Photographers are a picky bunch, that much is true and I don’t think any of us can deny it. As such, we tend to buy a lot of our own gadgets as we realise a sudden need for them. Of course, every photographer does have that epic wish list of items they’d love to own one day, but those things can be a little on the pricey side. Well, mostly a lot on the pricey side.
All these factors combined can make it pretty tough for our loved ones to shop for us, be it for birthdays or the holiday season. (Sorry, fam!)
To most people, it can seem like we’ve literally got everything, but there’s a bit of a trick to shopping for the fully armed photographer, it just takes a bit of sleuthing to come up with a few ideas.
For example, if they’re a working professional, think about what type of photography they specialise in. Do they shoot weddings, products, models? This could be a good indicator of the type of accessories they might be using, or might even appreciate having some spares of.
Avid hobby photographers are a whole other beast as you’re never quite sure which bits and pieces they do and don’t have at this stage in their evolutions. Finding out what their favourite subject matter is or what style they’re hoping to master can be a good place to start looking for ideas.
Lucky on the left, Peak Design on the right. Both come in different colours to suit #mood and #aesthetic.
I like to think you can’t really go wrong with a quality camera strap of some kind. Sure, most pros and enthusiasts already have one, or they’re using the one that came with their camera, but a nice strap is always appreciated. Plus, we might like to switch things up a bit, depending on the occasion. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.
Brands like Lucky or Peak Design are a good starting point. Lucky offers Australian made classic-looking genuine leather straps in a range of colours to suit almost anyone. Peak Design’s straps are more on the modern side with a modular aspect for easy removal or swapping from one strap to another.
Both are very appealing with a premium look and feel, but are different enough in style and features to give you some options.
Finding memory cards floating around the bottom of your bag is cringe-worthy. Storage is the answer!
Memory card storage is a great option for shooters at enthusiast level or beyond, since we’ve all got several cards in rotation at any given time. Most camera bags have pockets for memory cards, but they often don’t provide much in the way of security and are sometimes a bit of a tight fit which makes it hard to access the cards.
At this point, a memory card wallet or case might be a great choice. Photographers won’t mind having multiples of these in their arsenal because they’re always incredibly useful. There’s soft, wallet-style options as well as waterproof hard shell cases, so it won’t be hard to find something that works for your friend and your budget.
We all need a little help keeping our gear neat and tidy. A cleaning kit top-up would be deeply appreciated, thanks.
It may sound boring or strange, but for avid photographers, a cleaning kit is like gold. A lot of these kits contain consumable odds and ends that need to be replaced over time, like lens pens, cleaning wipes, and tissues. This is something that kind of falls by the wayside as we tend to forget about these items until we desperately need them.
A good cleaning kit with a quality air-blower and lens cleaning fluid would be a welcome gift for any photographer at any stage of their journey.
Nothing beats having some pretty prints to dress up your desk, office, home, etc, etc, etc.
If you’re aiming to get something a little on the bigger, more epic side, you might want to think about a dedicated photo printer. These things aren’t your typical home or office printers, no, no. They’re designed and specialised to deliver high-quality prints with some even offering up to A2 print size options.
If you know your special someone loves or just wants to get their photos printed, this could be the perfect gift. Being able to print your photos offers a very satisfying sense of completion, like you’ve finally seen your work through from start to finish with something tangible to hang onto in the end.
These printers do require proper photo paper, so even if your photographer friend already has a printer, some good quality paper could be an excellent stocking stuffer.
ONA on the left, with a soft leather shoulder bag. Peak Design on the right with a sweet sling.
Going with some kind of storage solution can be tricky, but it can also make you a hero gifter. Bags or backpacks are pretty personal and most photographers will have very different wants and needs from any bag they deem worthy of their gear.
If you’re planning to go down this path, consider something like a premium quality bag or even a hard storage case.
For bags, check out ONA, Peak Design, and Think Tank for some ideas. They all have some great options, some of which don’t even look like typical camera bags.
For hard cases, look at HPRC and Pelican. Both have foam inserts for easy customisation. These things are also airtight and can handle a fair bit of punishment which makes them perfect for travel.
You might be thinking “Yeah, great, but my bestie already has, like, two camera bags.”
That may be true, however, ask yourself how nice those bags really are. Fancy bags are things we tend to want, but not buy in favour of more practical options that can fit everything we own.
If you’re going to be buying a ‘secondary bag’ for someone, go with something on the smaller side, like a messenger bag or sling. These are perfect for day trips and encourage a more minimalist kit. As an added bonus, they tend to be a little more budget-friendly, too.
When photography is life and all you want to do is take pictures forever.
If you’re feeling uncertain about buying actual photo gear, you could always go with something that will fit easily into everyday life, but is still no less clever a gift idea.
Things like photography-themed T-shirts or coffee mugs are fun and subtle little nods to your friend or family member’s awesome hobby or profession.
Let’s also not forget that a coffee cup shaped like a camera lens is a truly excellent office prank and ice breaker, so you’d basically be doing your pal a favour.
The holidays are a tricky time to shop for anyone, let alone someone with very specific interests and, while the internet is extremely helpful, sometimes it’s best to take what you know and ask some camera-nerds for advice. Like the staff at DCW. We’d love to tell you what we… I mean, what your friend… might like for Christmas.