As the Holiday Season rapidly approaches, you may have a photographer in your circle of friends that you exchange presents with. Many of you may take photos recreationally. But no matter what your skill level, no matter how deep the passion for photography is, there are gifts that can be bought for for relatively inexpensive costs.
Most of you have seen the camera prices that camera stores are charging to purchase a DSLR or an advanced compact camera such as a Nikon P7100 or a Canon G11. Those prices are insane and best left for the significant other in the family provided that significant other is supportive of the photographer's venture/hobby. With camera prices ranging from $200-$8,000 and lenses ranging from $149.99 all the way up to $10,900; this is a purchase best left up to the photographer or their significant other. But there are other expenses that a photographer incurs that can be greatly reduced at Christmas time if his/her friends pitch in and get the little things that count. Here are five ideas. This is by no means: the definitive list, however, it will give you a good start to having some gift ideas for that photographer you know.
1. Memory Cards. Cost: Between $30-$60. Memory Cards are a definite must for any photographer. Most photographers usually need a spare memory card for their photographer's bag. The best cards to get are the Lexar Pro or the Sandisk Pro cards. There are two types of cards generally used by digital cameras. The first photo being a SD card ((SDHC 8GB and higher, SDXC for 32GB and higher)- you need to check the camera by date of production to see if your friend's camera will take that memory card - use Digital Photography Review otherwise known as DPReview for short) and the 2nd being Compact Flash or CF cards. At one point Sony had their own memory card. I'm sure they got wise to the fact that the rest of the world used only two proper types of memory cards and promptly cut production of their "memory-sticks". These combine reliability with speed. Cheaper cards are a risk, but they are good for those who are weekend snappers. I would say 8GB is a good compromise between capacity and price, since you can usually get 8GB for a relatively inexpensive price, if you end up with a card getting corrupted you only lose 8GB worth of shots as opposed to a whole shoot and they're the first to price-drop at Christmastime or during Boxing Day clearouts. Hey, in my family, Boxing Day is Christmas. That's when you can stock up on cards for $20.00 each. $60 will get you three. It's the thought that counts, right?
2. Batterys/Chargers Cost: Batteries: Between $60-$249.99/Chargers: Between $80-$249.99. Depending on the camera, they can be operated by either AA batteries or by different types of Li-Ion batteries specific to the camera. The best way to find this out is learn the brand and model of your friend's camera (this will involve some deception - Just ask what kind of camera the friend has - this will give you enough info to google the battery or charger). There hasn't been a photographer on this planet who hasn't sworn up and down that they couldn't use an extra battery or two or sworn about forgetting their charger at home when they go on the road. It's always nice to have a battery charger in your camera bag and they'll appreciate you for the gesture.
3. Remote Timer Shutter-Release CordCost: Between $40-$199.99 Most advanced photographers tinker around with long exposure photography. Most cameras only go up to about 2 min. on their onboard timers. Again, this purchase will involve some deception like the batter/charger present. The brand/model information will be enough to either google the information or just take that info to a camera store and they will be able to find it for you. Not to mention this device is uniquely capable in keeping vibration blur out of the photographer's image while it is on a tripod. Even with a tripod; using the onboard camera shutter button will be enough to impart some blur into the image. Using a remote shutter-release cord will remove that blur that comes from tapping on the camera's shutter button.
4. Monitor Color Calibration Device - The Spyder Pro Cost: Between $149.99 - $249.99. This device is used to calibrate the color on the monitor display so that the adjustments the photographers makes to the photograph are color-accurate. This is especially important if the photographer is a do-it-yourself kind of photographer and prints his own photographs from a color photo-printer. (Don't ask about the color photo-printer. They don't come cheap. Think in the price range of a good professional lens. Unless you're extremely generous or you're rich or both: in which case: "Can I be your friend?")
5. Advanced Photo-Editing Programs Cost: Between $149.99 - $249.99 Depending on the type of camera, the suggested programs will work with practically every camera. the newer types will require updates to their software which is usually provided free of charge by the company. You can't go wrong in gifting these advanced photo programs. Lightroom 4, Nikon Capture NX2, Aperture. These photo editing programs if bought for the photographer will be able to bring out that distinctive attention-grabbing "oomph" in the photo. The brilliant color when boosted (most photographers use that knowledge that they have gained from 10s of thousands of shutter actuations and photographs to know just how to bring out that color in-camera). Most digital images require that last little tweaking in the photo-editor program to really bring out the image. So this kind of present will help the photographer immensely.
No, photography is not a cheap hobby or occupation. And yes, the prices will scare the living daylights out of the average snapper. But your photographer friend will thank you for it. And by the way, if you're the type that freaks out at these kind of prices. Just get your photographer friend some socks. Nice warm neoprene socks. Every photographer needs socks.
Happy Shooting and Happy Holidays!