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Best Christmas Gifts for Photographers

With Christmas just around the corner, many people are still struggling to think of gifts to get their loved ones. When you have a photographer in your life it can be difficult to know what to get them, lots of aspects of photography are very expensive and often the equipment is quite specific. Getting a gift wrong is bad enough but especially with the large amounts of money involved you certainly don't want to be buying someone the wrong bit of gear. In this article I will talk about a few different ideas for gifts. I will cover a range of prices and functions so there is sure to be something in this list that the photographer in your life will love.

Lens Balls

A lens ball is a fun gift for any photographer and can be used in a range of situations. They are like crystal balls, you place them in your shot and they invert whatever is behind them while also creating depth in the image. Simply focus the camera on the ball and you will get a beautiful scene in the ball with a soft blurry background around it. They are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased off amazon. Also they are not camera specific in any way so you can be sure whatever type of gear the recipient uses they will be able to add this to their kit list.


Tripods are a must have for most photographers, they give you stability in your images to produce pin sharp shots. Tripods can vary wildly in price but they all do basically the same thing, the difference will be in size, weight and strength. Depending on your budget, have a look at a few different styles and think about what would suit your photographer best. Do they spend a lot of time hiking to get their images? They might want a tripod that is lighter and easier to carry. Do they Like to take long exposures of the night sky or use very large lenses? A tripod that is sturdy and stable will be most important to them. Another thing to look at is maximum and minimum size, this is useful to note both for the type of photography involved but also the size of the photographer. If they are tall and the tripod doesn’t go high enough they might not like having to bend the whole time to see the camera. Equally if they like to take images close to the ground having a tripod that collapses as small as possible could be very useful.

Tripods are not camera specific so whatever gear the recipient already has, a tripod will work with it. You just need to consider the factors above before making your purchase.


Filters go on the end of a camera lens and do all sorts of things to the image, ND filters make it darker, gradient filters make it darker in some places, UV filters remove UV light… The list is pretty much endless. If your photographer doesn't have any filters already there are often starter kits that contain a few different sorts, normally a few strengths of ND filter, a UV and a CPL (Circular polarising filter). These are all great additions to a photographers kit if they don’t already have any. There are more creative filters too such as mist filters which add a dreamy cinematic effect to the images and so much more, I will write an article another day detailing what they all do. As with tripods, these filters vary massively in price, there are some that can be gotten very cheap and others that cost pretty significant sums. The more expensive ones are normally better quality but how much that matters depends on who you are buying this gift for, if they are just starting out and don’t have the best quality camera equipment there will be basically no difference in the final image between a cheap filter and an expensive one. Importantly filters come in specific sizes, to match the size of the lens the screw on to. This is very important that you get this right or the filter you buy will be useless. If you know what lenses the photographer has then you can just google the name and you will find the filter size online. If you have access to their equipment You can read the filter size off their lens, it is printed at the front of the lens, under the lens cap, and has a symbol of a circle with a line through it. Next to this symbol will be a number in millimetres, for example mine says 67mm. If you don't know what lenses they have or you can't get access to them, you will have to think of another gift or ask them to check themselves and tell you, this may give the surprise away a bit but it’s better than buying the wrong thing.


A new lens is an expensive and tricky thing to buy for someone unless they have specifically told you what they want. With so many to choose from, different mounts, different functions and massive variation in price this is a risky gift to go for. If you do decide to get someone a new lens though make sure you get the correct mount, otherwise the lens will not work with their camera body. For example just for canon lenses there is EF, EF-s, RF, RF-s and EF-m. These are all different mounts for different types of camera, some of them have some cross compatibility but for the most part you have to get this right for the lens to fit their camera. If you don’t know then you will need to ask as getting it wrong will be a very costly mistake, with lenses selling for a few hundred to thousands of pounds. Next is what they use the lenses for, different styles of photography have different lenses that are most useful, do some research and find out what the photographer already has and what else they might want. For example if they take portraits, google best portrait lens for their camera and see what comes up. If they don’t already have it then it would definitely make an amazing gift for them.


Lens cleaners are a cheap and universal gift that always come in handy. There are all sorts of different bits you can get or kits with multiple pieces but primarily you want things like blowers, brushes, microfiber cloths etc. All of these come in handy all the time for photographers and so will be a gift that gets used again and again, even if it is only a small present it’s certainly a useful one. On Amazon there are plenty of different kits that contain all the bits you need and come in a nice case to keep things organised.

Photography trips/lessons

Regardless of skill level a photography trip is always a welcome gift. From where I live in Manchester there are plenty of options within my reach, with trips to the Peak District, Lake District or just around Manchester itself all on offer. Being able to meet another photographer, go to some incredible locations and spend a while honing your craft is an amazing experience and one I would recommend to any photographer. If you are just starting out then these lessons are an amazing way to learn and grow while also meeting other people in the industry. Often photography trips and lessons are quite expensive but if you shop around you may find some decent deals, photographers often put last minute offers online if they have an empty slot they want to fill or have had a cancellation so it is worth having a look around.


A good camera bag is something every photographer needs, they keep all your gear safe and keep you comfortable while you lug it around. Depending on how much stuff the recipient has they might need something quite large or something much smaller. Camera bags also cover a wide range of prices so take this into account when looking around. Personally I don’t have much stuff so I have a fairly small bag, it fits my camera, lenses and accessories in perfectly. I have even gone on holiday with it and managed to fit enough clothes for a long weekend in with my camera gear. For me the compact size, convenient openings and comfortable fit are perfect. For others they might want more space, two straps instead of one, pockets to fit a laptop or other electricals etc so figure out what your photographers needs are and then see what bags are available. Style wise I have gone for a fairly sleek black bag but some people prefer colour, more classic designs, bulky for added protection etc so think about the style of the person you’re getting the bag for.


Camera flashes aren't used in every type of photography but for people starting out and still finding their niche, they are a great addition to their kit. Some flashes, also called speedlights, are camera specific, some are very expensive but on amazon you can find plenty of cheap and generic flashes that will be perfect for any beginner. They won’t have a long list of features but they will make a bright light as required and this is really all they need to do. Have a look around and see what size and functionality is available and would suit your photographer, you don’t want to spend loads on something massive for them to never take it anywhere as it is too bulky. Equally you don't want to get something really small that isn't powerful enough to be used properly. For a beginner photographer having a flash will allow them to experiment with portrait photography, macro photography, product photography and so much more. They can even be used in landscapes to highlight foreground elements in darker scenes, once they have a flash they will find all sorts of uses for it and there is plenty of information online to help guide them.


Drones are certainly an expansive gift and nowadays also require some form of licensing (depending on size and usage) which all costs extra too. This makes them prohibitively expensive for most people, however they are an amazing gift that anyone would be ecstatic to receive. Since they are independent of your main camera there is no compatibility issues to think of, as long as the drone you get has a decent camera on it, any photographer would love to be given it as a gift. DJI leads the pack in terms of quality but they are also very expensive so have a look around, you may find a cheaper alternative that has similar features, especially if this is a gift for a beginner photographer they don't need all the bells and whistles. Just make sure what you get is capable of taking still images, often cheap drones are marketed mostly for video and have very low resolution cameras because of this. Double check that what your buying does what you want and at a reasonable quality and you’ll be good to go.


These are primarily used for video work rather than photography, although there are a few different applications for them. If you are struggling to find a gift for a photographer who already has everything then this may be the direction to go. Gimbals are pretty expensive but they are fairly universal so you shouldn’t have to worry about compatibility issues, double check to be safe but as far as I’m aware any camera will mount on them. Using a gimbal allows you to capture perfectly smooth video, even while you're moving around, this is amazing for videographers or even a photographer looking to experiment with some different sorts of content. They can also be used for timelapse photography, they can be set to pan very slowly across a scene while your camera captures images at a set interval, this can then be stitched together to create a video of how the scene changed over time.


For anyone interested in astrophotography this would be an amazing gift, allowing them to zoom in on details of the night sky and capture high resolution images. Compared to camera lenses, telescopes are much cheaper for the same amount of zoom. But that is only because super telephoto camera lenses are wildly expensive, not because telescopes are particularly cheap. To connect a camera to a telescope you will need a T ring adapter, this has to be the same mount as the camera and will then fit onto the telescope. Make sure you get the right adapter or they will not be able to use their camera with it. With the adapter and telescope together they will be ready to shoot the moon and stars. I am no expert on telescopes so I would suggest doing some of your own research to find one that best suits your photographer's needs in terms of price, zoom, size/weight and features. Another thing to think about is that stars move across the sky throughout the night, when you are shooting zoomed in through a telescope this movement will be very noticeable, especially if shooting at a slower shutter speed. This is counteracted by using what’s called an equatorial mount, some telescopes have these included although they are often cheaper manual ones. Spending a bit of money here will be very important for getting decent photos of deep sky objects. Again this is an area that will require some research to find a product that fits your photographers needs and your budget.

While getting gifts for a photographer can be a daunting task, I hope this article has given you some ideas. With Black Friday just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get shopping before Christmas so have a look at the different gifts I’ve mentioned above and see what you like the look of. There is a massive range of gifts that any photographer would love and this certainly is not an exhaustive list, but it is a place to start if you are really struggling. If you liked this article, have any other gift ideas you want to share or have any questions for me then let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts on these gift ideas. I hope you enjoyed this article and wish you luck with you Christmas shopping!


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