Yes that time of year is here where you have to think of a gift for your photography loving friend or loved one, the one who seemingly has everything! I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favorite gift priced goodies in no particular order and various price points so you’re sure to find something suitable and easily available.
1 – Wacom Bamboo Capture Pen & Touch Tablet – $70
Wacom’s newest tablets combine their tried and trusted digital pens with touch technology to make editing images swifter and far less mundane. Control positioning or zooming with hand gestures and edit with the precision of the pen. Once you use a Wacom tablet there is simply no going back, it’s a workflow changing experience and the receiver of your gift will be kicking their mouse to the trash can faster than they can say ‘thanks for the awesome gift!’. The great thing about this version is that’s it’s also highly portable so it works well with a laptop and if they decided to upgrade to a larger variation in the future then the Bamboo can live in the laptop bag for travel.
Availability – Approx $70 on Amazon.
2 – Really Right Stuff TFA-01 Pocket Tripod – $98
Pocket tripods can be though of as a gimmick, something only necessary for people who don’t have a larger standard sized tripod. Well I’m here to bust that myth! There’s many occasions in today’s security obsessed environment when a tripod isn’t allowed into a particular location. In all those locations though you are almost certain to be allowed a pocket sized ‘pod. They can be used to take the weight of the camera on a flat surface or to brace yourself against a wall, a usage many people forget about. Until RRS came along with the TFA-01 though, the pocket tripods on the market sucked. They were cheap and nasty cash grab items with zero thought put into them. I recently spend some time in the B&H store playing with a range of pocket tripods with one of the store clerks. When we actually tested them and I pointed out their floors even he was at a loss as to what to suggest to me. The fact is that all were designed to only operate in the fully splayed position. Only at that point did the feet flatly contact the surface and provide stability and grip. But that meant you have to find only a perfectly flat surface. With the TFA-01 though, the rubber tops to the feet wrap around the leg ends and provide grip at many angles. Problem solved !
Availability – $98 only from RRS’ online store
3 – Datacolor SpyderCube – $50
Getting great doesn’t always happen automatically, especially in tricky mixed lighting situations. A grey-card can be useful for calibrating white balance but it doesn’t necessarily help for setting black and white points. That’s where the SpyderCube comes it! Snap a photo of this before you start each shoot and you’ll have a reference to work from when you get back to your favorite editing software. Since it has grey, black and while on the cube you can calibrate everything to perfection. One of my favorite features is that the colors of the cube sides are no simply painted on, they run right through into the plastic so you don’t need to worry about it getting scratched off the surface! This is a perfect stocking stuffer.
Availability – $50 from Amazon
4 – Canon or Nikon Coffee Lens Mug – $20->$30
These started popping up a couple of years ago but now there are many variations available to suit either a Canon or Nikon shooter. Make sure you get the right one!
Availability – Amazon carries a great selection of these from a variety of vendors. Pick a long zoom or a wide zoom lens mug!
5 – Really Right Stuff MTX Tool – $50
Buying camera support gear is sort of like buying IKEA furniture in that everything comes with a tool. The problem is that unlike IKEA, every tool is different and you’re soon left with a draw full of hex keys of both metric and imperial sizing. Really Right Stuff, who make the finest support gear themselves, have taken it upon themselves to solve this problem by creating a bespoke photographers tool. Perhaps the first of its kind. It contains all the bits you need for all your tripods, ballheads and clamps but also has a 3/8-16 thread on top and socket on the bottom allowing you to use it as a camera support itself ! You can even use it with a tabletop tripod to extend its size. These are so awesome I’ve ordered one for every camera bag I own. Think of it like a Swiss Army Knife for photographers.
Availability – $50 and only available directly from RRS on their online store.
Please click on through to page 2 to find #6 – #10 in our holiday gift guide!
6 – Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It by Scott Kelby – $25
Quite simply, Scott is a master author with more photography books than anyone else I know of. If you know someone of an intermediate photography standard who wants to start using more studio equipment for their portrait photography then this is the book they should be reading!
From the back of the book:
Scott Kelby, the world’s #1 best-selling author of photography books, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Photoshop User magazine, and Publisher of the just-released Light It magazine, has reinvented how lighting books are written by finally revealing the entire process from start to finish. You see everything from the complete lighting setup (and all the gear used), to the shoot (including all the camera settings and a contact sheet of the progression of the shoot), to the all-important part that most books don’t dare include-the post-processing and retouching in Photoshop. This book also breaks new ground in the visual way it teaches you the lighting setup. There aren’t any sketches or 3D models-you see the lighting layout in a full-page photo, taken from above during the live shoot, so you can see exactly where everything’s positioned (the subject, the photographer, the lighting, the background-you name it-you see it all). Plus, you’ll see side, over-the-shoulder, and more behind-the-scenes views, so you can absolutely nail the lighting every time.
Availability – $25 from Amazon
7 – Custom SLR Glide Strap – $65
DSLR shoulder straps are an antiquated design. I have a draw full of the standard straps that come with cameras and they are all still in their plastic wrap. Neoprene, stretchy straps are the way to go and Custom SLR make some of the best ones. They absorb the bumps and shocks of your camera taking the strain off your shoulders and after a long day with a camera you can instantly feel the difference. The Glide Strap also allows the camera to hang comfortably by your side , ready at a moments notice but not in your way like a camera that’s carried on your chest.
Availability – $65 from Amazon
8 – Photographically Speaking – $25
David DuChemin has written a wonderful series of books over the last few years but I most enjoyed Photographically Speaking. Instead of concentrating on techniques, it looks at why we like an image from a deeper perspective. David examines many of his own travel images , walking the reader though the subtle points that make each one work. A must read for any level of photographer.
To quote from the back of the book:
Photographically Speaking is about learning photography’s visual language to better speak to why and how a photograph succeeds, and in turn to consciously use that visual language in the creation of our own photographs, making us stronger photographers who are able to fully express and communicate our vision.
Availability – $25 from Amazon
9 – Rogue FlashBender – $30
For $30 this is perhaps the most versatile accessory you can get someone that likes to shoot with strobes. Bend it in all directions to create a bounce card, snoot, flag or directional control for your strobe. The FlashBender attaches to your strobe with a hook and loop strap that stays on the flash so it’s always ready. If you know someone who like to experiment with flashes then this is a fabulous gift that will have many uses for years to come.
Availability – $30 from Amazon
10 – Think Tank Retrospective 5 Shoulder Bag – $137
Think Tank bags are among my favorite and in particular they do a great job of making a functional photo bag that doesn’t actually look like a camera bag. Most people don’t want to roam the streets with a bag that screams ‘ I’m full of expensive gear’ and the Retrospective series from Think Tank Photo gives a stealthy look in style. The bag is constructed of a sand washed canvas material that wears well and will last a lifetime. In fact with mine I have found as it ages, like a good pear of jeans, it just gets better and better. This Retrospective 5 is perfect for a Rangefinder system or a compact mirrorless system like Sony NEX, Canon EOS-M or Micro Four Thirds. It’ll hold a camera and 2-4 lenses depending on their size, with more room for accessories in a variety of pockets.
Availability – From Think Tank’s online store following this link will also give you a FREE gift at checkout which you can also include with the bag to make an even better gift!
Like what you read?