The 10 Best Gifts to Buy for Photographers in 2017

We've got the best gift ideas for the Ansel Adams in your life

Evecase Canvas DSLR Camera Travel Backpack
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Photographers prefer a specific kind of aesthetic, both in their work and in their belongings. And if you have a photographer in your circle, chances are you’ve lamented about what to get them for their birthday or the holidays. We’ve cut out some of that stress with a well-framed gift guide for photo enthusiasts. You’ll find a slew of snapshot-friendly gifts, including a super organizable photo bag, a space-age tripod, a coffee table book to inspire the eye and more. These are sure to be some of the most beautiful gifts they’ve ever received.

As one of the highest rated camera backpacks on Amazon, Evecase is a natural first placement on this list of gifts for photographers. We’ll let the specs speak for themselves: The pack is made of water-resistant canvas with closed cell dense foam for shock protection. It also comes with a separate rain cover in case of unforeseen weather. In terms of storage, this is like the Swiss Army knife of camera bags. That foam we mentioned up there encases a full lens and body compartment (up to five lenses), and the top portion of the bag is where you’d keep the rest of your belongings – cables, small items, a laptop in the dedicated laptop sleeve, notebooks, etc. And at 15 x 12.5 x 7 inches, you better believe this gift recipient won’t be disappointed in the storage capacity.

Chances are, the photographer you’re buying gifts for already has a tripod, but what makes the MeFOTO Travel Tripod special is just how light and mobile it can be. It’s made of aluminum and weighs just 3.6 pounds, so it’s easy to strap to your pack and be on your way. But it’s also a super full-featured tripod: There’s full 360-degree mobility for seamless panoramic photos, there’s a bubble level to make sure you’re on an even surface and there’s even a spring-and-hook system directly underneath the center pole that allows you to hang excess weight on the tripod for additional stability.

50mm lenses are heralded by travel photographers as some of the best all-around lenses for a wide array of pictures. This one is your best bet for your photographer, provided they shoot on Canon (which tends to have a larger set of the market share). Other than the 50mm focal point, this lens has an aperture of f/1.8, as well as a smooth-action stepping motor that quiets the shutter and allows for quicker, smoother focused pictures.

Speaking of quiet shutters, any camera is going to have some shutter noise. That’s a problem when you’re photographing in a quiet environment like a play or a church ceremony. The Camera Muzzle is a super unique product, albeit a little bulky. It surrounds the entire camera body with a foam and cloth jacket that squelches noise while also including a large LCD screen viewing window and tripod access. It’s a great gift for the photographer looking to remain on the sidelines without disturbing their subjects.

Even photographers don’t always want to lug around their bulky DSLRs, and most modern smartphones take truly high definition pictures and videos unto themselves. The missing link for a phone is the limitation of the phone’s lens (and the space in the phone for accommodating a lens). This kit is one of the most popular ways to supplement the lens on your phone. It’s a three-in-one set that includes a clip-on fisheye lens, macro lens and 0.4x super wide angle lens – basically the ultimate trio for any artistic endeavor. They’re all made of high grade glass and employ a quick, simple clip-on system, meaning they’ll work with almost any smartphone you have.

Shutterfly is one of the leading ways to turn your photos into cool take-home prints in the form of photobooks, framed posters and more. Most photography gifts can be challenging because you aren’t 100 percent sure the exact technology the person wants, but a Shutterfly gift certificate can work for anyone, because you’re giving them the gift to send their proudest photos off to be beautifully printed in tangible form. Who knows, maybe they’ll even give you a book of their photos with that gift card.

This photography reference book has become a modern classic for the medium. It was originally published in 1994 and this addition is updated to incorporate new technologies. But the true value here is the informative and accessible way in which renowned photographer Bruce Barnbaum breaks down his artistic visions and shows you how to translate different techniques directly to execution on film or digital. It also includes almost 200 beautiful photos (in color and black and white) showing off the final results, so it doubles as a coffee table book as well as professional development.

Instax cameras are to DSLRs like ukuleles are to guitars. They’re fun casual little gifts that won’t break the bank and will sure to make any photographer smile. Rather than bust out the full camera at a party or casual get together, your photographer will be busting this thing out to pass around the party and pepper the gathering with fun little instantly developed pictures. The Mini 9 is possibly the company’s most popular model because of it’s super lightweight, its full set of features (1/60 sec shutter speed, close-up shooting range of 35cm to 50cm and LED flash) and its ease of use (you basically just point, shoot and let it develop). You aren’t going to impress the gearhead side of the photographer, but you’ll definitely be gifting their creative side – which is really why they got into the craft in the first place, right?

Microfiber cloths are a camera owner’s best friends. This six-pack has earned the coveted full fire star rating on Amazon, and for good reason. The 6’ x 7’ cloths are super soft and 100 percent safe for cleaning any delicate glassware. They work great on lenses because they absorb dust and moisture to ensure there are no micro scratches. The pack comes with five black and one gray, so you can keep track of more specific uses for each. They’re also machine washable.

Any photographer is going to need plenty of SD cards for storing photos. This Sandisk option is a great value because it’s actually a microSD (required by some cameras) with a standard SD adapter (required by the rest), so you won’t have to worry about it fitting your gift recipients camera. The UHS-I Class 10 card holds 32gb of data at 48 mb/s in transfer speeds. Plus Sandisk backs these guys with a 10-year warranty, which is pretty ironclad.

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