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Gifts Every Photographer Needs and Wants
What to Buy a Photographer Friend
Do you have a friend who is a photographer? Does your wife love photography? Or does your husband always carry his camera with him in the car just in case he sees a great photo opportunity?
If you can say yes to any of those questions above then you will hit the jackpot if you buy any of the photography gifts below. Everyone has wants when it comes to camera gadgets, but what do serious photo addicts really need? What will improve their photography and help them become the serious photographer they really want to become.
I have compiled what I think are just some of the essential tools for a photographer to keep in their camera bag, or camera kit, but you might have a few more. Be sure to add the ones I forgot at the bottom of this article.
What Do I Lose and Misplace all the Time? - Lens Caps and Lens Holders
Lens caps are tricky, they disappear and hide everywhere. I have found them in my coat pocket, jeans pocket, purse, glove box of my car, under the seats in the car, and just about everywhere else.
Where the camera cap needs to be is on my camera lens, or somewhere I can find it easily.
Ideally my lens cap should be on my camera strap. This cap holder fits on most sstraps and will keep you from losing your camera lens cap over and over.
Fits Nikon and Canon lens caps.
Create Your Own Camera Bag - Change Camera Bags Like Purses
I love purses and will often buy those big over sized purses that can hold a small child. Literally. It isn't long that I realize my life is heavy and carrying a big purse is not practical. but these over sized purses make great camera bags.
Just use this handy Camera insert with velcro dividers for your DSLR Camera and lenses.
Create your own fashionable camera bag with any large purse or tote. No reason your camera bag has to be boring, or always the same. You can find large purses and totes in many second hand stores and thrift stores.
Momtographers are the new breed of photographer and the boring black camera bag just doesn't cut it anymore.
Fashionable Camera Bags - Get Out of the Camera Bag Rut
Women change their purses on a regular basis so why wouldn't they want to change their camera bag on a regular basis. With Momtographer (Mom turned photographer) movement comes a design shift in photography accessories. More photography products are being geared toward women and the biggest shift in design and style is the camera bag.
Take a look around eBay and you will see a style of camera bag or backpack for every occasion. I myself have a Canon professional bag to carry all my lenses, but it's rather big and cumbersome for a day trip to the Old Market for street photography. A less intrusive camera bag is more appropriate.
Camera back packs, fanny packs, and backpacks are also very popular as they leave your hands free and keeps the rest of your equipment safely stowed on your person instead of placed on the ground where it can get stolen.
Not Everyone Uses a Camera Strap - Alternative to a camera Strap
I rarely use my neck strap, but a camera hand strap keeps my camera secure and gives me the flexibility for every shot.
Photo Editing Essential - Adobe Editing Software- an essential
If you take your photography seriously you need computer editing software to make the most out of your photos. Photo editing software is comparable to having a digital darkroom.
Some photography purists will say "Get it right in the camera the first time" and yes that is a goal, but almost every photo can be improved with the right software and make you look like that professional photographer.
I LOVE Lightroom, really I do, and it is an amazingly powerful photo editing program.
I shoot in RAW and import all my photos to touch up the contrast, white balance and decrease the noise when I shoot in the high ISO range. You can create your own custom settings, import others, and even use plugins from companies such as Blurb to create photobooks.
Example of Editing Power in Lightroom - Lightroom, quickly becoming the standard editing program
Adobe Lightroom is quickly becoming the standard photo editing program for serious photographers. It's intuitive back end algorithms takes a RAW file and gives you the ability to not only correct exposure issues, white balance, red eye, and many more common corrections, but the clarity and vibrancy range can transform the most ordinary landscape photo into a work of art.
See the example below of a nighttime shot I overexposed and flash burned during a quick photo after homecoming. Sometimes even the best photographers blow a shot.
Fun Photography Gifts
Maybe these aren't essential, or really "needed" but photographer really like fun gifts and don't buy stuff like this for themselves. So do your photographer friend a favor and stick this in a gift bag for their birthday or Christmas, they will thank you for it later.
The first time I saw someone pouring coffee into this Canon L Professional lens I freaked out. I'm one of those people who have camera envy and someday I will have a white L lens, until then I will just fool people and leave it sitting on my desk.
I work at a pro printing lab and the first person who brought this camera shaped USB flash drive in almost didn't get it back.
This would make a great stocking stuffer gift for anyone who loves taking pictures, or photographer friend.
Learn to shoot manual, that's my mantra. This T-shirt is a badge of honor for anyone who sets their camera on M and controls their aperture and shutter speed.
Camera Kit Essentials - Serious Photography Gifts for the Serious Photographer
Once you, or a friend, advances past the auto setting on your Canon Rebel or Nikon the next step is shooting in manual and experimenting with various photographic techniques.
White balance cards, light diffusers for the flash, and light screens to bounce your existing light are all great camera gift ideas no matter what time of the year.
Ever try taking a photo under green leaves or trees and your photos turn out with a blue cast? Or in a high school gym or with the yellow flooring?
If you have you may have noticed a blue or yellow cast to your photos. it's lighting throwing off the camera sensor and confusing the camera.
Buy these white balance cards to set the correct environment color and save time in post production.
Direct the sun where you want it with this light screen. This photographic technique is handy to redirect the light onto your subjects face.
For instance the sun is to the side of your subject, shading her face. Angle the light reflector shield so it bounces and lights up her face.
Flash Diffusers are a necessity for any photographer to avoid the dreaded "flash burn".
There is no need to hate your flash if you know how to control your flash. No longer will you get "red eyes" in your photos, but instead nice fill light.
My Photo Album - Here are just a few photos from my personal photo albumClick thumbnail to view full-size
Upgrade to a New Camera - Find a camera deal on the second hand market
My dream camera for increasing my photography sales is a Canon 5D camera. So it's probably a good gift idea for Christmas or a birthday for the photography geek wanting to upgrade. Can't go wrong with this camera as a gift for any photographer.
So buy your loved one a new camera for a surprise. Treat them to a better camera, upgrade to the newest Canon DSLR or Nikon pro camera. Get them into a discussion of what their dream camera would be if they upgraded and go searching for camera online.
This counts as a need, it really does. If your friend, wife, or husband does wedding they need a back up camera, one for the long zoom lens and one for a wide angle so they can quickly and easily switch back and forth without risking changing lenses and missing the shot.
Myself, I need a new camera with more megapixels. My old Canon is only a 10 megapixel camera and I can only print up to 20x30 photos. With a Canon Mark III I could print 30x40 prints and have the flexibility to crop and still print large photos for sale.
Winter Essential for Photographers - Camera Gloves Keep your Hands Warm
Photography shouldn't be just a summer past time. Winter snow scenes, snowball fights, sledding and even harvesting the Christmas tree are great opportunities for photography.
Be prepared for the cold weather and avoid having to take your gloves off and on with these specially made gloves for photographers. All your settings will be at your fingertips and your hands will stay warm.
No need to take off your gloves when you take photos, just flip open the finger flaps on two fingers.
These black gloves are designed for men, but I don't see why women couldn't use them.
I like taking photos in the winter, but my hands just get too cold.
When Three Legs are Better than Two - Camera Tripods are Really Essential
Camera tripods are essential for any photographer who wants to take night photography to the next level. Long exposures require the camera to remain perfectly still for the sharpest photos
The sturdier the tripod the better. I learned this one night when I was trying to take photos of the moon over a barn and the wind was whipping at 25 mph. My cheap $30 tripod didn't want to stay still and no amount of holding it would keep it from jiggling.
Professional tripods are heavier and more cumbersome to carry around, but well worth the weight. Ideal for the landscape photographer who braves the elements, cold, wind and weather. Or the serious amateur who just got the 300 mm lens and the department store tripod won't work anymore.
This version comes with it's own carrying case. Don't forget you can also purchase a quick release ball for your tripod that will make the tripod that much more flexible and easier to use.
When a full tripod is too cumbersome, but you still need the extra stability a camera monopod is the way to go.
This monopod screws into the bottom of the camera and extends to various heights. But is easy to carry on your belt loop, back pack, or camera bag.
I used my monopod this year to take fireworks photos and it worked great.