Choosing a gift for your loved ones at Christmas or on their birthday is sometimes the hardest decision. You care about them so you want to get it right. You want their face to light up when they unwrap your gift. But it’s not always easy to get it just right.
A good start is thinking about what hobbies they enjoy and with that in mind, I have written a travel gift guide with all the best gifts for photographers at all budgets.
If your loved one isn’t a photographer fanatic then you may want to read my Travel Gift Guide For Girls for ideas instead. Or if they are planning a big backpacking trip, you can read about my backpacking essentials.
But if you are looking for a comprehensive list of the best gifts for photographers at all budgets, you are already in the right place. There’s everything from budget photography themed stocking fillers to high-end flashy presents if you are looking to splash the cash.
**This post does contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase them through my link, I will get a small commission at no cost to yourself. This helps towards the running costs of this blog and it will put a big smile on my face! Thank you. **
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Best Gifts for Photographers Under $20
- 2 Best Gifts for Photographers Under $50
- 3 Best Gifts for Photographers Under $100
- 4 Best Gifts for Photographers Under $250
- 5 Best Gifts For Photographers over $250
Best Gifts for Photographers Under $20
A Smartphone Lens Kit
As much as I love photography, sometimes I just don’t want the weight of carrying my camera. Or perhaps I’m going somewhere where my camera might get ruined or stolen. In these circumstances, these smartphone lenses are a great compromise. They can turn your smartphone into a proper camera with interchangeable lenses for wide angle, macro or telephoto photography.
The Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Photography
This is my absolute favourite photography book and would make a brilliant gift for photographers. It goes right from the basics of using a camera up to advanced techniques for a huge variety of types of photography. Each type of photography is covered in its own chapter eg festivals, landscapes, wildlife, night photography… It’s clear and easy to read cover to cover. The perfect book for someone who loves travel and taking photos to help them up their game!
A Fancy New Camera Strap
The camera strap that most cameras come with are, let’s face it, a bit ugly. And not always very comfortable! Buy your photography loving friend a fancy new camera strap as it’s something they will use a lot but might not think to buy themselves! I love this one.
A camera mug
For your photography obsessed friend, this may be the perfect stocking filler present! A mug shaped like a camera lens!
A Sneaky Spy Lens
If you are a photographer yourself, you will know how frustrating it is trying to get candid natural photos and getting sussed. Your model suddenly looks anything but natural and the moment is gone. Here lies the solution, a sneaky spy lens.
A Waterproof Hand Grip / Selfie Stick for a GoPro
If your travel photography loving friend has a GoPro or action camera, then they’ll need one of these. It’s waterproof and anti-rust too so easy to use for snorkelling and diving trips as well as more day to day use.
A Dome Port Lens for Underwater Photography
This is possibly the perfect tripod for travellers. Light weight and compact and can be used to hold any camera up to 3Kg in weight.
The main advantage of a gorillapod (apart from it’s price and size) is that it can be maniupulated to attach itself to railing or trees so it can be used from different angles!
Whilst it’s not quite as useful as a full sized tripod, its a brilliant compromise where size and weight matters as it does for most travel photographers!
A Polarizing Filter
Polarizing filters polarize the light to help boost the colours in a photo – especially washed out skies! They are also great for photos where there are a lot of reflections eg glass or water and allow you to show details under the water for example pebbles on a river bed.
They are invaluable to any photographers and one of the cheapest accessories you can get which makes a huge impact on the photo.
There are lots of brands that sell these filters but I recommend choosing a reputable brand like Hoya. There is no point in having a lovely lens only to cover it with poor quality filters!
You will also need to check which lens your loved one has already as the filter will only fit certain sized lenses. If you can find out what lens they have, do a quick internet search and you’ll find the lens diameter really easily. It’ll be the figure in mm.
An ND Filter
This is another really useful filter for any photographer. This allows you to slow the shutter speed down even in bright light. For example, if you are taking a photo of a waterfall and want that lovely milky appearance of the water, you will want to slow your shutter speed to 1 second or longer. In daylight, this is only possible with an ND filter. These are a must have for any landscape photographer.
Timelapse Photography is really popular these days but it’s actually pretty tricky to do without an intervalometer. With this handy tool, you can set your camera up on a tripod to record one photo every minute or so. This is how you can create great timelapse where the clouds appear to move or the crowds are moving. They are also brilliant for astrophotography.
Best Gifts for Photographers Under $100
A Photography Magazine Subscription
The photography gift that keeps on giving… Well for 12 months anyway! Every month your loved one will receive a new copy of a photography magazine packed with gear review, photography tips and photoshop tutorials. My personal favourite magazine is this one.
A Polaroid Camera
This ones a bit of fun! How about a polaroid camera for their next trip? I love the idea of taking some really quirky polaroid snaps then stringing them up on my wall. It could create some really pretty wall art!
A Gimbal for Videography
If your travel photography loving friend also happens to lie making videos then a gimbal would be an absolute game changer for them. This device rotates smoothly to counteract your own movements so you can record super smooth professional looking videos. I personally have this one and have been really pleased with it. It takes a while to get the hang of but when you do – GAMECHANGER!
A Wireless Photo Printer
Hands up who has a laptop full of photos they never ever use?! I’m sure we’re all guilty of that from time to time! Make sure your loved one puts their photos to good use with this mobile wireless photo printer. You could also get them a nice photo album, like this one, to put their printed photos in!
A Smart Camera Bag
After the camera itself an perhaps a few lenses, your most next most important photography item is probably your bag! It needs to be spacious, well organised and distribute the weight evenly.
Best Gifts for Photographers Under $250
An Adobe Photo Editing Subscription
All serious photographers will need a decent photo editing software programme to make their photos really stand out. My personal go-to is Lightroom CC where I bring out details in the highlights and shadows and alter the colour balance. This leads to photos that ‘pop’ and landscapes with dramatic skies.
I love the fact that you can save your alterations as a preset (a bit like an instagram filter) which can then be applied to all the relevant photos for super fast editing! You can even access it on a phone app now making it easy to edit on the go! You can see an example of one of my photos produced with Light room below.
Photoshop is also a useful tool especially if your loved one likes taking portrait photos or likes to play around with arty effects.
With Adobe, you can select a subscription to just one tool or buy a photography bundle. There are also bundles for aspiring videographers.
A Travel Tripod
There are certain requirements for a good travel tripod. It must be
Therefore I spent a long time researching which one to get and asking for recommendations. I eventually settled on the very affordable Benro carbon fibre travel tripod and have been really pleased with it. The carbon fibre makes it sturdier yet lighter and it’s easy and quick to set up.
A 50mm Prime Lens
If this lens is not already in your loved one’s photography bag, then it should be. Coined the ‘nifty fifty’ for good reason. This is a brilliant focal length for a huge variety of topics from portrait to street photography.
Its wide aperture also allows you to take photos in low light without a tripod and allows you to get really creative with the beautiful bokeh effect.
As another little bonus for a travel photographer, this lens is both small and light so you’ll barely notice it in your camera bag! This is one lens I would never be without.
Best Gifts For Photographers over $250
Take their phootgraphy to new heights – literally! I’m absolutely in love with my little drone. It weighs only 300g and fits in the palm of my hand so it’s no where near as big as you’d imagine!
It takes beautiful ariel photos and record fabulous HD videos. Drones can be really pricey but I felt mine, the DJI Spark, was really affordable.
With drones, you do get what you pay for so yes, technically you can get drones for < $100. These are fine as fun outdoor toys but if your loved one is serious about photography I’d recommend a DJI drone as they are well known for their quality.
If you get the DJI Spark like I did, I’d recommend buying the Fly More Combo. It comes with spare batteries, a remote controller and various other accessories. I bought it without and regretted it immediately! I’ve since gone on to buy extra batteries, chargers and a remote controller and it cost me a lot more buying them seperately!
If you want to go faster, higher and further or if you think your friend may want to take more professional photos, then I’d recommend the DJI Mavic Pro. My friend has this one and wow, those photos are INCREDIBLE! The Mavic Pro also comes with a Fly More Combo and again, I wouldn’t buy it without as it’ll end up costing more in the long run!
Every photographer needs a decent laptop to edit and store their photos. I personally use a Macbook. It’s light as a feather so fits in my hand luggage without barely noticing it in there! It’s fast and the screen is brilliant allowing me to edit my photos with ease!
Oh and did I tell you it comes in a really pretty rose pink colour?!
If you can’t quite stretch to the cost of a Macbook, then here are the best rated (atleast 4/5stars) lightweight laptops under $1000
I love my GoPro. It’s great for recording action videos and so far I’ve used it for snorkelling and for a skiing trip and got brilliant footage for both. Also because it’s so small, I sometimes put it in my bag on a night out to get some photos without having to carry a bulky camera about.
Whilst GoPros are brilliant quality and they are front leaders in action cameras, there are plenty of cheaper versions if your budget can’t stretch to an actual GoPro. Also, I have the GoPro 6 which can be found at a bargain price now since the GoPro Hero 7 has been released. For me, the Hero 6 does all I need it to and more.
A New Camera
Surely the best gift for photographers would be a brand new camera?!
When it comes to choosing a camera, the following things are important factors;
- Camera Size. Point and shoots are the most compact and mirrorless cameras are the best of both worlds, small yet powerful! However, many photographers are still loyal to the traditional DSLR.
- Sensor Size. The larger the sensor, the more information the camera can take in. Most professionals will use full frame cameras but many amateurs are happy with an APS-C camera.
- Number of Megapixels. This is important for photos which may need to be blown up big for wall pictures or on large screen computers. Many modern cameras have around 20MP now which is more than adequate for most photographers. Whilst you can get 40MP cameras, I suggest you think twice as every photo will take up more space and load slowly onto your computer!
- Frames per second / Continuous shooting. If your friend enjoys action photography, you’ll want a camera which manages at least 5 frames per second if needed.
- Video Quality. Some flashy cameras offer 4K videography these days but you should look for at least 1080 HD video capability.
In the past, I used the Nikon d5500. I loved that camera so much. As budget entry-level DSLRs go, I don’t think it can be beaten for quality or price. There is, however, a new model available the Nikon D5600 which I’m sure is even better.
Recently, I made the switch to a mirrorless camera, the Sony a7iii. I wanted something slightly lighter and felt it was time I got a full frame camera as I’m hoping to seel some of my photos so I wanted something professional quality. It’s not cheap, but it is fantastic. I would say only get this model if your friend is a photography enthusiast.
If they are still just dipping their toe into the world of photography then another brilliant lightweight option which is a little cheaper is the Sony A6500. My friend has this one and the photos are fantastic. It’s also so so light compared to either of my cameras!
Hopefully you have got some great ideas for gifts for photographers now. Or perhaps you’re looking for treats for yourself?! Go on… you deserve it!
If you have any other suggestions, please let me know so I can include them as this post will be constantly updated!
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