Do you have a photographer in your life who’s just getting started? Perhaps it’s you! This list covers some awesome gifts for beginner photographers, with some inexpensive picks so there’s something for everyone.
[Title Photo by revamptramp]
I know, I know. It’s hard to buy for someone who knows more about their hobby than you do. In fact, dangerous, one might say.
But, never fear! I’ve made it easy by picking just those gifts that any non-photographer could easily buy for the photographer in their life.
Gifts for Beginner Photographers
A lot of times people buy gifts that they don’t realize don’t fit the camera or gear properly.
So to avoid that, these items are gifts that are easy to buy without knowing a lot about photography, along with some tips and advice on which one to get.
I’m assuming of course that your beginner photographer has made the jump from cellphone to camera as most of these assume they have. If you are looking to actually buy a camera, I’d recommend you check out my post on my favorite cameras.
I use them specifically for travel but both are affordable and great choices for a beginner.
If they’re all set for a camera, let’s keep moving! Here are my recs for 8 great gifts for beginner photographers:
1. Tenba Padded Camera Insert
The #1 mistake new photographers make is putting their fancy camera in the closet and not carrying it everywhere because they are scared to damage their pricey new equipment.
So your beginner photographer definitely needs a good way to carry their gear safely. And the obvious idea would be to buy them a camera bag. But you don’t know exactly what kind of style they’d like.
So one great gift is this insert that allows them to turn any bag into a camera bag.
There’s a lot of good reasons to have one of these…
- Style – Allows them to use a bag that matches their personal style, whether that’s a rugged messenger, travel backpack or a party-appropriate purse.
- Safety – Helps them carry their gear inconspicuously. Instead of shouting, “Hey, come over here and rob me!”
- Versatility – Switch bags as they need for their gear so they can be sure to carry their camera everywhere.
One tip – Be sure to get the size that works!
Beginner DSLR – I recommend BYOB 9 which should fit a smaller DSLR with lens and one extra lens. Size up or down if you know your giftee carries a lot more or less.
Mirrorless camera – I recommend BYOB 7 which is perfect for mirrorless with lens, and one more.
With this insert, your budding photographer will be able to avoid the biggest mistakes new camera owners face and take their camera everywhere.
2. Black Rapid Retro Strap
Okay, you know how most camera straps go around your neck and hang in front?
Now, imagine carrying pretty much anything else that way for a day – your purse? laptop bag? groceries?
Admit it, it sounds terrible, right?
I don’t know why camera straps work that way, because it is SO hard on your neck and shoulders. I won’t even get into the ways it sucks even more for women.
Enter the Black Rapid sling strap. This strap wears like a messenger bag – across the chest with the weight on one shoulder. It’s attractive and so much more comfortable for both men and women. Win, win!
Buy BlackRapid Sling Strap Now
It’s basically a must-have for any photographer toting a DSLR. It also has a unique mechanism that makes it really easy to slide the camera up for a shot.
Once they start using this strap, they won’t look back.
3. Fuji Instax Mini Printer
Yes, we can all share photos across the globe with a blink of an eye. But there’s still something magical about a physical, tangible print.
This is a great gift to let the beginner photographer get a way to share their new work with friends and family.
It can print directly from a cellphone, so this would even work for a budding photographer who uses their phone to shoot.
Buy Fuji Instax Mini Printer Now
Just remember these are small prints, just 2.1 in × 3.4 in, with the photo a bit smaller in the white frame. They are also instant film prints so the quality is rich but different, not exactly digital photo quality.
The prints it creates are vivid and beautiful. Do your giftee a favor and if it’s in your budget, buy them a spare pack or two of the film.
If you think your photographer would like regular 4×6 prints, consider the next gift pick. It’s pricier but excellent quality.
4. Canon Selphy Portable Printer
The Canon Selphy uses an alternate printing method where the result looks exactly like a real photograph, with very smooth tones and no visible pixels.
The thing that’s great about this camera is that you can put it away for months and it will still print a perfect print once you pull it out. That’s the joy of dye sublimation prints.
It only prints a fixed size – 4×6 – but it’s also portable so they can take it to an event to share or sell mementos.
Buy Canon Selphy Photo Printer Now
Buy this for the amateur photographer who likes to make everyday prints – perhaps to share with family, or to make albums or scrapbooks.
5. SmallRig Studio Reflector Set
This is a great choice for a photographer who would like to shoot portraits or do other studio work. Reflectors are a great way to improve the lighting of a photograph.
And photography is all about lighting!
Buy SmallRig Circular Reflector Set Now
I’ve linked to the 32″ size because it’s a versatile size for portraits. However for full-body shots, the larger size of 42″ plus the stand might be a better choice.
7. The Original Lensball
The Lensball is a unique gift that really inspires creativity. Basically it’s a glass globe that allows you to take very cool images captured within the glass ball.
Do note that this is NOT A GIFT FOR KIDS because the ball behaves like a lens and should be used very carefully in the sun to avoid hurting your eyes.
However for an adult photographer, it’s be a very fun tool with which to create very interesting shots.
8. Understanding Exposure – Beginner Photography Book
For the photographer who just got their first ‘real’ camera, this book is the bible of learning about photography.
A common expectation is that you buy a new camera and your photos get better, but this is simply not true. A better camera might make your photos seem worse because they allow the photographer to make their own choices and don’t compensate for poor choices.
So to really uplevel their photography, your friend might need this great primer on all basics of great photography.
Buy Understanding Exposure Now
I hope you found a great gift for a beginner photographer on this list. Or even better, found something for yourself!
I think all these items are versatile enough for any photographer to enjoy – and yet delightful enough to inspire and motivate.
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