Photographers are a special type of person. They love cameras, lenses, and more generally speaking, images. That said, buying a gift for the photog in your life is easy. There’s a few options in terms of category: you can buy them a fun gift or something actually practical. In either case, you are bound to please. On the impractical side, people tend to enjoy items that solidify their identity. On the other hand, people also enjoy practical usable gifts. On this list we’ve included both.
Here’s the 10 best gifts for photographers in 2018.
1. Coffee Mug That Looks Like a Canon Lens
For the Canon photographers out there, this lens cup may be a bootleg (note that it says: Caniam), but a subtle evasion of trademark law is part of the charm. This coffee or hot beverage mug stands up to only some scrutiny as Canon’s legendary EF 24-105mm f4.0. While this is one red ring (the mark of a Canon L series lens) that won’t mean outstandingly sharp photos, it does make for a fun gift.
2. HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer
In a world where everything is digital, there’s something special about the paper touch. HP’s Sprocket prints off social media photos or anything else you can find on your internet phone onto sticky snapshots. It’s like a modern Polaroid. The pictures are only 2×3 so they’re great for scrapbookers and other types prone to hoarding memories analog-style.
While printers are notoriously the worst devices ever, this HP Sprocket suffers from none of the usual pitfalls; it’s totally ink-less! There’s no jamming to speak of. This tiny printer is a great time for anyone who enjoys paper photos, stickers, and scrapbooking.
3. Canon EF 75-300mm (Certified Refurbished)
For the Canon shooters, this lens packs an unreal amount of bang for one’s buck. One could easily lose a day just taking the kind of telephoto shots this lens provides. It’s not the best glass on the market and it’s not L Series, but at 75-300mm, it’s pretty much a sniper rifle.
While this model is certified refurbished, used lenses are almost always a good idea. They’re built to last and glass is glass – it either works or it doesn’t. This lens works for some nice, sharp portraits, but it can also really excel for close-ups in video and wildlife photography. It’s hard to buy this much utility in this price range for any camera.
4. LimoStudio Softbox Lighting Kit
If there’s one thing that’s true about virtuallty every photographer, it’s that they can never have enough lights. This softbox lighting kit is great for lighting photos and videos. The best part is that the light has a nice glow to it, perfort for portraits and setting up a studio quality rig. Users love them for their outstanding price and color. One minor thing to be aware of, however, is that they do have short cords; be sure to purchase a power strip or extension cord for those who may not have plentiful power strips or extension cords.
5. AmazonBasics Portable Lighting Studio
Every photographer is always looking to expand their business. One of the best ways to do that is with a portable photo studio set-up, primarily catered for object photography. This is the best way to move products. People see a legit setup on Craigslist or Ebay, and they are far more likely to trust you and buy expensive products. Plus, this is a great service to monetize for other people looking to sell goods.
6. FeiyuTech a2000 Gimbal
This Feiyutech a2000 Gimbal is the best gimbal less than $1000 can buy. It boasts single and dual handle operation, easy setup time (some balancing required), and of course, the moneymaker, reliable stability. Full disclosure: Feiyutech sent me one of these units for review purposes. Truth be told, when it arrived, I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near the quality of a Ronin-M, but it delivers.
The app is a bit jankier and the setup is a bit more confusing (no instruction manual means you’ll need to hit up YouTube), but once you get it going, this is a great gimbal at a great price. It’s a lot more versatile and easy to carry than a Ronin.
7. Peak Design EveryDay Backpack 30L
This is the best backpack they’ve come out with yet. Full disclosure: Peak Design sent me one of these to take for a spin and my Swiss Army backpack hasn’t been touched since. This is really an amazing gift to give someone. Here’s why: no one wants to spend $300 on a bag, but this bag is actually worth it.
It’s a looker and gets compliments constantly, it boasts massive storage: two camera bodies, four lenses, and a laptop – easily. Plus, it’s very light. It’s built like a tank. There’s nothing more to ask for. This is the backpack to end all backpacks. For photography, it’s perfectly-suited, for everything else, it’s as good as the best.
8. LiFX Multicolor Smart Lightbulb
For a smart home fan who wants a photography tool to boot, this LiFX smart bulb will give one’s studio or room a variety of looks and smart functionality. It includes an app that lets one select any color they’d like, can sync to music, and can be used to do strobe effects.
The biggest issue with this light is that it’s not all that bright at 1100 lumens, but for the photographer who wants a bit of a color backdrop, it offers very nice colors and a variety of useful functionality.
9. Zhiyun Smooth Smart Phone Gimbal
For the photographer who likes their phone, this Zhiyun Smooth gimbal is great for using the camera most of us have available to us most often: our smartphones. In this day and age, smart phones are improving more and more as to be indistinguishable from cameras. Hence, the Zhiyun gimbal allows one to capture amazing footage of sweeping pans, tilts, and movement. One can even walk with it. This is a great affordable gift for the budding videographer. It’s truly amazing what you can do with a phone, but it’s even more amazing what you can do with a phone and a gimbal.
10. K&F Concept Tripod
Much like backpacks and other practical camera gear, tripods are often things photographers scrimp on. That said, they are extremely important. For one, they hold the most important and expensive part of one’s right: their camera. For two, a good tripod can help you get the shots you need no matter what kind of photography you’re doing. This K&F concept tripod boasts a lightweight yet sturdy construction. It has a ball head that also allows for decently smooth tilts and pans.