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A picture may be worth a thousand words but taking it requires a lot of gear, skill, and creative vision. And since the holidays are already knocking on our door, now is the time to start thinking about what you’re gifting the photography-obsessed people on your list.
Whether you’re shopping for someone who has only recently started snapping photos or a more seasoned photographer, there are certain gadgets and items that will always come in handy regardless of their proficiency level. A sturdy camera bag or a portable drive for extra storage are just two of them.
If your loved one likes experimenting with new gear and photography styles then opt for a new camera such as the Insta360 Go—perfect for social media-obsessed individuals who like to take their video game up a notch.
You could also give the gift of knowledge in the form of a must-read book on photography or a fun photo session—both gifts will help your loved one develop new skills and ideas. And for the fashion conscious—we picked a couple of super cool (and unique) camera straps.
So without further ado, take a look at our curated selection of gifts for the photographer in your life.
Nikon Z-5 Mirrorless Camera
Looking to upgrade from smartphone photography? The new Nikon Z-5 is the perfect entry-level mirrorless camera for beginners. It features 20 creative picture controls that allow you to instantly edit your photos and transfer them on your phone and social media.
The camera’s 24.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor delivers sharp and detailed images even in low-light conditions and lifelike 4K videos. The Z-5 allows you to shoot as fast as 1/8000 of a second which means you can even capture moments that your eye can’t see.
To buy: from $1,300, nikonusa.com
DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone
Aerial photography is an exciting field that is attracting more and more enthusiasts looking to capture natural sights from a different perspective. And when it comes to the best piece of equipment to help you do that, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is truly without equal. That’s because it features a Hasselblad L1D-20c camera with a 20-megapixel 1-inch CMOS sensor that captures smooth, stable, and incredibly detailed footage in any condition. The camera also offers a two-time optical zoom that lets you get closer to subjects and do so fast so you don’t miss the perfect shot. And with up to 31 minutes of flight time at up to 44 mph, the new DJI Mavic 2 Pro gives you enough time to document all the beauty around you.
To buy: $1,600, amazon.com
Atomos Ninja 5 Screen
This 5-inch multipurpose screen will greatly improve the filming capabilities of any DSLR or mirrorless camera resulting in high-quality cinematic videos. The screen displays an increased dynamic range in HDR that lets you preview videos (which is super useful if you work with clients who would like to see your shots as you take them) or record new ones in real-time at the highest quality possible. And in terms of compatibility, the Ninja 5 screen works seamlessly with cameras by Nikon, Fujifilm, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, and more.
To buy: $599, shopmoment.com
Haida M10 Master Kit
Filters not only help photographers take better pictures in difficult light conditions (they block glare and reduce reflections) but they also enhance colors and provide general protection for lenses from dust, UV rays, or, let’s face it, an accidental thumbprint.
Landscape photographers will love this Master kit by Haida that, among other things, includes an adapter ring and a sturdy aluminum holder that allows for use of up to two filters at the same time. The six 100mm filters help you take stunning images especially landscape ones of the ocean, sunsets, and sunrises, as well as images where you need to have more control over the depth of field.
To buy: $1,128, haidafiltersusa.com
Space for Giants x David Yarrow and Adrian Steirn Prints
Famed photographers David Yarrow and Adrian Steirn recently teamed up with Space for Giants to release two limited-run, never-before-seen wildlife photographs to raise funding for Space for Giants’ work to end the illegal wildlife trade. Yarrow’s photo, titled “Space for Giants”, depicts a portrait of one of the last remaining elephant tuskers in the world, while Steirn’s image, “Spotted Cat” is a shot of a majestic leopard standing over a body of water at Singita Sabi Sands in South Africa.
To buy: $650/each, leviathan.heni.com
Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Subscription
Every photographer needs a subscription to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom that are the two most widely used image editing apps in the industry. This yearly plan also comes with 20GB of cloud storage (with the option to increase it to 1TB).
To buy: $120/year, adobe.com
GoPro MAX 360 Degree 6K Action Camera
Help the photographer in your life take his or her action shots to a whole new level with the GoPro Max camera that is able to shoot crystal clear 360-footage. It also has six built-in microphones that capture sound and deliver the best audio experience in a GoPro camera ever. The MAX 360 camera takes incredibly vibrant shots thanks to its 16.6-megapixel sensor and that also includes distortion-free panoramic snaps. The camera is water-resistant of up to 16 feet.
To buy: $500, bestbuy.com
Meural Canvas II Digital Canvas
Digital frames are cool but if you really like to help a loved one showcase their work, opt for a framed digital canvas such as this one by Meural. It is available in two sizes (16x24 inches and 19x29 inches) and four wood finishes and allows you to curate and showcase your best shots in superior detail. The canvas has an anti-glare matte display and an ambient light sensor that ensures your images will be experienced in all their vibrancy.
To buy: from $400, meural.netgear.com
Profoto C1 Plus Portable Studio Light
This is a game-changer for travel photographers. The Profoto pocket-size light delivers studio-worthy results on-the-go. It works in combination with the company’s app that allows the photographer to switch between natural and dramatic effects as well as flash and flicker-free continuous light. Its compact size means you can easily and fast explore different angles for the best results.
To buy: $300, adorama.com
Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO-1000
Canon worked with professional photographers to develop this wireless inkjet printer according to their preferences and requirements. And the result is absolutely amazing. Whether it’s black and white prints or colorful ones, the Pro-1000 delivers incredibly detailed and sharp results. Thanks to its air feeding system that prevents pages from skewing, the printer produces remarkably accurate images regardless of the type of paper being used. The printer can produce 17x22 inches bordered colored photographs in just over four minutes with a print resolution of up to 2400 x 1200 dpi4.
To buy: $1,300, canon.com
Leica Q2 Monochrom
If the shutterbug in your life is ready to explore black and white photography then a Leica camera is a must-have (just ask fine art photographer Ralph Gibson who has been shooting exclusively with Leica cameras for decades).
The latest addition to the company’s Q line is the Q2 Monochrome— the first-ever full-frame compact camera with a monochrome sensor that boasts 47.3 megapixels.
Never miss a moment thanks to the autofocus system that locks on in less than 0.15 seconds. And with an ISO capability of up to 100,000, the Q2 Monochrom can capture immense detail and tonality in low-light settings.
You can also shoot full-HD black-and-white videos in 3840 x 2160 resolution.
To buy: $5,995, leica.com
National Geographic Photo Expedition to Antarctica
This is an incredible opportunity to learn the craft from some of the best nature photographers and photojournalists in the world while traveling through the stunning and mysterious landscapes of Antarctica. This 14-day expedition starts from Argentina and offers its participants a unique view into the rich wildlife and striking vistas of the southernmost continent.
To buy: from $14,940, nationalgeographic.com
Belmond Grand Hibernian Train Journeys
Belmond has teamed up with Leica on a fun experience called “First Light” as part of its luxury train journeys through Ireland. It invites guests to explore the surrounding wildlife on foot with complimentary lightweight Leica binoculars and a curated map. There is also the option to book a private tour with one of Leica’s photographers, including award-winning wildlife photographer Luke Massey.
To buy: from $4,200/person, belmond.com
Triple F.A.T. Goose Stratus Mens Parka
Winter is coming which means the photographer in your life will need some extra layers to keep them warm while shooting outside. This Triple F.A.T. Goose parka is cut from a tough 3-layer fabric that’s wind- and water-proof to both snow and rain and is filled with white goose down to provide maximum warmth. But what makes it the perfect winter jacket for a photographer are all the pockets that will shield pricey equipment from the elements. There are six in total—two on the chest, two on the side, and two on the front.
To buy: $700, triplefatgoose.com
The Heat Company Heat 3 Smart Pro
Another closet staple for photographers during the cold season? A pair of warm gloves that will keep their hands warm while they do their job. The Heat Company’s gloves were originally created for German and Austrian military units to withstand the coldest and harshest of conditions. The Heat 3 Smart Pro gloves feature a wind- and water-resistant inner lining with silicone prints for non-slip grip. And on top of it, there is an extra warm, breathable mitten with a foldable flap.
To buy: $179, theheatcompany.com
Insta360 Go Stabilized Camera
This 20-gram (about 0.7 oz) camera will help your video-obsessed friend up their social media game while taking the coolest clips. As one of the world’s smallest cameras, the Insta360 can be clipped, tagged, or attached to pretty much anywhere with the accessories that come in this kit, enabling its owner to create 60-second videos shot from unusual angles.The camera is water-resistant and has a built-in stabilization system that keeps footage smooth even when the ride is anything but.
To buy: $184, apple.com
Pelican Air 1535 Case With Padded Dividers
Travel photographers need to be extra careful with their equipment on the road. This super tough hardcase carry-on is dustproof, watertight, and features an automatic purge valve that balances air pressure inside the case. Padded dividers and foam insulation keep its contents secure at all times while the rolling wheels and the extending trolley handle makes transporting it a breeze.
To buy: $310, amazon.com
WANDRD PRVKE Series Camera Backpack Photography Bundle
A sturdy backpack is always a good gift for a photographer since they need a variety of them for different situations. This one is perfect for shorter trips or city explorers since it’s roomy enough to fit a DSLR camera plus a couple of lenses and a few personal belongings and clothes. It features a laptop sleeve, a removable camera cube, extra straps, and a rain cover for the backpack.
To buy: from $331, wandrd.com
Sony RX1R II Professional Compact Camera with 35 mm Sensor
DSLR cameras are sometimes not the most travel-friendly option (read: they are super heavy and bulky). But this Sony full-frame camera that boasts 42 pixels delivers professional results and is big enough to fit in the palm of your hand (it measures only 4.46 x 2.57 inches and weighs about a pound). It has a 35mm full-frame sensor, an impressive ISO range of 100-25,600, and a tiltable LCD screen that together deliver extraordinary image quality.
To buy: $3,300, sony.com
Arte di Mano Classic Neck Strap - Minerva Napoli
Help the Leica owner in your life carry his or her camera in style! This strap is handmade in Korea from soft, vegetable-tanned leather with a matte finish that will develop a beautiful patina over time. It has an adjustable shoulder pad for maximum comfort and end guard flaps that protect the camera's top plate from scratching.
To buy: $148, leicastoremiami.com
Oberwerth Donau Leather Lens Wrap, Black, Medium
Lenses are extremely fragile so it’s important to store them in a secure way. This luxury cowhide leather pouch is handcrafted in Germany and is entirely lined with natural, non-pilling wool felt that protects lenses against dust and scratches.
The pouch comes in four sizes and fits one lens.
To buy: $149, leicastoremiami.com
Sailor Strap Obi-Jimmy Camera Strap
This is no ordinary camera strap. It’s made from vintage silk Japanese kimono belts of the highest quality. That makes each strap unique and very sturdy thanks to the knitting technique used to create the straps. Each is about an inch wide and 44 inches long and is complemented with upcycled leather accents at both ends.
To buy: $110, sailor-strap.com
Peak Design Capture
This may not be the sexiest of gifts but it’s one of the most practical ones for a photographer and it will score you some major brownie points. Sometimes photographers have to react super fast when the right shot comes along so wasting time to unzip a backpack to get the camera out simply means missing that shot.
Peak Design’s capture camera clip helps attach a camera to the strap, belt, or backpack, which in turn provides easy access to it. It has a quick-release button and can securely hold equipment of up to 200 pounds.
To buy: $70, bestbuy.com
Manfrotto 190 Go! M-Series Carbon Fiber 4-Section Tripod
Second to the camera, a sturdy and lightweight tripod is a photographer’s best friend. And this one checks both boxes. It is made from tough carbon fiber and weighs less than four pounds. Instead of levers, it has twist locks that make setting it up fast and easy—a must for nature photographers
To buy: $400, amazon.com
Penumbra Foundation Tintype Studio Photo Session
The Penumbra Foundation in New York offers photo enthusiasts to get acquainted with an old technique while having their picture taken. The tintype, aka “the Polaroid of the 19th century” uses hand poured chemicals on an enameled sheet of metal to process an instant black-and-white photograph.
To buy: from $163, penumbrafoundation.com
‘Joel Meyerowitz: How I Make Photographs’
This new book by street photography legend Joel Meyerowitz is a must-read for budding photographers. In it, Meyerowitz shares tips for everything from how to set up your camera to shoot on the street to how to train your eye to see and frame the best shots on the go. Of course, the book is thoroughly illustrated with examples of his own groundbreaking work.
To buy: $20, icp.org
Pantone: The Twentieth Century in Color
Fans of color photography will find this book absolutely fascinating and very useful. It does something very unusual—it traces the emergence of various hues in the context of 20th century historical and cultural events and reveals the works of art, products, and décor items that influenced their popularity.
To buy: $28, amazon.com
Istorage 1TB diskAshur2 USB 3.1 Encrypted Portable HDD
Photographers who like to keep their work private will be very pleased to receive this portable hard drive. It features real-time 256-bit hardware encryption and PIN authentication that protects the data on it from external physical and automated attacks. It is dust and water-resistant and comes with a convenient travel case.
To buy: $249, bhphotovideo.com
Billingham Hadley One Camera/Laptop Bag
A cool-looking messenger bag that fits a camera and a laptop will always come in handy to amateur and professional photographers alike. This one, made in England, features a 13-inch padded laptop slip and a removable padded insert for camera gear. The bag is cut from a three-layer waterproof canvas fabric (available in six hues) and sports vintage-inspired brass and leather accents.
To buy: $399, amazon.com