- Metal prints
- Wood prints
- Paper prints
- Wide range of lighting effects from candle to paparazzi to strobe, and many others.
- DMX control in 8-bit and 16-bit
- Rugged aluminum alloy construction
- Integrated handle and legs for easier maneuverability
- Active cooling system with a built-in fan
Photo by golero via iStock
As time marches toward the holiday season, the stress of finding the perfect gift can certainly build up. After all, photographers are a notoriously difficult group to shop for, so finding a great gift can be difficult.
That’s where this list comes in!
The photography industry is full of functional, innovative products that can make your favorite photographer’s life all the easier and help them showcase their work in beautiful ways. From lighting gear to photographic prints to new-to-them cameras (and more!), you’ll find all sorts of awesome holiday gift ideas below!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Shiny Prints Metal Print
While some gifts for photographers focus on enabling better results with a camera, others allow you to enjoy your favorite images over and over again. Of course, being the holiday season, you can also give the gift of a large-format print to someone on your shopping list.
I'm a big fan of metal prints - I love how modern and sleek they look. And when you get a metal print from a high-quality printer like Shiny Prints, the images you have printed stand out even more. But why?
Well, it's simple - Shiny Prints specializes in metal prints, so they know precisely what they're doing! Evidence of this fact is presented in my review video below:
Not only does Shiny Prints specialize in using metal, but they also use the finest products to ensure the metal print you order is of second-to-none quality.
This quality also stems from the company's extensive experience with photo printing and working with metal. Beyond that, the Shiny Prints commitment to quality over quantity further ensures that the print you get in the mail knocks your socks off.
Additionally, Shiny Prints gives you all sorts of customization options....
For example, you can choose from dozens of sizes ranging from 8x10 to 48x96, or you can order a custom-sized print (or custom shape!) if you really want to impress your loved one this holiday season. Likewise, you can choose from various mounting styles, from a simple box mount to a luxurious tuxedo mount and other options in between. What's more, there are multiple surface options, including matte and gloss in either white or silver.
Heck, there's even a white gloss EXT option specifically formulated for outdoor use.
So, whether you need a big print or a small one or a print for indoors or out, Shiny Prints has exactly what you need.
As I noted earlier, I've been blown away by the quality of the Shiny Prints metal prints I've gotten this far. With this kind of quality and customer service, you are in for a gift-giving treat this holiday season!
Gifts for Photographers under $250: Hobolite Micro
Hobolite has garnered itself quite the reputation for crafting high-quality, high-performance lights that look like a million bucks. The newest member of the family - the Hobolite Micro - packs those big punches in the smallest package yet…
This palm-sized light isn’t just a pretty face, either - you get features like a wide 2700 to 6500K color range, adjustable brightness from 360 to 500 lumens, and a CRI and TLCI of 96+. That’s not bad for any light, let alone one you can fit in your pocket!
The Hobolite Micro is also a heavy hitter in the battery life department…
With a removable 2000mAH 3.7V lithium-ion battery, you get up to 50 minutes of runtime when the light is on full power. Dim it to 50 percent, and you get 1.5 hours of runtime; at 25 percent power, you get 3.3 hours of runtime. This light fits perfectly into my workflow because I seldom need to recharge it during a shoot. But when I do, USB-C charging makes quick work of topping off the battery.
Something else that makes this such a great addition to my kit - and makes it a great addition to your loved one’s pile of gifts this holiday season - is that the Hobolite Micro couldn’t be easier to operate.
The light has onboard knobs with knurling that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. The onboard LCD screen adds to the ease of use by providing easy-to-read feedback on the settings. Of course, you can also control the Micro using an app on your phone for the utmost ease of use.
Hobolite has integrated a magnetic mount into the Micro, which allows you to attach any number of accessories quickly and easily. Add barn doors, a fresnel lens, or a frosted dome to the light in a jiff to give it even more functionality for your photo and video needs. Each of these items is included in the Hobolite Micro Standard Kit (the Creator Kit, which adds even more accessories, is just over the $250 budget threshold).
But that’s not all the goodies you can use with the Micro…
Hobolite has a suite of accessories that run the gamut from a desktop tripod to a battery charging dock to a cold-shoe adapter. A softbox, V-mount battery, and micro-adjustable lens are available, too.
In other words, Hobolite brings a lot to the party with the Micro Standard Kit. You have everything you need to add beautiful, consistent, accurate light to your photo and video sessions, and you can do it on a budget whether you’re buying yourself a nice holiday gift or investing in something for a loved one.
And with a price well below the $250 threshold, you can get a gift with plenty of money left over to pick up another item or two!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Vanguard VEO3T235CBP Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
Every photographer needs a good tripod, and the Vanguard VEO3T235CBP is a great option.
This carbon fiber tripod is just 3.5 pounds but can hold up to 17.6 pounds of gear, making it an ideal travel tripod. As a landscape photographer, I prefer carbon fiber tripods for their lightweight construction and durability - two features this tripod certainly has.
Moreover, this tripod folds down into a compact size for traveling and folds out quickly for easy setup. It extends to a maximum height of 61 inches, too, so you can frame up shots at eye level all the way to nearly ground level.
One of the best features, though, is the ability to quickly convert to a monopod. If the photographer on your list is a sports or action photographer, having that kind of versatility will be a welcome treat!
The Arca-compatible VEO 2 BP-50T ball head is included with the tripod and offers a removable panhandle and a quick shoe with a built-in universal smartphone connector, thus giving this tripod even more versatility. Other handy features include a low-angle adapter for framing up low shots, spiked feet for enhancing stability on uneven terrain, and a Bluetooth remote. You even get a tripod carrying bag!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Printique
Shopping for a photographer can be tough sledding because most of us have most of the gear we want or need. And if we don't, we're very particular about what gear we want to buy.
That being the case, sometimes the best way to shop for a photographer is to give them the gift of photography!
Printique offers a wide range of products and services that enable you or your loved one to showcase favorite images. On the one hand, you could put together a collection of your favorite images to give in a photo book or album. On the other hand, you can go with a large-format acrylic or canvas print. There are, of course, many other options in between, like:
You get the point...
Of course, since Printique offers excellent pricing on their products and services, you can give the gift of a lot of photos for the holiday season. Mix and match among the products listed above or explore Printique's website for other items you or your loved one might enjoy most.
Whatever you decide to order, you'll be impressed with the quality. I've ordered a variety of products from Printique over the years and have been impressed through and through with the quality of the prints, the craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Heck, even the packaging Printique uses to send you your orders is impressive!
Printique has cut its teeth in this industry for a long time, and as an Adorama company, it holds itself to the highest standards of quality and customer service.
Whether you're shopping for yourself or a loved one that's a beginner, enthusiast, or professional photographer, Printique has something - a lot of things - that make ideal holiday gifts. And like I said, with a budget of $250, you can do a lot of shopping!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Hobolite LiteDock
If you're shopping for a photographer or a videographer (or both!), the Hobolite LiteDock is the ultimate holiday gift...
As of this writing, I've been testing a prototype of this item for about six weeks, and it has proven to be an absolutely awesome accessory with all sorts of functionality for my workflow.
As you can see above, I can mount my GoPro on a knuckle on the top of the LiteDock while using an arm (not included with the LiteDock) to mount my Hobolite Micro with a dome. I use this setup in low-light situations in the field to get clean, crisp, well-lit video footage. If you use a GoPro, you know it does a lot of things well, but working in low-light situations is not one of them. With this setup, that issue is resolved!
You can imagine how the compact build of the LiteDock is a supreme advantage. It's just 1.8” x 1.3” x 8.3” and weighs around one pound, so it's highly portable and easy to use for extended periods of time without feeling weighted down (it also works with the Hobolite desktop tripod, as shown above). What's more, the cast aluminum and faux leather body looks fantastic, and it's IP-54 water-resistant, too.
The LiteDock is powered by a built-in 3450mAh lithium-ion battery that offers up to 2.5 hours of runtime for a Hobolite Mini running at full power or the Hobolite Micro at full power for up to six hours. With two onboard Type-C ports, the LiteDock can also charge two lights at the same time.
Working in photography or videography requires a lot of skill, talent, and a solid work ethic. But it also requires the right gear to do the job well. The Hobolite LiteDock is one of those photography gadgets that can immediately alter how the photographer or videographer in your life works. It's compact, convenient, and packed full of features while also offering the advantage of extraordinary good looks and extreme functionality.
What's not to like about that?!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Rode VideoMic NTG
The holiday season is all about capturing special moments, and what better gift for the photographers and videographers in your life than the RØDE VideoMic NTG? This broadcast-grade shotgun microphone is tailor-made for on-camera use and packed with features that will take their audio recording capabilities to the next level.
At the heart of the VideoMic NTG is its revolutionary acoustic design, inspired by the acclaimed NTG5 broadcast shotgun microphone. This design ensures unmatched audio transparency and a natural, uncolored sound. The result is crisp and clear audio that rivals some of the best shotgun microphones in the world.
What sets the VideoMic NTG apart is not just its exceptional sound quality but also its versatility. It boasts a supercardioid polar pattern, providing highly directional audio capture. This means that it focuses on the sound source in front of the camera, effectively reducing background noise and delivering professional-grade audio for your videos.
One of the standout features of the VideoMic NTG is its flexibility. It comes equipped with digital switching, which allows you to access a range of tools to adapt to various recording situations. These include a high-pass filter, -20dB pad for loud environments, high-frequency boost for enhanced clarity, and a safety channel for added security. Additionally, the microphone offers an infinitely variable gain control, allowing you to precisely adjust the output as needed.
The VideoMic NTG is designed to be user-friendly and adaptable to your recording needs. It features an auto-sensing 3.5mm output that detects the device it's connected to, whether it's a camera or a mobile device. This eliminates the need for cumbersome adapter cables, ensuring a hassle-free recording experience.
A valuable addition to the VideoMic NTG is the dB peak warning light, which helps you monitor your audio levels and prevent clipping. This feature is especially useful in fast-paced shooting scenarios where you need to ensure that your audio remains clear and distortion-free.
But the VideoMic NTG doesn't stop at being just an on-camera microphone. It's incredibly versatile and can pair seamlessly with DSLRs, compact cameras, and smartphones, whether mounted on the camera, used as a boom mic, or attached to a pistol grip. Moreover, it doubles as a fully-featured USB microphone that can be connected to a computer, tablet, or smartphone. This means it can serve as an excellent tool for podcasting, voiceovers, or remote interviews.
For iOS users, the VideoMic NTG is officially MFI-certified (Made for iPhone, iPad & iPod). Connecting your VideoMic NTG to Lightning-equipped iOS devices is a breeze with the SC15 or SC19 cable. Just make sure your VideoMic NTG firmware is up-to-date to ensure seamless compatibility with iOS devices via the SC15 or SC19.
Whether you're shooting video content, recording podcasts, or conducting interviews, the VideoMic NTG is a valuable addition to any creator's toolkit. Give the gift of pristine audio this holiday season with the RØDE VideoMic NTG!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: GVM PRO-SD200B Bi-Color Monolight
Chances are good that the photographer you’re shopping for this holiday season has a camera, various lenses, and a tripod…the very basic necessities for taking photos.
The natural progression is to help them level up their game by giving them a gift that can greatly improve the quality of their photos. A high-quality light source is the perfect option to accomplish that goal!
Unfortunately, the photography lighting space is full of options, many of which are not good. However, some lights stand out as the cream of the crop because of their portability, ease of use, and quality of light. The GVM PRO-SD200B is one such example.
Let’s break this bad boy down based on some of its best features…
The last thing you want to do is burden the photographer on your holiday shopping list with a bunch of heavy, cumbersome gear. At just 4 pounds, 10 ounces, this light is easily portable from one photo shoot to the next and won’t add a great deal of size and weight to your loved one’s kit.
Not only is this light feather-light and portable, but it also offers easy and instant light intensity adjustments. What’s more, this light offers an improved transition from one light intensity to the next, making the dimming process smooth and seamless.
Another noteworthy feature is that this light is controllable via an iOS or Android device. The light further supports Bluetooth mesh networking, so the photographer on your list can control various GVM devices using the same app (provided the devices support mesh networking).
I also really appreciate this light’s output - up to 200 watts. With that kind of output, this is an ideal lighting solution for studio work and working in the field. And with a CRI of 97+ and TLCI of 97+, this light puts out beautiful professional-grade light!
It’s worth noting that this bi-color light is unlike many of its counterparts. Where many bi-color lights use different lamp beads for different color temperatures, this one uses an algorithm that ensures the right level of power to get a consistent color temperature and color throughout. The algorithm also ensures the light retains its brightness, even when the color temperature is adjusted.
Other important features worth mentioning include the following:
In other words, for less than $250, you can give the gift of beautiful, clean light wrapped in a durable, portable, and lightweight package that has an array of features that make it easy to use and highly effective. What’s not to like about that?!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Pre-Owned Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM from MPB
The RF collection of lenses is among the best in the business if you ask me. However, one of the knocks against the RF lineup is that initially, there weren't many budget-friendly options. Well, that's changed!
The RF 24-105 f/4-7.1 IS STM lens is a fantastic budget option for the photographer on your list, especially if you buy a pre-owned model from MPB. In fact, you can get a like-new lens for less than $250, so it's a win-win for you and for your loved one!
The 24-105mm focal range is supremely versatile for all sorts of photographic pursuits, including landscapes, portraits, and even short telephoto work like sports and photography. As an all-purpose lens, the RF 24-105 does just about everything and does so with a high degree of precision.
On top of that, this lens is compact and lightweight. Your loved one can take it on their travels, whether that's to a local wildlife refuge, their child's athletics activities, or jet setting to the other side of the world. In all these applications, this lens will prove to be reliable, durable, and easy to use.
One of this lens's best features is the five optical image stabilization stops. This helps ensure that photos taken while holding the camera remain tack-sharp for the best results.
If your loved one needs a new lens for their Canon EOS R system camera, and they need something enormously versatile but don't need a fast aperture lens, this is a wonderful option!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Poster Prints from Saal Digital
There are many reasons why a poster print is a great gift for a photographer...
On the one hand, you can have one of their images printed so they can enjoy a large-format print of their work in their home. On the other hand, you can give them the gift of a large poster print to display in their studio or workspace.
Heck, you can also give a poster print or two to other people in your circle of family and friends at this price point, thanks to Saal Digital's low prices!
What you'll appreciate by shopping at Saal Digital is that you get so many options for customizing your poster print. You can choose from different finishes, including glossy, matte, and silk portrait. You can also choose from a wide range of sizes.
Saal Digital offers various types of paper for printing a large poster, too. This includes multiple Hahnemühle paper options, hemp or bamboo papers, and even museum etching paper. In each case, you get an ultra-high-quality print that has long-lasting color, beautiful contrast, and excellent visual appeal!
Better still, you can design and order a poster print for your loved one quickly and easily using Saal Digital's online design tool. Saal Digital also has a desktop program you can download, or, if you prefer, you can do it all from your smartphone using the Saal Digital app.
In other words, getting a poster print from Saal Digital is quick, easy, budget-friendly, and results in a beautiful gift your loved one can enjoy time and time again over the years!
Gifts for Photographers Under $250: Pre-Owned Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 from MPB
The Nikon Z ecosystem of cameras is as popular as ever, thanks in large part to their reliable performance and collection of handy features.
But folks invest in Nikon Z cameras because of the NIKKOR Z lenses, too...
If you have a loved one with a Nikon Z camera that needs an all-purpose standard prime lens, the 40mm f/2 is a fantastic option! This lens is an ideal performer for portraits because of its big f/2 constant aperture. Your loved one can frame up shots of their subjects with beautiful sharpness and gorgeous bokeh to separate the subject from the background.
This is also a great lens for shooting videos. The same natural angle of view that's so nice for still portraits is similarly advantageous for shooting videos with a human subject, like an interview or a how-to video.
Aside from an f/2 aperture, this lens sports a variety of other features like a speedy stepping motor autofocus system, a programmable control ring, and a rounded nine-blade diaphragm to produce gorgeous bokeh. The lens also has a super integrated coating to manage aberrations and flare.
With a compact, lightweight design, this lens will be at home as a walkaround lens for traveling, street photography, candid shoots with the family, and more. It's an awesome gift to give this holiday season!