photo by Vitaliy_ph via iStock
With just a few days left until Christmas, it's officially time to get your last-minute shopping done.
To help you find the perfect gift for the photographer on your list, we've put together this last-minute gift guide for photographers.
With items of all shapes, sizes, types, and prices, there's something on this list for the photographer in your life!
Best Ever Backdrops Mix and Match Backdrop
As a photographer, I want to get gifts that improve my ability to take photos. And as a photographer with a lot of gear, I also want something that I can tuck away into a drawer here or a cubby there to keep it out of the way.
I want to receive a gift that also has a lot of utility - something that’s easy to use, offers flexibility in terms of how it's used, and something that will last a long time. And that, my friends, is exactly what you get with a backdrop from Best Ever Backdrops.
Now, I’m a landscape photographer by trade, but I also love to cook. So I thought, why not give food photography a try?
To create images of food that really make people’s mouths water, I need to set up a home studio that allows me to get the perfect shots. And for that I need a good backdrop.
What I really love about these backdrops is that they tick all the boxes - they look incredible, they’re double-sided to give you two backdrops in one, and they are just 24 x 36 inches and 1/8th of an inch thick, so they’re easy to shove under my bed when I’m not using them.
Additionally, these backdrops are extremely durable, waterproof, and stainproof, so if my food photography shoots get a little out of hand, I don’t have to worry about ruining my backdrops.
Better still, there are dozens and dozens of colors, textures, and patterns to choose from, so you can truly tailor the backdrop to what you think the photographer on your shopping list would like. There’s even free shipping!
Since this is a last-minute gift guide, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that these backdrops arrive at your door in just a couple of days, so they truly are an ideal last-minute gift.
It’s hard to beat something that’s so useful, so beautiful, and at the end of the day, inexpensive, too. If you want to wow the photographer on your holiday list, this is the gift to do it!
Sony a7 IV
The Sony a7 IV is the newest version of the a7 line - so new, in fact, that it’s still in the pre-order phase.
However, any photographer on your holiday shopping list would surely love to have this camera, even if they have to wait a while to get it.
The a7 IV is equipped with a full frame 33-megapixel Exmor R back-illuminated sensor that offers incredible image quality, including better color reproduction and low noise.
Additionally, the sensor is capable of accommodating more than 15 stops of dynamic range, which offers photographers the ability to capture a wide range of highlights and details in the scene.
The Sony a7 IV isn’t just a photographer’s camera, though…
The fast sensor readout enables 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video recording at up to 60p. Likewise, you get full pixel readout with no binning, the option to edit footage in slow-motion at 30p or 24p, and oversampling at 7K
Of course, that’s just the start! The a7 IV offers a host of other features that includes a 3-inch free-angle tilting touchscreen LCD, an OLED EVF, up to 10fps burst shooting, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 5-axis image stabilization.
In other words, this camera is loaded up with goodies that will make your favorite photographer smile from ear to ear!
Atomos Ninja V
If you're shopping for a photographer that wants to try their hand at audio and video production, the 5-inch Atomos Ninja V portable monitor/recorder is a great gift idea.
The Ninja V is compatible with virtually any DSLR or mirrorless camera. Recording is done directly from the camera's sensor, but because it bypasses the camera's internal compression and record time limits, the Ninja V allows you to record for as long as you want. You get 4K 60p 10-bit recording out of the deal, too.
Files from the Ninja V are in ProRes or DNxHR format, which are ready to edit and can be easily stored on an SSD drive.
The monitor on the Ninja V is a bright 5.2-inch 10-bit HDR screen that offers 1,000 nits of brightness. The unit is wrapped in a 1-inch aluminum body that's both durable and lightweight.
Additionally, the screen is anti-reflective and offers 10+ stops of dynamic range in real-time from various signals, including Log, PQ, and HLG.
You get one-touch operation, fast playback, slow motion, and frame-by-frame analysis with AtomOS as well!
The Sony ZV-1 is a compact, 4K camera aimed specifically at vloggers.
It has a 20.1MP sensor, a vari-angle LCD screen that faces forward, and a three-capsule mic with a windscreen as well.
These features make it much easier for videographers to see themselves as they record and capture improved audio as they do it.
But the list of features doesn't stop there...
The camera is compatible with Bluetooth grips that enable easy handheld shooting. There is also a bokeh switch and a product showcase setting that make it easier to defocus the background and highlight products that need to be singled out in a video.
The ZV-1 also comes with a 2.7x optical zoom, enhanced color science for improved skin tones, and real-time tracking that ensures the subject is always in focus.
In other words, if the photographer on your list is ready to get into shooting video, this might be the camera for them!
Westcott FJ400 400Ws Strobe with AC/DC Battery
If the photographer you’re shopping for needs to upgrade or expand their lighting gear, this Westcott 400Ws strobe will be an ideal solution.
This light comes with an AC/DC battery, making it highly portable for use in the studio or in the field. The AC/DC battery offers 480+ full-power flashes with each charge, so photographers get long-lasting use out of it. And with less than a second recycle speed, work can commence quickly!
The FJ400 offers superb color accuracy, has a 9-stop output range, and a stable color temperature of 5500K (+/-150K). There’s an easy-to-use menu system with an LCD color display for making quick adjustments in addition to having both manual and TTL flash modes.
Westcott incorporated other nice features into this light as well. It offers High Speed Sync (HSS) at up to 1/8000s, Freeze Sync up to 1/19000s, Continuous Capture at up to 20fps, and automatic memory recall.
Add to the list mask function, delay function, rear curtain sync, and group and channel assignment, too!
Even better, this light is firmware upgradable via USB-C, so additional features can be added in the future. What’s not to like about that?!
RODE Wireless GO II Microphone
I've used RODE microphones for years, and I can attest to the quality of these mics both in terms of build and audio performance.
The Wireless GO II builds on the success of its predecessor by continuing the tradition of innovation.
It operates in the 2.4GHz spectrum and is compatible with Android and Apple products.
This kit comes with dual transmitters, each of which have an internal microphone and a receiver with a 3.5mm TRS output.
The transmitter and receiver have a USB-C port for charging. These ports can also be used to connect to a computer to get firmware updates.
With completely wireless operation, these mics give you the freedom to move around in front of the camera without worry of tripping over wires. What's more, if you're on camera, there's no wires to try to hide under your shirt.
These little guys simply give you a lot of bang for your buck with professional-quality audio in a tiny package.
Rode Microphones RODECaster Pro Integrated Podcast Production Studio
If you're shopping for someone that wants to get into podcasting, then the RODECaster Pro is a great last-minute gift idea.
What's so great about this gadget is that it is fully integrated. That means that photographers can use this to produce podcasts whether they are an experienced podcaster or a beginner.
There are four high-quality microphone channels that can power studio condenser microphones and traditional dynamic microphones as well.
Better still, you can connect microphones to the RODECaster Pro quickly and easily. The device also offers convenient features like one-touch recording and automatic level setting.
The RODECaster Pro also allows you to have remote guests call in for an interview. Doing so is easy - just connect a smartphone via Bluetooth or a TRRS cable and the RODECaster will automatically provide mix-minus audio so the caller doesn't hear an echo.
This unit additionally provides preamps and outputs with Class A circuitry for ultra-low distortion and top-of-the-line gain structure.
There's music, jingles, applause, and other sounds that help give your podcast a more professional sound as well!
RODE Lavalier GO
Another prime last-minute gift idea for photographers is the RODE Lavalier GO microphone.
At just $79, this is one of the least expensive items on this list. But don't let the small price fool you - this is a high-powered mic!
In fact, this is a professional-grade microphone that can be used in a variety of situations, from speaking directly to the camera in the studio to conducting interviews in the field and many points in between.
The Lavalier GO has a discreet 4.5mm omnidirectional mic that captures beautifully clear audio - even in less-than-forgiving environments.
It has a 3.5mm TRS connector and is designed to work with the RODE Wireless GO and many recording devices with a 3.5mm TRS microphone input.
The key to getting good video is capturing great audio, and with this microphone, the photographer on your shopping list can do just that!
Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader Tough-55
Chances are that the photographer on your holiday shopping list already has a ton of gear. So why not give them a gift that helps them carry that gear safely?
The Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader Tough-55 roller case has four layers of foam on the bottom and convoluted foam on the lid to help protect sensitive photography and videography gear from bumps and bruises when traveling.
When closed, the case creates an airtight compartment. With pull release latches, the case is easy to open, and with padlock compatible points, the case can be easily secured as well. Add in a telescoping handle for making maneuvering the case through the airport a breeze!
One of the most interesting and useful features of this case is that it has optional accessories that can attach or latch onto metal attachment pins on the case.
This means that you can add a laptop bag, a tripod bag, or many other accessories to expand the usefulness of the case.
These cases are dust-resistant and moisture-resistant and are rated to IP67 standards, so they are fully capable of being a photographer's go-to travel case in all sorts of environments.
Ikan Professional 15-Inch High Bright Beam Splitter Teleprompter
One of the best pieces of kit I have in my home studio is this Ikan 15-inch beam splitter teleprompter.
I do a lot of videos where I'm speaking directly to the camera, so a high-quality teleprompter is critical so I can speak naturally to my audience while maintaining eye contact with the camera.
With a large and bright 15-inch screen, the text on the screen is nice and big so I can easily read it from across the room. Now, my home studio is pretty small, so I'm no more than about eight feet away.
However, if you're shopping for someone that has a larger studio, this teleprompter can be set back much further, allowing for placement of additional cameras, lights, and other gear.
The teleprompter itself is about 25 x 20 x 16 inches and weighs about 22 pounds. These figures are just for the teleprompter, so once you add in a camera and lens, a tripod, and so forth, the entire setup is fairly large. That means it's probably more of a studio setup than something you'd want to travel with.
Still, I've been thoroughly impressed with this rig and can't recommend it enough!