Ahhhhh, the holidays! The scent of pine, oven roasted turkey, and the endless quest for the perfect gift for the photographer on your shopping list. I will not judge you if the person on your list just so happens to be yourself. We all need to treat ourselves from time to time. To take some of the pain out of your efforts, I have compiled a list of holiday gift ideas for photographers. The list highlights a variety of gifts and gadgets that will have any photographer jumping for joy this holiday season.
The Gnarbox is the perfect gift for photographers on the go. It is a rugged solid state hard drive with a built in interface and card reader that allows for quick backups when on the road and in the field. You can even edit your images and video directly from the the Gnarbox when you connect it to your phone or tablet. The internal hard drive comes in three different storage sizes including 256GB, 512Gb and 1TB. This is defiantly one of the gadgets released this year.
Solid Neutral Density Filters
ND filters are a great addition to any landscape photographers gear bag. They allow for ultra long exposures that smooth out water and clouds. They can even be used to erase moving people and other objects from a scene. ND filters come in many different styles and densities. I personally prefer the circular screw-on filters to the square style. When it comes to densities, 6 stop and 10 stop filters work really well. Breakthrough Photography makes some of the most color neutral filters on the market. All of their filters are backed by an impressive 20 year warranty.
Peak Design Detachable Camera Strap
Need a great stocking stuffer for the photographer on your list? look no further than the Slide Light Camera Strap by Peak Design. Peak straps are built extremely well and feature an easy to use quick release system. I usually shoot without a strap on a tripod but this strap makes it a breeze to attach one when needed. I use the Slide Ligh t strap on every single camera that I own.
Peak Design Everyday Backpack
Peak Design makes sleek high quality camera bags that don’t exactly look like a typical gear bag. These bags are great for street and travel photographers who spend a lot of time in urban settings and want to blend into the crowd. The Peak Everyday Backpack comes in 20L and 30L sizes that are both weatherproof and sustainably built from recycled materials. The bag has a built in laptop sleeve that can store up to a 15″ laptop as well.
Camera Rain Jacket
Shooting in the elements can be a terrible experience if you’re not prepared for it. Luckily, Storm Jacket has come up with a light weight and affordable camera rain jacket for outdoor photographers. The shooting never has to stop with this handy item.
Extra space is always a good thing when it comes to storing photos and video. Memory cards come in many different capacities. 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB work great for modern cameras. I prefer 64GB and 128Gb cards in my workflow so I don’t need to carry too many card around.
When buying memory cards, it is essential to get the fastest cards possible. A slow card will cause the camera’s buffer to fill and not allow the photographer to continue shooting until the images have been written to the card.
There are a few different types of memory cards and different camera models utilize different cards.
The SD card is the most common form of memory card. It comes in both UHS I and a much faster UHS II format. Keep in mind that while UHS II cards are backwards compatible with older devices, the older cameras will not be able to take advantage of the UHS II higher speed rates. In addition to SD cards, Compact flash cards are used by many higher end cameras are a little cheaper than UHS II cards, but they are also a little slower. Nikon’s newer cameras have adopted the ultra fast XQD memory card format. The following Nikon models use XQD cards. Nikon D850, D500, Z6, Z7, D4, and D5.
An intervalometer / cable release is an essential piece of gear for any landscape photographer. This handy little device allows photographers to program extended bulb timer shots such as star trail images. An intervalometer is essential in creating a time lapse series as well. Neewer makes my favorite intervalometers because they are reliable and yet they are much cheaper than their name brand cousins. The 6 in 1 adapter kit also means that the intervalometer can be used on virtually any camera camera.
f-stop Navin Shoulder Camera Bag
The Navin shoulder bag by f-stop is a great accessory for photographers who want to travel light but also want some heavy duty protection for their camera while on the go. The Navin holds a full size SLR body with one wide, mid or telephoto lens attached. It’s great for a day hike and also works well as a compact storage case that can be tossed in an overnight backpack.
Peak Design Capture Clip
When the action happens, it’s important to be prepared for it. The Capture Clip by Peak Design allows for just that. The clip can be attached to virtually any backpack strap or belt allowing for quick and easy camera access on the fly. The clip also keeps the camera more secure to your body than a traditional camera strap does. This item is a must for any adventure or travel photographer on your list.
Rugged USB-C and Thunderbolt Travel Hard Drive
Having a fast and reliable hard drive is an important part of any traveling photographer’s workflow. The Rugged HD by Lacie has proven time and time again to withstand nonstop abuse from my not so gentle travel regiment. It comes in various storage sizes but I generally go for the biggest drive possible.
Having a camera is useless if you can’t use your fingers because they are . Thin gloves work for a short period of time but eventually let the cold of winter in. I find that the best way to keep my fingers warm in freezing environments is to protect them with mittens. Heavy duty mittens will keep those precious fingers warm while allowing photographers to easily get their hands in and out when needed. I recently purchased Black Diamond’s Mercury Insulated Mittens and have been very please with their performance. In addition to being very warm, they are also very comfortable.
Electronic Hand Warmers
Electronic hand warmers have to be one of the best inventions of the past decade! They do a great job of keeping those trigger finger nice and warm during the freezing cold mornings of winter. If you’ve ever been left to freeze by faulty air activated hand warmers, you know what I’m talking about.
Graduated Neutral Density Filter and Holder
Graduated filters allow photographers to use a single exposure for high contrast scenes. While grad filters have been around for quite a while, few companies make a system as well as Breakthrough Photography. Breakthrough grad filters are made of high quality optical glass rather than resin like many of the cheaper brands. I find that a 3-stop grad filter is most useful in my workflow. In order to use the grad filters without scratching them, a filter holder and step up ring is required to complete the system.
A quality headlamp is a must for every outdoor photographer’s camera bag. There is nothing worse than staying out later than expected and getting caught in the dark. A bright headlamp can do wonders for nighttime light painting as well. The Petzl Actik Core has an impressive light output of 450 Lumens at its brightest setting and has a red flood light to help preserve night vision when shooting. The headlamp comes with a USB rechargeable battery but can also take three AAA batteries.
There are few things more valuable on long photography trips than a couple of spare batteries. Owning two or more spare batteries is a must for any serious outdoor photographer. Adorama carries any brand of battery that you could possibly want. Always buy the camera manufacturer’s battery as opposed to third party brands which do not last long and could potentially cause electrical issues with the camera.
Lightroom presets are a great gift and allow photographers to quickly add distinctive looks to their work. The Landscape Photographer’s Toolkit is a collection of over 700 professional Lightroom Presets in 21 categories. It was designed with landscape photographers in mind but can be used in any type of photography. Every preset is 100% customizable so the perfect look can be archived every time.
I hope this list of holiday gift ideas for photographers has helped with your holiday shopping madness. While I use most of these items in my daily workflow and stand behind every one of them, it is important for me to note that I am entitled to a small kickback from a few of the links listed above. Enjoy your holiday!
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