Holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for photographers of all levels. Professionals are conducting endless sessions for clients and hobbyists are capturing family events and nature scenes as creatively as possible. While you are currently freaking out unable to determine the best holiday gifts for the talented Photographer in your life. Have hope! For there are countless options for any budget that await below.
Phones & Accessories:
While many phones continue to amaze with special features and new releases, none dominate the market for Photographers quite like Apple's iPhone (http://www.apple.com/iphone/). Currently, the newest released iPhone 5 boasts a larger screen while still being thinner than previous models. Save yourself some cash and purchase the iPhone 4S if you can still find one. They can run using the same operating system as the newer and more expensive iPhone 5 which will be replaced before the next holiday season anyway. For Kentucky readers, Bluegrass Cellular carries the iPhone or you can visit many of the popular companies available nationwide such as AT&T. By purchasing an iPhone, you are giving the photographer in your life access to organization, countless photography apps and more for creative and busy photographers to better take control of their life. Include a iTunes gift card so photographers can purchase some of the popular editing apps that cost such as Snapseed ($4.99), VSCO Cam ($.99) or photography apps which enable the iPhone's camera to capture photos in a unique and creative way not available via Apple's provided camera. iTunes gift-cards can also be used to purchase music, movies and more to ensure they have the iPhone of their dreams.
If you've purchased the iPhone or know a Photographer who already has one, there are also countless other ideas. Companies such as Zagg have designed a portable wall-outlet
that extends the battery life by providing four full charges on their most expensive model ($39.99) or one charge for ($99.99) on their most affordable without the need to be near an outlet until they run out of charging capacity. These chargers can also be used on other Apple products such as the iPad and most Android phones and tablets. Ensure model compatibility before purchase.
For the Photographer with an iPhone who already has everything they need, there are unique items such as the
($69.99). It attaches to the outside of the iPhone in front of the camera. This creative device is basically mini-lenses that enable the user to finally take macro, telephoto or fisheye photos via the iPhone.
Additionally, you can also purchase a case, screen protector and other accessories, but unless you really know your Photographer's personality, cases and the fun of customization is best left to them.
Always a popular choice for Photographers of any level is cameras. In order to make the best decision, you will need to take the time to do some reconnaissance to best determine their needs. Some details to research include: how large will they be printing pictures (determines the megapixel), do they need interchangeable lenses, what level of photographer are they and where do they plan to be in the future. Cameras can be expensive, so if you don't have the time to do the research, a gift card is your best option and wold also be suitable for other photography endeavors. You can also consult with popular camera retailers such as B&H, Calumet and Adorama.
Lenses are another consideration. They result in a major improvement in creativity and image quality. Wide-angle and fish-eye lenses allow the Photographer to capture more of a scene than with an ordinary lens which tends to lose part of the scene. Uses for wide-angle and fisheye lenses include landscape, realty and even creative uses such as experimental portraits. Macro lenses enable the Photographer to get closer to subjects than with ordinary lenses. Imagine their pleasure at capturing the tiny strands of hair on a dragonfly or the pollen inside a flower? Telephoto lenses are great for the Photographer who loves to capture sports, portraits or other more distant subjects without having to be close. If you can't decide on a lens, be the coolest gift giver this year and purchase them a lens replica mug (Canon or Nikon). These seriously look just like expensive professional lenses and are safe to drink out of!
Other popular ideas include: tripod, battery grip, SD or CF cards to store photos (just ensure they are fast writing), and camera straps or bags in you know your Photographer's personality. Some stores for purchasing
Technology: Always a popular item among Photographers is technology. This includes items such as the iPad or iPad Mini which much like the iPhone help a Photographer be more organized but due to their size can also be a portable portfolio. Both the iPhone and iPad are the same product. The major differences are the screen sizes, speeds, screen resolution. Both perform essentially the same function except for a few apps designed only for the iPad due to its larger screen size. Many other tablets exist, but for the Photographer who already owns an iPhone the iPad is the best choice. For others, Kindle Fire and the countless other new brands competing with Apple's iPad are also of consideration.
Computers and laptops are also a great choice, but are very pricey. Photographers need a fast computer to be able to handle hours of photo editing and multitasking with large programs. Ensure there is enough memory and a large processor to compensate. Also, the graphic card and screen resolution is important for displaying photography during editing. Whether or not to purchase a desktop, laptop or a laptop with a larger external monitor is also important. Some prefer to be bound to their desk so that they keep their work separate from their life. Others are mobile and prefer a laptop with the speed for portable editing and business use. A hybrid option is a laptop with an external monitor for when the Photographer returns home so they can see their work larger and easier to edit compared to the smaller laptop screen or even utilize the extra monitor as a dual setup. A dual monitor setup allows a Photographer to browse the internet to fulfill orders (or talk on Facebook!) one one screen while editing photos on another. Due to the large purchase price, this is one gift you'll want to ensure can be returned if the specifications don't fit the Photographer's needs. Also, know that
external storage is a great idea for photographers who already have a great computer.
Software is also a great gift idea for the Photographer who loves to edit photos or doesn't yet. The most popular are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop or Elements. Prices range from $99-$699. They are each different and should be researched before making a purchase unless you ensure the item is returnable. If the Photographer already owns Lightroom or Photoshop, they'd love cash to purchase some of the unique presets or actions that exist.
Websites & online storage: All Photographers who regularly photograph should have online storage for additional photography backup. Some could even make money by selling their work via a website. Many options exist. You could gift a subscription to unlimited host SmugMug or one of the many other options. They will need to purchase a domain name if they plan to drive regular traffic to their new website for ease of use and professionalism. If your Photographer already has a website, purchasing their renewal would be a gift to help cut down on their cost to profit ratio.
Props: Photographers who regularly photograph portraits would appreciate some thoughtful and unique props to help their work stand out from the competitors. Pay attention to what type of photography they do and go from there. If they capture primarily children photography then focus on props for children such as toys, clothing, small vintage chairs and unique items.
Jewelry & Clothes: Obviously, any photography related jewelry or clothes you can find are a great idea. Rue 21 and many of the boutique stores in malls have recently carried retro camera pendants as necklaces, but they can also be found online. Alternately, you could purchase a gift card to allow them to get their photography printed on photo pendant jewelry or as shirts and other items at many vendors available online.
Gadgets & Unique Gifts: For some of the most amazing and unique gift ideas for Photographers in one location, visit the Photojojo store. Seriously unique items abound inside this store. So many that it's impossible to even attempt to describe them here. There are gift ideas for any budget and even a few things for you! You'll find gadgets, cool things you'll wish you'd thought of, jewelry and more. You can also search Pinterest for unique gift ideas. Many of which you can create. The internet is full of countess vendors and ideas for your holiday shopping.
The most important consideration is spending time with your Photographer. Don't forget to take pictures and enjoy the holidays together. In the end, anything that enables your Photographer to be more creative in their photography will be the perfect gift. Simply being their guinea pig for a few shots they've always wanted to try can be a great gift. If you still can't decide, just give them everyone's favorite gift of money or gift cards. Regardless, may this year's holiday gift giving have a 'photo finish'.
Zagg, Jo Totes, Kelly Moore, Photojojo are screenshots from 11/19/2012.