If you have a photographer in your family, or if your significant other is a photographer you may be (should be?) looking for gifts that will make your shutterbug happy. Fortunately for you, I’ve made the process easy by coming up with a list of my personal favorites.
I will make two gift guides this year. This is the first and is for those who want to plan early. If you’re the last-minute type of shopper, don’t worry, I’ll have a second list for you later in the year.
For those of you thinking ahead, know this. Everything on this list is something I either use or have personally tested, and that I can highly recommend. Companies can’t pay to get on this list. I have to like their gear. Period. So here it is, my 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for photographers – Early Edition.
(In no particular order…)
If you want to buy someone a camera and your budget is under $650, the The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera would make a great choice. It’s a big step up from the vacation cameras (or camera phones) that many of us use. It delivers incredible image quality for a camera in its price range. It has a variety of features pros would want, like image stabilization, 121-point selectable autofocus and 4K video, but it is easy to use, works with any Micro Four Thirds lens (Olympus and Panasonic for instance) and is downright fun.
If your shutterbug is an action/sports junky, or you are just looking for a point and shoot camera, then you can spend $200 less than you would on the E-M10 and get the very capable (and nearly indestructible) Olympus Tough TG-6. This is a camera that can do it all. It has a built-in 8X zoom lens, 4K video, macro modes, and more. It can be dropped or even taken under water and still works like a charm. It’s fun and easy to use but produces very high-quality photographs. All while being able to fit in your shirt pocket.
The Platypod Ultra is a camera support. And it can often take the place of a tripod. It is one of the few photo accessories I ALWAYS have available to me. No matter what kind of photography your favorite shutterbug does, they can use a Platypod.
There is no other product on the market that offers the strength, durability, adaptability and ease of use in such a compact frame. It fits in your pocket. No photographer will ever have to leave a piece of equipment behind to make room for the Platypod.
Every photographer needs a camera bag. Today, camera bags also need to be able to carry tablet and laptop computers and tons of accessories. If you’re looking for an amazing backpack style bag, look no further than the Lowepro Urbex BP 24L Backpack. This is one of my favorite bags ever. It has a laptop AND a tablet compartment. It would hold either of the cameras I mention in this article PLUS tons of accessories. It’s very well-constructed, and the design is just brilliant.
Almost every photographer needs a camera strap. My favorite is the Peak Design SL-BK-3 Slide Camera Strap. It’s a three in one strap. It can be used as a sling strap, a neck strap or a shoulder strap. I really like it because it can quickly clip on or off the camera. It’s very sturdy and will no doubt last longer than I will.
Almost every photographer and/or video shooter NEEDS at least (yes I said AT LEAST) one of these. The Aputure AL-M9 Amaran Pocket-Sized LED Light is the bomb!
This little LED light is designed to provide a little kicker light when you need it. In some cases, you could use this as a main light if you’re close enough. If a flash won’t work or if you want to get a WYSIWYG version of your image, try this.
If you use a smartphone for photo or video and you want to stabilize it on a tripod, then there is NOTHING better than the MeFOTO SideKick 360 SmartPhone Adapter for Tripods.
This is essentially an Arca-Swiss compatible plate mounted to a cell phone holder that freely rotates and offers you the chance to quickly move from horizontal to vertical framing. It will fit even larger phones like the new iPhone 11 Pro Max. Its mount is completely adjustable.
The unit is rock solid and nothing on the market can touch it. You might find something cheaper, but you won’t find something more sturdy, functional or versatile.
I personally think every photographer should have one of these in their kit – just in case. By the way, while it is designed to work with Arca-Swiss heads, it will work on almost any tripod mount – even things like a Gorillapod. (NOTE: check the size of your phone because this unit doesn’t support larger phones like the iPhone 11 Pro Max.)
If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, look at this. The 3 Legged Thing Toolz Multi-Tool belongs in EVERY photographer’s gear bag. It has a variety of uses and is a Godsend for those of us who use Arca-Swiss compatible plates and tripods. At under $10 it’s the most affordable item on my list, but still one of the most valuable.
Picture Methods has partnered with Hunt’s Photo & Video to bring you the best gear at a competitive price and backed by personal service. Call Alan Samiljan at 781-462-2383 if you need photo/video gear. If you prefer, you can also email Alan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or just visit the Hunt’s Photo & Video Website deals page.