The holidays are closing in fast, so you know what that means...
It's time to start thinking about what gifts to get your friends and family that love photography.
It's also time to start thinking about how you can afford to pay for all those gifts!
Let's take a look at a few top gift ideas for beginner photographers and a unique to help defray the costs of your holiday shopping.
A Better Camera Strap
A better camera strap might not sound like a super sexy Christmas gift, but if you've spent any time carrying a camera around by the original factory strap, you know how incredibly uncomfortable they can be.
With an upgraded strap, the photographer on your list not only gets the benefit of improved comfort, but they also enjoy greater durability and security of their gear, too.
There are tons of options available as well.
If you're on a budget, consider something like the HiiGuy Camera strap shown above.
With strong metal connectors and a safety tether, photographers don't have to worry about their camera coming detached from the strap.
The large shoulder pad increases comfort while the zippered pouch on the shoulder pad offers the perfect storage spot for spare memory cards or a battery.
If you're looking for something a little more luxurious, the Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo is a fantastic choice.
Made of premium full-grain leather, this strap is one of the most beautiful straps on the market today.
But don't think that the MoneyMaker Solo is just eye candy...
Its shoulder pad is designed to spread out the weight of the load, thereby reducing shoulder fatigue.
With an included stabilizer strap, the shoulder pad stays in place with no worry of it sliding off the shoulder.
Better still, the included Belt Anchor keeps the camera snug against the body, that way it doesn't flop around or slide forward when crouching or bending over.
Whether you go for a higher-end strap like the MoneyMaker Solo or a budget-friendly option like the HiiGuy Camera Strap, the photographer on your holiday list will thank you for the upgrade. Either of these straps would be a great gift for yourself, too!
A Better Lens
As I'm sure you're aware, the kit lenses that come with cameras leave a little to be desired, so why not give the photographer on your holiday gift list a better shooting experience with an improved lens?
You can go a number of routes when gifting a lens to someone.
On the one hand, you can go with a fixed focal length lens like a 50mm f/1.8, which offers excellent low-light performance, superb sharpness, and is incredibly versatile. Best of all, many 50mm f/1.8 lenses can be found for well under $150, even brand new!
On the other hand, a zoom lens like a 24-70mm is the perfect focal range for photographers that want to tackle a wide range of subjects.
At 24mm, the wide-angle view is ideal for landscapes. Zoom in a little to around 50mm for portraits. Or take it all the way to 74mm for a short telephoto view.
For photographers that travel a lot or just need a small, lightweight, all-around lens, a 24-70mm can't be beat!
See other benefits of 24-70mm lenses in the video above by DigitalRev TV.
A Better Tripod
If it's one thing that beginner photographers need, it's a better tripod. Heck, many beginner photographers don't even have a tripod in the first place!
If you ask me, a tripod is one of the most underrated photography gifts because it's not as flashy as a new lens or as expensive as a new camera.
But a tripod like the Vanguard Espod CX 203AP can work wonders for the quality of photos because it stabilizes the camera for sharper images.
What's more, with the included pan head, your favorite photographer can dial in the precise position of the camera to get those perfect compositions.
If you're in the market to upgrade your tripod or if you want to give the gift of a top-notch tripod to a loved one, it's hard to go wrong with one of Sirui's new SR-Series tripods.
These things are built to hold a ton of gear and provide durable performance for years and years to come.
The Sirui SR-3204 tripod shown above is a top-of-the-line rig that extends to a height of 80 inches with the optional two-stage center column. It can also hold a whopping 55 pounds of gear!
With easy twist leg locks and three-position leg angle mechanisms, this thing can literally be set up in seconds that way no shots are missed.
A Better Camera Bag
Just like a new camera strap is a gift of comfort, so too is a new camera bag.
When I was a beginner photographer, I literally carried my gear around in a regular backpack. I shudder to think of all the damage that could have been done after making that decision...
A dedicated camera bag like the Vanguard Adaptor 46 shown above is an ideal gift idea because it not only protects camera gear but does so without busting your budget.
Budget-friendly options like this might not have all the bells and whistles of high-end bags, but they still offer tons of organization for gear, comfortable shoulder straps, an innovative features like a built-in rain cover to keep the gear inside the bag dry.
If you want to really upgrade your loved one's photography experience, you can opt to give them the ultimate camera bag - the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag.
I call this the ultimate camera bag because it's so well made and it's so incredibly versatile.
It can fit a smaller DSLR kit or a mirrorless system, as well as a 13-inch laptop.
The weather-resistant exterior keeps gear nice and dry while the integrated tripod strap makes easier work of carrying a tripod.
The interior of the bag is highly organized with flexfold dividers that can be reshaped to accommodate different types of gear.
In other words, this is a do-it-all camera bag that beginner photographers can use for years and years to come!
A Unique Way to Offset Holiday Shopping Costs
Unless you're Bill Gates, you're probably like most of us and need to budget for holiday gift buying.
But when you're buying photography gifts, maintaining a budget can be hard because photography gear can be really, really expensive.
I think I've found a way to make it less expensive, though...
Sell your old photography gear!
You've probably got an old lens or an old tripod or maybe even an old camera laying around collecting dust, right? So why not tap into the value of those items by selling them to other photographers?
I stumbled upon a website called Gear Offer the other day, and their whole function in life is to help photographers buy and sell photography gear.
So, that means that you can take your old lens or camera or other accessory, sign up for Gear Offer, and sell your stuff to an interested party.
And unlike other services like Craigslist or eBay, Gear Offer is actually quick and easy use. In fact, you can set up your account and list your item in just a few minutes' time.
Not sure what your old gear is worth? No problem! Gear Offer has a handy pricing tool that will help you set a fair price for your gear.
Think about it - not only is it easy to get started, but it's also easy to dial in the right price. Not bad, right?
But here's the kicker - Gear Offer is free to list your items.
That means you can sign up, get your listings going, and not pay a dime.
Buyers benefit from a platform that's well organized and easily searchable. And since all transactions are handled by Gear Offer, buyers can purchase your items in just a few clicks.
On top of all that, when your item sells, all you pay is a one-time 6.9% fee. That includes payment processing fees! There's even built-in dispute resolution and fraud prevention services.
Easy to use? Check. Built-in pricing tool? Check. Low fees? Check. If there's an easier way to get rid of your old photography gear while making a little extra holiday shopping money, I don't know what it is!