The best part of Christmas is not knowing what you're
Today marks two weeks until Christmas and the start of Hanukkah, but you are still looking for that great gift for the photographer in your life. Think you're out of luck? Well, you can't procrastinate any more, that's for sure! Never fear, however, this article has you covered!
Below are some gift ideas for every budget (with the exception of those of you willing to spend enough to buy a car, which I wouldn't decline, by the way). So, read this article, then scroll down the right side of the page where I have a box listing some good places to buy online. Yes, you can find some other places that may have lower prices, but as your father always told you, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is," and we all know Dad wouldn't lead us astray.
Try a book, which can be had for around $20 or $30:
One of my favorites is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I like it so much I have a whole article dedicated to it! There is also a great companion to it called Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography that helps to get your creative side going.
Scott Kelby has a few books out about both photography and Adobe Photoshop that are lauded by professional and amateur photographers alike.
Accessories are easy and not-so-expensive:
Memory Cards are getting ever cheaper. The ad this week for Cord Camera lists that some memory cards are 20% off. This means you can get a 4GB high-speed SD HC card for around $24! Remember when a 1GB card would be "more storage than you will ever need," and set you back a cool $100?
A new camera strap. Promaster makes a wonderful strap, the Contour Pro Strap, that I own and highly recommend. It's comfortable and seems to lighten the load well to keep the camera comfortable all day long, even with a big lens and flash attached to the camera all day!
Some gear for using off-camera flash:
The wonderful website strobist.blogspot.com is dedicated to using off-camera flash. They have teamed up with Midwest Photo Exchange here in Columbus to sell many accessories dedicated to this pursuit. Here are some ideas straight from Midwest's site:
- Light-stands to keep the flash off the ground
- Lumiquest flash gel holders to color the light (which is on my Christmas list for Santa)
- To get them started, the Strobist Lighting Seminar DVD Box Set. This will teach all about how to get that flash off the camera and get creative lighting into your skill set.
Some computer accessories for a little bit of a bigger present:
Lets start with the software. Most photographers have Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. The perfect companion is Adobe Lightroom, offering a darkroom-like experience on the computer. All the rendering and computer-design elements from Photoshop have been stripped out for a more streamlined photo experience.
If your photographer has everything else, maybe s/he would enjoy a Wacom Tablet for even more control with their editing. This handy little device allows one to draw on the tablet like a piece of paper, which allows much more precise control than a mouse alone.
And finally, some camera gear for those being a bit more generous:
Everyone, at one point or another, needs a great portrait lens. Try Tamron's wonderful 90mm macro lens. This is a wonderful lens that can do portraits, but also get very close to flowers, bugs, and pretty much anything. This opens up a whole new world to any photographer!
An add-on flash is the number one best way to improve the quality of your picture out of any additional gear. Try to stick with the same manufacturer's flash if possible, but remember that there are some great third party flash units out there that won't break the bank the way a manufacturer's flash can.
So there's the short list. If nothing else, this can hopefully put you onto the right path for figuring out the perfect gift for the photographer in your life!
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