Shopping for a photography enthusiast is always a challenge. Between trying to figure out which item might work with a specific camera brand and sifting though your memory to figure out what your photo-obsessed loved one might already own, you're left with a whole lot of nothing in your shopping cart. Fortunately, it's easy to find the perfect gift for every photographer if you have a few inspired ideas.
1. Runway-Worthy Camera Strap
Whether your gift recipient shoots a professional DSLR or a simple point and shoot, a gorgeous strap is a spectacular gift. Frequently, the strap that comes with a camera is rough to the touch and uncomfortable to wear, not to mention loudly printed with the camera brand's logo. Replacing this lame strap with a fashion-forward alternative is always a major upgrade, and a lovely strap makes a really awesome gift.
The Capturing Couture Neck Strap, available in six colors, is an excellent choice for the fashionable photographer on your list. It's adjustable and can be worn around the neck or in a messenger style with the camera hanging at the hip. The outside of the strap is printed in a beautiful brocade pattern, and the inside is lined in soft velvet. It works with any camera with standard strap loops and retails for $30 to $40, depending on the color you select.
2. Tiny Light for Dark Scenes
Photography is all about light, but there are times when you have to take a shot in the dark, so to speak. One option is to use the camera's flash, but that can really change the mood and wash out the photo. Instead, a handy little light can illuminate just a part of the scene and help your camera-wielding loved one capture a moment beautifully. A tiny light makes an affordable stocking stuffer or add-on gift.
The Nebo Lumo is a great option because it is small enough to fit in a camera bag or clip to a key chain with the attached mini-carabiner. It is so bright that it can illuminate a subject from several feet away, and the included battery has a runtime of five hours. It comes in four attractive colors and retails for about seven dollars.
3. Vintage Camera T-Shirt
No matter what high tech camera a photographer shoots these days, everyone looks back fondly at the days of instant Polaroid photos. Remember the magic of watching the image appear? For people who love taking photos, it's a version of that magic that keeps them pushing the shutter button again and again.
You can call up a little of that joy with an awesome vintage Polaroid T-shirt. Available in five colors, this shirt has tons of vintage charm. The simple Polaroid camera graphic on the front will appeal to any photographer. You can also buy this to fit just about anyone, since it comes in sizes from a women's small to a man's 3XL. It's made from 100% cotton and sells for about $20.
4. Lightweight, Sturdy Tripod
Tripods can be heavy and difficult to set up, and finding a good quality one for a reasonable price is no easy task. If you're shopping for a photographer who doesn't already own a tripod, this can be an incredibly useful gift. The key is getting one that is light enough to carry on a hike or trip to the park and quick to set up and take down. Otherwise, it will just end up sitting in a closet.
The Manfrotto Compact Advanced Tripod is a great option for photographer with anything from a point and shoot camera to a mid-level DSLR. It weighs about three pounds and can support over six pounds of camera gear. It features a three-way head to allow panning and tilting and has a quick-release plate for conveniently clipping the camera to it. This tripod, which sells for about $100, sets up to its maximum height of about 65 inches in a flash and includes a handy carrying bag.
5. Camera-Print Scarf
If you're shopping for a female photography buff, you can't beat a stylish scarf printed with cameras. After all, she can't always have her camera by her side, and when it's not there, she still wants to show off her love of the hobby. Plus, everyone loves scarves, and you never have to worry about whether they will fit.
The Lina & Lily Vintage Camera Print Scarf is a fun choice. It comes in five different colors, all featuring simple line drawings of vintage cameras. At 40 inches by 70 inches, she can wear it in all her favorite ways, and the lightweight polyester fabric resists wrinkles and has lovely drape. This fun gift retails for about $16.
6. Memory Card Storage Wallet
These days, most cameras store images on memory cards. The cards come in all different storage capacities, but no matter how many gigabytes they can hold, they do fill up. If you are shopping for someone who does a lot of shooting, there's a good chance he or she has a collection of memory cards. Keeping these safe and organized can be a real challenge, but a memory card wallet is a great solution.
The Cellay Memory Card Holder Case is an affordable and practical gift. It works with a variety of card brands and can hold up to 12 cards at a time. What's more, it's waterproof, which is extra important if the person you're shopping for does a lot of outdoor shooting. At about $12, this is also a great gift option if you're on a budget.
7. Lens Replica Cup
For a photography enthusiast, there's nothing quite as amusing as seeing someone open up a pricey lens...and take a drink. A travel mug that looks convincingly like a real lens is a great conversation piece and a fun way to show off a love for great "glass." It also makes a hilarious and thoughtful gift.
CamLabs Zoomable Camera Lens Mug is about as good as it gets. This realistic looking mug is based on a real zoom lens. If you know the favorite brand of the person on your list, you can even buy a cup that mimics a lens the person may actually own. This is also a practical gift, since the mug is insulated and has a handy rubber grip. It sells for about $20.
8. Flexible Mini Tripod
There are times when it just isn't practical to haul around a full-sized tripod, no matter how awesome and lightweight it is. That's where a mini tripod comes in handy. These tiny camera supports can fit into a camera bag or backpack and are capable of holding up a point and shoot camera or a mid-range DSLR.
The Joby Gorilla Mini Tripod makes an awesome gift because the legs are flexible, allowing the photographer to use it on just about any surface. It can support about six pounds of camera gear, and it weighs less than a pound. It retails for about $50.
9. Sterling Silver Camera Necklace
If you need a gift for a sister, mom, or girlfriend who is into photography, a beautiful camera necklace is another great choice. Wearing camera jewelry is a subtle and meaningful way to show off a love of the hobby while making a style statement at the same time.
Lgu's Sterling Silver Oxidized Camera Necklace has an incredible amount of detail. The tiny camera charm is about 2/3 inch wide and 1/3 inch tall, and it has a little lens and shutter button. It hangs from a thin, sterling box chain, which makes it a complete gift. This lovely piece sells for about $23.
10. Adobe Creative Cloud Prepaid Card
If you know someone who takes a lot of photos but is still using the editing software that came with his or her computer or camera, it might be time to introduce something new. Photo editing software makes another fantastic gift.
The Adobe Creative Cloud is a monthly subscription plan that lets photographers have access to Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, two very useful programs. Typically, it costs about $10 per month to access this software, but you can give a year-long subscription card to someone special. The card retails for $120 and makes it easy for photographers to take their pictures to the next level.
Sure to Get a Smile
Whether you're looking for a practical gift or a present that lets the photographer in your life show off his or her love for the lens, there are lots of great options out there. If you pick up one of these fantastic items, you're sure to get a smile.