It’s that time of year again – the time when most of us photographers find friends, family, and co-workers asking us what photo related gifts we’d like to receive. As much as we’d love to say, “Oh I wouldn’t mind a EOS-1D X or a Nikon D700,” the cold, hard reality is if we don’t want a gift certificate for a hair cut or something worse, we’re better off giving the inquiring gift-giver options under $20. Here is a great list of affordable gift suggestions that will put a smile on any photographers face just in time for the holidays!
A small, lightweight clip that sticks to your lens cap so you can clip your cap to your pants, shirt, camera bag, or wherever you like. I designed The Nice Clip because I was sick of keeping my cap in my lint plagued pockets or putting it down on tables and leaving it behind. Get an extra one to keep your mobile phone, iPad, and computer cords under control since it also works great as the worlds smallest cord catcher.
At under 1 oz and less than $10, this incredibly compact and sturdy screwdriver set is a no-brainer. It includes a full size flat and Philips head screwdriver as well as their wee baby sisters. If you’ve never found yourself on a photo shoot cursing that you didn’t have a screw driver handy, stop pushing your luck and put this on your holiday wish list today.
We know you like cameras, and everybody loves cookies, thank goodness someone has combined the two and just in time for the holidays! The set includes a cutter and 3D imprint wand for making deliciously multi-dimensional cookies in the shapes of three different types of cameras: an SLR, Rangefinder, and Rolleiflex style TLR.
Think Tank Photo cooked up my favorite way to carry batteries to any photo shoot. Their rugged, nylon enclosure holds up to eight AA batteries. Keep them point up to signify when their charged and point down to help you remember they’ll need a trip to the recharger. These are built solid and are super compact.
5. Gear Tie
This industrial version of the old twist-tie may seem silly at first. After all, any average shopper either has a junk drawer full of twist ties they got for free from various electronics, toys, bags of bread, etc. or is regularly throwing out said twist ties. So why pay for them? These inexpensive doodads are versatile for sure, but they must be held in your hand to be truly appreciated. Once you start wrapping your cables with Gear Ties I doubt you’ll ever go back to Velcro. Available in several sizes.
6. Gaffers Tape
If you’re a photographer and you’re not carrying gaffers tape, you are missing out. Gaffers tape is a robust cloth tape with a special, super-strong adhesive on the sticky side that leaves no residue when you remove the tape. How many ways can you use gaffers tape? It’s endless. Use it for everything from removing lint from your models’ clothes, to holding down extension cords to prevent accidental trips, to taping fabric to walls if you don’t have a backdrop stand, and about a million other uses. When not in the mood to lug a full roll of the stuff around, I wrap a few feet around a pen and throw it in my camera bag so I’m never without the life saving sticky strips.
7. Safety Cone
They come in all sizes and prices, many under $20. Two is better. Four is best, but even one bright, orange cone placed by your gear will keep most people away. Grab four and connect them with “Caution” tape and only the most hardened criminals – and the hard of paying attention – will stumble into your gear while you’re out capturing shots.
Safety is no joke, but it’s something most people don’t think about until they’re dangling 300 feet off the ground thanks to a freak accident involving a camera strap, a radio tower, and a pumpkin cannon. This kit from Pocket Medic probably won’t help get you safely back to the ground, but it does include one of the best tweezers I’ve ever used along with band-aids, medications for pain and allergy, insect bite and sting relief wipes, and more all sealed up in a water proof pouch the perfect size to slip into a camera bag.
Let’s face it, it’s cold out there. Though the Frio cold shoe won’t warm your body, it’ll warm your brain when you realize how much better it works than those horrible old cold shoes you used to use. Made of a super strong plastic with a metal ¼” 20 thread now you can mount your flashes and more to your tripod and light stands in style.
What better way to end the list – or a cold winter’s night – than with a shot glass shaped like a camera lens? These ceramic miniature replicas of Canon L lenses come three to a set for just $18. Teetotaler? No problem. They hold paperclips and other office fodder as efficiently as they hold spiked apple cider.
This holiday season help stop the spread of bad reindeer sweaters and stale fruitcakes by giving the ones you love this handy list of inexpensive gifts for photographers. Happy holidays everybody!
Want more? Check out our previous post – 15 Must Have Photography Accessories Under $25*
Zeke Kamm is the best selling author of several photography how-to books, a photographer, film maker, father of a hilarious three year old, and inventor of The Nice Clip. You can see his products at www.nice-industries.com and read his blog about creativity at www.nicephotomag.com.