The holidays are bearing down on us like an express train made of candy canes and jingles. Tinsel’s flying everywhere, not every place does two-day shipping, and what the ho-ho-ho are you gonna get people this year?
Sit back and relax, frantic gift-giver. Since photos are kind of our thing, we’ve created a special holiday gift guide for photographers. Peruse this list and load up on presents for the shutterbugs in your life—or, perhaps, passive-aggressively email this article your loved ones with the subject line, “Just in case you didn’t know what to get me this year …”
We give you the tools. What you do with them is up to you.
1. Collapsable reflector
A lighting reflector is one of the simplest tools that a photographer can use to improve their shots. Reflectors often come in different colors such as white, silver, gold or black, and each colored surface provides a different effect.
You could go buy your favorite photographer one in each color, but trust us, unless they have an assistant to help them cart their gear around, they’ll be thankful if you get them a 5-in-1 reflector disc like this 40” version from Westcott.
2. ColorMunki Smile color calibration
Ah, we all know the old saying, “Every monitor displays colors in its own slightly-but-naggingly-different way.”
Protect photographers from this frustration with a color calibration tool like ColorMunki Smile. It’ll ensure their monitors are calibrated to display color correctly, so they can edit their photos without worrying that the end result will be different than what they expect.
3. Remote shutter release (wired or wireless)
A remote shutter release allows photographers to get around that pesky “moving” thing we humans tend to do by hitting a camera’s shutter button from a distance. This comes in especially handy for wildlife photography or long-exposure shots.
4. Bokeh kit
Here at PicMonkey, our motto is, “Better with bokeh”—or, if we go by frequency of use, “Please stop making up PicMonkey mottos.”
Either way, it’s just a fact that every photo gets better with a dose of ethereal light. Treat a photographer to all the bokeh options they could ever want with a kit like this one.
5. Fujifilm instax camera
This ain’t your granddad’s Polaroid camera. (Which is a good thing, because despite what Macklemore says, you can’t just keep regifting your grandpa’s stuff. The poor man only has so many clothes.)
Instant cameras are a fun addition to parties and holiday gatherings because they provide immediate physical keepsakes. Newer models, like the Fujifilm instax, come in candy colors and sport a modern-does-retro aesthetic.
Ever heard your photographer friends complain about the lenses on phones’ cameras? Enter olloclip. This lens attaches to a phone or tablet to enhance shooting experience with sharper images and wider angles.
7. Easy Macro Lens Band
For another way to amp up a phone’s camera, there’s the lens band, as shown on Photojojo. Like the olloclip, this device enhances detail through an auxiliary lens; however, instead of attaching by clip, it’s a simple, stretchy band.
SmugMug is a web hosting service specifically for making photo sites. Does your favorite photographer need a portfolio makeover? Do they want to back up their photos safely? This may be just the service they didn’t know they needed.
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you charming people that PicMonkey Royale is only $39.99 a year. With twice the filters and effects of normal PicMonkey, no ads ever, over a thousand graphic overlays, and even more things we don’t have time or space to mention right now, Royale is probably the best thing you could gift your loved ones other than a pony.
10. Mpix canvas prints
You may remember Mpix from our online printing resources article. Why not turn a photographers’s best work into a stunning canvas? It’s classy, it’s creative, and best of all, it lets them show off their work without looking conceited, because “it was a gift.”
11. Fracture photo prints on glass
Here’s a photo printing option straight outta the future: Fracture, which allows you to print photos on glass. Aside from being ludicrously cool, Fracture prides itself on streamlining photo display. By printing directly onto glass, they combine frame, photo, and mount into a single piece.
12. Camera cookie cutter set
This one is just obvious. Photographers love cameras. Humans love cookies. Camera-shaped cookie cutters are a gifty slam dunk.
13. Custom camera strap
Accessorize the photographers in your life with a handmade camera strap. (To get you started, peruse the plethora of picks available on Etsy.) While many of these straps are unique designs, some can be further personalized to suit your shutterbug.