Holiday Gift Ideas for Photographers

One of my tech oriented hobbies is photography. I almost always have at least one other camera with me be it my Nikon D3300, a point and shoot or a Kodak ZI8 video camera. So other than a camera, here’s a list of ideas for that photog on your list.

For The Traveler with a DSLR, Amazon Basics DSLR and Laptop Backpack


I travel for work from one to many times a year.  Over a year ago I made the jump to a DSLR and when I travel it’s one of the few items I MUST take with me just because I love to take a walk and shoot some of the beautiful colleges and universities I visit as a part of my job.  Of course with the carry-on restrictions, I typically like to keep my carry-ons to only two bags.  Since I absolutely have to have my laptop for my work, I must have a bag that can carry both the DSLR with its accessories and my laptop, mouse, presentation pointer and more.  So I ordered up one of these bags in the Amazon Basics line.  It is exactly what it says: basic. However, it holds MUCH more than I need.  I can carry my Nikon, both of the lenses I have, a flash, a cleaning pen, filters, batteries, chargers and even my Icom ID-51A will fit along with a Lenovo w541 which is my work provided daily driver. The bag is light and well made and while it’s definitely NOT the perfect bag it will do for would be travelers who want to take a little something more than just the camera on their phone. The best part is Amazon has this backpack for $39.99 or under depending on what color you order for the camera section.  The outside is always the same color but you can get the inside in two colors, grey or fluorescent orange. Available now from Amazon.

For Taking Care of Your Investment


A DSLR is an investment, but one thing that’s a larger investment could be the lenses you buy. No matter what DSLR you have, if you have bought a lens beyond the basic kit lens you probably spent a good chunk of change JUST on glass for your DSLR body. Odds are, you want to take that glass from your current body to the next.  That’s part of the beauty of a DSLR or a Micro 4/3 format cameras is you can take the glass from one camera body to another. So the lens you purchase may need to last much longer than the current body. So cleaning the lens is essential. One of the devices in my bag all the time for this is a Sunpak LensPen. Coming in right around 13 dollars or less, this simple little device is perfect for cleaning your lens on the go. One side has a soft brush for brushing off loose particles and dust and the other side has a pad for cleaning off fingerprints. This nifty device is widely available at Amazon, Walmart and many other places and any photographer who already has one needs another as it will only last for about 500 uses. The latest version has a screw on cap to keep dirt out of the brush side as well as the pad. If you have a DSLR, you NEED one of these. Oh and there are other sizes of these as well including ones that are designed to clean the lens on the GoPro. Sunpak is the easiest to find, but this format of cleaner is also available in other brands as well.

For Offloading Pictures On the Go


There are as many ways to offload pics on the go as there are people. I use the Nikon WU-1A WiFi Adapter and the associated Wireless Mobile App with my Android devices to offload pics and upload pictures to Facebook and other social networks.   This is a $39.00 add-on for Nikon owners that I have found to be VERY useful. I’ve often downloaded, adjusted the picture and uploaded to Facebook just seconds after taking the picture with my Nikon. VERY handy, but not very useful if you use a Canon, Sony or other body.


Of more  use to almost everyone is the Toshiba Canvio Aerocast which is a portable WiFi hard drive that also includes a full-sized SD Card slot.  Pop the card from the camera, turn the drive on and backup the entire card to the hard disk. Then from your Android-based phone or iPhone you can grab the picture and uploaded it to the social networks. Plus you can also stream video from the drive to a Chromecast which works quite well. The Aerocast was reviewed here and is available on Amazon for $129.

For Those With an External Flash


External flash units sadly aren’t as universal as they should be, but one thing that is universal is that most of the external flash units available for any camera are powered by batteries and it’s usually AA batteries. I ALWAYS have 2 sets with me. One in the flash and another in my bag with an associated charger.  What brand do I use?  Duracell’s Rechargeable Ion Speed batteries. This set on Amazon is only $24.99.  The included charger will charge 4 batteries in about an hour. Extra sets cost 12.72 on Amazon. I like these as I can easily fit the charger and a couple sets of batteries in my bag along with the flash.

For Protecting Your Lens and Taking Better Pictures


One of the things I added to my kit is cheap and helps protect my lens as well as make my pictures look better over all. That is a filter. My favorite is a circular polarizing filter. Put the filter on the end of your lens and turn the filter until the image looks good in your viewfinder and snap away. My favorite time to use this filter is when I am shooting outside and there’s a blue sky with clouds. This filter tends to make the clouds look more vibrant plus if you are in a semi dusty environment will protect the lens while your shooting as the dust will deposit itself on the filter first instead of on your lens. If you scratch the filter, it’s cheaper to replace it than the lens. These can be had for under 40 for Nikon, Canon or Sony DSLR’s. They are sized by the lens diameter.  Your lens should have this printed on the lens for most cameras. Tiffen has a good one on Amazon in multiple diameters. If you shop around, you can find this for much less.  This is the perfect stocking stuffer for the outdoor photographer.


This is, by far, not an all inclusive list but a list of things I find handy as I take pictures both of my family and my church family and as I travel. Plus I tried to produce a list that was non body specific and that is hard! The only device in my list that is specific to a camera body is the WiFi adapter for Nikon cameras and I really did not want to include it, but it’s so handy that I felt it merited being included in the list for Nikonistas like myself. Price wise, nothing on the list is TOO expensive here.  The hard drive is the most expensive. Things I did not include are items that would be too specific. A new lens is a GREAT gift for a photographer but you have to know what brand of camera they have and what they need. I’d hate to spend serious money on glass for someone on my list and they already have it or you bought the wrong one.

What do you think? Is there other items you’d like to get for your camera bag?  Share down below and Happy Holidays from Gear Diary!

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About the Author

Joel McLaughlin
Joel is a consultant in the IT field and is located in Columbus, OH. While he loves Linux and tends to use it more than anything else, he will stoop to running closed source if it is the best tool for the job. His techno passions are Linux, Android, netbooks, GPS, podcasting and Amateur Radio.