If you have a photographer friend, you probably think you hit the Gifting Jackpot. There are so many things photographers need, or want, or desire. There is a whole universe of gift ideas for photographers just waiting to be discovered.
Sadly, this is not the case. If you have a photographer friend, you probably already know that, yes, there are many things that a photographer son may want, but photographers are incredibly specific. Your photographer daughter is almost surely in need of a new lens. But at the same time, the chances that you would get the right lens for her are zero.
She needs a specific lens, for a specific camera, and unless you have a discussion first, you are just not going to get her the right gear. This is why I created a list of five items that every photographer will love to get, no matter what system they are using and no matter how advanced or novice they are.
Sadly, I can’t tell where your photographer friend is at in their journey or how pro they are, so this list is going to have something for everyone. I am going to start with the “sure wins” and slowly increase the risk. However, even the highest-risk item is still a pretty safe bet as a photographer’s gift idea. If you’ve been through some of similar lists already, you will not find a single camera strap, tripod, smartphone, or memory card here, so I hope you get some fresh ideas.
Zhiyun FIVERAY M40 Pocket LED Light ($99, sure win)
All photographers will tell you, there is never enough light. And you can get pretty wild with lights. I mean, the Aputure 1200d, for example, will set you back about $3,500. But you can start with a smaller light. The Zhiyun M40 is small enough to be pocketable, but outputs 40 watts of light, which is considered amazing for this size. It does not have app control, but it has a unique mounting solution that helps you position the light without accessories. This light is only $99, so if you think about it, it is actually $3,400 savings.
140W Power Bank ($149, sure win)
The second thing that photographers always complain about is power. Power for the camera, power for the laptop, power for the drone batteries. It seems that there is never enough of it.
If you are planning on getting a battery for your photographer friend, there are two things you need to worry about:
- Make sure that the batter is under 100WH (or 24,000mAh). This is the limit of what airlines allow to bring on board.
- You also want to make sure that the battery supports PD charging, preferably up to 100 Watts (Both batteries linked below match this). This is the highest (common) output that a battery can provide today, and most devices will know how to use this strong power connection. It is enough for charging a laptop, or even for running a medium LED light.
Camera Cubes ($49+, for most)
Camera cubes are like a camera bag inside your regular bag. Most photography gear like cameras, lenses, and strobes is somewhat delicate, and you can’t just throw it into any bag. it need some cushioning for projection and dividers to stop it from bouncing around.
If you have a photography bag, it usually has proper cushioning and said dividers. But non-photography bags usually use just one big open space. The Camera cube takes care of that and adds a small compartment in the bag with camera protection.
I am a fan of the Camera Cubes from Peak Design, Mindshift Gear, and Wandrd. But other brands make them as well.
Nitecore CW30 Cinewind Fan ($139, not for everyone)
This is the first item on this list that may be a bit risky for photographers. But it also carries a huge reward if accepted. Mostly because it is not your everyday photography item. The Nitecore CW30 is a “photography fan”. And while it makes wind just like any other fan, it has a few traits that will make photographers love it.
First, this fan uses NPF batteries for power. Your photographer friend probably has a huge stack of those. Secondly, the top of the fan boasts some mounting points for photo and video accessories, including 3/8″ and 1/4″ threads and APRI locating holes.
As I said, it is not something that every photographer needs, but if your photographer is on the creative side, this is a perfect non-standard gift.
DJI mini 3 Drone ($469, high risk, high reward)
If your photographer friend is a serious photographer or videographer, you will not buy them the drone they are dreaming about. This is a fact. But they may still enjoy a small drone with some pro features on the lower scale of the dronosphere (dronosphere is a word now).
The DJI mini 3 Drone was a huge success when it came out, and it is still being sold today. It is capable of 4K shooting (at 30p), and can last over 35 minutes on one battery. True, this is not a pro drone, but on the flip side, it’s a great drone for family trips, and you don’t need a license to fly it.
This drone is significantly more expensive than the other items on this list, so I consider it a high-risk-high-reward gift.
You made it to the end of the list, and I hope you found what you are looking for. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.