Top 10 Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers - 2020 Edition
- The fabric is soft and helps dissipate heat as I'm seated.
- The back is highly adjustable so you can position it to be perfectly in line with your spine.
- You can adjust the seat depth and the arms.
- The design of the chair was done with input from physicians and PhDs in biomechanics, physical therapy, ergonomics, and vision, to help Herman Miller create a chair that is the ultimate in comfort and ergonomics.
- 20.9-megapixel sensor
- EXPEED 5 processor
- Multi-CAM 20K autofocus system with 153 AF points including 99 cross-type points
- 10fps continuous shooting
- ISO range of 100-51200
- 4K UHD video at 30, 25, and 24p
- 3.2-inch 2.3 million dot tilting RGB LCD touchscreen
- Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi
- Holds 35 liters of gear (expands to 42 liters)
- External straps for things like your tripod
- Removable interior dividers for customizing the bag to your needs
- Easy side access for quickly grabbing your camera
- Comfortable straps (including chest strap and waist belt) for a more comfortable carrying experience
- Space for your clothes too!
- Genuine Cordura exterior with YKK zippers
- Adjustable bottom carry straps
- Hideaway rainfly
- Improved padding on the shoulder pad for an even more comfortable carrying experience
- Double buckle strap so you can size the bag perfectly to your body
- Collapsible interior dividers so you can pack the bag down to almost nothing
- Tons of organization including a front organizer pocket, a faux-fur lined phone/sunglasses pocket, and a faux-fur lined tablet pocket
- 22.3-megapixel sensor
- DIGIC 5+ processor
- 61-point AF system including 41 cross-type points
- 6fps continuous shooting
- ISO range of 100-25600
- Full HD video
- 3.2-inch LCD with 920,000 dots
Photo by Geber86 via iStock
I take full responsibility for being one of "those" photographers that are very, very hard to shop for...
I'm picky. I like the things I like. And I have much of what I already want. Yeah. I'm that guy.
And if you're reading this article, you most likely have one of those people on your holiday shopping list. Either that or you didn't get your holiday shopping done on time!
Whatever the case, I've got ten fantastic gifts (each of which I have personally tried or owned) that should bring a big smile to the face of your favorite photographer.
I give an overview of each item in the video above. Or if you're the reading type, I've highlighted each gift idea below.
Without further ado, let's get started!
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Herman Miller Embody Chair
If the photographer on your holiday shopping list is like me, they spend hours and hours and hours at their desk editing photos (and probably a fair amount of videos, too).
As the hours drag on, you can get really uncomfortable - especially if you don't have the right desk chair that gives you the support you need.
In the past, I tried a wide range of desk chairs and was pretty underwhelmed with the support and level of comfort they offered. Then I bought my first Herman Miller Embody chair.
I know that calling a desk chair "life changing" would be taking it a bit too far, but this chair has proven to be the ultimate in comfort. I've actually had two of these chairs over the last ten years, and after using them, I'll never go back to any other kind of office chair.
I love everything about this chair:
In short, this chair not only looks good, but it also offers you loads of utility. The seat and back conform to your movements, allowing the chair to distribute your weight as you're seated. This helps reduce pressure points, encourage movement, improve circulation, and help you maintain your focus.
As photographers, there's a lot of time needed sitting at our desks, and with a chair like this, that time will be far more comfortable. If you want the ideal gift for the photographer on your list, the Herman Miller Embody chair is it!
Learn more about the Herman Miller Embody
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: CanvasHQ Canvas Print
This is just a sampling of my CanvasHQ prints!
Here's what I love about canvas...
The texture brings my images to life by giving them a touch of added depth and interest. Plus, I love the depth that the frame gives to the photo as it hangs on the wall. It really makes it an experience to view the image.
I started using CanvasHQ years ago as my go-to canvas printing company, and I’ve never turned back.
I have dozens of canvases from these guys of all sizes, and I’ve never been disappointed when I opened the box to reveal the print.
I mean...there’s a reason why CanvasHQ has won our $100 secret shopper canvas print shootout for two years running!
The quality of these prints is just incredible...they use professional-grade inks, archival-grade canvas, and they hand make the frames using kiln-dried wood.
In other words, their commitment to quality shows in every aspect of the process. Each print is truly a showpiece that gives your images that extra visual appeal.
Whether you’re in the market for a little last-minute gift for yourself or someone on your list, a canvas print from CanvasHQ is a great option this holiday season. Plus, they have a quick turnaround time. Nice!
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Used Nikon D500 from MPB
I’ve worked with MPB for a number of years. I’ve bought and sold gear on their site, and the experience was always top-notch.
So that got me thinking…
A great gift for a photographer on your shopping list is a tried-and-true camera like the Nikon D500.
MPB has a number of D500s in stock, starting at around $1,000, which is about half of the price of a new D500 when it was released in 2016.
And don’t be scared by the fact that this is a four-year-old camera. It still has some great specs, like:
Plus, since the D500 has an APS-C sensor, the camera body is smaller and lighter than a full frame camera. This makes it an ideal option for wildlife photographers, sports photographers, and photographers that travel.
A new D500 will set you back about $1,500, so a used one at about $1,000 is a great buy.
Learn more about the Nikon D500
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Camera Bag
Obviously, I can’t have a holiday gift guide for photographers without a recommendation for a camera bag…But in this case, this is a two-for-one situation.
My primary bag is the Peter McKinnon Nomatic Camera Pack.
As I explain in the video above, apart from being a beautiful bag, this thing is hugely versatile and full of features. Get a load of some of these specs:
You can tell that this bag was designed by a photographer. It is simply fantastic from the standpoints of size, customization, comfort, and ease of use.
This bag is $400, and while that might seem like a lot, when you consider that this is a bag that you’ll have for YEARS, it’s really a long-term investment.
Sure, you can buy a cheap bag, but when you are carrying around gear on your back, don’t you want the most comfortable bag you can get?
Now...you don’t need a big bag for every trip.
When I want to run and gun with a single camera kit, I opt for my HEX Ranger Sling V2 bag.
This little guy holds up to 8 liters of gear, which is perfect for carrying a single camera, lens, and accessories.
What I love most about this bag is that it hugs your body...unlike other slings I’ve tested over the years, this one doesn’t flop all over the place as I’m moving.
It’s loaded for bear with features too:
So as you can see, this is a bag that is small but mighty! Plus, it’s priced at less than $100, so it’s also a budget-friendly gift!
Learn more about the Peter McKinnon/Nomatic Camera Pack and the HEX Ranger Sling V2. Give the HEX Ranger Sling V1 a look too!
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Artbeat Studios Metal Print
In addition to loving canvas prints, I’m also a sucker for a good metal print.
I like how sleek and modern metal prints look. And if you get your metal print from the right company, you’ll find that the colors, sharpness, and vibrancy really come out in your image.
I got my first metal print from Artbeat Studios a few years back. I still remember how amazed I was at the quality of the print the first time I laid eyes on it.
I’ve used Artbeat Studios over and over again to get metal prints because they simply offer the best combination of quality and customer service that I’ve been able to find.
And I’ve looked a lot!!
Artbeat Studios was crowned our 2020 best metal print company earlier this year after I got metal prints from them and several other companies.
In a head-to-head evaluation, the print from Artbeat Studios stood head and shoulders above the rest.
So, if you want to add a big, beautiful metal print to your home or the home of someone on your list, give Artbeat Studios a try...you won’t be disappointed!
Learn more about Artbeat Studios
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Photography Books
I couldn’t even tell you how many books I have around my house…and in my Kindle.
I really LOVE books. I love learning. I love to improve my skill set. And this holiday season, you can do that for yourself or for a photographer on your list with a good photography book.
There are tons of titles I could recommend, but since 2020 has been such a crappy year, I wanted to recommend a photography book that might inspire you and offer you a little hope.
For that, I would say that Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures by Rick Sammon is a GREAT choice.
This book has lots of quotes that will inspire you to get out there and shoot. Likewise, the book makes you think about how you approach photography and how you have the power to become a better photographer.
You’ll learn about things like “Seeing vs. Looking,” “Emotional Intelligence for Photographers,” and how to create your own reality in your images.
Rick even put a bunch of photography missions you can undertake in order to learn new skills and gain confidence behind the lens.
I checked Amazon and this book is available for $10 on Kindle or $15.99 in paperback. It’s a great inexpensive last-minute gift that will inspire photographers to take their game to the next level.
Learn more about Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: ProGrade Memory Card
A good, reliable memory card is a fantastic gift that any photographer will love. It’s a great stocking stuffer too!
A few years ago, I’d be talking about Sandisk cards right now, but after I had a bad experience with a failed card, I started exploring other options.
I started using ProGrade cards after hearing about them from several other photographers. Once I got my first one and experienced its incredible speed and reliability, there was no looking back!
I now have several ProGrade cards, including SD cards and CFexpress cards for my EOS R5 and R6.
In both cases, these cards have proven their worth with reliable performance and blazing speed regardless of whether I’m shooting stills or video with my Canon cameras.
This is DEFINITELY one of those things where you get what you pay for…and for my money, nothing beats ProGrade!
Learn more about Prograde SD cards and Prograde CFexpress cards
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Used Canon 5D Mark III From MPB
If you’re shopping for a Canon shooter, you might consider getting them a 5D Mark III to add to their kit.
This would make the perfect second camera body for a professional photographer.
It’s a full frame, professional-grade camera that has great specs, even for an eight-year-old camera. Check these features out:
Sure, this camera doesn’t offer some of the modern features like 4K video, WiFi, or a touchscreen, but for photographers looking for a second body or for photographers that want to jump into a full frame camera, this is an affordable and reliable option.
MPB has a bunch of these in stock, which start at just $650. Which considering you can still buy this new at $2700…this is a crazy deal!
Learn more about the Canon 5D Mark III
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: A Good Filter Kit
This is yet another one of those items where you get what you pay for...
Think about it...it doesn’t make sense to invest in a good lens and then slap a cheap filter on the front of it.
Instead, think of filters as another one of those long-term investments where paying a little more now will pay dividends for years to come.
I have filters from a number of different companies that have proven to be extremely well made, reliable, and give me the results I want in my images.
If you’re on a tighter budget, a great option is Haida Filters.
I’ve tested their M10 and M15 filter systems, and found them to be very easy to use.
Their individual filters, like their polarizers, NDs, and graduated NDs show a high level of craftsmanship and durability as well.
If you have a bit of a higher budget, I recommend PolarPro Summit filters.
This series of filters includes NDs, soft grads, hard grads, a reverse grad, and a polarizer.
There’s also a mounting bracket and a variety of thread plates to adapt the bracket to various lenses.
I think the most impressive thing about these filters is the aluminum frame that helps you get a good grip on the filter without touching the glass.
Better still, the frames are lightweight, yet durable too, which is exactly what you want in a filter!
I also like how the circular polarizer fits seamlessly into the filter holder...there are ZERO light leaks with this thing!
Again, these filters are a little more expensive, but man do you get what you pay for!!
Learn more about Haida Filters and PolarPro Summit Filters
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Holdfast MoneyMaker
I’ve tested dozens of camera straps, but I always come back to one that I’ve had in my kit for years...the Holdfast Moneymaker.
There’s a lot to love about a leather strap...they’re incredibly durable, they conform to your shoulder more and more as you use them, and in the case of Holdfast, the leather is premium grade and absolutely beautiful.
You can get these in all kinds of sizes with all kinds of leathers and in a variety of colors.
But regardless of which specifics you pick, you’ll get American-made quality!
I got my first Moneymaker years ago. That was a dual camera harness. Then I picked up the MoneyMaker Solo which is a single camera system that’s every bit as beautiful and functional as the original Moneymaker, as I describe in my review video below:
There’s a reason why these camera straps have worked so well for me...they are built like tanks and will do everything I need them to do no matter where I am or what I’m shooting.
Besides, leather raises the value of the gift...the sights and smells associated with leather immediately tell the person opening the gift that you went all out!
The Moneymaker Solo is $175 and the Moneymaker Harness starts at $230, so both are reasonably priced for gear that will last for years and years to come.
Learn more about the Holdfast MoneyMaker and MoneyMaker Solo
Last-Minute Gifts for Photographers: Leatherman Skeletool CX
Last but not least, if you have a photographer on your holiday shopping list, a gift like the Leatherman Skeletool CX will be most appreciated.
My wife gave this to me last year, and it’s on this list because it has become one of my most-used tools by far.
This thing is beautifully made and incredibly versatile, so I can use it when I need a knife, pliers, wire cutters, a bit driver, or even a bottle opener.
You can also use it one-handed, which is a huge benefit when you’re out shooting or adventuring and you only have one hand to spare.
This sucker is lightweight, ready to work, and guaranteed for 25 years. Plus, it’s budget-friendly at $80!
Learn more about the Leatherman Skeletool CX