Top Christmas gifts for photographers: make sure everyone is snap-happy
Buying gifts for the lens-lover in your life can be a daunting (and often expensive) task, but TechRadar is here to guide you through some of the best Christmas gifts for photographers.
With so many variants of just about every photographic accessory you can think of on the market, choosing the best one to suit the recipient’s needs – and your budget – can be a bit of a minefield.
With this in mind, we’ve done the hard work for you, cherry-picking a selection of the best photographic products and accessories around, with a range of options to suit just about anyone.
So, whether you’re after a few extra photo-themed stocking fillers or a slightly pricier sleigh-stuffer for your loved one (or just a little treat for yourself) you should find plenty of inspiration here.
Billingham Hadley One
Something a bit special
It’s not cheap
Billingham’s Hadley One is a gorgeous messenger bag that’s aimed at those who want to travel reasonably light – perfect for wondering round the city or a short break. The stylish, classic design of the Hadley One certainly looks the part and is beautifully crafted from a premium leather. As well as space for a mirrorless camera or DSLR, there’s also a separate 13-inch laptop compartment. If you want to treat someone to something a little bit special then the Hadley One, even allowing for its premium price, won’t disappoint.
Manfrotto Pixi Evo
A great take-anywhere tripod
Good payload support
Handy ball head
Mini tripods are great take-anywhere options, and perfect for those times when you don’t think you’ll need a tripod, but want to bring one just in case. Some can be pretty flimsy though, but the Pixi Evo offers a decent payload support and good flexibility. It comes with a handy ball head and extending legs – not really to extend the height, but to use on uneven surfaces. The limited working height does mean you’ll have to position it on a wall or table, but take advantage of the low angle to get some interesting viewpoints.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2019
Perfect for the enthusiast photographer
Easy to use
Helpful guided edits
Lacks some advanced features
Might be to basic for some
Adobe’s latest Creative Cloud Photography plan which includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC is perfect for those wanting a host of high-end features, but the monthly subscription payment model isn’t for everyone. That’s where Photoshop Elements 2019 comes in.
Incorporating many of the advanced features found in the high-end version of the software, including a host of raw conversion controls, Elements 2019 still packs a punch and is perfect for the enthusiast photographer looking for a versatile photo editing program.
Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC 2TB
Rugged, wireless security
Not the fastest drive
The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is very flexible, and comes with a rugged case that’s dust and water resistant, along with a built-in USB 3.0 cable. It’s actually our top choice in our best external hard drive list as well.
Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it’s also got 256-bit AES security features and NFC (Near Field Communication) features as well.
Essentially it allows you to unlock the drive to get to your photos quickly and easily by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive’s body. Pretty neat!
Bring your smartphone images to life
Lots of fun
Easy to use
Film can be expensive
A bit bulky
The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 lets you bring your smartphone images to life. This great little printer lets you transfer images wirelessly from your phone to the Instax Share SP-3, which will produce square format instant prints (the image is printed 62 x 62mm, with a total size of 86 x 72mm) for you. There’s a handy reprint button, allowing you to share the same print with friends multiple times, while your pics on Facebook and Instagram can also be transferred to the SP-3.
Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2
Sculpt your light
Delivers nice, soft light
Easy to set-up
Only for portraits
More affordable options
A naked flashgun can deliver some pretty unflattering light, so this mini flat-pack softbox from Lastolite fits neatly on the front of your flashgun to soften the light nicely. It’s relatively compact size means it’s only really suitable for head and shoulder shots (larger versions are available), but it does mean it easily collapses down to pack away into your camera bag without taking up too much space.
Lee Filters DSLR starter kit
ND and ND grad filters included
Needs an adapter
If you know someone who’s getting a new DSLR for Christmas, then this is a great addition to their kit. Featuring a Neutral Density and Graduated Neutral Density filters, it helps balance exposures in extreme light as well as allowing you to extend exposures as well, great for blurring water, clouds and people. You’ll need an adapter ring to match the lens you’re going to use it on, but this kit is a must for the budding landscape photographer.
Epson SureColor SC-P600
Epson’s top of the range A3+ printer for photographers
Stunning print quality
Neutral black and white images
High consumable costs
The Epson SureColor SC-P600 is a brilliant printer for the enthusiast or professional photographer. It’s well made and easy to use, and the quality of the prints it’s capable of producing is stunning. Consumables are pricey though (both inks and paper), but if you want do justice to your photography (or know someone who’s guilty of keeping their brilliant photos tucked away on a hard drive), then this is a stunning printer for the price.
Wacom Intuos Photo CTH490PK
Bring greater precision and control to image editing
USB cable too short
Pen stylus quite lightweight
If you’re going to be using Photoshop regularly, making tricky selections and modifying parts of your images – dodging and burning for instance, or some precise retouching, then a graphics tablet can transform the way you work. While using a mouse or a trackpad does the job, a graphics tablet like this one from Wacom delivers much more precision and control.
As well as being able to use the supplied pen to make control the cursor, the tablet also supports multi-touch gestures. This allows you to use the Wacom like a smartphone or tablet, with pinch and zoom control and multi finger gestures.
Motif Photo Book
Immortalise your photos in print
Easy to use software
good range of themes
More for family snaps
Download the Motif app from Apple’s App Store and you can started making your own photo book – whether as a gift or for yourself. It’s pretty easy to use and is great for family and holiday snaps.
If you’re after making a more ‘serious’ coffee table book, you’ll probably want to look at alternatives like Blurb, which has more advanced templates.