10 Best Gifts for Photographers
Not every profession is as gear-laden as photography. But when you’re holiday shopping, that’s a good thing. Lots of photography accessories to choose from, not to mention cool photo classes and exhibits. (As opposed to the accountants and lawyers on your list, just saying.) I’ve tried to find gift ideas that range from practical to inspiring, affordable to extravagant. Happy gifting!
(1) MasterClass with Jimmy Chin
Is the photographer in your life a thrill-seeker? Treat them to a MasterClass by Jimmy Chin, a National Geographic photographer, Oscar-winning film director, and professional mountain athlete. The class includes 20 video lessons (4 hours total) and covers topics like outdoor portraits, mountain landscapes, winning commercial clients, and editing. Buy here.
(2) Comfy, Colorful Neck Strap
Many camera straps are merely functional, with little regard to color, style, or comfort. But Stroppa, a camera accessory maker based in Poland, offers a line of straps made of high-quality rope. They’re elegant and dependable — a rare combo. Choose among a rainbow of colors. Buy here.
(3) Ed Ruscha Retrospective
One exhibit, two coasts. Fans of Ed Ruscha will be thrilled to see ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN, an exhibit featuring over 200 works in various mediums spanning 65 years, including his groundbreaking black-and-white photos of gas stations from the early 1960s. The exhibit starts at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, then moves to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Buy here for MoMA. Buy here for LACMA.
(4) Dimmable Panel Light
Much more important than having a lot of lights is knowing how to control them. This Neewer Dimmable Panel Light is great for brightening shadows on a subject’s face, and creates a nice catch light in the eyes. Compatible with Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic, SONY, Samsung, and Olympus Digital SLR cameras. Buy here.
(5) Lens Cleaner Pen
Lens cleaner pens have come a long way. This one from Adorama has a retractable brush on one end and a cleaning tip on the other. The brush gets rid of dust with absorbent carbon, while the tip is recharged by a carbon-laced pad inside the cap, allowing about 500 cleanings. About the size of a magic marker, it stores easily in a camera bag. Buy here.
(6) Kids Photo Challenge Album
Is there a budding photographer in your life? Packed with 40 fun photo-based activities, this beautifully illustrated book teaches kids how to capture the world around them. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire the next Annie Liebowitz or Ansel Adams. Buy here.
“Through My Lens” Photo Challenge Album, uncommongoods.com, $20
(7) Scented Candles
Aromatherapy for photographers? Why not! Three scents are crafted with fragrance oils that aim to inspire your creativity. For example, “Blue Hour” awakens the mind with notes of fresh-cut pine, mint, and balsam. “Golden Hour” conjures that glowy light at the end of the day with the warm scents of mandarin orange, sugared lemon, and sweet agave. Ready for a good night’s sleep? “Midnight” calms and relaxes the mind with notes of mandarin, honeysuckle, and sandalwood. Premium soy wax is hand-poured into elegant black glass vessels that resemble camera lenses. Approximately 70 hours of burn time, 10 oz. each. Buy here.
(8) Artie Leather Weight
Anyone who’s tried to hold down a print while mounting it for framing knows you can’t just grab random objects to do the job, or you risk scratching the print. Enter the Artie Leather Weight, featuring our famed panda mascot. Heavy enough to keep prints in place, but covered in soft, non-abrasive leather to protect the art. Priced low enough to buy a set of four and cover every corner. Buy here.
(9) Professional Picture Frames
You might assume that photographers would have dozens of frames lying around. But often they’re too busy finding new clients, creating art, retouching photos, and making prints. The sad result is their beautiful images don’t get displayed. You can save the day with hand-crafted, ready-made frames to get them started in the new year. If you’re not sure which types of frames they like, they can choose their favorites with a Lens Lover Gift Card. Buy here.
(10) Archival Photo Storage Boxes
Most photographers’ work lives in digital form on their computers. But some images we are compelled to print and display. A good museum-quality storage box keeps photographic prints protected in that (sometimes lengthy) interval between printing and framing. Available in an array of sizes from 8”x10” to 22"x30”. Buy here.
I hope you’re inspired to shop with confidence for the holidays and beyond. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below!
Last Updated September 18, 2023