Each year during the holidays I'm bombarded with emails from friends asking for gift ideas for their photography loving loved ones. So I've put together a list of some of my favorite items that I personally use and love.
Adobe Photography Bundle
The 2 programs most widely used by any photographer, hobbyist or pro, is Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop for organization and editing. What used to cost hundreds of dollars to purchase these programs freestanding, has now converted into a compeltely affordable package Adobe has created as part of their Creative Cloud solution. For only $9.99 per month, you can gift these powerful programs, that come with free upgrades and updates as they are released year round. Plus it also includes usage of their programs on your mobile and tablet devices.
Personalized Framed “Your Year” National Geographic Magazines
Who doesn't remember National Geographic being part of their lives while growing up? Now you can order and purchase back-issues from 1913 to 2009, comemorating an important or milestone year. Not only do you get the issue framed in your choice of black or walnut, but there is a back panel which opens, allowing the owner to remove and page through the issue!
Eye-Fi Wi-fi Enabled Memory Cards
Earlier this year I blogged about the Mo-Moment, the tipping point where we are searching and accessing more online from our mobile devices, than from destktop computers. Our mobile phones have become an essential part of our daily lives to share and access information, and the Eye-Fi cards allow for just that same convenience. With this card, you can take a photograph with your traditional camera, and wirelessley transfer it to your mobile device for immediate editing, sharing and posting. I use this card religiously when traveling and photographing with my DSLR and it saves me time from downloading, editing, then transfering to my phone. Plus it's great when you're on the go, no need to return to your home or hotel room, you can transfer and post while on the go!
Image Editing Apps
So after you've captured and transfered your images to your mobile device, how do you edit them? I have a few apps on my iPhone that are a staple of my mobile image editing arsenal. So why not give your photography buddy an iTunes gift certificate to purchase some apps from the App store. A few of my favorite apps are Snapseed, VSCOcam, Hyperlapse, SlowShutter and Squareready.
Gorillapod for a Point and Shoot, Cell Phone or GoPro
Last year the GoPro was on my list of gift ideas, and this year I'm adding the Gorillapod to that list as well. Applicable for use with your point and shoot, GoPro or mobile device, this is a flexible tool to add to your gear bag for fun behind the scenes pictures or videos. I often times strap it onto my tripod for a timlapse, or set it up and take some timed portraits. Plus it's small and portable so it doesn't take up a lot of room in your bag.
Drybag for Camera Gear
For those of you who like to get out into the wilderness, keeping our gear dry and clean is always a battle. So when I traveled to Zion National Park earlier this year with a few photographer friends, one of them brought along this drybag from Lowepro to carry her gear as we hiked through the Virgin River, also known as the Narrows. Drybags come in various sizes and colors, the one I used was small enough to fit into my regular camera backpack, but I was thoroughly impressed with Lowepro's DryZone Backpack as it allowed for hiking and camping gear too, with a removable camera insert with foam dividers.
Travel Charger and Surge Protector
I never leave the house on a trip without my Belkin surge protector and charger. Not only does it allow for the charging of multiple devices with 3 outlets, but it also has 2 USB ports. It has been a lifesaver on many occassions, saving me from having to carry multiple power adapters and converters, plus it swivels to adapt to any odd location of a power outlet behind a piece of furniture. It works great at home too, keeping everything organzied and in 1 location.
Rent Before You Buy
I'm a huge proponent of renting cameras or lenses before buying, and my go-to business for rentals is BorrowLenses.com. They have competative prices, customer service is kind and flexible in case you want to extend your rental, and the gear arrives right to your door in a padded box with return shipping labels included. Testing out the gear or lenses is the perfect way to determe if upgrading or adding something new is essential. It has on many occassions confirmed my original want of a product, but has also saved me money from purchasing a lens I realized I didn't need. They carry a wide variety of Canon, Nikon, Sony and more, for both photo and video equipment. Giving your loved one a gift certificate to BorrowLenses might also be that savior to preventing an arguement of a want versus a need too. 🙂
Backups for Your Backups
Backing up data, files and images is a critical part to archiving and storing anything important. That's why in the photography industry you'll often times hear people say, “Have backups of your backups.” Even in the times of cloud storage, electronics are bound to fail, therefore backing up and storing your important documents and pictures in more than one location will prevent any loss of those much valued items. I have used G-Technology external hard drives for years, and love their products both for quality of product, as well as portability. I use them daily, and then back those up off-site to cloud storage using CrashPlan. Both are redundant storage that I highly recommend.
Nothing beats quenching the thirst for a passion of photography than learning new and exciting techniques. And with the internet today, there are a bevy of options for learning and expanding your skill set as a photographer. Being a self-taught photographer, I would ravage the Internet looking for articles, books and blog posts to help me hone my craft, as well as attend conferences with industry leaders. A few top-notch services for learning online are CreativeLive and Kelby Media, both of which provide free and paid content. In-person and hands-on learning is also critical to growth, and my favorites are attending conferences like WPPI and Imaging where you can attend lectures, take hand-on classes, and see the latest of new product offerings at the trade shows. Gifting a membership to an online learning course, or membership to a photography association, will set your loved one on the right path to learning and networking with other photography professionals.