It’s coming up to Christmas now so I’ve got no doubt that many of you will start to think about either buying gifts for the photographers in your life, or making wishlists for other people to buy you things!
Now, I’ll let you into a little secret. No photographer wants a mug that looks like a lens. Honestly, we really don’t. Well, I guess some people might. Those people are definitely in a minority.
Instead, let me tell you about the things that I think you can’t go wrong with if you buy them as a gift – no matter if you know anything about photography.
A Book on Lighting
Understanding light is essential for photographers. But too often I hear photographers saying how they can’t shoot portraits because they don’t have a studio available to them.
Nick Fancher’s book Studio Anywhere is a journey through his portraits that have been taken in the most unexpected locations. From a half-open garage door to a bit of board propped up against the side of a house. It just shows that anyone can create ‘studio’ portraits if they just think a little outside the box.
A Website Portfolio
A website is one of those things that photographers just love to have. Having your own little corner of the internet for your own portfolio is a nice way to show off your work compared to social media.
I’ve had one of my own websites through Smugmug for years and I whole-heartedly recommend it. It comes packed with features that start from $50 a year. And if they go up to one of the more expensive plans they can even sell their photos direct from their site!
If you do want to write an “IOU” in a gift card for a subscription, make sure they use this link so that they get 15% off their plan if they’re a new customer. And the best thing about this gift is that if they enjoy it, you can simply buy them a new subscription next year!
A Camera Strap with Personality
I adore these camera straps from EzignCo on Etsy. The basic camera strap that comes with your camera is so dull and boring, and yet most people never get round to replacing it with something that reflects their personality!
These camera straps are the same kind of fitting that is found on almost all cameras so you know they’ll fit. And for the photographer who has everything make sure you check out their beautiful wristlets; I bet they don’t have one of those!
A ColourChecker Passport
This is one of the items in my bag that I simply can’t live without. It’s probably not suitable for beginner photographers, but for intermediate and advanced photographers who want accurate colours, it’s indispensable.
The X-Rite ColourChecker Passportis a little foldaway gadget (that folds up to prevent colour damage from the light) that helps you set the colours properly in post-processing after you’ve shot the image. I find it essential for anything I do with product photography or portraits.
Honestly the best present I think anybody has ever bought me is my annual membership to The Tate (thanks Mum). I get so much joy from it year on year by seeing exhibitions for nothing that it’s hard to think of a better and more inspiring present for a photographer.
Of course, there are other galleries out there too. The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, both in London, have memberships as do many other museums and galleries around the world.
I say time and time again that the best way to improve your photography is to go and look at more photographs and more art. You can learn and understand composition, lighting, and concept development by seeing more art and it’s vital, in my opinion, to develop further as a photographer. This alone makes membership to an art gallery one of the best gifts for photographers.
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