I know it’s getting a little close to crunch time for gift giving ideas, but my daughter asked me today what I wanted for Christmas and all I could think in my head was “Please don’t buy me something useless that will just sit on a shelf”. I know that might seem a bit harsh, but with the addition of our third child this year, space is becoming something of a commodity around here. So as I was trying to come up with ideas that could fit into her budget I decided I would post a list here for others who might also be in a similar situation.
Of course everyone’s budget is different, but my goal here was to try and pick things that are in a child’s price range. Both those who should already have left the nest all the way down to those who still need mom and dad’s help with the buying, wrapping, and even filling out the card. Of course most of these items can be obtained in different sizes and configurations, but maybe this will help those of you who are just stumped for ideas.
- The Nifty Fifty (Nikon Canon) – Hovering right at the $100 price range this is one of the best pieces of glass you can buy for the price. It is fast, sharp, quick on the focus and can make butter out of your backgrounds. On a crop sensor camera this is a nice portrait lens.
- Gorilla Pod Focus – This is just one of those devices that I have been wanting for years but haven’t managed to buy for myself yet. This model comes in at $80 and would make a nice addition to the camera bag of those who use a heavy DSLR. Other than allowing you to mount your camera to all sorts of places I have been told that you can get away with using it in situations where traditional tripods aren’t allowed. The smaller versions are also great for allowing you to mount flashes on trees, poles, and other irregular places. Just make sure you get the right one to support the weight of the device you plan on using it with.
- Digital Picture Frame – Yes, there are still those out there who don’t own one of these yet. The one I linked to runs $70, but I have seen them across the gamut from Black Friday Cheap to over the top expensive. I have one that sits on my desk at work and manages to distract me for too often from what I should be doing.
- Digital Card Readers – The never ending advances in technology keep us in check by forcing us to always upgrade our peripherals as well. New cameras and larger memory cards keep getting cheeper and cheeper. Unfortunately this little beauty weighs in at $50 but that just may be worth it in order to continue to be efficient with all that data we need to ingest it into our computers. The Hoodman card reader supports USB3 and UDMA that allows up to 5 Gbps data transfers of CompactFlash or SD cards.
- Memory Cards (SD / CF) – I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use more or larger memory cards. I’m still rolling old school with my largest cards being 8GB. But you know what they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That sure doesn’t mean that if I were gifted some 16 or 32 GB ones they wouldn’t immediately be welcomed into my camera. I personally use the San Disk models and have never had a problem with them. Of course these guys vary in price based on size and speed the 16GB versions linked run about $20 and $40 respectively.
- Sand Bags – This one made the list because of a small accident that occurred in my home studio not too long back. Having small children will always lead to the destruction of stuff, so why not take some precautions that might prevent those that could possibly be expensive? My son accidentally knocked over one of my strobes and bent the metal reflector. Thankfully both my son and strobe were fine, but I now have sand bags on my gear for both of their safety. The price of sand bags varies greatly depending on where you buy them, quality and the amount of weight they will support. The one linked is a good bag for most uses at about $20. These are also great gift ideas for those who like to work outdoors and fight windy conditions.
- Sticky Grams – These are just cool. With Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram everyone is publishing their works of art and creativity to the social media circles. But getting these square little gems printed is where the treasure really lies. Art just looks better once it takes a tangible form. You can get 9 of your images printed as magnets for $15 and then start placing them all over the place. I was very impressed with the sets that I received from them.
- The Lens Pen – This is one of the best little accessories I carry in my bag. For right at $15 this little guy has been a lifesaver. I’m not exactly sure how the magnetic forces between my 3 year olds fingers and the end of my lens became so strong, but I can say with certainty that being able to use this little beauty in a pitch black theater saved shots. I use it constantly to keep my dust and smudges off my glass.
- iTunes Gift Cards – Now how can you go wrong with this one? Music, apps, movies, they have it all. There are a plethora of photography apps available for all of Apple’s little iDevices. Camera apps, editing apps, training apps, and apps that just let you enjoy viewing beautiful images. Honestly you just can’t go wrong gifting most people an iTunes Gift Card.
- Training – Photography is a never ending journey of knowledge. I love all aspects of photography and thrive to know as much about all of it that I can. I may never incorporate it into what I shoot, but at least having some of that knowledge tucked away may some day help. There are endless possibilities for training. Lynda and Kelby both offer great video tutorials from a vast collection of great artists. Craft & Vision offers ebooks I believe starting at $5 each. I have purchased a dozen or so of these and they are a great for both learning and inspiring.
I hope this short list of ideas is able to help those of you who might be in need some gift ideas for the photographer in your life. If you have any questions concerning this list or any other ideas hit me up and I will try and assist in any way possible.