The holidays are almost here and you’ve got shopping to do, either for yourself or for another photo geek on your list. Not sure what to buy? Need some inspiration? We got you covered. Here are ten fantastic gifts (listed from least to most expensive) that will surely please the photog in your life (especially if that photog happens to be yourself). Links in this article will helpfully link to either our own reviews of cameras and gear, mine and others’ online shop, or to the very best places to find the products featured.
And stick around at the end of the post for details on how to win a free something-or-other from my very own camera shop. Aren’t I generous? You’re welcome!
Gifts Under $15
Not everything in photography has to be expensive. Here are a bunch of really excellent potential gifts to pack into a stocking for less than a meal out.
Film and Specialty Film – For the film photographer on your list, there may be no better present than a pack or roll of film. It’s like being handed a free pass to create, to explore, and to enjoy a day doing what we love to do most. For extra impact, buy some film that’s interesting and unusual – something your photo geek wouldn’t normally buy themselves. Safe choices are Kodak’s offerings like Portra, Ektar, and Tri-X. For more eclectic stuff, choose Cinestill, Lomography stock, or JCH Street Pan from my pal, Bellamy.
Stickers, Patches, Pins, and More – The photography community has recently seen a surge in the number and quality of small businesses and individual makers. These people have taken it on themselves to contribute to the photo world in a meaningful way, and are making a few bucks at the same time. For small gifts from these makers, consider the pins and patches from our friend Anastasia at Asilda Store, or Shoot Film Co’s ingenious Photo Memo Notebooks.
Gifts Up To $50
Looking for something a bit pricier, maybe around fifty clams? No problem there. The photo world is rife with gifts to be had at this price point.
Camera Decor and Prints – Buy the photo geek in your life an art print or poster to hang on their wall or prop up on a shelf. The ones from our own shop are made to order by myself and a handful of passionate artists. Check them out here.
Camera Geek Clothing – Photo geeks love spreading the joy of photography, so buy the photographer on your list some clothes that’ll shout their love of cameras. My favorite offerings come from my friend Cameron at Film Shooter’s Collective. His “No Grain No Glory” design is classy and mature, and production quality is on point. Looking for something a bit bolder? Try Brooklyn Film Camera‘s “MAKERS” line, which highlights amazing brands from around the world.
Photography Books – There’s no shortage of books out there for photo enthusiasts. From the most mind-bending of technical tomes to some truly luxuriant coffee table books, there’s a camera-centric book out there to fit all tastes.
An old favorite book obsession includes an incredible collection of the work of early 1900s nature shooter, George Shiras, whose photographs helped spur the very notion of environmental conservation. For lovers of photography, nature, history, or the process of artistic creation, this is a book that’s not to be missed. Browse for the perfect photo book on eBay and Amazon.
Gifts Up To $100
Camera Straps – A quality camera strap is a must-have accessory for any photophile. If your photo geek needs a fantastic strap, these are the ones to buy. Monarch is making a splash at the moment with their BOA straps. They’re comfortable, super strong and easy on the eyes; old hands Tap & Dye are still producing their now-famous leather straps.
Affordable Film Cameras – In my opinion, the best gift a photo geek could ever receive, there are plenty of amazing cameras to be had for less than $100. I even wrote an article about it. So whether your photog friend has only shot digital and wants to try something new, or if they’re a film shooter with a growing collection, why not buy them a film camera this holiday season.
Affordable point-and-shoots, entry-level SLRs, and Polaroid machines will all cost less than $100. And for something brand new, Fuji’s Instax machines cost little, and produce excellent quality images instantly. If you know someone who’d love a film camera, take a look through my shop, or check out eBay and B&H Photo’s vintage and new gear.
Gifts Over $100
Looking to spoil your photographer friend/wife/husband/cat? These presents will cost more than a Benjamin, and are guaranteed to please.
High End Tripod – An essential tool for landscape and architectural shooters, especially those who love the night, a decent tripod will cost over $100. Some of the best for travelers and adventure types are made by MeFoto. We reviewed their newest here, and it’s an excellent choice for shooters on the move. For those who want a bit higher build, choose something from Gitzo or Manfrotto, the latter Italian brand being my personal choice.
A Special Camera – This is the kind of holy grail gift that photo geeks really lust after, but could never imagine receiving. A truly legendary camera. The kind of camera that will last their entire lifetime and can even be passed down to the next generation of photo geek. Immediately springing to mind are mechanical machines from Leica (the M series, for example), Nikon’s F3 or FM3a, or something in the TLR segment (a Rolleiflex or Minolta Autocord would work equally well at differing price points).
If you haven’t found something worth buying yet, check your pulse, you weirdo.
As for that giveaway I mentioned – here are the details. Anyone who interacts with the site in any way is automatically entered to win. That means if you share this post on social media, leave a comment below, follow CP on Instagram or Facebook, subscribe to the email newsletter, or buy anything from my camera shop from now until the end of December you will be automatically entered to win. The prize isn’t world-shattering, but it’s nice; our newest print, Neil Richards’ The Camera Collection. It’s beautiful. You’ll love it.
The winner will be notified on January 1st, 2017. Nice way to start the year, eh? Good luck. Enjoy the season, and thanks for another great year at CP.