Mike's Camera Photography Articles

Top 12 Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers

last minute gifts for photographers 2018

If you’re like me, despite all your best efforts, you still find yourself scrambling to find gifts for people on your holiday list at the last-minute.

And if you have photographers on your shopping list, the task of getting them the perfect gift can be even more difficult and stressful because photographers can be a picky bunch to buy for.

But don’t worry…

I’ve got a pretty darn good list of incredible photography gifts that will put a smile on any photographers face!

Click Props Backdrops

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One thing I can’t stand is an ugly portrait backdrop. Another thing I can’t stand are backdrops that are flimsy, hard to clean, or simply don’t hang well.

And I’m not alone…

Sure, the background of a portrait isn’t the star of the show, but that doesn’t mean that photographers want to make-do with sub-optimal backdrops. 

That’s where Click Props Backdrops comes in…

last minute gifts for photographers

Click Props Backdrops has dedicated themselves to creating not just a HUGE collection of backdrops, floorgrounds, and combo sets, but they’ve also managed to create products that tick all the boxes when it comes to beauty, quality, ease of use, care, and price.

Consider this - these backdrops are made of heavy-duty vinyl so you get the ultimate in durability and performance over the long-term. But they’re also ultra lightweight, so the photographer on your list can literally set up the backdrop by themselves in a matter of seconds.

The backdrops have a series of reinforced grommets for easy hanging, or if your favorite photographer prefers, these backdrops can be custom-ordered without grommets and used with a roller system for even faster, easier setup.

Click Props 4x6 postcards back RGB

And no one wants to use backdrops that they have to worry about getting dirty. That’s why Click Props Backdrops makes their products out of 550gsm vinyl that’s durable and easy to clean. Just wipe it down and it’s ready to go! 

On top of that, Click Props Backdrops has an enormous selection of products. We’re talking hundreds of different colors and styles that will fit any photographer’s aesthetic!

Plus, these backdrops are reasonably priced, so you can fulfill the wishes of the photographer on your holiday shopping list without breaking the bank.

What’s not to like about that?! 

Learn more about Click Props Backdrops

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens from Mike's Camera

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If you have a Nikon shooter on your holiday shopping list, an ideal gift for them is the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens.

Why is it an ideal gift?

That's easy...it's incredibly versatile.

From wide-angle to telephoto, this lens does it all! It has a 10.7x zoom range, a close focus range of just 18 inches (at any focal length!), and VR II image stabilization that gives photographers up to 4 shutter speeds of leeway when shooting handheld.

All that translates into this being a powerhouse lens that will help your favorite photographer take better, sharper photos and videos.

The lens is optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness with two extra-low dispersion elements that also offer superb color correction with minimal chromatic aberrations.

Likewise, the three aspherical lens elements eliminate coma and other aberrations, even when shooting at wide apertures.

This lens is one of the most versatile and reliable lenses that Nikon makes. That's why it's a perfect gift idea for the photographer in your life!

Learn more about the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens

DJI Mavic 2 Pro/Mavic 2 Zoom

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DJI has been at the forefront of drone innovation for years now, but they’ve taken it up another notch with their latest drones, the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. That’s good news if you’re looking for an incredible, cutting-edge gift for the photographer on your holiday list. 

Though these drones share the same heritage and the same name, they actually have very different purposes - and some interesting features that set them apart from one another. 

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In the case of the Mavic 2 Pro, it’s armed with a one-inch 20MP CMOS sensor that’s housed in a Hasselblad camera - the same camera that’s found in DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro. The lens opens to f/2.8 and closes down to f/11, giving photographers and videographers excellent range for manipulating depth of field and shooting in low-light situations.

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The Mavic 2 Zoom is geared more towards photographers and videographers that need a little bit more range with their drone’s lens. That’s why it’s outfitted with a 24-48mm lens paired with a 1/2.3-inch sensor that creates 12MP images. 

But just because the Mavic 2 Zoom has a smaller sensor doesn’t mean that its photos and videos are somehow low-quality. In fact, both the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro shoot 4K video at up to 100MB per second, and the Mavic 2 Zoom has a “super resolution mode” that allows photographers to stitch nine individual images together to create a single 48-megapixel behemoth.

Both drones can fly at a maximum speed of 44mph, have a maximum flight time of 31 minutes, and have DJI’s latest obstacle avoidance system that’s armed with 10 sensors.

In other words, DJI has stepped up its game and created two incredible, versatile drones that make ideal holiday gift ideas for photographers, videographers, and drone enthusiasts.

Learn more about the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom

SnapPro

If you're shopping for a loved one that wants to start a photography business - or perhaps they already have and are struggling to find clients - SnapPro is a fantastic gift.

SnapPro is the best photography directory out there, and by gifting a membership to your favorite photographer, they'll be more likely to find clients (and more of them, too!).

This amazing photography directory is a database that lists its member photographers from all over the U.S. and Canada.

Consumers that need a photographer just head to SnapPro, enter their location and their specific needs (i.e., wedding photographer), and matching photographers are provided.

Users can then compare photographers side-by-side, and when they've chosen one, SnapPro connects the consumer to their chosen photographer. Easy, right?!

For the photographer on your holiday shopping list, SnapPro is a ready-made place to find clients.

But not only that, photographers can find jobs working for other photographers. For example, if your loved one is a portrait photographer and wants to pick up an extra gig, they can contact a wedding photographer to see about working as a second shooter.

So, basically, SnapPro is a photography community that can help the photographer in your life jumpstart their career.

This holiday season, give the gift of ongoing work by giving your loved one a SnapPro membership. It's even free to join!

Learn more about SnapPro

Nikon Z7 from Paul's Photo

If you really need to impress the photographer in your life with a great gift and they're a Nikon shooter, a new Nikon Z7 should get you in their good graces.

This camera is, in a word, incredible...

Just check out these specs:

  • Backside-illuminated 45.7-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 6 image processing
  • 9fps continuous shooting speed
  • ISO range of 64-25600; expandable to 32-102400
  • 493-point autofocus system
  • 5-axis sensor-based image stabilization
  • 3.2-inch tilting, touch-enabled LCD with 2.1 million dots
  • OLED electronic viewfinder with 3.69 million dots and 0.80x magnification

If you aren't familiar with camera speak, let me translate: this camera is awesome!

One of the best features of this camera is its sensor.

I shoot with a Nikon D850, and its sensor is widely considered the best ever made. The Nikon Z7's sensor is every bit as good.

Likewise, the Z7 has a fantastic autofocus system with 493 AF points. That makes this a perfect gift idea for photographers that work in sports, wildlife, and other venues in which capturing action is a must.

Additionally, the Z7 is lightweight, so if you've ever heard the photographer on your holiday list complain about carrying around a big, heavy DSLR, the Z7 is a great choice.

Not only that, but this camera has superb video functionalities with 4K video recording. Nikon even has a spate of new lenses to go with the Z7, though there's also an adapter that allows photographers to use their old Nikon lenses with the Z7, too.

Like I said before, if you want to impress your loved one this year, a Nikon Z7 is a great choice!

Learn more about the Nikon Z7

SIRUI SR-3204 Tripod

I've used SIRUI tripods for a long time now, and to say that I've been supremely happy with them is an understatement.

But now I have one of SIRUI's newest tripods - the SR-3204 - and it's even better than I thought possible.

A big part of what's so great about this tripod is that it has jaw-dropping statistics.

It holds up to 55 pounds of gear and can reach a maximum height of 80 inches with the optional two-stage center column.

Additionally, SIRUI has implemented excellent twist-lock leg mechanisms that make it quick and easy to set the tripod up and tear it down when you're done shooting.

Helping in the ease-of-use department is the fact that these tripods have three-position leg angles, so you can position the tripod just right to get the shots you want.

Add in the fact that there's an integrated bubble level, a removable flat top plate for converting the tripod from still photography to videography usage, and a 1/4-inch socket on the spider for attaching accessories, and you have the perfect tripod for the photography enthusiast on your holiday shopping list!

It's got all the features, versatility, and durability that your favorite photographer could possibly want.

Learn more about the SIRUI SR-3204 Tripod

Vallerret Photography Gloves

Whether the person on your holiday shopping list lives in the American Southwest, the Arctic Tundra, or somewhere in between, a pair of warm, functional photography gloves is an ideal last-minute gift. 

If you’ve ever tried to operate your camera with traditional gloves on, you know that you just end up taking your glove off because you can’t press the buttons, let alone operate a touch-enabled screen on your camera or smartphone.

But Vallerret Photography Gloves solves that problem with gloves that have magnetic FlipTech finger covers on the thumb and pointer finger, as shown on the Women’s Nordic Glove shown above.

That means that instead of your favorite photographer freezing their hands off, they can keep their hands nice and toasty while still having the ability to get the job done with their camera. 

Better still, Vallerret has a wide variety of gloves for men and women, as well as for different climate needs from light winter to mild winter to deep winter.

If you’re shopping for someone that lives in a temperate climate, the Vallerret Primaloft/Merino liner is a perfect gift idea.

This glove is supremely soft and warm and can be used as a standalone glove on mild days or as a base layer under any of Vallerret’s other gloves allowing you to layer up and adapt to the conditions. It’s even got conductive suede on the index fingers and thumbs that allows for using touch screens without removing the gloves.

If you’re shopping for someone that has more hard-core needs, Vallerret’s Skadi Zipper Mitt.

This versatile two-in-one mitten and glove is the height of functionality, with a Merino wool and Primaloft blend inner glove and a mitten shell that’s made of Goat leather, laminated soft twill, and two-ply DWR suede to resist water and provide excellent wind protection. 

The inner gloves give photographers touch screen finger and thumb access while the 100% merino wool lining keep their fingers toasty warm.

As you’d expect, the Skadi Zipper Mitt has the magnetic FlipTech finger caps as well. 

Add in a non-slip grip on the palm, a jersey cuff for supreme comfort, a wrist strap for security, and a handy SD card pocket, and you have the makings of an expedition-worthy glove for the deep winter! 

Learn more about Vallerret Photography Gloves

Excire

One of the biggest problems I have (and many other photographers, too) with Lightroom is that it's just so laborious to manually tag my photos.

So, rather than tagging any of them, I just upload them to my Lightroom library. Needless to say, it's a huge mess.

Not anymore, though...

With Excire, you can give the gift of beautifully organized and searchable images thanks to artificial intelligence.

Here's how it works...

Excire Search and Excire Search Pro are plugins that can be added to Lightroom that use AI to tag photos automatically.

With Excire Search, there's 125 common keywords available, so every shot your loved one has of boats or mountains or dogs will be organized and easily identified.

It'll even tag images for the predominant color in the shot as well as tag images based on the people in them.

For example, a photo of an older woman will be tagged "woman" and "elderly."

Excire Search Pro takes things up a notch with over 500 common keywords that can be used for searching and organizing photos.

Better still, Excire Search Pro has a keyword transfer function, so it can be used to search images already in Lightroom.

That means the photographer on your list won't have to hunt around in their thousands of images for the one photo they want.

On top of all that, Excire is an award-winning plugin and they have a 30-day free trial available. What's not to like about that?!

Learn more about Excire Lightroom Plugins

Kizoa

It might seem strange to have a video-making program on a list of the best last-minute gifts for photographers, but in this day and age, photographers need the ability to create video.

Kizoa provides them with all the tools to do so...

This program has been around for the better part of a decade, and in that time, the Kizoa team has perfected it and made it into a high-powered yet easy-to-use video-making machine.

It has a vast suite of tools ranging from music and transitions to special effects and texts to make professional-looking videos.

There's even pre-made templates designed by the pros to get you started!

Additionally, all the nuts and bolts are there that you'd expect - tools for straightening, rotating, and cropping so that the final product fulfills the creative vision.

Kizoa is easy to use as well. Photographers can log in from their computer and use the cloud-based platform or they can download the free Kizoa app to their iOS device and edit while they're on the go.

Sharing work is super easy as well - there's Facebook and YouTube integration as well as the ability to burn movies to DVDs or download them in a variety of formats.

Best of all, Kizoa starts at $30 for a membership - a one-time fee for lifetime access. Nice!

If you want a budget-friendly gift that keeps on giving, consider buying Kizoa for your favorite photographer.

Learn more about Kizoa

Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo

Image Credit: Brandon Burk

If you're shopping for a photographer that like to shoot fast and quick with minimal gear, the Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo is a great gift idea.

That's because this camera strap was purpose-built for single camera shooters.

It's made of beautiful leathers and metals that provide a comfortable carrying experience, superb durability, and they look incredible as well.


Image Credit: Brandon Burk

The big, contoured shoulder strap makes this a comfortable strap to wear, even for hours on end.

The integrated stabilizer strap helps keep the shoulder pad in place to enhance comfort and security.

What's more, there's a Belt Anchor on the other side of the strap to anchor the camera on the hip, that way when your favorite photographer is walking, stooping, kneeling down, or somewhere in between, their camera will stay put.


Image Credit: Brandon Burk 

The ingenious thing about the Belt Anchor is that it can be released with one hand so that photographers can quickly raise their camera to their eye to get the needed shot.

Then, with one-handed action, the Belt Anchor can be re-engaged.

This rig is versatile, too, given that you can add a Holdfast Cell Phone Pouch or a Lens Pouch for carrying a bit more gear.

It's beautiful, comfortable, durable, and made in the USA. What better gift is there than that?!

Learn more about the Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo

CanvasHQ Canvas Prints

Photographers are always looking for great prints of their work, and CanvasHQ certainly delivers great prints.

I mean, sure, you can get a photographer a cheap paper print for Christmas, but what's the point of underwhelming them?

Instead, a large-format canvas print from CanvasHQ is the way to go. I should know...I have dozens of prints from these guys!

CanvasHQ does it right with a dedication to the process of constructing each print as though it's for their own loved one.

They only use the finest materials - including archival-grade canvas - so that the print looks great now and for generations to come.

Even the frame is meticulously crafted from kiln-dried wood, that way you're assured that the print doesn't bow or bend over time.

The inks they use are top-of-the-line as well. They're water-resistant, scuff-resistant, and UV-resistant, too.

Add to that the fact that they offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and quick turnaround times, and you have a recipe for the perfect last-minute gift!

Learn more about CanvasHQ

HiiGuy Camera Strap

Ask any photographer, and they'll tell you that a good camera strap is worth its weight in gold.

After all, it's hard to take photos when their shoulders and necks hurt because their cheap camera strap is digging into their muscles.

But a great camera strap doesn't have to cost you a ton of money this holiday season...

The HiiGuy Camera Strap is ideal for any photographer, no matter if they shoot with a big DSLR or a tiny mirrorless camera.

The strap is comfortable with a big shoulder pad and a highly adjustable length to accommodate any height of photographer.

The mount plate is padded to prevent scratching the camera, and there's a handy integrated zipper pouch on the shoulder pad for keeping an extra memory card or two.

There's even a three-year warranty in case something goes awry.

With that kind of peace of mind, you can't go wrong with giving the gift of a HiiGuy camera strap this holiday season!

Learn more about the HiiGuy Camera Strap



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