Gifts for photography enthusiasts
Each year, I sit down with my Image Doctors podcast co-host, Rick Walker, to brainstorm a list of cool holiday gifts. With most retailers offering online “Black Friday” deals all month, 2020 is definitely remaining on-track to be the strangest year in recent memory. Here are our picks for photography gifts for this year. Enjoy!
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Can’t decide? How about a B&H Photo Gift Card?
Cameras and Lenses
- Nikon Z50 with 2-lens kit: This DX format mirrorless camera is an amazing value for anyone getting started in photography, or an enthusiast looking for a small yet powerful travel camera. Highly recommended
- Nikon 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-P DX Nikkor lens: Nikon DX shooters who want to go super-wide will love this lens, especially given its price. It also delivers on the Nikon Z50 when used with the Nikon FTZ F-mount adapter.
- Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 Nikkor Z lens: This tiny lens is the kit lens for the Nikon Z5 camera, but its tiny size makes it perfect for photographers who want a discreet walkabout lens for street and travel photography
- Lensbaby Spark 2.0 with Sweet 50mm : Have fun creating tilt-shift effects with these optics from LensBaby.
- Thingify Pinhole Pro S pinhole “lens”: Transform your digital camera into a pinhole camera and have fun creating unique, lo-fi images.
- DJI Mavic 2 Mini: The newest mini drone from DJI is easy to fly, offers 4k video, and does not require FAA registration.
- DJI Pocket 2 Gimbal camera: If you enjoy making videos, this gimbal camera offers smooth, stabilized 4K video no matter how you hold it.
Camera Bags and Straps
- Both Rick and I highly recommend camera straps from Peak Design. The thinner version is perfect for mirrorless cameras, while the wider strap is better for DSLRs. Check out the wrist strap, too. The quick-release design is elegant and simple to use, yet secure.
- Think Tank / Mindshift Gear Photo Backlight Backpacks: Our favorite backpacks have a secure rear-panel opening and can be rotated to work out of in situations where you don’t want to put the bag down on wet or sandy surfaces. We both use the 18L and 26L, but larger versions are available, too.
- Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L: This is Rick’s favorite “go light” bag when using a mirrorless system.
- Microfiber lens cloths: You can never have too many of these. Put one in each of your bags, and maybe even a jacket or coat pocket so you’ll always have them handy.
- Filter Wrenches: If you’ve ever had a filter get stuck (especially thin polarizers), you’ll be glad you have one of these in your bag.
- 5-in-1 Reflector/Diffuser discs: Use the reflector to add fill light to your subject, or unzip to use the diffuser for portraits and macro subjects.
- Blower Bulbs: Even if you already have one, it’s a good idea to keep an extra blower handy for getting dust off your lenses and camera sensor.
- Dual charger for Nikon EN-EL15 batteries: Having a dual charger in the field that is USB powered is exactly what I want when I’m traveling with my Nikons. This little charger is compatible with most Nikon EN-EL15 batteries and uses an intelligent power management system.
- Hoya R72 Infrared Filters: If you want to experiment with infrared photography but aren’t ready to convert a camera, these filters offer an inexpensive way of exploring infrared imaging.
- Think Tank Red Whips: I love these little bungee cords for organizing my cables and cords when I’m traveling. Because they don’t use Velcro, they don’t get stuck together in my bags.
- Think Tank Emergency Rain Covers: You never know when you’ll need a rain cover in the field, and these covers from Think Tank are some of the best ones out there
- JOBY Gorilla Pods: These flexible tripods are perfect for travel photography because you can wrap them around posts or fence rails.
- Convertible studio umbrellas: Umbrellas are one of the easiest tools to get great studio lighting. Use them as a reflector, or remove the black cover and shoot through them as a diffuser.
- Pop-up studio background with stand: A lightweight, inexpensive way to have a studio backdrop in your home or office
- MeFOTO SideKick Smartphone Tripod Adapter: I love this tripod adapter for my smartphone. It has an Arca-Swiss compatible base that works with my regular tripods.
- Backblaze Cloud Backup: If you have tons of photos, backups can be hard. Backblaze cloud backup is my personal solution for backing up my photos (and other critical data) and has saved my bacon more than once!
- Nik Collection by DXO: Our long-time favorite suite of plug-ins for Lightroom & Photoshop continues to set the bar for features and image quality. The Nik Collection is my go-to set of tools for both color and monochrome photos.
- ON1 Portrait AI 2021: This software is simply the best portrait retouching tool we’ve tried. It delivers natural results quickly and easily and can be used either as a stand-alone application or a plug-in to Lightroom/Photoshop/Apple Photos
- Luminar 4 (Skylum): This editing software is compatible with most RAW formats, and can even use Adobe’s camera/color profiles. It’s sky replacement feature is absolutely outstanding.
- Aurora HDR (Skylum): If you are looking for a powerful HDR tone-mapping tool that offers massive control over details, Aurora HDR is the best one we’ve tried. The tools are intuitive, and the results are impressive.
- Snapseed (Google): If you have one photo editing App on your smartphone, this is the one you should get. App Store | Google Play Store
- Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan: It’s the industry standard for image management and raw editing, and the $9.99 monthly subscription includes the full version of Adobe Photoshop.
- Royalty-Free Textures: I use these textures to create unique artwork with my photographs. Check out Jason’s Textures Here and see the huge variety of textures from Flypaper Textures