Holiday Gift Ideas – from $20 to $200
For the Photographer in Your Life
It’s no secret that photography is an expensive passion, and as photographers, there is always an endless list of both wants and needs. The problem is, with so many brands and preferences on which gear to buy, and what is the best this or that, our family and friends can’t possibly decipher what to buy for us or why we need it. For this holiday shopping list let’s assume your favorite photographer already has a camera body and lens(es), so we’ll steer clear of those more complicated brand or model specific gifts. So what else can you get for us that we will appreciate, not know we needed, can’t live without or would just love to have?
Here’s my curated list of things ranging from practical to essential to just plain fun. Every item on this list I personally would be more than happy to receive, even if I already have one (or five). LOL
Prices may vary slightly, those listed below reflect the date of post, and are subject to change.
Anti-Glare Lens Hood: $13
Shooting thru glass can be frustrating, especially when the view on the other side is one you can’t get to from any other angle, without a drone or helicopter. These silicon lens hoods, while they can be tricky to maneuver, are sometimes the best solution in a pinch when dealing with those pesky reflections.
Memory Cards: $15 – $200
We all need them, and you can never have too many! Memory cards are not created equally, so you want to make sure you get a card that is fast enough to keep up with your camera. For hobbyists who shoot casually, card speed may not matter too much, but if you’re not sure just make sure to get a card that is at least graded Class 10 / U3 with a high write speed 95MBs (or higher) is a good baseline. I like 64GB cards myself, but 128GB cards are best for rapid fire shooting & 4K video.
For some of us (mostly higher end camera models and pros) your photographer might need a XQD card, instead of an SD card.
Travel Charger/Wall Adapter: $16
Charging all your devices when traveling abroad can be a bit of a challenge for anyone, but photographers carry more devices that need charging than most people. This universal travel charger & adapter works in over 200 countries, so it’s perfect for any traveling photographer — AND their travel companions will likely enjoy it too!
Crystal Ball Set: $20
It’s always fun to shoot through a crystal ball, and this set includes 2 sizes so you can choose the larger or smaller one, depending on your preference. I usually carry the smaller one in my bag at all times, since it’s lighter and doesn’t take up much space. But for those occasions when I plan ahead and I really want to get a super-clean, more detailed and professional looking image, I’ll make sure to swap it out for the larger one. Sure you can get just the large one or just the small one for a little less, but for only $20 it’s great to have both options.
Portable Multi-Tool: $20
If you’ve spent any time with your budding photographer, you know all too well that we have a lot gear to fumble around with. That’s why nothing comes in handy more than a portable, multi-use pocket tool. We use these with our cameras, tripods and other lighting and accessories on the regular. When you get stuck in the field without one, it can cause you to miss a shot or even worse, damage or break your car/house keys or hurt yourself trying to pry into something small and (likely expensive) without the proper tool.
Protective Lens Cover: $20
This universal, soft rubber lens cover made by KUVRD helps absorb shock, protects from water, dust and dirt and fits most lenses. Any photographer using a detachable lens camera could use at least a couple of these to protect their precious glass from the elements.
Lens Cleaning Kit: $30
Most pros will already have the basics, but if your favorite photog is new to the scene, you can’t go wrong with a good lens cleaning kit. This one by Altura comes with lens pen & brushes, swabs, cleaning cloth, liquid cleaning solution, an air puffer, and a handy pouch to keep it all organized and tidy.
Fingerless (Flip-Tip) Gloves: $30 – $80
Shooting in any cold environment is nearly impossible with frozen fingers tips, but darn it if we don’t need those fingers to operate our touch screens and tiny controls on the body of the camera. For this reason, regular gloves just won’t do. You can get a lower cost option, but I recommend the Vallerret Markhof Pro Gloves for best performance, specifically designed for photographers.
Colored LED Light Wand: $80
There is nothing more fun than playing around with one of these portable light wands to add color and drama to your images. Perfect for pros or hobbyist, they are super-easy to use and produce a high quality of light (adjustable up to 720 lumens) in a variety of colors.
External Hard Drive: $85 – $180
As photographers, most of us are overwhelmed with storage problems. Even with our fancy computers and unlimited cloud storage, it’s pretty essential to have at least one (usually more) portable hard drives that we can use to backup and store files, and of course, carry them around when traveling or in the absence of reliable WiFi. I love the 5TB Rugged Lacie External Hard Drive, which is a MASSIVE amount of storage! You can also grab it in any of these smaller sizes: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB.
1 Year Adobe Cloud Subscription: $120
Sure, there is a lot of software out there, including phone apps that you can use for free, but to really take your photography to the next level, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Cloud subscription is hard to beat. Gifting your favorite photographer with a year of pro software is a great way to either kick start their learning, or just save them some $$$ over the next year.
MeFOTO “RoadTrip” Aluminum Tripod: $140
One thing every photographer needs is a QUALITY tripod, that is well designed, durable and most important (to me), light weight. You will only ever have to waste your money once in your life on a cheap tripod in order to fully understand and appreciate why this one essential tool costs as much as it does. Oh, and by the way, this one called Roadtrip by MeFOTO is just under 60″ and is considered cheap at $140. The more expensive Carbon Fiber version is even lighter, and it will run you almost $200, which is still considered “a bargain” as some other brands can cost even more. I personally like the MeFOTO design because it’s so compact and light weight, and it also comes in some pretty fun colors! That may sound like dumb thing to care about, but when I’m out shooting with 50 or 100 people on a photo meetup, I can spot my white tripod in a second flat among a sea of basic black ones.
I mentioned this tripod is just under 60″, which is a comfortable height for me, but here are some links to some other available heights made by MeFOTO:
Multi-Color Ring Light: $160
Ever wonder how photographers get those perfect white circles in the pupils of the eye? You guessed it, RING LIGHTS! Ring lights are essential for any portrait photographer, as well as videographers or anyone shooting in-studio who needs professional constant light, and wants that high-end, professional look. If the photographer in your life doesn’t yet have a good lighting option, you can’t go wrong. This 19″ ring light comes with remote control and 4 adjustable color filters, which gives you total creative control and flexibility.
If money is no object, the absolute best gift you can give any photographer — aside from a blank check for unlimited gear, of course — is the experience of seeing (and shooting) something they will never forget. That could be airfare & accommodations to their favorite bucket list destination, or it could be a photography workshop, tour or personalized training session with an experienced photographer they admire, either in their home town or somewhere exciting and new! I offer Private Workshops and Training and Guided Street Photography Tours in Atlanta, as do many other talented and experienced photographers all over the globe. So if you really want to think outside the box, gifting an unforgettable, customized experience is the best gift you can get your favorite shutter bug.
Now you have it, these are all my top choices for great photography gifts under $200. I hope you find something on this list that is perfect for your favorite shooter. Please let me know in the comments if you like these ideas, or if you have other suggestions I would love to hear them. Happy Holidays!
I predominantly use Mirrorless/Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses by Panasonic LUMIX & Olympus, and I also recently bought a Sony and have been giving that a try. You can browse all my favorite camera gear on my Amazon Influencer Page, where you'll find links to all of my favorite cameras & lenses from LUMIX, Olympus, and Sony. I edit professionally in Adobe Lightroom & Adobe Photoshop. I post a curated collection of images consistently on my Instagram feed, or you can find even more of my professional photography on Flickr.