, it obviously is a pretty hot seller this year!

Fujifilm INSTAX MINI

I love this thing. I got an Instax Mini at Photoshop World earlier this year. I went with a cheaper model. It has less control and can’t do double exposures like this one can, but I love the Instax line of products by Fuji. The little photos they print out are the exact size of business cards. Instead of passing out premade cards, I sometimes carry this with me, and take a photo with the person asking, and write down my contact info. It is personal, fun, and very memorable. A total hit. It is one “toy” I’m thrilled that I bought.

Canon Camera Flashlight

The Camera keychain is as a good alternative to the stand by Camera lens mug. I think almost all of us have camera mugs (Last year, I got three from different friends!). There are only so many pencil holders that I can use. Most camera mugs are a novelty and don’t work well for daily drinkers. But if you are looking for a great lens style gift, check out this adorable mini flashlight that Canon sells. We can always use flashlights. From digging in our bags to using them to help autofocus in low light. Flashlights, even small ones like these are very practical. This one is even adorable. Id love it!

Camera Key Chain

CameraKeychainIf the last lens keychain flashlight made you groan, because it is Canon, and youre Nikon, Sony, Fuji, or Panasonic (like Levi Sim). Check out this adorable little camera. I know it doesn’t look like much, but it is so delightful. Ive got 3 of them floating around my house. The sound it makes when triggered is adorable and always makes me smile. My keychain isn’t complete without on. Yeah, it doesn’t take photos. It sure makes whoever I point it at smile a genuine smile and relax. And that is half the battle. Plus, it is cheap enough that your kids can get it for you with their own money. Bonus!
Now that we’ve got the Fun out of the way let’s move on to the more useful items….

USEFUL

Ewa Marine Underwater Bag

EWAMarine

Since this is my list, of things that Id want, or want to give to my friends, Ive got to tell you EWA marine bags have come in handy. They are actually quite easy to use, and unlike hard cases, can fit multiple brands and camera models. It is a great entry into underwater/splash photography and came in handy when I ran, well walked, in one of those chalk throwing 5k runs. Similar environment to the Holi festivals. 100% a worthwhile purchase for anyone who lives in with or under water. I’ve used three of them and currently own this one.

ME FOTO TRIPOD

I bought my first MeFoto on a whim. It was one of my favorite impulse purchases. I have the one pictured, the BackPacker in purple, and it is my go-to tripod. I know it says it is designed for smaller cameras, but I’ve had no shake issues using a 5dm3, and a wide angle lens. It comes with its own bag and packs up REALLY Short. I actually can throw it in the bottom of my rolling suitcase. It has saved my rear more than once. Yes, it isn’t a tripod that Id take out into the Amazon to record beautiful long exposure waterfalls in a tropical storm, but it is one that Ill take with me to an event, so I can grab a longer exposure detail shot that rocks my clients world. Plus, it looks cute and makes people smile. I love that it isn’t black, and it doesn’t get lost as easily in the sea of black gear. Getting the RoadTripper custom multicolor tripod is on my personal list to Santa hint. hint

Ju-Ju-Be Fuel Cell

That last photo made me hungry. But, I’ve started to actually put my camera in a lunch sack. The Ju-Ju-Be Fuel Cell is my go to bag insert when I’m just bringing along one camera and lens. I have more than one, as they have so many fun patterns. I love camera bags that don’t look like camera bags. I have talked to people who stick their lenses in socks when they travel, so they don’t get dinged up. This is far better. If Im just bringing my DSLR and one lens, Ill stick my camera in this Ju-Ju-Be Fuel Cell. It is supposed to be an insulated lunch bag made by a diaper bag company, but the insulation, the secure zipper closure, strong handle with clasp and the fantastic size, 7″W x 9″H x 4.25″, make it incredibly perfect for handling a pro-sized DSLR. Something a lot of the smaller bags designed for cameras don’t often do well. Protection without bulk, and it is stylish on top of it. It would make a fantastic gift for the photographer on the go, even if they just used it for their lunch!

Brother Label Maker

In 2012, LenzBuddy came out. A customizable lens cap. They come in different colors, and they really look amazing especially when youre always leaving your lens caps places. I think Id save back the money I spend in replacement of caps with personalized branded lens caps that found their way home to me.

But My solution, even before I discovered LenzBuddy was a label maker. I label the back of all my memory cards with my name, phone number, and e-mail, and REWARD IF FOUND. I also Label the front of my memory cards, A, B, C, D, E. In the order that Ill use them at an event and wedding. That way, Ill know if one is missing in its case right away, and Ill also not stick in a card that has been used earlier that day.

I also label the tops of my rear-lens caps, with the name of the lens. That way, without having to fumble, I can look down and see if Im grabbing my 35 or my 135 out of my bag. Fantastic gift, and so very practical.

Bag of Rice

bagofPopcornsmall
If you are really procrastinating, and you’re somewhat handy or creative. A great gift you can give a photographer from a hobbyist to a pro would be a bag of rice. Yup. A bag of rice. It isn’t a white elephant gift, I promise. This might seem like a funny gift, but it is 100% practical for a photographer. We often do want to set our cameras down for a selfie or a long exposure. A bag filled with rice is a great surface to set your camera on, and stabilize it for the shot. It will allow you a bit of leeway with getting the proper angle. Yes, the Platypod Pro is amazing and can do the same thing plus more. But with the bag of rice, when all the photos are done, you can stick it in the microwave to heat up and ease your sore muscles. A fantastic gift with multiple uses. Rice is more stable than beans and less messy than sand, so it works well for last minute long exposure photos. I’ve even used a bag of popcorn in a pinch. Plus, if you are like me and really last minute, you can whip this up on Christmas Eve with supplies you have at home. If you are ultra crafty, you could make one in the shape of a camera, or just buy this premade one with camera fabric on Etsy.

Luxury Items

Okay, these Items are the things I drool over. I didn’t feel comfortable with a gift list that ended with a 99c bag of rice. It just felt anti-consumerist, no matter how practical a gift. So, I went all out. Found a few items that are a real luxury, these few items are 100% crave-worthy.

Ona Bags

Ona Bags are amazing. I have the Ona Leather Bowery. Im incredibly picky over camera bags, and this bag is fantastic when I am taking out my mirrorless and one extra lens. Ive fallen in love with this bag. I think you will too. They have a huge variety to choose from, but the Bowery fit my needs, and the leather is really substantial without being too heavy. It is a good quality bag, and very well worth the money. I think it will thrill any photographer.

Moneymaker Strap

Moneymaker3

The Moneymaker Strap by Holdfast Gear. Yes, this is a luxury good. But, it is stylish, and such a perfect gift for the event photographer that caries more than one camera. Ive been working with multiple straps, but this, wow. Ive only heard glowing things. I’d love to try one, and the quality looks amazing.

Northern Lights Trip to Iceland

Duggan Iceland

I came across Sean Duggan through his online tutorials and podcasts on This Week in Photo. His work is amazing, and hes a great teacher. I love learning from him. When I saw that he was hosting a trip to Iceland through Focus on Nature with Chris Orwig, one of my favorite instructors on lynda.com, I was giddy. I have been dreaming about this trip ever since. I decided that I needed to put this trip as the ultimate luxury gift for the photographer. It isn’t cheap, but the experience with these two would make it a fantastic journey. It would be one Id want to cross off my bucket list, and one I wish I was going on!

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