Need the perfect gift for the photographer in your life? In this gift guide – created from literally hundreds of hours of research and newly updated in December of 2023 – I share the 46 best photography gifts, including cameras, lenses, accessories, creative photography tools, and much more.
Many of the items in this guide are products that I’ve tested and/or owned, so I can vouch for their outstanding quality. And to make things easier, I’ve broken the list into three different sections:
- The best affordable gifts for photographers (under $25)
- The best gifts for photographers under $100
- Premium gifts for photographers ($100+)
I’ve included options designed for photographers of all interests and experience levels – so no matter your budget and no matter the gift recipient, you’re bound to find the right item.
Let’s dive right in!
The best affordable gifts for photographers
If your budget isn’t expansive but you want to buy a photography gift that’s bound to impress, check out these affordable options:
Living Landscapes: A Guide to Stunning Landscape Photography
Written by professional landscape photographer Todd Sisson and published by dPS, Living Landscapes is the perfect eBook for beginner and even intermediate landscape photographers. Todd does an outstanding job of breaking down key concepts, and his discussions of essential landscape photography gear, camera settings, and post-production techniques are filled with handy – and stunning! – examples.
Across 130+ pages, landscape photography enthusiasts will discover everything they ever wanted to know about capturing gorgeous images of beaches, mountains, forests, and so much more. And the sections at the end of the book – covering specialist techniques and shooting scenarios – justify the price all on their own. Living Landscapes is the easy-to-follow, comprehensive, and hands-on education that every landscape snapper should access when starting out – and at just $19, it’s a steal!
Kiorafoto Memory Card Case
This Kiorafoto memory card case costs just $10, but it’s one of the best affordable gifts for photographers that I’ve ever encountered. With it, a photo-snapper can carry up to 12 SD cards (as well as 12 microSD cards) and store them safely in their camera backpack, bag, or even attached to a belt loop or backpack strap via the included carabiner.
In fact, I purchased one of these Kiorafoto cases a few years back, and I immediately regretted not having bought it sooner – I carry it in a sling bag and can swap out memory cards in seconds, which makes a huge difference when photographing action or when the light is changing rapidly. So unless the photographer in your life only has a couple of memory cards, this case will be a stellar gift. You can buy it here, but just make sure the recipient uses SD or microSD cards before you do.
Portrait Photography Resource Kit
Budding portrait snappers will love this handy kit from Photzy, which is jam-packed with resources to jumpstart – and level up – their portrait photography.
The Portrait Kit contains a wide variety of materials, including quick guides, cheat sheets, video tutorials, and more – so no matter the user’s learning style, they’ll find something to love. The cheat sheets are especially impressive; they offer easy-to-digest information covering topics such as indoor natural lighting and portrait cropping, plus they’re designed to be printable so the photographer can carry physical copies in the field.
And even experienced portrait photographers will appreciate the quick guides, which cover:
- Headshot photography
- Portrait composition
- Portrait lighting essentials
- Posing models
- Much more!
Normally, the Portrait Photography Resource Kit costs $99, but you can currently grab it for just $2.99 (no, that’s not a typo!). It’s the perfect gift for beginner and intermediate portrait shooters, and given the insane price, there’s no reason not to buy it.
EnergeticSky Winter Gloves
As a photographer who loves photographing in the winter, I spent years struggling to keep my hands warm – until I found these waterproof gloves from EnergeticSky.
The gloves are cheap, and yet they’re so warm. I use them on day-long photoshoots in snow and freezing temperatures without issue (and according to the manufacturers, they work great in temperatures down to -10 Fahrenheit). They’re also touchscreen-sensitive, which is great for photographers who like to focus via the LCD, and they include removable thumb and index-finger tops so photographers can gain greater finger precision as needed.
Photzy Snap Cards
In many ways, the best gift for a photographer is education, which can teach skills that’ll last for a lifetime. That’s where the Photzy Snap Card pack comes in; it contains 20 instantly downloadable cards, which are jam-packed with photography essentials, from autofocus and exposure settings to lighting and special techniques.
What makes the Snap Cards especially great is their portability. You’re free to print them out and carry them in your backpack – then, when you encounter a problem, just whip out the Snap Cards, quickly study the relevant materials, and make the necessary corrections.
Of course, you can give the Snap Cards as a digital gift, but if you want to go the extra mile, why not print them out, laminate them, and add them to a key ring?
The Snap Cards are an amazing gift for any beginner photographer or enthusiast, and you can currently grab them for 93% off (just $7!), though be sure to buy them before the deal disappears.
Altura Camera Rain Cover
Need a budget gift for a landscape, street, or travel photographer? This Altura camera rain cover may not be flashy, but it’ll certainly come in handy for any photo-snappers who like to shoot in rain, snow, or sleet.
It’s designed to fit around most cameras, and it includes a transparent window at the back so the photographer can check the LCD screen without endangering their electronics, as well as two arm-holes for easy camera access. There are quite a few rain covers out there, many of them good, but I’ve used this Altura product in dozens of downpours, and it’s always done a great job. You can buy it here for just $20.
KUVRD Universal Lens Hood
KUVRD’s Universal Lens Hood is one of the most innovative and unique products of the decade, offering a convenient way to cover every lens you own – without taking up critical space in your camera bag.
Standard lens hoods are big and bulky, plus you need a new hood for each lens you buy. Once you misplace a lens hood, then you’re without protection. KUVRD’s Universal Lens Hood, on the other hand, is, well, universal. It mounts on the front of pretty much any lens, which means you can take one or two KUVRD lens hoods in your bag and use them with all of your lenses. Plus, they’re rubber, so they can be folded and slotted into a side pocket or even a purse.
And the Universal Lens Hood offers additional benefits:
For one, it allows you to mount most filters in front of your lens, regardless of thread size. It also eliminates reflections when shooting through windows.
So for photographers looking for an easy, space-saving way to protect their lenses, the KUVRD Universal Lens Hood is a perfect choice. Get it here for just $25.
Landscape Photography Resource Kit
Like the Portrait Photography Resource Kit above, Photzy’s Landscape Photography Resource Kit boasts an array of incredible video tutorials, quick guides, and cheat sheets – all designed to revolutionize any landscape photographer’s workflow.
The Kit is geared toward landscape photography beginners, but the resources will undoubtedly impress even veteran shooters. For instance, the four printable cheat sheets offer plenty of useful information on sunset photography, compositional layering, and more; there’s even a handy little checklist, which photographers can run through before pressing the shutter button. And the six quick guides discuss topics that’ll interest landscape shooters of all experience levels, including landscape settings, landscape composition, and the use of graduated filters.
The Landscape Photography Resource Kit is perfect for pretty much any up-and-coming landscape photographer, and it’s currently on sale for just $2.99 (compared to the usual $91). You can purchase it here!
KUVRD Universal Lens Cap
Lens caps may seem boring, but they perform the essential job of protecting a photographer’s lenses during travel, and they’re really, really easy to misplace.
That’s why every photographer could use one (or several) of these KUVRD Universal Lens Caps, which fit over 99% of lenses thanks to the uniquely stretchy design. They’re also quicker to clean than standard lens caps – always handy for photographers who work in sandy or dirty conditions – and they fold up, so they won’t take up much space in a camera bag or backpack.
You can purchase a KUVRD Universal Lens Cap for $20 on Amazon (and if you’re shopping for a photographer who could use a whole bunch of these products, you can purchase a multipack for $45).
Street Photography Resource Kit
Know any beginner or intermediate street photographers? Then consider buying them Photzy’s Street Photography Resource Kit, which is an amazing gift for street snappers of all stripes.
The Resource Kit includes a bevy of cheat sheets, quick guides, and more. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- A quick guide on photographing strangers
- A quick guide covering candid photography
- An environmental portraits cheat sheet
- A street portraits cheat sheet
- A fun case study on including blur in street shots
- A “Mastering Motion” video tutorial
What we especially love about this product – and Photzy’s resource kits more generally – is the variety of resources it includes. People learn in different ways, and the Resource Kit is designed to satisfy everyone, including more textual folks as well as hands-on learners.
The Street Photography Resource Kit normally costs $91, but you can currently buy it for just $2.99!
Altura Camera Hand Strap
Pretty much every camera comes with a neck strap, but for photographers who like to go on photowalks, shoot lengthy portrait sessions, and/or need to keep a low profile, the Altura Camera Hand Strap is the perfect buy.
The Hand Strap allows photographers to comfortably hold a camera for hours on end – and, thanks to the stylish design, they’ll feel cool while doing it. The dark leather is inconspicuous, so it works great for street photographers who need to stay unnoticed while shooting, and it’s strong enough to support plenty of larger DSLRs and mirrorless models.
Plus, this Altura strap is relatively cheap, so while it’s a thoughtful gift that’ll be much appreciated by your photography friends, it won’t create a giant hole in your bank account. You can grab it for just $25 here.
Lens Coffee Mug
Need a budget photography gift for a coffee drinker? Consider this coffee mug, which looks just like the Canon 24-105mm f/4L lens and features a carefully designed exterior plus a “front element” cap for added realism.
It’s nicely sized, it includes a stainless-steel liner for added durability, and it’s budget-friendly, too. Of course, it’s not the most serious of gifts, so make sure the recipient has a sense of humor. (And whatever you do, don’t give it to a Nikon or Sony user; you never know how they might react!)
The best gifts for photographers under $100
This section features high-quality gifts for photographers of all stripes, including handy camera accessories, budget software subscriptions, and invaluable training materials.
Create Stunning Photos in Lightroom (with Jim Hamel)
For photographers who have a Lightroom subscription but struggle to make the most of their powerful software, Create Stunning Photos in Lightroom will make all the difference. Jim Hamel is one of the best photography instructors on the planet, and this video course – which packs over seven hours of outstanding content – is entertaining, enjoyable, and (most importantly!) informative.
The course includes a detailed module on using Lightroom to organize and manage photos, but the bulk of the instruction focuses on post-processing, and every video is packed full of practical advice. Jim guides viewers through the basics, such as adjusting exposure and reducing noise, all the way to advanced techniques, such as local adjustments and HDR merging. And the end of the course even explores topics often neglected in other Lightroom tutorials; for instance, viewers learn how to use the Print module to display their work in style.
Create Stunning Photos in Lightroom was updated earlier this year to incorporate the latest Lightroom features, and the $99 digital package includes 36 instructional videos, 4 bonus videos, access to a private Facebook group, and more. You can buy it here!
Tarion Pro Camera Backpack
Unless you’re shopping for a photographer who only shoots inside their studio, a sturdy backpack can make for a great gift. I’ve included two backpacks on this list, both of which I personally own, but this one – the Tarion Pro – is the model that I prefer for any long-term travel or serious outdoor excursions.
It’s highly durable, and it comes with a water-resistant cover so you can shoot in snow, rain, and more. What I love most about this backpack, however, is the carrying capacity – it can easily fit multiple camera bodies and several large lenses with room to spare. And it boasts a huge number of pockets and dividers, including a laptop sleeve, so it’s easy to organize gear however you see fit. As I can personally attest, the quality is worth far more than its $99 price, so don’t hesitate to buy it here.
Joby GorillaPod 3K Kit
This flexible mini-tripod is an ideal photographer’s companion; it’s perfect for anyone who needs a tripod but doesn’t want to take up too much space in their camera bag or backpack.
The GorillaPod’s flexible legs allow it to be wrapped around objects such as tree branches, poles, and much more – so that photographers can keep their camera stable when capturing photos and videos in just about any location. This particular model can handle smaller cameras with standard and wide-angle lenses, though Joby also offers a 5K kit for larger setups.
You can purchase the GorillaPod 3K kit right here, and it’s currently on sale for just $45.
Going Pro: How to Make Money Through Your Photography
Know a photographer who dreams of turning their passion into a professional but doesn’t know how? In Going Pro, Kelly Kingman – veteran magazine photo editor – lays it all out, with explanations of business models and marketing approaches, advice for picking a specialty, and profiles of successful photographers and photography buyers.
The eBook also comes with several invaluable resources, including hours of audio interviews with experts, as well as the Recipe for Success, a four-step guide for building your business from the ground up. Going Pro costs just $49, but it’s the type of gift that will be appreciated for a lifetime!
Peak Design Capture Camera Clip
This camera-carry accessory may not look like much, but don’t be fooled; it’s designed to securely fasten a camera to a backpack or sling strap so a photographer can carry their setup comfortably – and then access it at a moment’s notice.
The package includes two pieces: the clip, which attaches to a variety of strap sizes, and the quick-release plate, which mounts to the bottom of a wide array of cameras. It’s rugged, strong, and comes with a lifetime warranty, and it’s been battle-tested by plenty of professional photographers.
While I wouldn’t recommend the Capture Clip V3 for photographers sporting huge camera and lens setups, it’s ideal for street, travel, adventure, and other on-the-go shooters, and the $75 price ensures you get plenty of bang for your buck. Grab it here!
Dnaleao Rechargeable Hand Warmers
It’s no secret that landscapes, street scenes, and portraits look amazing in the snow. However, many photographers hesitate to go out once winter sets in simply because it’s tough to stay warm while operating a camera.
That’s where Dnaleao’s Rechargeable Handwarmers come in. They can be slipped into gloves, so they’ll keep any photographer’s hands warm regardless of the temperature – and they last a whopping 12 hours before needing a recharge, so they’ll work for even the longest, most grueling photoshoots.
(Plus, they perform great in non-photography scenarios, too! In my experience, handwarmers are great for pretty much every outdoor activity.)
Did I mention that they’re on sale? At the time of writing, you can grab these warmers for just $30. What’s not to love?
Photzy Action Cards
Know someone who wants to improve their photos? Then get them the Photzy Action Card set, which features some of the best photography education on the planet – but condensed into 65 easy-to-understand sheets.
The Action Cards feature comprehensive lessons on every type of photography you can imagine, including:
- Flower photography
- Waterscape photography
- Still life photography
- Street portrait photography
- Architectural photography
- Newborn photography
And there are also plenty of Composition Cards, which cover key concepts such as:
- So much more!
Like the Photzy Snap Cards, the Action Cards can be printed out, laminated, and carried into the field. They’re great for pretty much any student photographer, including beginners, enthusiasts, and even more advanced shooters, plus they’re currently 88% off (for just $39).
You can grab the Photzy Action Cards right here! And if you want to create the ultimate photography gift, why not grab both the Photzy Snap Cards and the Photzy Action Cards while they’re still on sale?
Moerdeng Waterproof Ski Jacket
No winter-loving photographer’s kit is complete without an ultra-warm winter coat. After all, it’s tough to capture sharp photos when you’re hopping up and down and shivering – which is why we recommend this ski jacket from Moerdeng.
The jacket itself is warm, it’s waterproof, and it includes several handy pockets for improved convenience. It even boasts a little breast pocket, which you can use to store memory cards or batteries. And the jacket is pretty stylish, too; the outer material looks sleek, plus you can choose from quite a few different colors.
Night Photography (with Jim Hamel)
Once again featuring the incredible Jim Hamel, Night Photography is a one-of-a-kind video course that combines effective “classroom” instruction and powerful in-the-field tutorials for stellar results. Jim is a night photography master, and his advice is complemented by a series of dazzling photos that are practically guaranteed to inspire.
As a seasoned night photographer myself, I know that capturing stunning shots at night is no easy feat, but Jim’s explanations are so well-structured that even an absolute beginner can follow along. In addition to 18 informative videos, gift recipients are bound to appreciate the bonus content, which includes tutorials on photographing fireworks and the Milky Way. Night Photography would make a great present for anyone who enjoys photography and is looking to capture better scenic images at night – and you can purchase it here for $99.
Aodelan Remote Release
A remote release won’t cost as much as a new camera or a lens, but for the right photographer, it can be just as useful – and this Aodelan model is my favorite (and the one that I’ve used for the last 3+ years).
The way it works is simple: mount the receiver to the camera hot shoe and connect it to the camera, then press the button on the handheld remote to trigger the shutter. The benefit is that you can set up your camera on a tripod, and then take photos without actually touching the shutter button, which allows for sharp long-exposure photos, not to mention a convenient way to capture selfies from a distance.
This particular model also includes several other functions, including the option to capture shots at intervals for beautiful time-lapse sequences. You can grab it for $60, but make sure you purchase the version that’s compatible with the photographer’s camera, as Aodelan sells different models for Canon, Nikon, and Sony users.
256 GB SanDisk Extreme Card
Without a memory card, you can’t capture a single photo – which means that this card will be appreciated by every SD-using photographer around, no matter their level of skill.
The 256 GB Extreme card has a high-speed transfer rate of 180 MB/s, which makes it ideal for photographers who shoot lots of RAW photos – and the 256 GB capacity ensures that the card can fit thousands of photos without filling up. In fact, with 256 GB of storage, even trigger-happy photographers will be able to shoot an entire trip on a single card.
At just over $30, it’s a bargain – so head over to Amazon and get this 256 GB SD card for the photographer in your life.
ON1 Photo RAW 2024
ON1 Photo RAW is a do-anything photo editor, featuring a comprehensive set of image organization and processing tools (like Adobe Lightroom, but – in many ways – even better).
The layout is intuitive, which makes it great for editing beginners, and it’s sleek, too. Plus, ON1 Photo RAW manages to remain well organized even while featuring a tremendous set of editing tools – including all the basic adjustments, but also masking, text design, image transformation, and (as part of the latest release) an outstanding Brilliance AI tool that expertly improves photos from the get-go.
For photo-editing beginners as well as advanced editors in need of a no-subscription program, consider getting an ON1 Photo RAW 2024 lifetime license for $99.99. Alternatively, you can grab a yearly subscription – which comes with a handful of cool extras, including access to ON1’s incredible plugins – right here for $89.99.
Altura Cleaning Kit
A camera cleaning kit is a must-have for every photographer. After all, it’s impossible to keep lenses and sensors completely clean all of the time. Dust and dirt can easily make their way onto the front of the lens and sometimes onto the sensor when changing lenses (especially when you’re out in nature).
This Altura cleaning kit includes a brush for sweeping away dust, a rocket blower for removing dirt, a two-sided lenspen for removing particles from your front lens elements and filters, plus much, much more. A camera cleaning kit may not be glamorous, but it can be a photographer’s savior when out on a shoot, and it currently costs only $35!
Photoshop Basics for Photographers
Due to its sea of tools, complex interface, and array of menus, Photoshop is a notoriously difficult program to learn. But Photoshop is also insanely powerful; photographers can use it to modify colors, remove distractions, retouch portraits, swap skies, add textures, and so much more.
That’s where Phil Steele’s Photoshop Basics for Photographers course comes in handy, which offers “a way for anyone to learn Photoshop – without confusion or struggle – in just three hours.” It explains everything a beginner needs to know to master Photoshop, and it does it in simple, easily digestible language. The course consists of 13 videos, which cover topics such as removing unwanted objects, working with layers, mastering the Photoshop workspace, and using masks. And while Phil doesn’t tackle Photoshop’s super-advanced features (e.g., high-level compositing), he discusses pretty much every tool and concept used by serious photographers on a daily basis.
Photoshop Basics for Photographers is an online course, which means that it can be downloaded instantly. And once purchased, users get lifetime access to the course, so there’s no need to worry about expiration dates or subscription renewals.
Normally, the course costs $69, but dPS readers can grab it for just $39 via our special link.
Photographers often worry about the safety and security of their photos – and if they aren’t yet concerned, they should be! That’s why I recommend that every photographer maintain several backups of their image library, including at least one cloud-based backup.
I use Backblaze, and it works great – all it requires is a simple install, and then it’ll automatically back up every file stored on the computer as well as all files uploaded at a later date. If the photographer in question has a huge photo library, the initial backup period can take a few days or even weeks, but it runs quietly in the background, and it’s certainly worth the wait. Plus, the pricing is excellent; an annual subscription costs just $99, making Backblaze a great sub-$100 photography gift.
Premium gifts for photographers ($100+)
Want to purchase an extra-special gift and aren’t too worried about the cost? These photography products range from $120 hard drives all the way up to $3000 cameras!
Canon EOS R50
No photography gift guide would be complete without one of Canon’s capable – but still very affordable – beginner-friendly mirrorless cameras. If you have a photographer in your life who’s looking to delve into vlogging and/or general photography but you don’t have thousands to splurge, the EOS R50 is an outstanding choice.
Not only is the R50 ridiculously compact (always handy for on-the-go photography), but it includes a flip-out screen that’ll make vlogging and selfies a breeze. Plus, the 24 MP APS-C sensor delivers very nice image quality as well as beautiful 4K/30p video, so it’s an ideal gift for folks who plan to do a little bit of everything. The price is outstanding, too; for just $699, you can snag the camera as well as an all-purpose 18-45mm kit lens.
Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro
If you’re shopping for a photographer who already owns a Canon EOS R-series camera but needs a high-quality lens for better images, look no further than the Canon RF 85mm f/2.
It’s an ultra-sharp model with a sleek design, and photographers will love the control ring, which allows for settings changes in fast-paced shooting scenarios. The 85mm focal length is great for a wide variety of subjects but is especially well-suited to portrait, still-life, product, and nature photography. And thanks to an impressive 0.5x maximum magnification, this lens can also be used for beautiful close-up images of flowers, insects, and more.
Available for $499, the 85mm f/2 is not the cheapest photography gift on this list, but it’s certainly affordable compared to other Canon RF lenses!
Fujifilm Instax Mini 12
These days, instant cameras are all the rage – and while the Instax Mini 12 isn’t necessarily the kind of gift a professional photographer will appreciate, for casual shooters and other creative types, it’s a stellar pick.
The camera can be used to capture fun family photos, selfies, travel shots, and more – plus, every photo comes with the thrill of watching it develop in real time! It’s also a great gift for kids and teenagers, and I highly recommend you purchase this bundle, which comes in at $138 and includes the camera, 40 sheets of film, a carrying case, and even a cute little photo album.
The entire Sony a6000 lineup – from the a6000 on up – is excellent for budding and hobbyist photographers, but the a6700 is the latest and greatest of these models.
Released back in July, it packs pretty much everything an up-and-coming photographer or vlogger could want: a compact, ergonomic design with a flip-out touchscreen; a new 26 MP sensor that can capture tremendous detail, even at night; breathtaking focusing accuracy and speed; in-body image stabilization for sharp shots in low light; and video recording capabilities that’ll impress even professionals.
Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription
If the photographer in your life has yet to invest in photo-editing software, then it’s tough to go wrong with Adobe software, especially Lightroom Classic; not only is it one of the most popular programs used by photographers, but it’s also a relatively beginner-friendly choice that also offers plenty of room to grow. Plus, Adobe has been adding impressive upgrades over the last couple of years that make for a smoother editing workflow, such as AI-powered masking tools that work astonishingly well.
You can choose from a few different Adobe plans, but I personally pay for the Photography 20 GB option, which costs $120 for an annual subscription and offers access to Lightroom Classic, the more mobile-friendly Lightroom, and Photoshop.
Canon EOS R5
The Canon EOS R5 isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market today; if you have the budget and you know someone who could use a pro-level video and stills model, it’ll make an amazing gift.
The EOS R5 offers a slew of features for photographers and videographers, including an incredible 45 MP sensor (perfect for producing detailed landscape shots, beautiful commercial images, and even wall-sized prints), blazing-fast autofocus (essential for serious sports and wildlife snappers), and a beautiful electronic viewfinder (for a lifelike shooting experience, not to mention easy evaluation of focus and exposure). There’s also gorgeous 8K/30p and 4K/120p video, a fully articulating screen, and in-body image stabilization.
You can grab the EOS R5, body only, for $2999. Like I said, it doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a fantastic mirrorless model for high-level enthusiasts and professionals, and it provides access to a wide range of incredible Canon lenses, so it’s bound to satisfy pretty much any serious shooter.
Sony a7 III Bundle
Yes, it’s been somewhat overshadowed by the Sony a7 IV – but the a7 III remains one of the absolute best all-around full-frame models for still and video shooting and is a fantastic addition to any serious photographer’s gear bag.
Portrait and action photographers will love the outstanding autofocus as well as the blazing-fast continuous shooting speeds. Street and travel photographers will appreciate the compact design and excellent ergonomics, while landscape shooters will fawn over the class-leading high-ISO performance and pro-level image quality. And the a7 III’s video capabilities are perfect for any vlogger or hybrid shooter, thanks to 4K/30p, in-body image stabilization, and S-Log recording.
Plus, this particular package comes with the Sony 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, a versatile model that’s perfect for plenty of shooting scenarios. If you know an experienced photographer looking to go full frame, or even a beginner hoping to dive straight into photography and/or videography, check out the a7 III (with the 28-70mm lens) here; it’s currently on sale for $1698.
Nikon Z fc
The Nikon Z fc is an eye-catching, stylish camera – check out the retro body, knobs, and dials – but don’t let that fool you; it’s still plenty capable, and should satisfy beginners as well as more serious shooters looking to make the jump to mirrorless.
Image quality is excellent, and the Z fc’s 4K/30p video quality is equally impressive. Vloggers will appreciate the fully articulating screen, while anyone hoping to capture action will love the 11 frames-per-second shooting speeds and snappy autofocus.
While the Z fc isn’t in the same league as some of the cameras featured above, its 20 MP sensor packs plenty of punch. Expect outstanding dynamic range, not to mention incredible sharpness and impressive performance at high ISOs.
You can grab the Nikon Z fc (with several kit lens options) right here; my recommended option comes with a 28mm lens and costs just under $1100.
Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM
Not only is the 50mm f/1.8 cheap, but it’s also extremely sharp and astonishingly flexible. This kind of 50mm lens can be used in all sorts of scenarios, including portraiture, street shooting, intimate landscape photography, indoor event photography, and so much more, which is why it’s often referred to as a “nifty fifty” – and why it makes a great first or second lens for beginners.
Plus, unlike most starter lenses, the 50mm f/1.8 isn’t one that photographers will outgrow; instead, even as they expand their kit, that 50mm model will continue to find its way into their gear bag!
Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S
The Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S is an insanely impressive lens, one that’ll appeal to photographers of all stripes, including landscape photographers, travel photographers, street photographers, and casual walkaround photographers, to name just a few.
The 24-120mm offers amazing optics that’ll satisfy even professionals, and it also boasts an incredible focal length range. At 24mm, you can capture beautiful wide-angle landscapes; at 50mm, you can shoot travel portraits; and at 120mm, you can capture distant street subjects and intimate landscape scenes.
In general, it’s tough to find a lens with such an expansive zoom range that takes high-quality photos and doesn’t break the bank, but the Z 24-120mm f/4 costs just under $1100 and really does check all the boxes. If you’re shopping for a Nikon mirrorless shooter and they don’t already own this lens, it’s a great choice, so purchase it here.
Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD
The Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 isn’t the priciest lens out there, but don’t let that fool you; it packs a powerful punch, combining a durable build, speedy autofocus, and a handy zoom range for very nice results.
Wildlife and bird photographers, in particular, will love the Tamron 100-400mm. You can capture environmental wildlife portraits at 100mm, larger mammals in the 200-300mm range, and birds at 400mm, plus you get a serious focal length boost if you shoot with an APS-C camera.
Then there’s the image quality: The Tamron 100-400mm is pretty darn sharp, which is impressive for a sub-$1000 telephoto zoom. Your wildlife photos will feature gorgeous detail, especially with Vibration Compensation active (this allows you to handhold at impressively slow shutter speeds).
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC ART Lens
The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM is fast focusing, it’s ultra-sharp, and it offers a great focal length range for landscape, street, and even portrait photographers – which makes it one of the most high-performing, versatile lenses you can buy in 2023.
Note that this is a Sigma DC lens, so it’s designed for crop sensors. But for photographers who have an APS-C DSLR, this is the lens to get. At 18mm, you can capture stunning landscapes; at 24mm, you can create beautiful environmental portraits and wider street shots; at 35mm, you can photograph standard portraits, detail shots, and more.
Also pay attention to the f/1.8 maximum aperture, which guarantees beautiful background blur at longer focal lengths (for that professional look so many photographers struggle to achieve).
For any casual photographer, street photographer, or landscape photographer, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 is a stellar choice. You can purchase it for Canon, Nikon, and Pentax DSLRs here.
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD for Sony
The Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 isn’t the flashiest glass on the block, but it might just be the best value-for-money lens I’ve ever seen.
The 70-180mm costs just over $1000, yet it can hold its own against lenses three times as expensive. Image quality is outstanding, and the f/2.8 maximum aperture allows for beautiful background bokeh and low-light shooting.
The focal length range is outstandingly versatile; at 70mm, you can capture half-body portraits and casual street photos, while at 180mm, you can shoot intimate landscapes, portrait headshots, and even wildlife.
So if you’re looking to give a budding portrait, landscape, or event shooter the gift of their life, grab the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 right here.
Peak Design Travel Tripod
Every photographer needs a good tripod. Unfortunately, many are either bulky or unstable. The Peak Design Travel tripod, on the other hand, manages to combine stability and portability into a single reasonably priced ($599) package. The carbon fiber version weighs just 2.8 lb (1.29 kg), but it can handle up to 20 lb (9 kg) of gear. It’s also highly compact, so photographers can easily fit it in a suitcase or tripod sleeve.
You also get a nice center column for increased flexibility when positioning your camera in the field. And the legs can be expanded to almost 180 degrees, so you can capture close-up and low-angle shots from down on the ground.
For photographers who love to shoot landscapes, long-exposure travel photos, and even portraits, the Peak Design Travel tripod is an outstanding purchase.
You can grab it here.
Skylum Luminar Neo
Skylum’s Luminar Neo is the hottest editing software on the market right now, and it’s a program that every photographer should try, from beginners up to professionals.
Skylum has long been known for its powerful yet easy-to-use software, and Luminar Neo is the company’s most impressive offering to date. It features a slew of AI-powered editing tools, including Relight AI, AI Power Lines Removal, Sky Replacement AI, Portrait Bokeh AI, and more. And that’s not all; since Luminar Neo’s initial launch, Skylum has released a series of paid Extensions, which allow you to:
- Merge HDR images
- Upscale low-resolution photos
- Focus-stack files
- Reduce and remove noise
- Sharpen blurry photos
- Effectively mask out backgrounds
More recently, Skylum has incorporated several innovative tools into Luminar Neo, including the amazing GenSwap, which draws on cutting-edge AI to add new elements to photos via free-text descriptions.
Bottom line: Luminar Neo is perfect for beginners hoping to level up their images with minimal experience, but it’s also a great choice for intermediate and advanced photographers looking to produce breathtaking edits with just a couple of clicks.
Note that you can purchase Luminar Neo in a few ways. There’s a lifetime license, which is on sale for $299 and includes the core software, eight extensions, and a 2023/2024 Creative Journey pass for access to Luminar’s generative AI features; there’s also a subscription plan, which currently goes for $119 per year.
The TourBox Neo is a neat little console designed to enhance your editing experience; it features a set of handy knobs, dials, and buttons that interface with programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, and much more.
Instead of relying on menu dives and keyboard shortcuts, TourBox Neo lets you do pretty much anything with the tap of a finger. It’s intuitive, too; imagine spinning a dial to adjust exposure and contrast, tapping a button to create a new layer, and adding a color grade with a couple of quick touches.
Best of all, the TourBox Neo is compatible with dozens of programs, including editing staples like Lightroom and Photoshop, but also Capture One, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, and even Microsoft Excel.
The TourBox Neo is the ultimate gift for a photo editor, video editor, or graphic designer. You can buy it for $169 here.
SanDisk 2 TB Extreme Portable SSD
These days, thanks to high-megapixel image files, computer hard drives fill up fast. Plus, without a proper backup system, it’s easy to lose photos to accidental deletion, hard drive failure, and file corruption.
That’s why – at least in my view – every photographer should have an external hard drive (as well as a cloud-based backup; see my Backblaze recommendation above!). While it may not seem like the most exciting purchase, this SanDisk hard drive is a highly useful gift, one that any hobbyist photographer will appreciate for years to come. Thanks to its tiny size, it’s the perfect solution for photographers in need of storage while traveling, and it’s extremely fast, so the user won’t have to wait around for hours when transferring thousands of photos.
Of course, you don’t have to go with the 2 TB version; SanDisk sells 500 GB, 1 TB, and 4 TB drives, though the 2 TB model does offer a nice balance of size and budget-friendliness (it currently costs $130). So purchase the perfect external hard drive right here!
Peak Design Everyday Backpack V.2
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack offers everything anyone could want in an everyday camera carrier. It’s durable. It’s stylish. And as I know from personal use, it fits a surprising amount of camera equipment into its highly configurable storage compartments.
The Everyday Backpack also includes a laptop sleeve, so you can edit your photos on the go. And the clever locking mechanism ensures your gear is always safe from others – but easily accessed by you! So for photographers in need of a spacious camera backpack that’s easy to use, boasts a lot of flexibility, and looks great, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is an outstanding choice.
You can take a closer look at this gorgeous photo backpack from Peak Design over on Amazon.
Sekonic L-308X-U Flashmate Light Meter
A light meter like the Sekonic L-308X-U Flashmate is a lifesaver for serious portrait photographers and videographers. Why? While most cameras offer built-in light meters, they just don’t boast the same level of flexibility and accuracy as the Sekonic L-308X-U Flashmate.
So for photographers looking to get their exposure consistently right, this handheld light meter is a great buy. It’s the perfect studio photographer’s companion – but it can also be taken on location when shooting portraits. Check out the Sekonic L-308X-U Flashmate right here; it’s currently on sale for $229.
Best gifts for photographers: final words
Well, there you have it:
46 photography gifts, covering cameras, lenses, accessories, software, and more. Hopefully, you found what you were after – and you’re ready for a fantastic holiday season!
Now over to you:
What do you plan to get as gifts for photography lovers this year? Share your gift ideas for photographers in the comments below!