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The Ultimate Gift Guide for Any Photographer

Got a friend who's trying to rule Instagram? Look no further.
December 8, 2015, 7:45pm
Pixabay

Buying gifts for a creative person isn't always easy. Amid a swarm of varied interests, specialized tools, and jargon, it's easy to opt for a nice coffee table book or a bottle of wine. But if you're looking for the perfect gift for the photographer in your life, we've got you covered.

The Stocking Stuffer

The JOBY GorillaPod Focus

If you're on a budget or crunched for time, you can't go wrong with a bendable mini-tripod. It's ideal for geting a stable shot, no matter the terrain. Its compact size fits easily in a backpack, camera bag, or jacket pocket. They range from under $10 to over $100, like the JOBY GorillaPod Focus (above), depending on how serious the shooter. There are also models designed for smartphones if your giftee is an Instagram fiend.

The Book

Peachpit

Whether the object of your gift-giving is an aspiring photojournalist or a fine art photographer, there's lots to unpack in Road to Seeing by Dan Winters. The tome follows Winters' journey from snapping pictures for a daily newspaper in Southern California to taking portraits of Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Gates, and Tupac. If you don't want to drop $60 on a coffee table book, try Read This If You Want to Take Good Photographs by Henry Carrol.

The Crowd-Pleaser

DJI

It seems like everyone and their grandmother is taking fabulous aerial footage with drones these days, so why not enable your shutter-happy friend and/or relative to bring their vision to the clouds? The DJI Phantom 3 is a pretty standard consumer model at $699, but if you're willing to blow big bucks there's the DJI Inspire 1 Pro, and if you like giving IOU's you can dole out a pre-order for the throwable, automated Lily drone at $819. Alternately, if you're on a budget, Parrot has a line of drones that range from $99 toys to which you might be able to strap a tiny camera through the $399.99 model with a screen right there on the remote.

The Obscure Find

Filters, when they're not on Instagram, help a photographer get the most out of her shot, tweaking the colors or enacting effects that are difficult or impossible to add digitally. Timelapse photographer Julian Tryba recommends getting gifting a neutral density filter. "Those can be used for making waterfalls look really smooth for example," he tells The Creators Project. They have lots of other useful functions which also benefit filmmakers." Depending on the density, brand, and camera your creative person uses, this can range from $9.99 to… well, a lot, but middles out around $100.

The Dream Gift

Hasselblad

If you're doing your online holiday shopping from your private island in Indonesia, you might be interested in the Hasselblad H5D-200c Multi-Shot Medium Format DSLR Camera. This is the same brand of cameras that astronauts once took to the moon, a sign that they're both very high quality and have the the price tag to match. This baby will run you a cool $45,000 at B&H. For reference, it's not unheard of for a New York City internet reporter to make less than that in a year—and that's before you even look at the lenses. Those range from $149 for a basic 16mm to the 35-90mm HCD Aspherical Zoom Lens' hefty $6,528 price tag. Next-level.

If you don't see what you're looking for here, check out our monster compilation of design-friendly gift ideas here.

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