Gift Ideas for Photographers

Ron Niebrugge California, Equipment, Photos, Travel 20 Comments

A shop keeper sweeping in front of a store last month in Truckee, California

A shop keeper sweeping in front of a store last month in Truckee, California

Finding the right gift for the photographer can be tough – we all have a million opinions on what’s good and bad, and often have special needs based upon our existing camera gear / brand, etc.  I thought I would throw out a few ideas of items that might be appreciated by just about any photographer.   So here goes:

Petzl E99 PG Tikka XP 2 Headlamp. This is the newest addition to my camera bag and I love it!  This tiny little light weight headlamp is super bright!  At 60 lumens, it is currently the brightest Petzl headlamp.  Because it is so small and light, it always stays in my camera bag, and sure comes in handy on the pre sunrise / post sunset hikes that photographers are often forced to make in the pursuit of light.  But, the thing that really makes this one sweet for photography is the addition of the red LED light.  The red light allows you to see your camera gear in the dark without messing up your night vision – perfect for night photography of star trails, northern lights etc.

LED Keychain Micro-Light I love these little things and usually keep one on the zipper of my camera bag, and on my jacket.  Gee, I’m noticing a light theme here – fitting for winter in Alaska.

Leatherman 830039 New Wave Multitool There is a reason you see these on the belts or in the pockets of many Alaskans – this all around tool comes in really handy!  I have been carrying mine in my camera bag for many years – this is the new and improved model of the old one I have.   I have gotten so used to having it in my camera bag that I made the mistake of leaving mine in my bag as I went through security at the airport – whoops!

Little Hotties Hand Warmers 40 Pairs We just purchased a box of these a week or so ago.  This time of year you can’t have too many chemical hand warmers – I always leave a pair or two in my camera bag.  Not only are they great for rewarming hands once they get cold – gloves are ineffective at warming cold hands, but, I will also put them in the pockets of my jacket and use this as a place to rewarm and replenish camera batteries if I’m in real cold weather.

Reflectors and defusers Most photographers can’t have too many of these.  They are great for close-up work and people photography.  You can get them in all different sizes – something for every budget.

Digital frames Most photographers love to share photos with family and co-workers, and having a  nice  digital frame for the office or home makes a great gift for most any photographer.  I can’t recommend a particular one as I don’t own one, but I have found the buyer feedback on Amazon to be pretty accurate.

An Anza-Borrego photo workshop with me.  Hey, why not?

Handheld GPS This is another great tool for the photographer.  Not only do these things tell you where you are are, but are handy for sunrise / sunset times, tides, moon rise / set times, moon phase, and many other things.  The one I use is an old Garmin that is still going strong – so I can’t recommend a specific model, but there is a wide array of choices to select from.

iPad I don’t have one so I don’t have much to add, but what in 2011, what gift list would be complete without this item listed.

Books.   I can’t own enough books, I’m running out of room to store them all.  I have books on particular animal species, books on locations, and books on photography.  Here are some of my favorites:

Outdoor photography

Galen Rowell’s classic book Inner Game of Outdoor Photography had been out of print until being re-released this year – this is a classic, and likely isn’t in the library of a newer photographer.  Another great book on outdoor photography is  Galen Rowell’s Vision: The Art of Adventure Photography

I haven’t seen this book, but know most of the contributors so feel fairly safe in recommending:  The Ultimate Guide to Digital Nature Photography

I have always loved photography books, and although I haven’t purchased one in some time, here is a list of  4 Star rated books on outdoor photography at Amazon.

Location Guides

These can be very helpful and provide a nice running head start for any location.  I like to try to find my own “hot spots”, but there is nothing wrong with getting some help finding the existing ones.  Except for the Oregon book, I have used, enjoyed and relied on these location guides:

Photographing the Southwest: Volume 1–Southern Utah (2nd Ed.)
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 2–Arizona (2nd Ed.)
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 3–Colorado/New Mexico (Photographing the Soutwest)
Photographer’s Guide to Yellowstone and the Tetons
The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite
Photographing Oregon (Phototripsusa)

Comments 20

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  2. Very good advices Ron!

    I’ve got two of the (Petzl headlamp & Galen Rowell’s Inner Game…)

    But the rest look very good, specially the workshop one!

    Best regards from Barcelona

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    Thanks a lot David!

    Hey Richard – thanks for the endorsement, I appreciate it!

    Hi Carl – I can’t believe how much brighter the Tekka 2 is compared to my old Pixel – that thing rocks. 75 lumens – wow, that thing is bright, thanks for the suggestion! And, I’m in the market for some socks, I’ll check them out!

  4. Thanks for the mention of Photographing Oregon, Ron! And when are you going to visit the Pacific Northwest again so I can show you the book is right up there with the other guides? : )

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    You welcome Greg!

    That is a good question – we don’t have plans right now, but keep talking about getting back up that way, hopefully soon!

  6. I bought the book about photographing in the Tetons but must confess I’d never heard of them !! After reading the book I went to the Tetons and got some good pictures !!

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  8. A good powerful head lamp is a super gift for a nature photographer!! I own two but I’ve a few more suggestions …

    – Anything with Primaloft, light and warm

    – Ski underwear, perfect for early winter starts. Best stuff is made from Merino Wool

    – Salopette, breakable weather pants that can take the abuse of climbing and lying down in the snow or mud. It’s can be dirty job being a landscape photographer you know.


  9. Gee, as long as we’re talking about great gift books, what’s that really cool book that everyone is talking about….let’s see…the name is right on the tip of my brain…it’s ummm…oh yeah! The NEW Joy of Digital Photography! 🙂

    Hi Ron–shouldn’t the Outdoor Photographer story about you being hitting the stands soon?

    By the way, the autumn shot of Colorado–holy cow, that should become the official state image–beautiful! Gorgeous! Amazing!


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    @ Gavin Thanks for the suggestions, I will have to check them out. I haven’t tried Merino Wool, but I do love my long under-ware from both REI and Patagonia – that stuff is warm!

    Salopette – something else I will have to check out – again thanks!

    @ Jeff Thanks!

    Dang, I should have mentioned that book – maybe I will do a separate post just for it, I need to pick up a copy.

    I think the OP story if for the February issue, so I don’t know if we will see anything for awhile – fingers crossed. 🙂


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