The holidays are certainly different this year. But it’s still the thought that counts when it comes to your gift-giving decisions. However, when you’re buying something for a photographer, it’s really best to avoid gifting things they may have spent hours researching. Things like lenses, camera bodies, camera bags, and even memory cards are often a careful research process. They know exactly what they want.
Unless they drop a clue, like a model number and brand and maybe where to get it, it’s probably best if you leave those purchase decisions to them. So, what is a thoughtful gift-giver to do? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back with five gifts that should get a nod of approval from any photographer.
Video dropping… NOW!
For all the links and even more reasons why these gifts absolutely make sense, keep on reading!
The right tool is the one you need. So, when a filter is stuck to the front of an expensive lens, or when your tripod plate is screwed on too tightly, there’s only one tool that can solve both of these problems. That tool is the Leatherman Wave+ multi-tool.
The Leatherman Wave+ has 18 extremely high-quality tools onboard, including a pair of bombproof pliers (1). Even MacGyver didn’t have that on his Swiss Army Knife. That means that when a lens filter does get stuck, it can be unstuck with ease. Just wrap a cleaning cloth around the jaws and gently unscrew. Dealing with a stubborn tripod plate? A generous flat blade screwdriver (18) flips out and takes care of that no problem. Are the stems of your glasses loose? Just whip out the included mini, reversible screwdriver tool (17) and give the screws a turn with the flat or philips head. It’ll even pop open a beer after a great day of shooting (13).
Of course, no multi-tool is complete without a sharp knife. In this case, you get a flat blade (7) for those Amazon boxes, a saw (9) for bringing down some branches and a serrated blade too (8) for that crusty bread at lunch.
This tool goes everywhere with me. I wished I had known about it earlier in my career. It’ll never leave your photographer’s side and sells for around $132.95 CAD.
Shooting all day and knowing that some seriously great photos were taken is a great feeling. But when disaster strikes in the field, for any reason, it’s a terrible feeling. That’s where the WD MyPassport Go Wireless SSD comes to the rescue.
This device is a portable backup for all memory cards while on the go. Just turn it on, insert your SD card, and watch it back up to its internal solid-state memory. Progress is indicated by a series of LEDs on the front. Don’t use SD cards? Just plug a memory card reader into the USB port, and it will slurp up the files just the same. Using the free app available on Android and iOS, one can wirelessly inspect all the photos with a tablet or smartphone. You can even edit your photos with popular apps like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. That way, you can throw a couple on Instagram with the hashtag #BestDayEver.
Many photographers don’t use camera straps. Or, they simply refuse to replace their favourite, even though it could have used a replacement two or three camera bodies ago. But as a photographer that has never really liked slinging a camera around my neck, I was really surprised at how much I actually liked the Peak Design Slide Lite Camera Strap.
This camera strap is lightweight, soft, and is just the right width to not get in the way. Peak Design has done a great job with easy to adjust buckles that pull to adjust and require no fiddling. A subtle rubberized texture ensures that it’s not creeping all over your neck when trying to get that shot. Taking it on and off your camera is also easy thanks to the ingenious camera strap anchors. They allow you to attach the strap in multiple different ways to suit your needs.
When I started my photography journey, I would organize my cables and accessories in ZipLoc bags with labels. I still do this because it’s the easiest way for me to see what I have at a glance. But if someone were to give me some great gear management bags, I would never say no!
ThinkTank makes a range of Cable Management pouches. My favourite in their trio of products is actually the smallest, called the Cable Management 10 V2. I like having things separate rather than mixed up, so when I label one of these as my charging and battery bag, I know that’s what I’ll find inside. I’ll also be able to see that at a glance because it’s see-through. An insert on the outside allows me to insert a label, rather than writing all over the outside with a sharpie. You can find it for around $30 CAD.
Another great option from a Canadian company called Shape is their two-sided organizer cable pouch. This organizer has two sides, both clear, so you can see exactly what’s inside, and it has elastic straps sewn in, allowing you to keep cables from moving around. I’ve found them really great for carrying batteries on one side and the chargers on the other side. You can find it for around $22 CAD.
I have a courier bag from MEC that I’ve owned for 20 years that I absolutely love. It’s been a school bag, running bag, and a diaper bag for not one but three children. It’s water-resistant and comfortable, and it’s the perfect bag except for one thing; it doesn’t hold camera gear. That’s why I love the next product I’m about to tell you about.
While there are a lot of these camera bag inserts all over Amazon, this one from Selens caught my eye. Instead of buying a new camera bag, I could turn any bag into my camera bag. That means that my favourite bag of all time can now carry my favourite travel camera kit too. The best part is that instead of broadcasting to the world that I have a really nice camera kit in a branded bag, I just look like someone that desperately needs a new bag.
The nice thing about this insert is the multiple dividers. They are fastened with velcro, so you can configure them however you want. The high contrast interior makes it easy to see things inside the dark interior of any bag. A drawstring up top cinches everything up for security. While some may want to insert a more rigid structure, I really like how flexible this insert is. I’ve even carried a Canon Cinema camera all over Taiwan in this insert, so I think the padding is more than adequate as long as you take care.
Although the exterior is somewhat water-resistant with a soft nylon fabric, I wouldn’t call this waterproof. But it does offer some additional protection inside another bag of your choosing.
The Selens one that I use is around $65 CAD. I’ve also come across a new one that doesn’t have a nylon exterior, but a great range of high-contrast colours, for around $23 CAD. Give that photographer on your list more gear carrying options instantly with this suggestion.
For more great gift ideas, make sure you have a look at the other gift guides we’ve made for 2020. It’s an interesting year, and these guides are full of interesting suggestions for you to check out. Happy holidays!