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Gift Ideas for Photographers

Preeti Sunil
For those of us who know people with an artistic or creative bent of mind, it is often a challenge to think of a good gift idea that would truly impress the receiver and prove beneficial in his/her chosen creative field. Let us look at some great gift ideas for photographers.
Photographers are creative thinkers. If you know a photographer, you will have known what it is to be in the company of someone looking to capture something, to freeze an idea forever or like the saying goes, to observe a moment and click it to represent a thousand words.
Their creativity is not necessarily based on what kind of camera they have or whether they have all the right accessories to shoot. But modern technological advances in shooting equipment and accessories are surely capable of stirring their imagination further and taking their passion for photography to the next level.
Included here, are some great gift ideas that will surely earn you a special place in their creative hearts.
Unique Gifts for Photographers
For the sake of convenience, we can broadly categorize the gift ideas as follows.
  • Cameras and Accessories
  • Subscriptions and Vouchers
  • Travel Gear, Gizmos and Gadgets
  • Customized Gifts
Cameras and Accessories
If you think your photographer pal has enough stuff in this category and you couldn't possibly add any value to his/her immense collection of cameras and accessories, think again! A photographer can never have enough of the following cool stuff.
  • Camera: It's nearly impossible that a photographer has all possible types of cameras he/she can use, simply because new technological advances inspire newer camera models that hit the market every few months. So find out the ones that the photographer already has as part of his/her "armor", and gift one they would love to lay their hands on. 
  • If your friend is an amateur photographer make his/her day by gifting a Digital SLR camera. Even in DSLRs there are two varieties viz., Full Frame and Crop Sensor Cameras. If your pal has one, gift him the other one! If you wish to go slightly easy on your pocket, you can gift a compact point-and-shoot camera or a disposable camera. 
  • Even a pro would like to have a compact but fantastic camera to carry around easily to capture his/her "work" while on the move.
  • Lenses and Filters: Especially in cases of DSLR cameras, lenses are its most expensive component, some, several times pricier than the camera itself. You can choose between normal, wide-angle, telephoto and zoom lenses. 
  • If your friend is particularly interested in a lens that's insanely expensive, you can even rent it for a specific period. Lens caps also make for great gifts. Filters help to eliminate reflections, improve contrast and detail of shots and also prevent lenses from getting scratched or dusty.
Camera Cleaning Kit: High-end cameras need a lot of tender loving care for their sensors and lenses and the camera body as well. 
  • Cleaning kits are available in a variety of price ranges. Sensor swabs and lens "pens" are available in disposable form. There's no way a photographer doesn't need those!
  • Underwater Case: This is yet another cool must-have! An underwater camera case can turn a regular camera into a waterproof one by just sliding the camera into it and sealing it. With most cases, all camera functions will be accessible from outside the case. 
  • The photographer can easily take underwater pictures or shoot without a worry on beaches or close to water bodies (fountains, streams, etc.)
Flexible/Magnetic Tripod: Flexible tripods are different from traditional tripods for cameras in that, they have fully adjustable feet that the photographer can wrap around any surface such as a tree branch or a rock with considerable ease.
Travel Gear, Gizmos and Gadgets
There are several items under this category that would qualify as a must-have for photographers and as great holiday gift ideas. Take your pick from the following techno gadgets and gear.
  • Satellite Messenger/GPS Unit: A satellite messenger is a personal locating device, especially useful for travel photographers. This cool gizmo can be a lifesaver, tracking your location for rescuers in case you get lost in the wilderness or desert. 
A GPS unit, on the other hand, can also contain maps that provide directions, traffic information, fuel station locations, etc. Any travel photographer would love to have one of these compact navigation tools as a part of their travel gear.
  • Multifunction Watch: A multifunction watch, as the name suggests, serves several purposes. Most suited for landscape and travel photography, this sophisticated timepiece provides information about directional sunlight and predicts daylight conditions in hundreds of cities around the world and also has an integrated GPS function. 
  • Waterproof models are also available for this useful gadget.
  • Smartphone: Hunt for smartphones with integrated GPS functions, a handy camera calculator and advanced photo editing apps that can either be downloaded or comes loaded within the phone. 
The magnetic tripods are similar but in addition, they have magnetic feet that grab on solidly and can take the weight of heavy-duty cameras as well.
This amazing product would be akin to having a small camera crew in your travel kit (the smaller ones can fit into a jacket pocket!).
Memory Cards and External Hard Drives: These storage memory devices are for storing the photographer's precious clicks and making high-speed transfers to a computer and they can even be plugged to a TV.
Another type of accessory, a photographer can never have enough of, this gift would be a safe bet.
Inflatable Photo Studio: For professional photographers who like to have a controlled environment for shooting, an inflatable photo studio or booth is just the thing they need. It looks like a large inflated balloon and is quite handy to carry around and easy to set up.
Alternatively, you can subscribe your friend to his/her favorite photography magazine or to an online photo hosting account where he/she can share pictures and interact with other photography enthusiasts. You could also gift a voucher that can be used to purchase any item related to cameras and photography.
Books, Magazine Subscription and Vouchers
Every photographer likes to be inspired not just by what he captures but from the work of other photographers. You can gift a photographer with a biography or a collection of the best works of his/her favorite photographer.
Cases, Kits and Straps: Camera cases and accessory kits are always useful to a photographer. Straps provide a firm grip for the cameras and help to steady the photographer's aim. Lens cases keep precious lenses safe from dust and scratches.
  • You will be spoiled for choice for sure!
  • Headlamps and Spotlights: A battery-operated, lightweight headlamp or a compact spotlight are great buys to gift a photographer.
  • Photo Frames and Albums: Photo frames that are custom-made or hand-made or cool digital photo frames and albums never go out of fashion as gifts for most people, including photographers.
You can even frame one of your favorite photographs taken by your friend to add that special touch of appreciation to his/her work.
Lens Mugs: These make for endearing gifts as they are unbelievably real-looking replicas of high-end lenses and useful for both cold and warm drinks. Thermos lens mugs are also available.
Customized Gifts
While you can customize most of the gifts mentioned above by engraving the photographer's name on them, if money is not a constraint, here are some offbeat options.
If the photographer is someone very close to you, you could take him/her on a vacation to a beautiful island, wildlife resort or a ski resort where there can be ample photo opportunities. Alternatively, you could gift him/her a prepaid vacation to one of these places or to any place that you know he/she has always wanted to visit.
You could even enroll your friend for a photography seminar or workshop.  If you have the high-profile contacts to go really offbeat, you could initiate your friend into the realms of the paparazzi by buying tickets or passes to a red carpet event where some celebrities are expected.
Hope the above listings help you come up with that perfect gift for a photographer. As in case of any gift idea, the best gift would be one that a person cherishes for several years. Whatever you pick, if it suits this sentiment, it won't have to be very expensive or rare, big or small, and yet it will be just the right gift.