Photography is an expensive hobby, but one that people are usually supportive of. It’s just sometimes hard to find a gift for the photographer in your life that is 1) meaningful, 2) will get used and 3) doesn’t break the bank. I did a blog post a few years about gifts for photographers that still rings true (you can read about those photog-minded gifts here)… but I this year’s list includes finds that are under $30.
You like where I’m going with this, yes? ;)
A Fun Photography Book
There are a lot of photography books out there, but if there’s a young gal in your life that’s look for something fun and a little different, A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book is great. A friend gifted me this last year (I’ve been a long time fan of Elsie and Emma at A Beautiful Mess) and I knew my niece would love it too! It’s full of tips for beginners (those of us toting cameras or only our phones) and some inspiration to try new things. And I still stand by Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure — great book for the price and he challenges you all the way through!
A Camera Remote
What better way to get the photographer in front of the camera than with a remote! Some cameras nowadays have wifi and the ability to connect via an app on a smart phone. Sadly, my Canon Mark iii does not have wifi so I’m kicking it old school, but at around $20 the Canon RC-6 remote works like a charm. And I’ve had it for years – the battery has not given me any issues. I typically use my remote for self-portraits, but it’s great to have when a group of gals are together and we want a picture to commemorate. Or even when you’re doing long exposures and don’t want to jostle the camera when you push the shutter button. I love my remote and use it all the time — thank you for being there for me, remote.
A Lens Cleaning Kit
A smart photographer takes care of their lenses. And even though some of us who have been going at it for a few years don’t treat our equipment with the TLC it deserves, knowing how to keep your lenses clean is important. This little kit, under $10, has all you need. The microfiber cleaning cloth is my favorite and I keep one in each camera bag I have (so I don’t have to fish them out when I swap bags), but I’ve used the air blower more times than I thought I would. And the lens pen/brush has been handy as well.
(Added note: If you don’t have UV filters on your lenses, invest! They aren’t very expensive and they protect your $xxx lens — you’d rather the filter scratch/break than your lens, believe me. Amazon can hook you up!)
A Travel Tripod
I rarely use a tripod, but I do have one at home because when you need a tripod, YOU NEED A TRIPOD. I’ve never traveled with one, but this particular travel tripod caught my eye because of its bendable legs, it’s size (should fit in a backpack or suitcase just fine) and it says it will hold a dSLR camera. I’d test out at home first before I strapped my baby to it, but I love the idea. And with the remote, anything is possible!
A lot of professional photographers out there use reflectors to control how light plays on their subjects, but why can’t the amateurs practice with them too? This is a 5-1 light reflector disc, meaning that all five options zip and fold into one another. And it collapses, so it’s easy to pack up and store (or travel with). If your house doesn’t have a lot of light, this is a great way to add more light when you’re shooting indoors. Or even outside. And it’s just fun to experiment different equipment and techniques. Twelve dollars for endless experiments is money well spent in my book.
Set of Colored Filters
I haven’t used filters much other than a neutral density filter, but colors can be fun to play with. This set of colored lens filters is at the top of our price bracket ($30). Some may argue that colored filters aren’t needed today with digital cameras and post-processing in software like Lightroom, but some of us are purist… and I really believe you can do [almost] anything in-camera that you can do in post. And really? It’s a fun way to push yourself creatively. Not all of us are about taking pictures of cute babies; getting a little weird and pushing boundaries and using colored filters could be freeing!
PS – I love cute babies. All babies, actually. I just don’t own any.
A Fun Camera Strap to Showcase Their Personality
I enjoy seeing what kind of camera strap photographers have. Do they stick with the one that came with the camera? Or do they branch out and get something pretty or unique? The camera strap I use actually has neoprene on the back so that it’s a bit softer and doesn’t get wet with sweat. (Ew.) My friend Krista has a gorgeous leather strap with her monogram on it. I got my niece a fun polka-dot strap because no teenager needs anything that’s plain and black. And these funky camera straps come in all different designs! From florals to camo to stripes, and it even has pockets to hold memory cards. There are A LOT of camera straps out there, but with so many options at $15, I figure these were worth linking up.