I posted my cheap photographer’s gift list last year and it was a big hit. I thought I’d repeat the exercise this year with a whole new group of inexpensive photography related items that would make nice stocking stuffers for the photographer in your life.
Disclaimer: I’m not promoting any particular brand or business with my samples. This information is only a reference as the type of stuff I carry in my kit. As with all things photography related, some of these items may be camera/brand/make/model specific. Do a little research before you spend your money.
1. Battery Holster.
Allows the photographer to keep a spare battery attached to their camera strap.
Here’s a sample on B&H Photo.
2. Replacement Lens Caps.
Every photographer misplaces a lens cap from time to time. Help them not stress out by buying a few spares for their kit. Most common sizes are 77mm, 67mm, 52mm, but not all lenses are the same. Sneak a peek at their lenses and look on the back side of their lens caps. The correct size should be stamped into the plastic on the inside of the cap. I’d recommend getting the center pinch style caps, as they are easy to remove with the lens hood attached to the lens. If you’re really cheap, look on eBay. Tons of offerings and very inexpensive.
3. Rocket Blower.
These are small rubber air puffers, good for removing dust and hairs from the camera sensor and lenses. No kit is complete with one, or two, or three. Beware, I heard stories of the TSA not liking these things because they look like bombs or something. Don’t let that prevent you from getting one though. All they do is puff air when you squeeze them.
4. Memory Card Holder.
I always keep spare memory cards in my camera kit and those cards get scattered around in different pockets and pouches. This is an easy, compact solution for keeping those spare cards handy and identifiable.
Here’s a sample on Amazon.
5. Portable 12vdc to 115vac Power Inverter.
I keep this in my vehicles. It will allow the photographer to plug in his/her camera battery charger, iPad, laptop PC and just about any low to medium wattage AC powered device while on the road. I’d look for a device that has a 3 prong outlet and USB charging ports.
6. Quick Release Camera Strap.
A spare camera strap is always handy to have. I prefer detachable straps as they allow for more flexibility in the field when working on a tripod or shooting from a fixed position. The detachable straps are quickly removed and reattached and sturdy enough to hold the camera and lens. I never use the manufacturers straps, so one of these could be a decent replacement for the OEM strap and the OEM strap can be used as a spare instead.
7. USB Flash Drives.
I always keep a handful of USB Flash Drives in my laptop and camera cases. The larger the capicity, the better. 64 gigabyte drives are inexpensive and come in handy all the time when working with photos. Not all of these flash drives are the same though, some have faster transfer rates so do your research. The higher capacity and faster flash drives are normally more expensive. I prefer the flash drives that have some type of protective cover for the business end of the drive. There are rotating covers, plastic removable covers and retractable covers. The choice is yours.
8. Gray Card for White Balance.
I always have a gray card in my kit. It’s small, slides into a sleeve on my camera pack and are a very good accessory that allows the photographer to set a reference white balance when working in any light. One shot of the gray card can be used to do bulk adjustments for white balance when post processing. No photographer should be without one. They also make these as lens attachments but I’ve never tried them. A simple card is all you need.
9. Spare Camera Body Caps.
If you want to see a photographer flip out, just watch what happens when they lose a camera body cap. Just like lens caps, once removed from the camera they have a tendency to float around aimlessly. All camera brands are specific so don’t buy a Canon body cap for a Nikon camera. They are cheap and having spares is a very good idea.
10. Replacement Camera Eye Cup.
Most higher quality cameras have a rubber eye cup than can be removed or fall off. I’ve learned the hard way that sooner or later my camera’s eyecup is going to fall off and be gone forever. I buy spares for all my cameras and keep spares in my camera bag for peace of mind. You can find third party eye cups very cheap, however, I normally buy the OEM eye cups. They tend to fit better and last longer. Eye cups are normally specific to the brand/model camera, so don’t assume that one size fits all.
Most of these items are under $50 US and easily found on any of the reputable online stores. I recommend Adorama, B&H and Amazon, but you can also find more deals on eBay if you have the inclination.
Don’t ignore your local retailers either as many brick & mortar camera shops carry these types of items. I try to support my local camera shops as much as possible. You may pay a little more at the local stores but you won’t get your package stolen from your front porch and it helps keep them in business too.
I guarantee you that your photographer friend could use one or more of these items.