Best Gift Ideas For Photography Enthusiasts
Fun & Practical Gadgets for Keen Photographers
Photography is a hobby that has grown and grown - from awkward giant cameras to film point-and-shoots to DSLRs - and with technology advancing as it is I'm sure it's something more and more people will get interested in. So I've put together this page to help you choose fun and practical gadgets to treat yourself, or to help you think of cool present ideas for photography lovers.
Amateur photographers will probably have a main camera, a few accessories and probably a tripod, so I've tried to list products that can be additional to what people would already own. Most are very affordable and made for encouraging photographic creativity, and I'm sure you'll find the perfect choice here whether the recipients are men, women or teens.
I hope you find what you're looking for :)
Image Credit: Amazon (see below for details about this Holga camera)
XShot 2.0 Camera Extender $27
This is an excellent gift for people who like to take lots of photographs because, normally, the photographer can't be in the photo themselves (unless they ask a stranger to take the photo for them) but this handy extender rod would let them appear in the photos too - clever!
Made for self-portraits, 'selfies', group photos that you want everyone to be in, and videoing/photographing yourself skiing, posing on top of a mountain or doing another kind of adventurous feat. Especially useful if you like to travel solo.
The extender works with most cameras and should fit into any backpack or messenger bag. Just attach your camera to one end, extend the rod to the desired length (upto 37") and pose!
Fujifilm Single-Use Waterproof Camera $9
Not a long-lasting gift particularly but it's inexpensive and would really be lots of fun for someone who likes water sports or who is going on a holiday in the sun soon.
Sample what it's like to take photographs upto 17 feet below the water's surface without spending much money at all.
This camera is single use but you get 27 chances to take awesome watery photos, before getting them developed and seeing what you have captured.
Not only great for underwater, but also for when it's raining, muddy (e.g. at music festivals), or snowing and you don't want to damage your more expensive camera.
SteadyWeb Pocket String Tripod $17
This small gadget is a much more portable alternative to a tripod - in fact it even fits in your pocket - and its purpose is to reduce camera shake and therefore the occurrence of blurry photos.
Simply clip one end to your belt loop, shoe or something else on your person and then connect the end of the wire to your camera. Pull out the wire (from the small plastic container) to the desired length and lock it into place. Then just take your photos or video footage whilst making sure the wire is pulled taut - because it's the tautness that stabilizes the camera and stops it wobbling all over the place even if you are holding it in an outstretched arm.
The wire is 6 foot long so can be used by very tall people too!
More Handy Gadgets & Creative Products
I love the photography technique known as 'bokeh', and if you are unaware of what this is it's basically a way of creating repeated shapes as a (background) lighting effect in photographs.
Included in this set are filter patterns including hearts, stars, paw prints and arrows so that you can create a range of really cool special effects in your photos.
Made for rugged adventures where the terrain will be too rough to put cameras down (or balance tripods) on safely, this beanbag provides the cushioning and support you need...and it folds up into a nice carry-bag too :)
This camera bean bag is sold un-filled so you can fill it with whatever you like on arrival, whether it's dried beans or bird seeds.
This plastic 'Diana' camera is an iconic design and now you have the chance to buy this set once again as film photography has become trendy once more - with people wanting to recreate the dreamy look of old photos, even including the faults.
This particular set includes the F+ version so you get to experiment with a retro flash system too.
Colorful & Fashionable Camera Strap $9
This is extremely similar to the strap I use with my bridge camera, and I love the funky patterning on it - you're bound to get compliments with this style!
Worn over your shoulder or around your neck, this strap has received 5-star ratings on Amazon thanks to its awesome pattern, strength and comfort.
There are many styles of strap to choose from so you're bound to find one to suit any personality :)
Opteka X-GRIP Video Stabilizing Handle $45
You grip the top of the frame and position the camera or video camera on the bottom platform, so that you can hold the camera and move it around much easier with one hand when either in action yourself, or when filming action scenes.
I have seen these used by BMX bike riders and skateboarders to video 'on the move', so if you know someone who is into sports or perhaps adventurous hobbies then this would be a great gift for them to capture their exploits!
The lightweight frame is black aluminium with a padded handle on the top, and fits DSLRs as well as compact camcorders. It stabilizes video and makes it easier to film footage over long periods of time without your arms getting tired.
A good quality, sturdy build which can also be mounted onto a tripod if you wish. Most of these types of handles are made in plastic, but I think a metal one like this one is definitely superior in both strength and durability.
Color Filter Set $11
Color filters are a way of manipulating the overall color of a photograph without changing settings or using Photoshop in post-processing. You can use them for creative as well as practical uses and the filters can be used with any camera including mobile phone cameras and underwater cameras. Simply hold the filter in front of the lens or flash and take the photo!
A handy and good value set of colored filters ranging from red to purple, which are used to add a different glow to your photos. For instance if you wanted to capture a sunset then you could exaggerate the colors by using an orange filter, or you could use a blue filter to take a photo of a lake to make it look cold and accentuate the water color. The filter color can change the whole mood and feel of a photo.
Artistic Photography Books & Fun Film Cameras
I love the look of this camera - so cool! There are a few designs to choose from including this camouflage pattern.
Holga cameras are novelty plastic cameras which use regular 35mm film.
You can have lots of retro fun with this, and it can be used in different ways to create interesting photographic effects.
This compact fisheye camera creates eye-catching, artistic and interesting lomographic photos that are not only wide angle but are taken through a fisheye lens to create a distorted circular effect.
Really cool gadget for trying out new techniques and creating unique photographs.
Over 70 creative photography techniques are listed in this inspiring book, including how to take backlit photos and how to use DIY filters.
Perfect for those who like to produce artistic photos.
An excellent source of ideas for experimenting with photography and undertaking more unusual projects in order to expand experience and knowledge.
I'm sure with such variety, anyone would find plenty of techniques to get stuck into!
This book is aimed at people who enjoy crafts and would like to experiment with DIY photography gadgets too, such as making a monopod that can fit in your pocket, or making your own fisheye lens.
There are also some fun project ideas to try out including capturing what your pet dog gets up to all day, and also trying to 'paint with light'.
Padded Bag Insert for DSLR Cameras $30
Simply find a bag that this insert can fit into - whether it's a messenger bag or rucksack - and you can instantly transform it into a protective camera bag with padded sides and many useful compartments.
The insert itself is made from nylon fabric which has been padded out to protect your camera from damage. The compartments can be arranged how you like and you can have up to 5 spaces, plus little pockets for batteries and small items. Definitely big enough to house a DSLR and one or two lenses.
I think the best benefit of this system is that you can transport your camera in a bag that doesn't look like a camera bag, and therefore won't draw the attention of thieves. This would be especially useful if you are travelling through areas of high crime - then you can just put this insert into a worn, cheap-looking bag!
Retro Holga Film Camera $30
Lomography is a move back to using 'old-fashioned' film cameras with plastic housing and lenses, like this Holga example shown below. These cameras can be used to create interesting photography effects for more artistic and creative photos; my favorite technique is double exposure where you basically take one photo on top of the other (on the same bit of film) to make a cool effect.
Lomography photographs have a dreamy romantic effect in comparison to today's modern digital camera photos which are crisp and sharp, where the aim is usually to recreate the scene as identical to reality as possible.
Some people feel that digital photography has lost some of the magic that film photography brought, and a lot of people find that going back to film relights their passion for the art. Also there is always a surprise when you get your film photos developed because you can't see what you've actually taken before that point!
This fun Holga camera is small, lightweight and relatively inexpensive, and any keen photographer would enjoy experimenting with it.
Photography & Cinema Pistol Grip Handle $22
I wish I'd known about the existence of these before going to a music concert earlier this year, where I stood on tiptoes awkwardly holding my camera with 2 hands and wobbling all over the place! This pistol grip handle would have made it so much easier to hold the camera higher and more steady with only one hand.
This rubberized pistol handle is ergonomically molded for a better and more comfortable grip, and it is designed for stabilizing a camera when it's filming video footage.
Unlike video cameras, photographic cameras are not primarily designed for shooting video, but since most new cameras now have video shooting capabilities, this handle gadget is excellent for making the process much easier.
The pistol grip fits most cameras and video cameras, from point-and-shoots to smaller DSLRs, and is also good for taking photos at awkward angles - such as when you are trying to take a photo over the heads of a crowd.
The grip also has a ring at the bottom so you can attach it to your keyring for easy portability.
Joby GorillaPod Flexible Tripod $35
GorillaPods came on the scene a few years ago and stood out straight away as being very unique compared to other tripods on the market due to their striking looks and their flexible legs.
A whole series of GorillaPods have since become available; including ones for large DSLRs, ones with magnetic feet, and tiny ones which would be great for travel.
The legs of this tripod are jointed all of the way along so that they are very flexible and can grip around all kinds of rods, bars, tree branches etc. when the terrain is rough and awkward, or you want to take a photo at an odd angle.
This type of tripod is fun, versatile and great for travelling around with. There is also the advantage of being able to pan the camera smoothly from side to side, which is great for creating videos or panoramic photos.
Designed for point-and-shoot cameras.