It’s time for the photographers gift guide of 2023! Wait, it’s still 2022 you say? Well, I figure by the time you purchase and gift these items to your photographer friends and loved ones it is likely to be very close to 2023. So this is a great holiday gift guide, but will be useful all year long as well. Here is my roundup of gift ideas for photographers in 2023.
Being a photographer for over 2 decades, I’ve always gotten some sort of photo-themed gift for the holidays. Some of it has been useful, some of it has just been fun. So this year I’m giving you some very useful gifts and lots more fun ones too, ensured to make any photographer on your list very happy!
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The Useful Gift Ideas For Photographers
This list is a quick one of very useful gift ideas for photographers. I did not include any actual cameras but you can view my blog post on the best entry level DSLR’s for that list. Here I do have a lens or two and all the other fixings to outfit your favorite photographer in your life.
Camera Bag: ($100-$300+) No matter what kind of photographer you are, you’re going to need a bag to carry your gear. For years I did not know there was anything but those ugly black fabric camera bags (sorry Lowepro & Ruggard), but then I found Kelly Moore. Kelly Moore Bag has several options for photographers and designs beautiful bags and backpacks. I own far too many Kelly Moore bags but my favorite is the 2 Sues in gray. Kelly Moore is a photographer and a mom and created bags that could do all the things…and moore (get it). She uses beautiful leathers, vegan options, and durable leather alternatives so you won’t get any scuffing when you put the bags through the ringer (and you will). There are tons of bag companies out there but this one remains my favorite. Get $25 off by clicking this link.
50mm Lens: (under $200) This nifty 50 is worth its weight in gold. Seriously. I swear by a good solid *50mm lens and this one is a f/1.8 and will bring you years of use on your DSLR. I personally own the f/1.4 but for less than half the price this is the starting lens that I tell my students to get when they venture away from the kit lens that came with the camera. It’s also the one I have in the classroom. *Note that this is a Nikon lens (because I love Nikon) and is for a DSLR. Canon cameras and mirrorless cameras in either brand will have a different lens mount but still look for a 50mm 1.8
Camera Strap: (under $75) There are tons of camera straps out there and a lot depends on what you are looking for in terms of style and functionality. I have had this Black Rapid crossbody strap for YEARS and even though I got a slightly fancier leather one from a different company, this actually remains my favorite. I just like the feel of this one—it’s not bulky and the black fabric tends to blend really well and lays on the body nicely. I just think I prefer it even though for pure looks I might choose another strap.
Memory Card Holder: (under $10) When you move on from just photographing for yourself and start photographing other people and events then you’re going to need a memory card holder. I have a fabric one and a hard case one. This Professional Water-Resistant Anti-Shock Memory card holder allows for different options for your memory card storage on the go. My cameras have a mix of XQD and SD cards and this one can hold both. You can also choose all one type if that’s what you have.
Portable Harddrive: (under $100) This is just useful…always. If you’re going between jobs (especially when you start and still have a 9-5) something like this makes it easy to travel from one place to another and keep your images safe. I have always loved Sandisk and Western Digital personally, but everyone has their favorites. This SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable harddrive is a SSD (solid state drive) so you don’t have to worry if it gets bumped a little and it can take more movement while in your camera bag or backpack.
Lens Cleaner/Lens Pen: (under $30) You should be cleaning your camera lenses regularly. I clean before every single session (and probably should clean after them too). I find that liquid lens cleaner and lens cleaning tissues is just too annoying so this set of Lens Pens stays in my bag at all times to clean at home or on the go too. Especially useful when little kids “interact” (i.e. touch) your camera lens or you get a little water spray at the beach. I replenish these pens yearly and they are perfect!
DSLR Sensor Cleaning Kit: (under $25) I will say to go at this with your own risk. I, however, watched lots of youtube videos and felt comfortable cleaning my own sensor. Since moving to mostly mirrorless where the sensor is right up against the lens itself, I’ve found I have to clean the sensor more often. This camera cleaning kit is easy to use and doesn’t freak me out. I do only do the dry cleaning (never anything wet) and if there was a major problem I would still bring my camera to a professional to be serviced.
The Fun gift Ideas For Photographers
If you are looking for a fun gift ideas for the photographer in your life then you have come to the right place. Here I list some favorite fun gifts ranging from under $10 to just over $100. So matter what your budget for a photographer gift is, you’ll find one here!
DSLR Camera Ornament: (under $15) If you are viewing this near the holidays then this glass figurine ornament of a DSLR camera is a great simple gift for the photographer in your life. One of my students gave this to me years ago and every year when I bring it out and hang it on the tee it makes me smile. I just thought it was a sweetest gift and it is so cute for the photographer who wants to see herself represented on her Christmas tree.
Camera Lens Mug: (under $15) I’ve had this travel mug for years, but I actually use it as a pencil holder on my desk. This travel mug is a replica of a 25-105mm lens and its a very good replica. You can use it as a travel mug too (or more fun is when freak your friends out when you drop your “lens” on the ground). Not that I did that…obviously. This mug is just something fun to add to a stocking or as a small gift.
Keep Calm and Snap On: (under $20) I hang this poster on my wall as a reminder to myself to always enjoy the process of photography. This is just a cute little something to add to the office of your favorite photographer. You can also find this in mug form too, but I personally preferred a little office decor.
Cell Phone Camera Case: (under $12) This fun camera case is a replica of the one from the latest season of Emily In Paris. So if you have any younger teen or twenty something photographers on your list who are looking for a trendy and fun phone case, this one is great!
Camera Post-It Note Dispenser: (under $25) This little Polaroid camera post-it note dispenser is so cute, not to mention functional. I use post-it notes daily (don’t we all) and this little guy is just beyond adorable for any photographer in your life. It keeps us smiling while we stay focused and organized. I have this dispenser on my desk at school and my students love it!
Fujifilm Instax Camera: (under $140) If you’re looking for something a little more useful but still on the fun side, then the Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera is where it’s at. These mini cameras are the epitome of fun with their bright colors and stick on photos. It harkens back to a simpler time when instant cameras were all the rage. And today newer photographers just love the vintage feel of an instant photo. So fun!
Mini Smartphone Printer: (under $80) If you have a photographer who loves the idea of the an instant camera but doesn’t want to always have to buy the specialized film, then a smartphone printer might be the best option. The Canon Mini Photo Printer prints on sticky back photos directly from your cell phone photo library so you can display them in your home or give them away to friends. It’s a sweet gift that has a great lasting effect!
Hopefully with this list of gift ideas for photographers ranging from under $10 to over $300 you have something to get for that photographer on your list. Photography tends to be an expensive lifestyle (or hobby) but there are plenty of gifts to get that photographer in your life and it does not have to be a big gesture or expense.