13 Practical and Affordable Holiday Gifts for Photographers [$10-$250]

November 23, 2017  •  460 Comments

One of the best things about photography - and most creative endeavors - is the unending process of learning. In celebration of such, here’s my list of practical gifts for photographers exploring the craft. No lens shaped coffee mugs or ties with cameras on them here. And the only gimmick is one that I'm selling. This list is aimed at beginner or novice photographers and outside of the book recommendations and the Canon version of the f1.8, I have used all of the items listed. Happy Holidays.


practical and affordable gift guide for photographerspractical and affordable gift guide for photographers


1. Micro fiber cloths: $13.99  - This is an item that I am regularly purchasing. If a photographer already has some, they’ll want more down the road. Perfect stocking stuffer.

2. Light reflector: $20-$40 - If the photographer has an interest in portraiture, this is a must. If they don’t, they might after learning how to use one. It will also give them a basic skill set for being an assistant to a working photographer. The bigger ones are much easier to learn how to use.

3. 50mm f1.8 lens: $125-$175 - It’s a great lens to learn about composition and depth of field, and it’s one of the least expensive styles of lenses for any SLR. You’ll need to know the camera model, but just ask your salesperson. You’ll want to get them an autofocus model. Great portrait lens.

Nikon 50mm      Canon 50mm

4. Field Notes Notebooks and accessories: $10-$90 - These are good gifts for any type of creative. Encourage the brainstorms.

5. Rode shotgun microphone: $260  - Most cameras these days are also brilliant video cameras. If your loved one has an interest in video THEY NEED a decent microphone. Rode is the leader in that department and this is probably their most relied upon model.

6. Extra camera battery: $35-$50 - Once again, you’ll have to do a little research to find the camera model but any salesperson will be happy to help. DO NOT buy off-brand camera batteries. If it’s a Nikon Camera, get em a Nikon made battery.

7. External hard drive $75-125 - If they are making photos with today’s technology, they’ll need space to save em. I use Western Digital My Passport Portable Hard Drive for my general use. All sizes for different budgets.

8. Private lessons with a professional photographer: $150+ - This holiday season I am making available a limited number of private lessons redeemable through the end of 2018. I’ve been working with fourth graders this fall semester and can help any age or skill level. For every hour of private lesson someone gifts this holiday, I’ll donate an hour of my time to a local school. DETAILS ON PRICING - Photo Tutor: Columbia, SC

9. Gift certificate to Borrow Lenses: $10+ - Borrow lenses is a gear rental service that lets you rent equipment out. Great for trying things out before purchases or special trips and projects.

10. Everybody Street: $5 - This is a brilliant documentary about some of the best street photographers in the grandest city in the world, New York City. (Some adult content)

11. The Americans by Robert Frank $33 - (book) “The book that changed photography.” -NPR

12. Sleeping by the Mississippi by Alec Soth $50 - (book) “Sleeping by the Mississippi has been ranked with the great representations of the United States, including Walker Evans’ pictures of the depression, Robert Frank’s harsh vision of the 1950s and, more recently, the colour work of Soth’s former teacher, Joel Sternfeld.” -British Journal of Photography

13. Vivian Maier: Street Photographer: $28  - (book) "An unassuming Chicago baby sitter named Vivian Maier was one of the pioneers of street photography.  But for 60 years, nobody knew it." -The New York Times Style Magazine


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