I’ve been toting a camera around for a few years now and always looking for new and fun things that the photography world has to offer. While I do think most of what’s out there is a bit over-the-top or not always useful, I’ve come to find a few things that I love and recommend often. So with the holiday season upon us, I thought a quick list of places to find a great present for your photography-inspired family member or friend would be useful (and won’t break the bank).
Camera gear should always be protected – after all, it’s not exactly an inexpensive hobby. But I just hate those big, square, bulky and all-black bags that camera shops and department stores keep on the shelf. I’ve been a little obsessed with finding a cute by versatile camera bag over the years and even started a Pinterest board dedicated to my new finds! With every camera bag I come across that is more feminine and looks more like a purse rather than a black box with a strap, I’ve pinned it. And I will say that this is a great place to start when shopping for a stylish camera bag – because there’s so many places out there to look!
There are a ton of photography books out there and it’s hard to tell which one is right for you. I have several books just from the last few years; some were gifts, others I picked out and then I have a nice stack of hand-me-down books from my DAd. But I think one of the best books I’ve purchased is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. He goes into the best detail of how light works with the camera, how to use light and define the exposure that’s best for what you’re trying to capture. I also love the book gives homework – just a little push to encourage you step away from the pages and actually try out what you’re reading with your camera.
I really love the Fuji Instax Mini. I don’t have one (sad face), but a friend of mine does and I love the images she’s able to capture with it. And it is a complete creative outlet. Being that it uses instant film like a Polaroid camera, you’re more mindful of the shot and the film itself makes it even more interesting. Flickr has several people who share their Instax images and there’s even a good selection of groups to join too. But this is a fun gift for someone who really wants to break out from the norm and try something different.
If you have a newbie photographer that still trying to figure things out, I totally recommend the nifty fifty. Both Canon and Nikkor have a version, but the 50mm f/1.8 lens is a heck of a deal and really allows a beginner to learn more about exposure and light. Many of the requests I get from clients for their photo session is “the blurry background” – all that is an open aperture and this lens can help create it – and it’s one of the least expensive lenses to boot. A few years back on the old blog I wrote a post about the 50mm vs. a kit lens to show how different they really are. I honestly think this is one of the best gifts for photographers – they’ll love you for it!
A Platform to Share
I’m a big advocate of blogging – it not only allows a more creative atmosphere to share and showcase your images but also creates a community. So while you may be skeptical to set up a blog for the photography lover in your life, don’t be afraid to encourage it! Maybe start small and gift them a membership to Flickr or SmugMug. Or a membership to a photography forum like Clickin Moms or the anticipated and upcoming group The Photographer Within. If your photographer already blogs, maybe go bigger and purchase a domain name or even a blog site template from ProPhoto. Support them – and then visit their platform and leave comments. :)
The PhotoJoJo Store has a lot of fun things – and a lot of them are really useful – but it’s a place to find quirky things too. They have iPhone lenses, coffee mugs that look like large camera lenses, photo-related USB drives, photo jewelry, spy lenses… I mean, it’s just fun to shop here! So find something clever to share. :)