A Realistic Holiday Gift Guide for Photographers

A Realistic Holiday Gift Guide for Photographers

Every year, there is a gift guide released that is supposed to help family, friends, and significant others buy something for their budding photographer. The problem is photography is an incredibly specific hobby, and most gifts given unfortunately don’t help. Here is a list of gifts that will appreciated by any photographer.

Gift Cards

In general, gift cards can be pretty helpful. I mean, maybe not a $20 Chili's gift card; all that's good for is a 3,000-calorie entrée. But a gift card for B&H can be incredibly useful. It gives your photographer the chance to buy what they need, but also, it isn’t cash, which I know most people are weary of. That brings me to my next gift.


Look, I get it. Cash isn't a gift for a significant other or a friend, but for a family member, it's a totally reasonable option. A lot of photography involves intangible purchases you can’t get with a gift card. A lot of photographers don’t need physical items; they need money to travel or buy studio time for a personal project. Those costs add up.

I understand what your point of view on this may be. You may think giving someone cash is seen as an insult, but it really isn’t. It’s all how the gift is framed. If you give them cash with a note that says something like “I know I’ll never be able to buy you what you need for your camera, but I hope this can help,” it shows you care and want to help. If you just throw it into an envelope and put their name on the front, that may be seen as insulting. It's all about the delivery.

Just Ask Them What You Can Do to Help

Gift-giving is all about intent. Showing your love is more than just giving someone a gift that has a camera on it, it’s showing you care. If you are giving a gift to someone who is obsessed with photography, the best thing you can do is help them help themselves. If you’re not comfortable buying them anything you’ve seen on this list so far, then ask them what they need. Tell them you want to support their hobby and you know that only they know what they need. That shows your intent more than a shot glass with a camera on it.

Photographers like things that aren’t photography related too. You can do something for them that has nothing to do with their hobby. Buy them a comfy sweater or a weighted blanket. Maybe you get them a nice wine. These are gifts that anyone can use, not just photographers.

One of the best gifts you can give is a night out. Take them out to dinner and connect with them, go to a basketball game, do something with them that takes you out of your normal environment. That’s infinitely more special than a camera bag that only holds half the gear they own.

For many, gift-giving has devolved into “I know you like X, so I bought you Y.” This is why equestrians only own things with horses on them; it's all they get as gifts. I understand the point of gift-giving is to show appreciation, and that can mean different things for different people. If you want to give someone a mug that says "I Shoot People" with a camera on it, then by all means. But with this list, you are getting gift ideas that will be universally appreciated.

David Justice's picture

David Justice is a commercial beauty photographer in New York City.

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"This is why equestrians only own things with horses on them; it's all they get as gifts."

Can confirm.

can double confirm

No I really wanted two dozen tacky things from throw pillows to coffee mugs


Do you have sponsored links for `cash` or the sweater?

Guys, I do not want to bring up any political issue on my most favorite photo related web site but just wanted to let you guys know that the pattern on the graphic design keeps showing above has very controversial meaning in Asia. It is called SUN RISE FLAG pattern and Japanese army, as a war criminal, used it during the WW2 and also still keeps showing up in many places. Everyone knows German Nazi flag and does not use it as a part of some cool design or support German in sports game, right? However, some people use SUN RISE FLAG in those cases. I can understand Japanese use it for their own purpose but I do not think the author, David Justice, is a Japanese.(David, I know you did not use the pattern on purpose and am not trying to attack you. Probably you just did not know about this.) I hope people get to know what this flag or pattern means and stop using it just like no one uses Nazi flag as a design element. One of my best friends was a Japanese in my college time and I am not ANTI-Japan or anything like that but just wanted to make things right as a person who knows the history about this issue.

You do realize you're the only one talking about Japan, or the Japanese flag, right? It was just a pattern they used, like those meme macros from a bit back.

I'm sorry but red spokes is not distinctive enough to make everyone avoid it forever. Look at the clipart you are upset about no central ball and off red spokes.

Are you upset that a field of red resembles the Chinese flag with the whole great leap forward thing?

Hey William, I am not upset. I was just trying to spread this sensational issue about the pattern. If you do not agree with me or understand what I am trying to say, that is fine. There is no absolute definition or fact. And, more than anything, 100% no offence on this article , Japanese or people in this community.

Nah. Photographer's cant have enough Lens Mug.