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It’s getting to be that most magical time of the year: the time when you might be allowed to get your hands on some new photography loot!
To help you with some ideas of what to put on your own wish list, or what to give a photographer friend or family member, here are some ideas that I know you would love to receive in your stocking this year.
Pin it or share it with your family so they know what they can get you!
I love a nice handbag and a camera bag is no exception!
It’s also a great idea to get at least one bag that you can use to tote around your camera with you, so that you are more inclined to take it, plus it will save it from getting damaged or scratched.
There are so many bags available for photographers, both male and female - the choice seems to have really shot up in the last few years, especially with bags designed for women,, that are less clunky and functional looking.
When looking for your ideal bag, think about where you are going to use it most - for example, for toting around town, or for hiking - and choose a bag that suits that environment best. So for hiking you might want a backpack to leave your hands free, but perhaps for being out in town you’d prefer a shoulder bag.
You should also think about how much you want the bag to be able to carry - just the camera, or your camera plus a selection of lenses? Bear in mind the more it holds, the heavier it will be!
Finally, have a think about how you get access to your equipment in the bag - for some you can still be wearing these whilst accessing your gear, for others (like most backpacks) you are going to have to put it down whilst you take out your gear. Just something to think about.
I have a total of three bags: a bag that is more like a woman's purse for days in town, a backpack for walking, or days at the beach, and a bag that ONLY carries my camera (with no lenses) for days when I just want to grab and go without too much weight.
Here’s a small selection of some of the bags I personally love the look of to give so some ideas when picking your bag:
Although I am a big believer in learning how to edit by hand, once you have, action and presets can be a great way to speed up your workflow.
There are so many other companies providing presets, like Clickinmoms, Greater Than Gatsby and more - too many to list here - but a quick search will give you some other ideas.
If you are still using the kit lens that came with your camera, I think a prime lens is a really worthwhile investment.
There are several reasons for this - a prime lens tends to be sharper, it is going to allow you to let more light in via your aperture (i.e it is a “fast” lens) and it is usually a bit quicker to focus.
The main reason for this is simply how affordable they are, and how good the optics are for the price. The downside is that the 50mm focal length can be a little long on a cropped body, in which case, you might want to look for a wider focal length.
I started with the 50mm F1.8 and it was a great first prime lens, and a gentle introduction to spending money on gear!
If you already have this lens (or end up getting it for Christmas!) then check out this post with 10 tips for using the Canon 50mm here.
There are SO many things you can buy on the Clickin Moms store that I don’t even want to attempt to list them all out! There are things like fingerless shooting gloves (to stop your little fingers getting all icy when shooting in winter!), necklaces, mugs are more.
If you are not sure what you would like, or would like to save up for something bigger, then you can get gift cards for the store, which means you can take your pick later (possibly when the sales is on?!)
You can grab a gift card here.
One of the things I always ask my students who take my Auto to Awesome course to get is a grey card, because it is great for helping you set exposure and white balance, and they only cost a few dollars.
However, they are not as user friendly as some of the more expensive options on the market. The Expodisc is a great little tool for helping you get correct exposure and white balance, as it is easier to use in day to day life, but of course, you pay for that!
You can read more about how to use this little tool for nailing white balance here.
Who doesn’t love a good photography book? My bookshelves are positively groaning with photography books, some good, some bad, and some downright brilliant. You can find out my 10 must read photography books here.
If you don’t yet have software for editing your images, I strongly recommend that you get some! My personal recommendation is to get the Photography plan from Adobe, and this means you will get both Lightroom Classic CC AND Photoshop for just $9.99 per month. You even get the latest option from Adobe, Lightroom CC, which is aimed at mobile photography. It is incredible value, so I really think it is the best option out there.
You will use Lightroom Classic CC for all your file management, the vast bulk of your editing, creating photo books and sharing online, and Photoshop occasionally for any pixel work, like replacing skies or switching heads. With both, you have absolutely everything you could ever need at your fingertips.
Check out the plan and get more details here:Lightroom & Photoshop Photography Plan
This lens is truly magnificent for the price - it is incredibly sharp, fast to focus, and gives amazing bokeh. If you are in the market for a new lens in your stocking this year, I really think you should check this one out!
I have a whole blog post dedicated to this lens, so you might want to give this post a read over too, or check out the “what’s in my camera bag” post to see examples of other lenses, and some images taken with this lens.
Why not make next year the year you finally crack photography, and start getting the images you dream of? The Auto to Awesome course has literally everything you need to know to take amazing images, broken down step by step so that it makes learning photography a breeze.
It covers all the elements of exposure, shooting in manual mode, how to get tack sharp images, how to use light effectively, and even how to use the various rules of composition to add interest to your images.
If you want to start capturing your family beautifully next year, or even start a photography business, ask for this! You can learn more about it here.
If you have been shooting for a while, you can sometimes start to feel a little jaded, and that’s where a “fun” lens like the Lensbabies can be really helpful at making you feel more creative.
You can check out five fun lenses here if you are in the market for a little creative fun!
If you have already mastered your camera, and are getting good, sharp, in focus images, then it’s time to learn how to really make them pop by learning how to edit. (And no, that does not mean slapping on a preset and calling it a day!)
As I said above, my recommended tool for editing is Lightroom, as you can do so much to enhance your images in this one tool. It’s also completely necessary (at least in my mind!) as a tool for managing your images so that you can get more done in less time.
However, there can be a bit of a learning curve with Lightroom - I know for myself I ditched it around three times before finally getting the hang of it and getting a workflow in place that I loved, so that was exactly why I created my Launch Into Lightroom course. It walks you step by step through the entire process of using Lightroom - from import, to editing, and finally to export. Check it out here, and be beautifully organised for the coming year!
Depending on your style of photography, you may find a tripod a useful investment. I personally only use them for self portraits but they can be useful for loads of other things, like getting great blurred waterfalls, showing movement, fireworks, macro and landscapes.
You have probably heard about a bajillion times that you shouldn't use your cameras pop up flash. I definitely prefer using natural light, but there are definitely times when having flash is downright necessary, for example taking photos indoors when there is little light available, so it can be a great thing to ask for this year!
Here are two different options to look at, depending on your budget and camera model.
The Lightscoop Bounce Flash Device is a cheap and cheerful option if you have a pop up flash on your camera. It fits over your pop up flash and works by softening the light by bouncing it off a wall or ceiling, in much the same way that an external flash unit would. I had one previously and it works reasonably well, so it can be a great option if you aren't really serious about flash photography, and just want something that can help on the occasional day.
If, like me, you don't have a pop up flash on your camera, or you want a more professional option, a Speedlight is your best bet. I have this model, the Canon Speedlite 430EX II and love it!
Another great idea for a stocking filler is a decent memory card.
I know that it's not exactly a sexy photorapher gift, but it is undoubtedly useful! Keep in mind your want your camera to be able to "write" the image onto the card quickly, so you don't have to stand and wait whilst the camera is buffering. (See this post on using Burst Mode for more info)
Choose one with decent write speeds - this will be marked on them usually. If your camera has the option for you to use a CF card (the more professional bodies do) you might want to look at that as an option too - these usually have even faster write speeds.
Simply the fun-est photography store on the planet. Check it out here: PhotoJoJo.
And that concludes our Photography Gift List! I'm sure I have missed something wonderful out, but there should be enough here to at least give you some fab ideas. Happy shopping!