Gift shopping for birthdays and holidays can be a joy or a burden, depending on who you’re shopping for. It can be especially difficult to shop for someone who already has everything, or who doesn’t say what they want. Fortunately, if that person is a photographer, there’s always something awesome you can get.
Here’s a list of unique gifts for photographers, organized into the following categories: Cameras, iPhoneography, Useful Gear & Accessories, Apparel, Office Space, and Random But Cool. (We’ve excluded t-shirts, mugs and camera bags, since those deserve a separate list entirely.) There’s enough variety here that you’re sure to find something for every type of photographer, as well as put a few things on your own wish list.
When in doubt, get a photographer a camera. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive DSLR. A simple point-and-shoot can be a lot of fun, too.
Polaroid Camera Package
The Polaroid Camera Package contains everything you need to enter the world of instant photography. You’ll get:
- an original, vintage Polaroid 600 box-type camera
- 1 pack of 600 color film by “The Impossible Project” (8 pictures)
- the “Quick Guide to Instant Photography” camera & film manual
- 12 important tips on how to take beautiful Polaroids
Perfect for beginners!
Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film Camera
For a more modern version of a Polaroid, try out an Instax Mini. It’s small and cute, and it takes great vintage-looking photos. What more do you need?
Random Vintage Camera
If you want to get a vintage camera but don’t know which one to choose, try out this gift. The store Peace Love Cameras will send you a random vintage camera dating anywhere from the 1930s to the 1990s, along with a printed explanation of who it belonged to. The store will also try to give you some information about the camera, such as the years it was produced, where it was made, and what kind of film it takes. The camera won’t be perfect, but it’ll be in good condition for its age and no doubt fun to play with.
Gear Pro Waterproof Camera
A great alternative to other expensive brands, the Gear Pro is meant for adrenaline and action. You can take it on all of your adventures, from skydiving to scuba diving.
Forget perfection. The Holga camera is meant for having fun. If you’re getting burned out from post-processing and technical stuff, take time to relax with this simple, plastic camera. The photos will be flawed and beautiful, allowing you to rediscover the joy of shooting again.
The cameras on smartphones are getting so good that even professional photographers sometimes use them instead of a DSLR. For a really cheap gift, take a look at some of the more popular iPhone apps out there. Otherwise, the following gifts are also great choices.
Camera Lens Kit for the iPhone
That’s right–you can use a lens with a smartphone. In fact, why not use a tripod, too? This CamKix camera lens kit provides it all: 12x telephoto lens, fisheye lens, macro lens, wide angle lens, tripod, phone holder, holder ring, hard case, bag and cleaning cloth.
Macro Cell Lens Band
For a unique smaller gift or stocking stuffer, try out this macro lens band. It’s easy to use and fun to play with.
You know that sinking feeling you get when you notice your phone’s battery is dying? It’s even worse when you’re a photographer shooting with your smartphone. That’s why every photographer needs one or two backup batteries like these ones by LeadTry.
100% Energy Apple Juice Power Pack
Backup battery + cuteness by PhotoJoJo.
Waterproof Case for Smartphones
Dropping your phone in water is even worse than having a dead battery. This waterproof case will take away that stress, so you can go out rafting or sailing without worrying about ruining your phone.
Flash Drive for iPhones
This flash drive by HooToo is one of the easiest ways to store videos and photos from your iPhone. It plugs right into your phone, so you don’t need to transfer everything to a computer first. It’s especially great for trips, since it’s so small and light.
Useful Gear & Accessories
When in doubt, get a photographer something useful. These gifts may not seem spectacular, but they’re exactly what a photographer needs.
Think Tank Battery Holder
Batteries can be a pain to find when they’re loose in a bag. With this ThinkTank battery holder, you can keep them organized in one place, cutting down on frustration and giving you more time to shoot.
Nikon 8072 Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
This Nikon cleaning cloth is one of the best on the market. It’s soft yet durable, and when it’s clipped to your bag, it’s fast and easy to find.
LensPen Camera Cleaning Kit
One downside of a cleaning cloth is that it can gather grit, which scratches your lens. Another great option is this Lenspen. One end has a brush for getting off grit, and the other end has a carbon swab for removing smudges. You just screw off the cap, clean your lens, then recap right afterwards, keeping both your camera and cleaning kit free of dirt.
White Balance Filter
For an inexpensive yet valuable gift, get this white balance filter. You can use it quickly and spontaneously to set an accurate white balance, free from yellow, red and blue color casts.
The Joby GorillaPod tripod is perfect for outdoor photographers who want to pack light. They can take it into the mountains to get amazing cliff shots, or strap it onto a tree to get cool shots from above.
Floating Tripod Mount for GoPro Camera
Another necessity for an active photographer who loves their GoPro is this floating tripod by Mystery. You can take it on rafting and diving trips to get awesome group shots, or just use it in your pool for interesting underwater selfies.
A photographer always needs more space for photos and these Sandisk memory cards are great gifts.
Memory Card Carrying Case
Already have a lot of memory cards? Get this carrying case to hold them all.
External Hard Drive
An experienced photographer probably already has a good external hard drive (like this one by Seagate), but a new photographer might not. This gift basically says, “Go for it!”
Protective Case for Filters
This inexpensive protective case by Altura Photo will keep your filters safe and organized. It’s a great gift for photographers who are starting to expand their skills and experiment with new gear.
A bulky camera bag can be a burden for some photographers, who prefer using whatever bag they already have. This strong, waterproof lens wrap by Tenba allows for that flexibility without compromising the camera equipment’s safety.
Gaffer tape is like duct tape, only better. You can tear, handle and reposition it easily, and it sticks to all kinds of floors without leaving residue. Use it for DIY projects, creative shoots, and on-the-spot solutions to unexpected problems.
Portable Lightbox Studio
A lightbox studio is essential for photographing merchandise to sell online, but you can use it for creative still life shots, too. This one is easy to put together and folds flat for storage, so you can have a mini studio even in a tiny apartment.
Adobe Photoshop Shortcuts Keyboard
This shortcuts keyboard skin should really be included with every purchase of Adobe Photoshop.
The Photographer’s Pouch
With this pouch by PhotoJoJo, you can keep sharp objects like keys in the same bag as your camera without risking any damage. It’s also useful for smartphone lenses and other small items that could easily get lost.
There’s no shortage of photography-oriented clothes and accessories. The following gifts are good choices for photographers who like to wear their passion on their sleeve, hands and neck.
A well-chosen button can be an excellent stocking stuffer, white elephant gift, or decorative touch on a larger present (like a camera). Bonus: they look good on camera bags.
Camera-themed necklaces can be fancy, inspirational, funny or kitsch, just depending on what necklace you choose. That’s why it’s best to get a necklace for a photographer you know well, like a spouse (or yourself).
Camera-themed earrings can also be hard to choose, mainly because there are so many nice options. Most are fairly inexpensive, though, so you can always get a couple pairs when in doubt.
Camera-themed cufflinks are a subtle, classy way of showing off your hobby. It’s an especially appropriate gift for a photographer who likes to dress nicely, or who goes clubbing regularly to photograph night life.
Fun Lens Cap
Now, your camera can look fashionable, too.
These gloves by Alki’i keep your hands warm when you go out shooting on a cold day. In case you haven’t already cut the fingertips off of all your other gloves…
If you’re slogging away in a cubicle by day, doing something that’s not photography, it can be refreshing to have reminders around you of your real passion. Here are a few desk supplies to lighten up the office atmosphere.
Pen & Pencil Holder
This faux camera is probably a better choice for pens than a mug from the office kitchen.
A small, unique way to keep in mind what you’re going to do this weekend.
Digital Picture Frame
With this digital picture frame, you can easily show your colleagues and clients all your latest photos. It eliminates the awkwardness of passing around your smartphone, and the larger size and higher resolution will make your shots look better.
Business Card Holder
For a photographer who’s just started a business, or who you think should start a business.
Random But Cool
Trying to find the perfect, unique photography gift? Maybe one of these items will catch your eye.
Green Screen Backdrop
This gift could inspire hours of research and watching videos on Youtube, leading to some awesome, creative work.
Pico Flex Dolly Kit
Like a green screen, this gift can prompt creativity and experimentation with new techniques. Think: shooting in tight spaces, low-angle shots, stop motion animation, etc.
A Photographer’s Notebook
This notebook was made for jotting down details you want to remember about a shoot. You can enter your camera and film settings on one side, then put notes, sketches or whatever else on the other side. The notebook also includes a page for camera and film settings, as well a simple “Exposure Guide Chart” for when you leave your light meter in the car.
A Regular Notebook + Inspiring Quote
Or, you can just get a normal notebook with something inspiring on the cover. Perfect for anyone who’s about to embark on a 365 project.
This gift would probably confuse a landscape photographer, but a children’s photographer would think,”YES!”
Photography Magazine Subscription
There is something special about seeing photographs in print.
100 Photographs That Changed the World
Pure photography and history inspiration. A perfect coffee table addition.
Camera Cookie Cutter Set
Combine a love for photography with a love for cookies, and you get this.