I’m sure you’ll agree that as each year passes, it becomes more and more difficult to buy gifts for friends and loved ones at Christmas. In addition to this, we’re often overwhelmed with the vast ocean of products available in today’s saturated photography market.
When you have a lengthy list of people to buy for, it’s often necessary to keep budgets and expenditure down to avoid empyting your pockets during the festive season. I’ve put together a list of 15 inexpensive Photography gifts that you can score for under $100 that will not only be a fantastic addition to your recipients photography collection, but they’re also very practical and can be used across all genres of photography.
Lets get started.
1. TetherPro USB 3.0 Cable – High Vis Orange
$69.00 at Kayell Australia
While you might be thinking – why would I buy a USB cable?! Then let me clear things up a little for you. The Tetherpro USB 3.0 cable is a premium USB cable with gold plated connectors for corrosion-resistance to ensure consistent and reliable conductivity. The sheer length on this cable (4.6 meters!) makes it perfect for tethered shooting. No more trying to play hop-scotch over short cables draped across the floor, and no more worrying about trying to balance your laptop on a kitchen stool. I use several Tethertools products in my day-to-day work and I couldn’t recommend them enough.
2. Datacolor SpyderLensCal Lens Calibration System
$101.00 at Digi Direct
OK, I know this one is over budget by $1.00 but Lens Calibration is often overlooked with photography. The truth is, it’s more common than we think. Do you ever look at your images and wonder why the heck your photos are coming out blurry? Perhaps the part of your image you meant to focus on isn’t actually in focus at all. Your lens might be forward or back focusing and although it might seem like a daunting task to calibrate your lens, this handy tool gets you back on track very quickly and accurately. There are multiple guides you can follow online to calibrate your lenses. SLR Lounge has a great article on how to get it done here.
3. Manfrotto Compact Light Tripod – Black
$86.00 at Digi Direct
Manfrotto is a huge name in the photography industry, and even at the cheaper end of the product line – you walk away with a quality-built, reputable product. This tripod is the lightest tripod in the Manfrotto range and is the natural connection between a mini and full size tripod. It goes without saying that any photographer needs a good set of sticks to mount their camera on; it provides stability, allows for longer exposures, and provides a much sharper image and controlled shooting conditions. This is also a great alternative if the person you’re buying for already has a decent tripod, but it might be a bit heavy/cumbersome to take on location.
4. Yongnuo YN 50mm f/1.8 Lens for Canon EF Mount
$66.88 at B&H Photo Video
Outside of the photography scene, Yongnuo isn’t that well known. They make some fantastic speedlite units that perform brilliantly, especially for the price point. It’s no question that any budding photographer should have a ‘nifty fifty’ fixed 50mm prime lens in their kit. Yongnuo offers a competitively priced alternative to Canon/Nikon that boasts a bright aperture of f/1.8 allowing for creamy bokeh and extremely shallow depth-of-field in portraiture. The Yongnuo comes with multi-coated glass elements that help reduce the effects of lens flare and ghosting for a greater level of contrast and maintained colour accuracy. This lens is an ideal, inexpensive walk-around lens for everyday shooting.
5. SanDisk Extreme SDXC 64gb 90MB/s Memory Card
$99.00 at JB HIFI
Storage is one thing you can never have enough of, and thankfully – it’s a relatively inexpensive addition to your photography kit that allows greated shooting capacity, and extra storage for when you need it. The SanDisk Extreme SDXC card boasts write speeds of up to 60MB/s, read speeds of 90MB/s and comes ready to capture 4K Ultra HD Footage should your camera support it. SanDisk is extremely well known within the film/photography industry and the products they offer give you the durability to meet whatever your demands may be as a photographer.
6. Lucky Straps Custom hand-made Camera Straps
from $99.95 at Lucky Straps
Having a comfortable and reliable Camera Strap is as much as a novelty as it is a necessity. There are over-the-top, crazy expensive camera straps and harnesses you can purchase on the market, but the Australian company, Lucky Camera Straps provides something quite unique, and allows you to personalize your camera strap making this a perfect Christmas Gift for your recipient. The straps themselves are made from high-quality leather and as an added bonus, they’re currently offering FREE Worldwide shipping on any order during the Christmas Period. Additionally, Australian orders get a free Express shipping upgrade!
7. Lowepro Toploader Zoom 50 AW II Camera Bag
$82.00 at Digital Camera Warehouse
Lowepro are reknown for carry accessories in the photography world, and they do a great job at it. The construction of their products is robust, sturdy, and they come backed with warranty to reinforce their claims. Price between products does vary, but you can pick up this ultra-portrable Toploader Zoom 50 AW II Camera bag for just shy of $90. It’ll hold a DLSR Body, attached lens, and small accesssories making it perfect for on-the-go, conventions, and adventures where a full-size back pack may not be practical. It also comes with a built-in all weather cover and offers a variety of colours to choose from.
8. Hahnel HRC 280 Remote Shutter Release for Canon DSLR Cameras
$33.00 at Digi Direct
The Hanhel Remote Shutter Release is a new innovative cable remote for digital SLRs, with interchangeable camera connectors and 2 meter extension lead making it perfect if you need some distance between yourself and the camera. The HRC 280 will support most modern camera systems, however the link provided is for the Canon system. Having a remote shutter release allows you to capture photos with a long exposure that can give very unique and pleasing results like creamy flowing waterfalls, streaky stars across the night sky, and even introduce some well thought out motion blur in your subjects depending on what type of shot you’re going for. It will also help eliminate camera shake from when you depress the shutter button on your camera keeping your images tack sharp, every time.
9. Phottix 107cm 7-in-1 Light Multi Collapsible Reflector
$79.00 at Digi Direct
Personally, I find having a reflector such as this Phottix 7-in-1 absolutely essential when doing something like fashion, or location shoots. It’s such a versatile product that can really shape and control light how you need it, even in the trickiest of conditions. You can use the translucent diffuser material to soften harsh highlights and smoothen shadows on your subject. You can use the included silver/gold reflectors to pop light back into dark areas and warm your subject if you need to. It folds up to a convenient circular shape and comes with a carry case for every transportaion. In my opinion, a reflector is something every photographer should have in his or her collection as the versatility it offers for the price is well worth it.
10. Hoya 67mm Neutral Density (NDX8) 0.9 Filter
$99.00 at Digi Direct
An ND Filter, or Neutral Density Filter works by stopping the amount of light coming into your camera. In a way, imagine putting sunglasses over your camera lens. This 67mm Hoya NDX8 filter has several uses and offers the possibility to achieve otherwise unachievable results. Neutral Density filters have a few main uses. They enable a slower shutter speed to be used that allows you to record movement in subjects like clouds, stars, waterfalls or other fast moving objects. They allow you to decrease depth-of-field by allowing wider apertues to be used. This helps separate subjects from their background. They also allow cinematic and video cameras to film subjects such as snow, sand or other bright scenes which would generally cause blown out whites and over exposure.
11. DataColor SpyderCheckr Rep Card
$96.00 at Digi Direct
Colour correction and accuracy is absolutely critical in commercial advertising photography and often brands will have very precise colour palettes that need to be adhered to when taking photos. As each monitor, screen and light conditions are different, it can often be quite difficult ensuring accuracy all of the time. This is where the SpyderCheckr Rep card comes into play. Simply position this little guy in your frame and take your first shot with correct exposure and settings. Continue with your photoshoot and once finished – you can manually set your white balance point in Lightroom, CaptureOne or your preferred processing tool. Once you’ve set your white point, it’s extremely easy to sync this across every photo from the set ensuring accurate and consistent colour accuracy across images. for $96.00, this is more tailored towards people that want accurate colour reproduction, but still a great addition to your kit regardless.
12. Jerkstopper Tethering Camera Support
$33.00 at Kayell Australia
Have you ever stumbled and knocked the cable out of your camera during a tethered session, or even when you’re transferring files off the camera? Not only does this cause frustration with having to plug everything back in and perform whatever you were doing, again – it can also cause damage to the fragile connectivity inputs on your camera itself. The Jerkstopper works by relieving strain on the cable and placing it on the rugged chasis of your camera, ensuring continued connectivity and protection from damage. This pairs perfectly with the TetherPro USB Cable mentioned above, but will work just fine with any other cable you are using.
13. Adobe Creative Cloud – Photography Package
$11.99 monthly at Adobe.com
What good would a painter be without a paintbrush?! Photoshop and Lightroom are fundamental extensions to any photographers workflow, allowing massive control over their images, retouching and creative freedom to create something truly unique and inspiring. Adobe offer several generously priced plans for creatives that range from the basic plan (this one) right through to the full suite of products. Having a Creative Cloud plan provides you with fully licensed applications, continual updates, support and access to all of the other services provided on the Adobe network.
14. Professional Studio Lighting Stands – 130cm
$24.95 at Fotogenic
As a photographer working in a studio environment 90% of the time, you can never have enough light stands. They are so versatile for holding lights, mounting reflectors, fill cards, clamping things to and even propping things in position in some cases. You can find very inexpensive light stands all around the place. Fotogenic is an Aussie company that provides decent products and a low price. Shipping is fast and the products perform as intended. If you’re planning on holding heavier, more expensive lights, i would recommend upgrading to something a bit sturdier.
15. 43″ Black/Silver and White Interchangeable Umbrella
$38.95 at Fotogenic
Umbrellas are extremely cost-effective lighting modifers that are suitable for photographers of all levels. They are lightweight, portable and often deliver a pleasing result when used correctly. They’re extremely simple to setup and allow you to modify your lights to refine the way light reacts upon your subjects. This umbrella has several layers; the Black/Silver layer is designed to allow for the light to be bounced back from the source of light to the subject, making the area of light larger and also slightly making light softer. This layer can be removed completely and the umbrella can be used as a diffused shoot-through brolly that gives nice soft light.
So there we have it – 15 Photography Gifts for Christmas under $100. I’ll keep this list updated as time goes on, but all of the above items will make a fantastic addition to any photographers collection regardless of skill level or genre. I have a lot of these products in my own photography kit. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you would like any further information or have any questions you want answered.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Blake Image Photography!