You don't have to break the bank to find a creative gift for the photographer in your life. These photography gift ideas under $25 offer something for every kind of camera geek - from the casual scrapbooker to the full-time professional.
Creative Photography Gift Ideas
Give the gift of creativity with these inexpensive ideas that focus on the artistic side of photography. These are a great way to show your support for the photographic artist in your life.
Fisheye Phone Camera Lens - About $18
You can get more in the frame and create some crazy effects with a clip-on fisheye lens for your phone. These lenses, such as the Bower Full-Frame Fisheye Lens for Smartphones, clip over your phone's regular lens. They create a super wide angle effect that is really cool for landscape photos or portraits of a large group of people.
Glass Prism - About $7
Whether you're shooting on an iPhone or using a DSLR or film camera, a prism is a fun way to add special effects to your photos. You can use it to make a reflection in part of the image, shine light through it to cast a rainbow on something or someone, or shoot through it to create a kaleidoscope effect. It's a whole lot of creative joy for very little money. Prisms sell for about seven dollars at Arbor Scientific and other retailers.
Star Filter - Starting at $18
A star filter screws onto the front of any lens of the same size and turns bright lights into stars. This is a really fun accessories for anyone who shoots a DSLR, especially if they do night photography. You'll need to know which lens the recipient is shooting so you can get the right size of filter, but a sneaky glance in the camera bag should tell you all you need to know. Consider the Hoya Six-Point Cross Filter, available from Adorama.
Funky Film Camera - About $19
If you know someone who might want to experiment with the creative possibilities of film photography without too much commitment, the Simple Use Film Camera from Lomography is a great gift idea. These disposable cameras come pre-loaded with funky art film and have fun colored gels for the flash. Lomography hints that you can even reload them with new film if you're feeling brave.
Pinhole Body Cap - About $24
Pinhole photography involves shooting long exposures through a tiny hole instead a regular camera lens. It can create some interesting effects, but it's a little daunting for beginners to consider. Pinhole Digital No Dust Body Caps are a great way to give this technique a try. If you have a Canon or Nikon shooter in mind, you can purchase a pre-made pinhole cap that will keep dust out of the camera while they try this out.
Lomography Light Painter - About $10
Long exposure night photography get super creative when you add in light painting. This crazy technique involves leaving the shutter open and running around the shot with a light painting tool, giving interesting streaks of light in the final image. It's a fun thing to try with any camera, from phones to professional DSLRs. Lomography sells a light painter for under $10.
Practical Photography Gift Ideas
Some of the best photography gifts also fill a practical need. These may not be glamorous toys, but they are super useful gadgets that every photographer would love.
Hot-Shoe Bubble Level - About $18
Anyone shooting a camera with a hot shoe (the part on top where you can attach a flash) will love a handy tool like the Vello Two-Axis Hot-Shoe Bubble Level. This little level slides into the top of any DSLR and tells the photographer whether the camera is level. Having a level camera is especially important for landscape photographers, but it's handy for any type of shooter.
Bean Bag Camera Support - Starting at $20
It's not always practical to carry a tripod, especially if you're shooting with your smart phone or a small point-and-shoot camera. Instead, you can use a bean bag support like the Steadybag to keep your camera in position and minimize shaking. The bags come in different sizes for different kinds of cameras.
Collapsible Reflector - $24 and Under
A reflector is a great tool for photographers who might need to bounce a little light onto a subject. The Raya 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disc is a great option because you can also use it to diffuse or soften light or as a "flag" or light-absorbing surface. The round shape is a little hard to wrap, but every photographer loves practical light modification tools.
Continuous Lighting Set - About $18
Adding a little light is cheap and easy with the Emart Photography LED Continuous Light Lamps, available on Amazon. The set of two lights offer continuous lighting, which is way easier to experiment with than flash or strobes. Anyone from phone photographers to pros can set these up and play around with different angles. They even come with two colored gels to change the temperature of the lights from cool to warm.
Choose a Great Gift
Whether the recipient is into mobile phone photography or professional DSLR shooting, there are lots of incredible gift ideas to try. Think about how and what the person shoots so you can choose a gift that will be sure to please.