Are you searching for the best gift ideas to treat the avid photographer in your life?
Well, whether it’s a Birthday, Christmas, Black Friday binge or just-feeling-generous gift, we have the most complete list of useful gifts for photographers – ranging from under US$ 10 to US$ astronomical.
Photography usually begins as a fun hobby and quickly transforms into a costly addiction – trust us, we know! We traveled the world for 2 years, beginning with a smartphone, upgrading to entry level camera gear and ending with top spec equipment.
The goal here is to give you a list of gift ideas that your photographer will love and actually use in the field.
Therefore, recommendations are based around our own photography experiences: What we love, what we desperately want and what we know photographers can’t live without.
If you’re buying a gift for a friend, you might want to skip right past the cameras and lenses section, onto accessories, books and cheap gift ideas. However, if you’re looking to splurge on some serious gear for someone close to you, start at the top.
We own almost all of the following items and only recommend what we would buy ourselves, based on in-depth research, user reviews and ratings. Anything on this list we don’t already own – well, they are on our own wishlists for Santa!
Let’s find you a photography gift!
*Please note this post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! We recommend only products we use and as always, all ideas or opinions expressed in this post are entirely ours. Thank you for the support and happy travels!*
Best Gifts For Photographers: Cameras and Lenses
Let’s start this list with the most important components of photography – cameras and lenses. Without them, you would be standing at a sunrise shoot with a tripod and SD Card…
Of course, this section only applies to those who are looking to spend a moderate chunk of cash – upwards to eye watering sums for special gifts.
Don’t worry, we promise there are far more reasonably priced gift ideas coming up!
We are proud owners of Sony photography equipment. We love the brand and as frequent travelers, Canon and Nikon DSLR’s were never an option for us. However, that does mean that our list of bodies and lenses are all Sony related.
Apologies to anyone looking to buy Canon or Nikon but we couldn’t truly recommend something having never used it.
Sony A7R IV – Best in Class
One of the best cameras money can buy, the Sony A7R IV is a 61MP beast and one of our scariest but best ever purchases. Photography is about the mind of the eye behind the viewfinder, but having top class equipment sure does help! The price will melt your eyeballs and is only relevant for professionals or serious content creators, but this is the ultimate photography gift.
Sony A7 III – Mid Range
Slashing the price in half, Sony’s A7 III full frame mirrorless camera is a fantastic alternative option for serious photographers who can’t quite justify the eye watering cost of the top range A7R IV. A mightily impressive camera body, the A7 III will perform excellently when combined with high quality lenses. You can pick up the A7 III for a great price now.
Sony A6000 – Entry Level
Sony’s A6000 is one of the best selling cameras of all time and the perfect entry level body for beginners who want to get into photography. It is old now and there are upgraded versions – such as 6100 and 6600 – but the A6000 is still a fantastic camera (and our backup!) when paired with a good lens. Search Amazon for bundles offering kit lenses, SD cards, cleaning kits etc for the same price as the body alone. Kit lenses are fine for learning but you will need to buy better glass eventually.
Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens
Is your avid photographer big into landscape and / or astro photography? If so, this is the ultimate landscape lens for Sony cameras. Sony’s GM range provide greatest quality available and the 16-35mm wide angle zoom lens is one of the most popular lenses on the market. We recently bought this lens ourselves and it performs magnificently. It will be our go-to when traveling. The price is exorbitant but you get what you pay for and this is as good as it gets!
Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G Lens
Every photographer needs a ‘workhorse’ or ‘walk around’ lens in the bag. These lenses are perfect for everyday photography, wide enough at 24mm for landscapes, 50mm and 70mm or 80mm for portraits (wedding photography) and even 105mm for short telephoto focal lengths. Sony’s 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is an amazing lens but expensive. Opt instead for the 24-105mm f/4 G for less than half the price and you gain 35mm focal length – as long as you can afford to lose the stop of light (f/2.8 – f/4). We use the 24-105mm anytime we’re not traveling specifically for landscapes.
Sigma 16mm f/1.4 Lens
Sigma’s 16mm f/1.4 Sony E-Mount prime lens will always be one of our favorite lenses because we used it to learn (and fall in love with!) photography. The lens is perfect for crop sensor entry level cameras like the A6000 for landscapes (at 24mm) and particularly astro photography with f/1.4 being perfect for stars. You can pick up the Sigma 16mm for pocket change in the photography world and it will transform an entry level Sony camera!
GoPro Hero 8 Black
GoPro’s are epic! Every traveler has one and uses it constantly. When it comes to action cameras, it doesn’t get better than GoPro. We would always suggest getting the newest model and the top spec, so right now it’s the GoPro Hero8 Black. The technology improvements each time are worth spending a little extra. We currently own the GoPro Hero7 Black, our next will probably be the 9. GoPro’s are perfect for photographers or videographers who enjoy adventure sports and water sports. Video quality for such a tiny and portable bit of kit is mind-blowing.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Smart Controller
Photography and videography has elevated to new heights (pun intended!) in recent years with the introduction of drone technology for the everyday consumer. There are many restrictions and the person will need a license to fly – but in our honest opinion, drones are a game changer for content creating. Our DJI Mavic 2 Pro is incredible and possibilities are endless for what we can create when traveling. The Air is a cheaper model for hobbyists, but the Mavic 2 Pro is the best compromise between affordability and quality for serious creators.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
So far, everything on this list has been expensive. But that’s cameras and lenses for you! Now, if you’re looking for a timeless photography gift suitable for all levels – look no further than a classic Fujifilm instax instant camera. Roll back the years and print as you snap for a classic take on photography. We have one and it always comes traveling with us – for those truly iconic landmarks around the world.
Best Gifts For Photographers: Accessories
Okay, that’s the super pricey landmark birthday gifts out of the way. Let’s move into mid-range budget photography gift idea territory: Accessories.
Since we began this travel blog, each birthday and Christmas we’ve been stockpiling photography accessories. It seems like there’s always something else we need. Not want, need!!
This photography accessories list saves you time researching which brand to buy because we only suggest top rated products and ones we would use ourselves.
Here are the accessories photographers can’t live without when shooting or traveling (factoring in their discipline):
Tripod – Vanguard Alta Pro 2
Tripods are essential for all photographers to capture images using slow shutter speeds. For instance – low light, waterfall, night, astro, sunrise and sunset photography all require a tripod for best results. If we could only choose one accessory – this would be it. However, there are myriad tripods spanning the price to quality spectrum. Our tripod – the Vanguard Alta Pro 2 carbon with ball head – is epic. But it won’t be suited to everyone. Consider if your photographer needs a compact tripod for travel, or a beast like ours for serious terrain. Prices vary from 10-500 dollars – top spec tripods are more suited to top spec cameras.
Joby GorillaPod Tripod
Joby’s GorrilaPod is the perfect gift for travelers or any photographer who shoots outdoors. Three legs can be wrapped around any object – such as a tree or pole – to support cameras where a standard tripod can’t do the job or get the required angle. At the moment we don’t have one of these but we will get one for tricky shooting scenarios. The other obvious benefit is compact and lightweight means easier storage and portability. GorillaPod models vary by how much camera weight they can safely hold.
Freewell Variable ND Filters
UV filters and CPL filters are good to have but ND filters are essential, particularly for landscape photographers. An ND filter in simple terms blocks light from the camera sensor, which allows wide open apertures and / or slower shutter speeds to be used in broad daylight. Think of an ND filter as sunglasses for a camera. We use Freewell’s 2-5 stop variable ND filter and couldn’t be happier. There are fixed ND filters but variable ND filters allow more flexibility for a minuscule loss in quality. Our advice is to buy filters based on the lens used by the photographer – ie. a US$ 2000 lens should have a high quality filter.
Vello FreeWave Plus Remote Shutter
Remote shutters allow the photographer to take an image without touching the camera. You can buy wired or wireless remote shutters. Wired would be fine for portraiture but a landscape photographer will need wireless so they can be in a photo! Choices include bluetooth, infrared and radio frequency. We have a Vello FreeWave radio frequency wireless remote shutter which works well over long distances – we’ve taken photos of ourselves from 150-200 ft away with this remote shutter. You can choose between Sony, Nikon and Canon models with the Vello FreeWave. This is arguably the most popular wireless remote shutter and it is good value.
WD External Hard Drive
External hard drives are always, always, always the perfect gift for photographers. We have three 5TB hard drives, each performing its own function. Camera’s today are pumping out 61MP+ images, which means 100-150MB per image files. MacBook Pro internal storage drives can’t handle thousands of images at those gigantic sizes and that’s where external hard drives come in. WD ‘My Passport for Mac‘ is the best value for money hard drive for MacBook and doesn’t need to be reformatted for use with a Mac. WD ‘Elements‘ is the hard drive you need for a windows computer.
Spare Sony Camera Batteries
Spare batteries are probably the least sexy gift you could buy for a photographer – but they are also one of the most important. You can never have enough spare batteries in your bag! The NPFZ100 batteries in newer cameras like the A7R IV have incredible battery life but we’d suggest a minimum of 2 spares in case of cold weather or lack of charging outlets when traveling.
RLSOCO Drone Hard Case
Only applies to photographers who own drones (the number is increasing!) – a case is crucial for safety. We never carry ours around unless it’s secured in a hard case or rigid backpack. This RLSOCO hard case is awesome! It fits the drone, smart controller, spare batteries and blades, charging cables and a top section for anything else we need.
Best Gifts For Photographers: Peak Design
Peak Design are a camera carry solutions company based out of San Francisco and their ultra-useful products are exploding in popularity among photographers.
We personally own half of the stockroom at Peak Design and fully intend to systematically mop up the remainder. Initially, we included PD’s products in the accessories list, but decided it deserves its own section.
Almost all Peak Design products are interchangeable as they use the same attachments and anchors. Genius.
Your photographer recipient would love a Peak Design product, trust us!
Peak Design Everyday Backpack
First up – the Everyday Backpack is one of Peak Design’s best selling products and we both own one. This camera backpack is designed with so much functionality to improve workflow for photographers it’s almost unfair on their competitors! Top and both side opening, dividers that can be manipulated to suit camera / lens combinations and laptop sleeve make up the perfect content creator backpack. This is commuter, travel, hiking and camera all-in-one solution for everyone.
Peak Design Capture Camera Clip
Peak Design’s capture camera clip is a compact device that attaches onto any backpack strap or belt and safely secures any camera. It’s the perfect solution for photographers who need quick access to a primary or secondary body, such as wedding and wildlife photographers. It also replaces the function of a camera strap, which can be useful when hiking and shooting. We recently bought one ourselves and can’t imagine going on a hike and shoot without it now.
Peak Design Camera Strap
The gold standard for every photographer carrying a camera is a strap. New cameras often come with a standard crappy uncomfortable strap that get’s put in a box and never seen again. You can buy dozens of good straps but if you want to buy an excellent strap as a gift, get a Peak Design strap. It comes with quick release clip in / clip out anchor connections and is customizable for sling, shoulder and neck configurations. Silicone grips hold the strap in place around the users neck and the strap length range is hugely adjustable. In a nutshell: this is the sleekest strap on the market.
Peak Design Lens Kit
The Lens Kit acts in a similar fashion to attaching a camera to a backpack or belt strap, except now the photographer clips in a lens kit in place of a camera. The lens kit sits on your backpack or waist with 1 or 2 spare lenses locked in place. The photographer would need a capture clip (listed above) to clip in the lens kit. With this lens kit, the photographer can have one camera on a strap and 2 lenses on the waist or backpack, ready to quickly interchange with no need for rummaging through backpacks. This is next on our wishlist.
Peak Design Field Pouch
Admittedly, this one is less essential and more of a luxury. It also happens to be the cheapest Peak Design gift idea for photographers. We would use this field pouch to store lens cleaning kits, spare batteries and SD cards and maybe even a spare prime lens. All of those items could be stored inside the Everyday Backpack but the field pouch would allow easier and quicker access if required. The backpack is better suited to hiking, whereas this field pouch would be ideal for everyday photography.
Best Gifts For Photographers: Books
YouTube and Google have effectively replaced books these days, but situations do remain where a book can be of incredible value.
Lack of internet access on road trips or in less developed countries can be a real problem. Having all the info you need in one resource – at hand – with no effort is certainly worthy of a few bucks.
These books are particularly useful for beginners and intermediate level photographers who need a helping hand with a certain style of shooting.
We always carry 2 books with us when we road trip with our car:
Tony Northrup – Stunning Digital Photography
If your photography friend or family member is at beginner or intermediate level, this is the book we recommend they carry around. It’s like an all in one encyclopedia of photography but condensed into easy to understand sections. Composition, camera control, light and focus are all covered, plus all the major types of photography such as portraits, landscapes and weddings. Also, access to video footage, private Facebook groups and so much more is included.
Photography: Night Sky Field Guide
This book will only apply to those who enjoy night sky or astro photography, like us! Photography: Night Sky covers every aspect of how to get the most out of photos taken after dark. We always take it with us when we shoot astro for reference. Composition, equipment, preparation, focus and settings are all covered in great detail to give the photographer the tools to succeed in the field.
Ansel Adams: National Parks
Ansel Adams is The Godfather of National Park photography, bringing many of the most popular US parks to life before digital cameras were even a concept. His images of Southwest National Parks from the 1940’s inspired conservationists and budding photographers alike. This book is the perfect gift for those with an appreciation of historical photography and it is truly inspirational.
Best Gifts For Photographers: Gimbals
Gimbals are becoming more widely used among videographers than ever before. A gimbal will provide stabilization to a moving camera, GoPro or smartphone to eliminate shake and movement.
This is critical in video making today, we know all too well having traveled the world without one! Gimbals come in all sizes and costs, depending on the camera in question.
A Sony A7R IV (if used for video) will require a very expensive top spec gimbal but a lighter A6000 will only need a smaller and cheaper gimbal.
We have only included affordable gimbals for GoPro and smartphones in this section.
GoPro Gimbal: Hohem iSteady
There are better gimbals for GoPro than the Hohem iSteady Pro 2, but they are all much more expensive. In its price bracket, the iSteady blows the competition out of the water. This is a 3 axis gimbal, which means you can move up / down, left / right, forward / backwards and the GoPro will remain exactly in position for filming. It is waterproof, filming modes can be changed and has awesome battery life.
Smartphone Gimbal: DJI Osmo
Vloggers can easily make videos with modern smartphones, but they will need stabilizing and that’s where a good quality smartphone gimbal comes in. The DJI Osmo is one of the best available and isn’t as expensive as you might imagine. This thing is loaded with features to make video recording a breeze and of course it eliminates camera shake when moving. As instagram reels and Pinterest story pins emerge, short mobile video clips are becoming more and more popular for content creators.
Best Gifts For Photographers: Cheap Gift Ideas
Finally, onto the cheap gift ideas for photographers section. Hey, cheap doesn’t mean not useful. On the contrary, all gift ideas in this section are actionable and useful for any photographer.
This is the section our friends will look through at Christmas!
SD cards are another of those gifts that every photographer will thank you for. Top spec cameras have 2 slots for SD cards, but we always carry at least 5 at all times. SD cards are easy to lose, break, fill up or corrupt. Spares are seriously important. Be careful not to waste your money, SD cards have different sizes (typically 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB) but they also have different transfer rates. High transfer rates (such as 170mb/sec) are only required for action, sports, wildlife (anything moving) photographers who use continuous shooting. We use Sony Tough M cards but SanDisk Extreme are more than capable for all types of camera.
SD Card Storage Case
All those SD cards need a place to live – this highly rated US$ 8.99 hard case is the answer. Ours comes everywhere with us, compact and portable, we never lose our SD cards. The Kiarafoto has 12 slots to store SD cards or SD card adapters for any micro SD cards. It is water resistant and shock proof, plus it comes with attached carabiner to safely fasten to any of the Peak Design backpacks and field pouches listed above!
Universal Travel Adapter 4 x USB
If you’re buying a gift for a travel photographer, an adapter with USB slots is the perfect idea. Cheap, but so effective – the recipient can charge GoPro, smartphone, smartwatch, camera battery rechargers, even some cameras themselves into multiple USB ports. The plug adapter will fit all plug types around the world. We have 2 adapters: one is this very plug and the other has 4 power input slots for plugging in drone, drone remote and camera. They are so important for traveling content creators.
GoPro 50-in-1 Accessories
A GoPro is nothing without its accessories! Whether diving, mountain biking, running or driving with a GoPro, it needs safe and secure mounting hardware. Thankfully, there are a ton of cheap bundle packages offering helmet, chest, head, car and many more mounting options. Typically, we will always carry a chest and head strap for filming parts of hikes. A selfie stick is usually included in the bundles, which actually come in more useful for getting the GoPro into tight spaces!
Photoshop Shortcuts Keyboard Cover
We never though in a million years we would include a keyboard cover in our top rated gifts for photographers. But this one is so clever and affordable. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are by far the most widely used photo editing software programs but man alive do they have too many shortcuts that nobody remembers! This keyboard cover sits right over the computer keys and details exactly which shortcuts can be used on each key. Genius! The Photoshopping photographer will love this as a stocking filler.
Photography Winter Mittens
If you’re buying a gift for a wedding photographer from Arizona, these Winter gloves will not apply to you. However, if you know your photographer shoots in cold conditions, a pair of wooly Winter mittens like these could be a game changer. As long as there’s a removable section for thumb and forefinger or all fingertips, this gift will certainly get a lot of use. Cold fingers are no joke when shooting sunrises or astro up North!
Altura Camera Cleaning Kit
Yet another cheap but supremely important gift idea – camera and lens cleaning kit. Rubbing lenses with t-shirts is not the answer! The amount of spray, dust and grit that ends up on lenses is crazy and a clean lens is so much more important than beginners think. This camera lens and sensor cleaning kit is fully equipped with everything the photographer needs to shoot spot free images.
Camera Lens Coffee Thermos
This coffee thermos will not be useful in any digital photography purpose, but it does fulfill the underrated role of a hot coffee on a cold morning shoot! This is another classic stocking filler for the photographer in your life. The thermos is stainless steel and comes with 2 screw on lids.
Amazon Gift Card
And finally, if all else fails and you can’t decide between gifts or brands, a good ol’ fashioned Amazon gift card can’t go wrong. That way, they can buy whatever it is they need most – probably an SD card or spare battery!
We hope this helped you pick out the best photography gift for your loved one!
Please let us know if you have any questions about any of the ideas listed above, we’ll be happy to help.
If you’re not exactly sure which gift your photographer needs, send them a link to this webpage and let them choose!
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