- Infinitely variable gain control
- Digital switch for controlling high-frequency boost and the high-pass filter
- Headphone output for monitoring audio
- Peak decibel warning light to avoid distortion
Photo by GMVozd via iStock
Shopping for a photographer can be a tough task. Heck, shopping for yourself can be a difficult task!
It's not that there aren't all kinds of gifts for photographers under $250...it's simply trying to decide which ones are the best.
In this holiday gift guide for photographers, we've got 10 great gift ideas, all of which come in at less than $250. That means you have many options for giving an awesome photography gift without blowing your budget.
Let's get to the list!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Colorado Tripod Company Highline Ballhead
The great thing about the Colorado Tripod Company Highline Medium Ballhead is that it's a fantastic addition to my kit whether I'm working in my home studio or I'm out in the field.
When I'm in the studio, I use this ballhead with Colorado Tripod Company's lever clamp (which is compatible with L-brackets and Arca-compatible plates) doing overhead shots. There is a distinct clicking noise that tells me that the ballhead is 100 percent locked in, that way I don't have to worry if the camera is going to crash down on my head as I'm recording.
And, as you'd expect with a product from Colorado Tripod Company, the Highline Ballhead is beautifully made using high-quality materials. It's smartly designed, too, with a universal knob clamp, a drop-in window, dedicated friction control, and independent locking and panning knobs. Addin a 10-year warranty, six available colors, and two different sizes, too!
It's just an easy-to-use, go-anywhere ballhead that any photographer on your holiday shopping list would appreciate!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: CanvasHQ Print
It's tough to beat a large-format canvas print as a holiday gift...
Canvas prints offer a classic look with an interesting texture that helps bring the image to life.
What's more, when it's a well-made canvas, like those from CanvasHQ, the print can become a family heirloom - something that you cherish for decades to come. What a powerful gift!
I have tons of canvases in my home, the vast majority of which are from CanvasHQ.
What appeals to me about these prints is the impeccable quality. There is a great level of detail and sharpness, beautiful color accuracy, and the frames on which the print is stretched are handmade with kiln-dried wood to ensure the frame stays square and true for years to come.
Additionally, these guys use archival-grade canvas and commercial-grade inks to ensure long-lasting durability.
They also have a new product - a variety of floating frames - that add a touch of elegance and depth to canvas prints.
The floating frames extend along the sides of the print and don't obscure the front of the print, that way you can see 100 percent of the image. It's a clean, dynamic finish that looks great!
But CanvasHQ isn't just tops in the quality department...
They have excellent customer service that makes you feel heard and as though you're the only customer they have to worry about at that moment.
These guys are committed to getting it right, so if something doesn’t go as planned, you won’t be hung out to dry.
If you have questions, they’ll answer them. If you have a problem, they’ll fix it. If you need assistance with uploading your photo or even picking the best finishes for your canvas, they’ve got your back!
Start shopping for your favorite photographer today on CanvasHQ.
Best Ever Backdrops Mix and Match Backdrop
Ever since the pandemic started, many photographers have been looking for ways to supplement their income from home. For many people, that means getting involved in product photography and food photography because both are easy to do from the comfort of your own home, provided you have the necessary gear.
Of course, the photographer on your holiday shopping list already has a camera, lenses, a tripod, and so forth, but they might not have the kind of backdrops that make product photography and food photography an easier task.
That’s where Best Ever Backdrops come in!
Now, if the photographer on your list is a portrait photographer, they undoubtedly have a collection of backdrops already. The problem is that those big, bulky, heavy backdrops aren’t well-suited for small scenes like product or food photography.
But since Best Ever Backdrops are just 24 x 36 inches, they are perfect for making small subjects stand out against the non-glare matte finish. These backdrops are also waterproof and stain resistant.
In addition to being just the right size, these backdrops are double-sided which means each backdrop comes with TWO textures! You choose the color or pattern you want for both sides which maximizes the utility of the backdrop for the lucky photographer who will get them as a gift.
And if you know photographers, you know that we have tons of gear all over the place, so storage is often an issue. But since these backdrops are small, lightweight, and just 1/8th of an inch thick, they can be stored under the bed, behind a door, in the corner of a closet - you name it!
To top it all off, these backdrops are virtually indestructible, so this is a gift that will literally keep on giving for years and years to come. PLUS...the more you order, the more you save. For example, if you order two backdrops you get four textures. Each backdrop is $124.50, but if you order four, the price drops to $104.75 each.
Giving a great gift is all about being thoughtful and giving your loved one something that they will use over and over again. That’s exactly what you get with a backdrop that pulls double duty and allows the photographer on your holiday shopping list to expand the footprint of their business
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: RODE VideoMic NTG
I've used the RODE VideoMic NTG for well over a year and a half now.
Needless to say, this mic has impressed!
Like the larger NTG 4 studio mic, the VideoMic NTG captures gorgeous, natural sound. There are various controls to assist you in getting beautiful sound, including:
The best feature of this mic, though, is its sliding rail.
In the past, a difficulty with my RODE mics is that they stuck out so far from the camera that you might find yourself with a face full of microphone.
But the sliding rail on this mic means that problem is solved - if I'm shooting in selfie mode, I can slide the rail back and keep the microphone from hitting my face.
Add to that a battery that gives you more than 30 hours of runtime on one charge and you have a recipe for an excellent microphone for the photographer or videographer on your holiday list.
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Nanlite FS-150 AC LED Monolight
One of the most critical pieces of equipment in a portrait photographer’s arsenal is a good LED light. After all, without good lighting, the task of creating captivating images is difficult, if not impossible.
This year for the holidays, you can ensure the photographer on your shopping list has that all-important good lighting by giving them the Nanlite FS-150 AC LED Monolight.
This AC-powered light from our friends at Samy’s offers a beautifully even light spread thanks to a large LED array and a high-quality reflector. The light puts out 26380 Lux at 5600K and boasts a CRI of 96 and a TLCI of 98. What all that means is that this light emits beautiful, color-accurate light that falls evenly across the scene.
This light is an all-in-one device as well. It has a control unit, power adapter, and lamp body all in one compact unit. So, not only does this light offer beautiful lighting, but it’s also lightweight and easily portable. The in-body cooling is a further advantage because it enables easier heat dissipation for longer-lasting performance.
Since Nanlite incorporated a Bowens-style light modifier mount and an umbrella holder into the yoke, this light also gives photographers the ability to use a wide array of light modifiers. Additionally, this light offers customizable pre-programmed special effects to give photographers additional leeway in terms of how the light is used.
In other words, this is a gift that offers all sorts of functionality and utility; it’s truly something a photographer can use everyday!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Refurbished SideTrak Slide Portable Monitor
One of the best gifts you can give the photographer in your life is the ability to streamline their workflow and make it more functional.
And a great way to do that is to give them a monitor that allows them to double the workspace of their laptop screen…
That’s where the SideTrak Slide Portable Monitor comes in.
At 12.5-inches, this portable monitor offers loads of additional real estate for working photographers. It simply attaches to the back of a laptop with a semi-permanent metal plate and gives photographers the ability to work with two screens or to mirror to the second screen if desired.
The Slide can be rotated 270-degrees, which means it can be used to share what’s on screen with clients. The monitor can be used on the left or right side of a laptop and can be used in portrait mode as a standalone monitor as well.
As a photographer that often travels, I know that space can often be at a premium which makes having a complex computer setup next to impossible.
But with Slide, you don’t need any extra table or desk space because it attaches directly to the back of a laptop. And since Slide is a lightweight, portable monitor, it can be brought along on field assignments with ease.
This is definitely one of those “gifts that keeps on giving” situations…
Giving gifts that can be used over the long-term gets you more bang for your buck while giving the photographer on your list tons of utility. This holiday season, make sure they have all the utility they need with the SideTrak Slide!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Onyx 30W Bi-Color On-Camera LED Light
With more and more photographers getting into video production, it makes sense to get the photographer on your list a high-quality LED light for their video shoots.
The Onyx Bi-Color LED light is a great option because it features 30-watt high-quality LEDs, high brightness, and beautiful clarity for giving video sequences the light they need to stand out.
With an aluminum frame, the light is both lightweight and durable. Likewise, there is minimal heat release because the aluminum frame allows for excellent ventilation.
The light can be mounted on-camera or a tripod. It comes with a bracket that can attach to any light stand with a baby 5/8-inch receiver.
Best of all, the Onyx Bi-Color light has easy-to-use controls. The LED display gives you the ability to make quick and accurate adjustments of brightness from 10 percent to 99 percent and color temperature from 3200K to 5600K.
Of course, this light can also be used for photography, so it's a gift that offers multiple benefits for the person on your list!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: PolarPro Peter McKinnon Edition II Variable ND Filter
PolarPro Signature Edition II
A variable ND filter is a crucial component of a photographer's kit because it's such a versatile piece of kit.
You can use a variable ND filter for photo and video work, and since this filter is variable, it gives you the ability to adjust from 2-5 stops or 6-9 stops depending on which version you opt to get.
What's so innovative about this filter is that it has preset stop ranges that eliminates the all-too-frequent occurrence of cross-polarization.
Likewise, this filter displays zero vignetting down to 16mm focal lengths. That means your favorite photographer can get a lot of utility out of this filter with a lot of different lenses.
PolarPro Mist Edition II
This updated version includes PolarPro's new Defender360 system, too. It's a 360-degree protection system for the filter, including a waterproof and dustproof seal.
PolarPro has also developed a new haptic feedback mechanism that gives photographers the ability to make quick and easy stop-value changes without taking their eye off the viewfinder.
On top of that, PolarPro offers Adventure Assurance, so if the photographer on your list isn't satisfied with the performance of the filter, you get your money back.
PolarPro has demonstrated a commitment to quality over the years, and this filter is no exception. With two versions (Signature II and Mist II) it's a great gift idea if you want to spend less than $250!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Aputure Amaran AL-MX Bi-Color LED Mini Light
This pocket-sized light might be small, lightweight, and portable, but it packs a mighty punch with 128 LEDs, 3200lux of brightness, and a "boost mode" that increases brightness by 30 percent for bursts of 60 seconds.
Add to all that power the ability to tune the light from 2800-6500K so the photographer on your list can make fine adjustments to how the light looks to suit each and every photograph.
The quality of the light is top-notch, too - it offers a CRI of 95+ and a TLCI or 95+ as well.
This light has a wide beam angle of 120-degrees, a portable design that's about the width and height of a credit card, and a durable metal body that's crafted of aircraft-grade aluminum.
It has a 1/4 screw and a universal cold-shoe mount so it can be mounted on a camera, a tripod, a light stand, and so forth.
This unit has a built-in battery that offers about an hour of runtime at full power and four hours of runtime at minimum power. The battery is rechargeable via a USB-C cable.
This is simply a well-built, bright, easy-to-use light that any photographer would appreciate in their stocking this holiday season!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Nomatic Peter McKinnon Cube Pack
Nomatic has forged a reputation for being innovative and focused on developing high-quality, high-utility bags, and the Peter McKinnon Cube Pack is certainly no exception.
The Cube Pack holds 21 liters of gear and offers complete customization thanks to the customizable dividers inside. That customizability comes from the input of Peter McKinnon, who as a photographer and videographer understands the need to be able to customize your bag to fit the specific needs of each shoot.
On the exterior of the bag is a durable and water-resistant finish. There are also external attachment loops for carrying additional gear.
And since this bag fits inside the Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack, it can pull double-duty as a standalone bag or as an organizational tool for the larger Camera Pack.
Plus, at a price of $125.00, this bag is one of the least expensive items on this list! What's not to like about that?
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Zoom H4n Portable Audio Recorder
As I noted earlier, since many photographers are now fully invested in also making videos, having proper video equipment is a must.
And one of the best gifts for a photographer that's shooting videos is a high-quality audio recorder like the Zoom H4n.
I've used Zoom products for years, and I can't express enough how pleased I have been with their performance.
In this case, the H4n offers four-channel recording up to 24-bit and 96 kHz. It has 2 XLR/TRS inputs with locking connectors and built-in stereo X/Y microphones that are adjustable from 90-120 degrees.
It has 4-in and 2-out USB interfaces and can record directly to SD or SDHC cards up to 32GB in size.
The H4n is portable, has professional-grade preamps, three recording modes, and many other features that make it an ideal holiday gift for the photographer on your list.
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: E-Image EK650 Tripod
A solid tripod is a must-have for any photographer, and that's exactly what you can give them in the E-Image EK650.
This professional tripod kit is ideal for photographers that shoot with DSLR or mirrorless gear.
It has a fluid head with a 75mm bowl that can support up to 11 pounds thanks to its fixed counterbalance.
The tripod's legs have plastic leg locking frames which reduce the overall weight of the tripod, making this a great option for photographers that travel a lot.
The mid-level spreader offers increased stability for shooting on uneven terrain too. The anti-skid pads and highly stable aluminum legs also help in that department. You get fixed pan drag, variable tilt drag, and continuous adjustable tilt drag options as well.
This is simply a fantastic all-in-one package (with a carrying bag included) that will bring a smile to your favorite photographer's face!