Sam Chang

Inspiration The best gifts for photography lovers

© Sam Chang

The festive season is upon us, and perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what to buy for the photographer in your life.

─── by Edward Clay, December 6, 2022
  • Aside from the obvious, (a camera) which they will almost certainly already own, thankfully there are plenty of great options to choose from.

    From books to useful gear and accessories, we’ve collated a list of handy, affordable items suitable for practitioners of all levels. With our partners below, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read on to discover our pick of the best gifts for photography lovers.

    Photo book Robert Frank - The Americans
    © Steidl

    1. Robert Frank – The Americans ($39)

    Few, if any other photobook has had an impact on the medium in the manner of Robert Frank’s historic debut. First released in 1958 in France, and one year later in the US,  The Americans, comprised more than 80 black and white images that Frank captured over the course of two years during a series of road trips across the USA, and caused widespread controversy at the time of its release due to its unflinching critique of the ‘American Dream’.

    However, it would go on to become hugely influential, providing a framework for photographic storytelling thenceforth, and remains a must-have monograph for any photography lover.

    Robert Frank – The Americans: Available at Steidl

    Magnum Learn, stills, Gregory Halpern, documentary photography. Photos.
    © Magnum Photos

    2. Magnum Photo: Online Course ($99)

    For practitioners looking to improve their skills and knowledge, Magnum Learn; the prestigious agency’s online education platform for photography and visual storytelling is a truly outstanding resource.  Presented by renowned photographers and industry insiders, their 100% exclusive, on-demand courses offer participants unique advice and insights that will help them improve their practice.

    The perfect gift for the budding visual storyteller, their courses give participants the unique opportunity to learn firsthand from some of the most respected names in contemporary documentary photography, including, world-renowned American photographer Gregory Halpern.

    Comprised of 16 lessons, and more than 5 hours of material, Gregory Halpern: Documentary Sur/Realism (Magnum Learn’s latest offering), unpacks Halpern’s unique approach to portraiture and the power of editing and sequencing in building photographic narratives, whilst also offering exclusive insights into his end-to-end process, from pressing the shutter and creating contact sheets to editing and sequencing.

    – Magnum Photos Online Course:

    Peak design backpack
    © Peak

     3. Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 ($279)

    For the photographer on the move, the award-winning Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2, is the perfect combination of lightweight, versatile, and comfortable.

    Equally great for the daily commute as for longer trips, it features a 100% recycled 400D weatherproof shell, MagLatch hardware for super-fast top access, and two weatherproof UltraZips for easy side access. The 20L capacity means plenty of space for equipment, plus it has 3 configurable FlexFold dividers to keep your things safe, organized, and protected. It also has dedicated sleeves for laptops up to 15” (or 16″ MacBook Pro), tablets, or documents, a number of internal slip pockets for small items, and expandable side pockets for water bottles or tripods.

    – Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 (paid link):

    photo Logo Adobe Photoshop lightroom
    © Adobe

    4. Adobe Photography Package subscription ($10/mo)

    An essential tool for photographers of all levels, Adobe’s Photography Package pairs Lightroom with Photoshop, together providing everything you’ll need for editing, enhancing, organizing, sharing, and storing images (Lightroom comes with 1TB of photo cloud storage meaning plenty of space for your images!)

    – Adobe Photography Package:

    The best gifts for photography lovers: LaCie Rugged RAID Pro - External Hard Drive
    © LaCie

    5. LaCie Rugged RAID Pro – External Hard Drive ($99)

    External hard drives can be a lifesaver for photographers, and there are few better options than LaCie’s Rugged RAID Pro, which features an integrated UHS-II SC card reader, two internal HDDs, and an onboard RAID controller for added speed, (plus it looks pretty cool as well!).

    Easy to use and designed not only to withstand the elements but bumps and bangs and bangs as well, it’s perfect for photographers on the move and comes with a data recovery protection plan for the duration of its three-year warranty so its new owner can enjoy peace of mind knowing their images are protected in the event of an unfortunate incident!

    – LaCie Rugged RAID Pro (paid link):

    Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo
    © Fujifilm

    6. Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo ($349)

    When it comes to instant photography, Fujifilm has changed the game in recent years, and their latest iteration of their Instax is arguably the best on the market.

    The design might be vintage-inspired, but behind the facade, it’s state of the art, comprising a 5-megapixel digital camera with a 1/5-inch CMOS sensor (capable of producing digital images of 2560×1920 pixels), a fixed f/2 lens with 28mm equivalent focal length, two shutter release buttons, a 3-inch LCD screen, accessory shoe, selfie mirror, flash, charging port and a micro SD slot, plus, of course, the inbuilt Instax Mini printer, which produces high-quality photographs in just 90 seconds!

    What’s more, it’s Super fun and easy to use thanks to the Program AE mode, which automatically optimizes the shutter speed (1/4 second to 1/8000 second), flash output, ISO speed (100 to 1600), and all other key settings according to the conditions. Plus it also offers a wide range of effects, with 100 different combinations from 10 integrated lens modes along with a choice of 10 filters.

    – Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo (paid link):

    © Penguin Books

    7. Susan Sontag – On Photography ($30)

    One of the most important books on photographic theory ever published, American writer and philosopher Susan Sontag’s iconic 1977 On Photography, explores some of the most important ethical questions that practitioners will face throughout their careers.

    In a collection of essays, Sontag dissects the power dynamics between photographer and subject and the often nebulous line between lived events and recreated images, assessing the seismic impact that photography has (and continues to have) on our everyday lives.

    – Susan Sontag – On Photography (paid link):

    Epson Expression Photo XP-8700
    © Epson

    8. Epson Expression Photo XP-8700 ($150-$300)

    A great all-rounder, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8700 is both a printer and scanner, that’s truly tough to beat for the price. Featuring mobile printing capability, a large touchscreen, and dual paper trays, one of which is designed specifically for photo paper, it prints A4 and smaller in a resolution of 5760 x 1440dpi and up to 5760 x 1440dpi for color, all for under $150!

    – Epson Expression Photo XP-8700 (paid link):

    Manfrotto tripod, photography equipment

    9. Manfrotto Element MII Aluminum Tripod ($159)

    A tripod is an essential tool for any photographer who wants to capture static subjects, and the Element MII from Manfrotto is a great option for practitioners of all levels. Since launching in 1972, the Italian brand has become a favorite of amateur and professional photographers alike, thanks to its wide range of high-quality tripods which offer reliability, durability, and exceptional functionality at reasonable prices.

    The MII Aluminum Tripod, likewise, ticks all of these boxes. It’s lightweight and compact, measuring just 42.5cm when packed, and comes with a padded shoulder bag that makes it easy and comfortable to carry. It’s sturdy and tough and can hold up to 8KG, making it suitable for heavy zoom lenses.

    – Manfrotto Element Tripod (paid link):

    Pelican memory card case, photography equipment, gifts
    © Pelican

    10. Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case ($32)

    There are few worse things for a photographer than lost or damaged memory cards, but with this compact case from Pelican (or Peli as they are often known), who brand themselves as producing ‘The world’s toughest cases and lighting’, such unfortunate occurrences will be a thing of the past.

    Designed to fit easily into your bags or luggage, the Pelican 0915 is made of tough polycarbonate resin and has a shock-absorbing foam insert liner, plus is water-resistant with an IPX4 rating, so you can rest easy knowing your memory cards are safe and secure.

    – Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case (paid link):