Most of the things on my list have been tested by yours truly, with a few sprinkled in there that I think would be really cool to own. I tried to pick a variety of items I thought would make great gifts for the photographer in your life. Please click on each link to learn more about each item.
1) Manfrotto Pixi Tripod ($19.57 on Amazon)
This is such a compact, and handy little tripod. I've used it both for my DSLR for long exposures in a pinch, as well as on my G7x for short videos or selfies. The ballhead on it is strong and the tripod itself doesn't feel cheap.
2) Zomei Neutral Density Filter Set ($17.99 on Amazon for 82mm threads)
Ever since I discovered that these ND filters could help you get that frosty white water look on your long exposures when there is still too much light outside, I've been on the hunt. I found this affordable set on Amazon and have been pretty happy with them. No, it isn't the best glass, but for the price, it gets the job done. It comes with a little carrying pouch and three filters (2,4, and 8 stop). This would be a fun gift for someone looking to experiment with different types of photography without too much of a financial investment. At these prices, you can get a different set for multiple lens threads.
3) DSLR USB Thumbdrive ($4.99 on Amazon)
Someone got me one of these for Christmas one year, and let's be honest...it's just stinkin' cute - and quite the conversation piece when you whip this baby out LOL.
4) Layers by Matt Kloskowski 2nd Edition (From $37.01 on Amazon or $19.79 on Kindle)
When I first got into photography, I read everything I could find on the internet. Ever since I happened to stumble upon a recommendation for this book called "Layers" by Matt Kloskowski, I have been recommending it to people. It is easy to read and easy to understand. I vowed never to read again after college, but this book is worth reading. It helped me understand Photoshop layers from a newbie perspective, and would make a great gift for someone who's always wanted to do more in Photoshop but doesn't know where to start.
5) National Geographic Traveler Magazine Subscription ($10 for 6 issues on Amazon or $15.99 for Kindle)
Anyone who loves travel and taking photos will enjoy perusing the gorgeous images in National Geographic Traveler magazine. I had the digital subscription to this, and was always excitedly awaiting the next issue. When you're on a plane going somewhere, it's nice to draw inspiration from some of the photos in this magazine. Also, bonus points if you get the digital version (either on Kindle or on your iPad) since you can carry all those issues around with you (minus the weight)!
6) Travel + Leisure Magazine Subscription ($19.95 for 12 issues on Amazon)
I got the print version of this magazine as a gift, and have always loved looking at the pictures and reading the articles. It leans more towards the luxurious side of travel, but hey, a girl can dream, right?
7) Instax SP-2 Printer ($145 on Amazon for the silver edition)
I got this last year for my birthday. It prints credit card size photos and is the perfect combination of having the whimsy of owning a Polaroid camera and the convenience of technology. You get to only print the photos you want from your phone or from apps like Instagram or Facebook. No wasted film! It's small and compact, and nothing beats the instant gratification of having an actual photo of something you just took. Sometimes I email photos from my DSLR to my phone and print those for better quality.
8) Instax SP-3 Printer ($199.95 on Amazon for the white/silver edition - available beginning November 17, 2017)
These new SP-3 printers go on sale soon. I'll admit - I want one. It's the same idea as the SP-2, except it prints out the classic square Polaroid size photos. The film is made by Instax though, and is still quite affordable.
9) Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L ($99.95 on Peak Design's website)
I bought this recently for when I want to carry light camera gear. I knew it converted to a waist bag (aka fanny pack), but later realized that it would be a great bag for photographers who like to use multiple lenses and change them often. I have used everything from a Shootsac, to the Undfind waistbag, to the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L. I have yet to try this out at a wedding, but in theory, this would be a cool bag for portraits when you change out prime lenses. A more in-depth review on this to come later, but so far I am loving it!
10) Peak Design Everyday Backpack ($259.95 for the 20L and $289.95 for the 30L size on Peak Design's website)
My search for the perfect photography backpack is never ending. I've used a LOT of bags and backpacks. While by no means perfect, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack still holds the #1 spot in my book for the most practical photography backpack. I've used it for short weekends to carry clothes, toiletries, and camera gear with no issues. I'll be super jealous if you get the new blacked out version! 😉
Use my coupon code and enjoy $10 off your first purchase on Peak Design's website! :)
11) MeFoto Daytrip Tripod ($199 for select colors on Amazon)
When I was looking for a compact tripod for travel, this little hot pink one caught my eye. It comes in a variety of colors and folds up nicely in a carry-on or backpack. It doesn't extend as high as a regular sized tripod, but does the trick when you don't want to lug around something too heavy. This used to be a little over $100 when I bought it, but for whatever reason, they're selling for about $200 now. I don't know if I'd spend $200 on a travel tripod. Save that money for a full-sized one. Check out other affordable options like this one from Manfrotto.
12) Moment Lens (Cases from $23.99 and lenses from $59.99)
The moment we've all been waiting for (pun intended). I do not own this, but boy do I want this! The concept is simple. You buy the case for your phone, and then buy these small lenses for it to take your phone photography to a whole new level. You also have the option of attaching the lenses without buying the case, but the idea of screwing the lenses onto the case remind me of using a DSLR. Not everyone is into photography like some of us photo enthusiasts, so if you know someone who loves taking photos with their iPhone, this is such a great gift. Some people will try to convince you to get cheaper options, but one of the selling points of the Moment lenses is that they are made of real metal and glass. Check out their website and the videos for each lens. Pretty amazing, and let's be honest - SO CUTE! I want them all! Maybe I'll treat myself to one for Christmas. 😍
If you've made it this far, I hope I've given you some great ideas for the photographer in your life. Happy shopping!