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Gifts for Photography Lovers

Updated on February 9, 2011

Gift Ideas For Photography Buffs

If you have someone in your life who loves photography — taking pictures, looking at pictures taken by others, geeking out with the latest gadget or boning up on vintage gear — you are in luck! That passion for photography lends itself to all kinds of presents, taking the guesswork out of the age-old dilemma of what to get him or her for Christmas, a birthday, for Valentine's Day, to say Congratulations or just I love you. There are infinite occasions to give presents to friends or family, and if one of those people is a photography lover, there's a perfect present at any price point.

vintage polaroid, etsy, 20x200, brownie, ww2 leica, lens, prints or photog books

For Picture Takers

People who love to take pictures think of cameras and photography gear as Imelda Marcos thinks of shoes. A rainy day calls for one kind of shoe, while a state dinner calls for another pair. A black suit during the day means a different pair of shoes than does a black suit at night. A work event and a social event, similarly, call for totally different shoes.

The same holds for photography. A photographer serious about the craft — even just a serious hobbyist — considers things like cold or heat, indoors or out, motion or portraits or distance or desired effect. This, in turn, affects which camera, which lenses, what ancillary gear the photography will use. Don't you see? Especially if you know something about what equipment the photographer already has, it's easy to find new things she or he is sure to love and value.

New Lens: A photographer who has an SLR camera will appreciate a high quality new lens. It could be a telephoto lens for distance shots — ideal on a safari, say. Or a 50 mm 1.8 lens, which produces amazing shots in low-light settings. Some lenses are really expensive, but you can score a good quality 50 mm for under $150.

Tripod: A tripod is a photography essential, particularly in low-light, slow-shutter situations where it is hard to keep your handy super steady. Most photogs already have some sort of tripod, but the gorillapod and Joby are relatively new, fun devices that allow people to set up a "tripod" in uneven, non-traditional locations since the bendable, expandable legs can affix to almost anything and bring stability anywhere.

Lens/Gear/Camera dry bag: Water is the enemy of photography equipment, so a good dry bag is a must. This is an especially good present for a photographer who is also a sports enthusiast, who will need to keep camera dry while skiing, rafting, fishing, boating, swimming or on a beach vacation.

Lens/Gear/Camera bag: Then there's the camera to tote the rest of the gear. These are coming in ever more durable materials and in well-designed, pocket heavy styles that will keep anyone's gear well organized.

High quality photo paper for printers: Bergger Digital makes a good line of sophisticate printing papers for destop photo printers. Oriental Photo also has a relatively new, high-quality paper for ink jet printers.

For Photography Lovers

Anyone who loves the art form will love gifts of photography. Below are some original ideas of presents that you might buy for someone who loves photography.

Enlarged, framed photograph: Enlarge and frame a photograph taken by the friend, of the friend, or an artistic shot taken by you or another amateur. Blow this up and place it in a frame, and voilà! You have an original, highly personal present that didn't cost much money. This web company aims to make art collecting affordable and accessible to everyone. Every week, it sells one painting and one photograph print by a contemporary artist. It sells 200 8x10 prints of the work for $20 (hence the name, 20x200); 50 11x14 prints for $50 and even more limited editions for higher amounts. The website also sells past editions still available for sale, and you can search the archives by color, by theme, by décor. The Ebay for crafters has plenty of artists selling works, including photographers. Here you are sure to see lovely images or beautiful photographs that will make nice, affordable gifts.

Photography books: Coffee table books might be the Victorian children of the book world — there to be seen, but not read. A true photography lover, however, can lose himself in the pages of a well-crafted, appropriately-themed book of photography. Whether the person loves cityscapes or landscapes, portraits or animals or color or black and white, there is a photography collection that is sure to please.

Novelty Items

Vintage Polaroid Camera: Why not go old-school and give the photography-lover in your life a vintage polaroid camera? These are relatively easy to find on Ebay, and range from $15 to much, much, triple-digits more. The SX-70 is the classic old school polaroid popular in the 1960s and 1970s. There's also the more common 600 One Step. Both require a whole new set of skills, and produce light saturated, retro photos of yore. Film for these cameras is again available from The Impossible Project, which bought the Polaroid technology and reverse engineered how to make the film. That film is unavailable is no longer an excuse to shun polaroid photography! There also are new cameras being made which provide all the immediate gratification that made Polaroids so much fun back in the day, but without quite the same sepia tones and over-exposure risk.

Flickr Pro Account: Many an amateur already uses Flickr to store and share and sort photographs. Flickr Pro costs under $30 a year, and opens the FLickr world further. The community of Flickr photographers share tricks and tips, critique each others' work, and perhaps the greatest benefit of all: unlimited storage. Other brands with similar services are Photobucket Pro and Webshots.

A printed photobook of their own work: If you can get your hands on some of the person's photographs, why not collect them into a photography book of their own? You can self-publish photography books through, Fastback Creative Books, and others.

Photo embossed gifts: You can put one of your photos onto just about any kind of service, as users of Kodak Gallery can attest: No mug or mousepad, sweatshirt or purse need ever again be photo free! Other companies also exist to put people's private pictures onto objects. Some of those companies include Artistic Direct, Bagettes, and others.


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    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Really great ideas here! I would love to receive any of these as a gift. I am going to add these ideas to "My Gift List". Voted up, useful and sharing! Have a wonderful day!

    • RicoShae profile image


      6 years ago from Ballwin, mo

      Great ideas :]

      As someone who loves photography, these sure had me drooling!

    • s.carver profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, all. Glad this has proved helpful!

      Another new idea is this poster by Jason Munn, the graphic artists who designs posters for indie rock concerts. He has just done one for SFMOMA, the modern art museum in San Francisco, for photography. There are posters and mugs and t-shirts. Check it out:

    • tyra marieza profile image

      tyra marieza 

      6 years ago from Atlanta Georgia

      I really like your gift ideas, especially around this time of the year.

    • travel-O-grapher profile image


      6 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      my wife jut got me a 50 mm lens! so im really happy!

    • profile image

      Penelope xxx 

      6 years ago

      OMG OMG OMG, I heart photographing myself so a camera is the perfect pressie for me... right I've just told my b-friend over in LA to buy me another modelling camera. I heart who ever wrote this info but they could of written what kind of clothes you should wear when your photographing yourself in places eg- snow- santa mini dress, beach- cute bikini. Anywayz ta!

      Penelope xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Lots of good information here. Thanks for several ideas. Good hub!

    • s.carver profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Glad you found it useful!

    • Becky Puetz profile image


      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great gift ideas for photographers and collectors. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      7 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Good research and shows knowledge..good work


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