Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gift Ideas for Your Keen Photographer

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tocking fillers for a photographer can be a challenge, because most of their precious gear costs a lot! I have made this list for a couple of years now, so its going to be hard not to double up

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Whilst some photographers don’t like having extra glass in front of their lens I can strongly recommend having a Daylight (UV) filter in front of your expensive lenses. The reason is simple, it is an inexpensive sacrificial form of protection. I have scratched and chipped a few now but my lens glass is still fine. It also means you don’t have to take off and replace your lens caps all the time, when out taking photos and changing lenses. These lens filter don’t have to be the expensive types, I’ve mainly had Hoya brand. They do come in different sizes so you will need to check the size of the lens you wish to protect. Buy one for each lens, rather than share one around.

The straps that come with cameras (to hang them around your neck) and pretty much despised by any serious photographer. They usually hurt your neck and look so touristy! There are moderately expensive Sling-style Straps (eg Joby or Black Rapid) which are very trendy at the moment, These let you hang the camera at your hip but allow quick lift and aim (a bit like a gun slinger). I noticed this nifty little gadget called a camera strap buddy that lets you connect your shoulder strap to the tripod connector. This can also be use to make a very handle portable monopod by tying some string about your height to the connector and then put your foot on the string and pull the camera up tight, you be surprise how much it steadies your grip on the camera

Following on from the simple strap connector, which will probably only appeal to a few of the home-brew geeky types, not that there is anything wrong with that, are the quick release plates which also screw into your camera base but have the profile to snap into many tripods quick release mechanisms. Not all tripods are the same, so check out what they have, but the joby ultraplate fits is a good example of a plate that is compatible with many tripod, monopod, strap and a scree mounted accessories

I know these three sound boring but they are likely to be appreciated gifts

A trendy new area of smartphone apps are remote controls for DSLR Cameras via your phone. This frequently involves a special cable but some systems work on WiFi, and a few even with Infra Red. The features on offer also vary and so does the price. They are all quiet manufacturer and  model specific, so you will have to do some research. So this is one gift I suggest you first seek some advice at your local camera shop rather than buying off the net Canon and Fuji Cameras seems to have the most options and may just require the downloading of a phone app.

Other Christmas gift suggestion list for photographers on the web this year have a lot of camera inspired “blig”. Like keyring torch cameras, cuff links, necklaces, t-shits, cookie cutters (yes for biscuits), faux lens look a like cups and even Christmas decorations. The prices of the ones recommended on the net frighten me a lot, and don’t forget about shipping! The red “to expensive” light is flashing. However if you can find such photo-curios in the $2 shop or amongst the bubble wrapped accessories at the camera shop they certainly will be fun stocking filler.

 


Nothing is as encouraging as seeing one of your own photos in print or hanging on the wall so a gift Vouchers for Enlargements or a basic Photo Book is something that could bring joy to your aspiring photographer.

I’m going to suggest hanging off recommending software this year because so much in terms of processing power and storage is available free on the net on social web sites, and in free phone apps. In theory a software subscription could make a good gift (like a magazine subscription) BUT I’m less than enthusiastic about adobes creative cloud and feel it needs to prove itself, so maybe next year.

Tablets, IPads, Windows Surface or the Android style, are the most popular gifts this year, but their cost is way above the stocking filler line. They are becoming really popular with photographer as a place to review photos and do a few edits quick edits. If your photographer already has a IPad or other tablet, a stylus could give them some extra ease and precise when doing some touch up work and other intense graphic applications. There are a number of apps like Pixlr for editing photos on tablets, or phones, that will give your photographer most of the edit functions they need and these apps vary from free to reasonably priced. A new group of interesting interesting photogrpahics apps are for the cross device sharing and management, like mosaic and photofeed, they mainly have a subscription style pricing.

Oldies but Goodies

Last year I suggested SD cards and they are still a great gift, The memory card size doesn’t need to be all that big probably what is more appreciated is speed. Lens caps are another good gift, I always keep loosing mine, I must admit they are a hassle and easily mislaid, If you can find a brightly colour one that could help your photographer keep track of his or hers (Make sure you get the right size for their lens)

 

With special thanks of Jessica Hische of Daily Drop Cap for the wonderful start to this post

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