11 Thoughtful Gifts for the Photographer

iStock.com/MarioGuti
iStock.com/MarioGuti

Photography lovers can be hard to shop for, since their equipment is often both very specialized and very expensive. But you don’t have to break the bank to get your favorite photographer something they'll love. Below are 11 gifts we recommend for the photographer in your life. And if they happen to use their gift to take a beautiful photo of you at the holidays, well, who’s to stop them?

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Kodak Mini Shot

A Kodak Mini Shot printing a photo of a boy eating ice cream
Kodak, Amazon

While photographers may spend more time on Instagram than picking up prints these days, uploading photos to the cloud doesn’t have quite the appeal of holding a freshly printed photo in hand. Your favorite shutterfly can enjoy the best of both the digital and physical photography world with Kodak’s Mini Shot, a camera that combines all the upsides of a digital camera with the on-demand printing abilities of an instant one. With Bluetooth connectivity and in-camera editing options like filters, stickers, and cropping, users can shoot, edit, and share photos as easily as they would on their phone, but they can also instantly print their favorites—including sending their favorite smartphone photos to the camera for printing.

Find It at Amazon for $120 and at these other retailers:

2. GoPro Fusion

For the adventurous photographer, the GoPro Fusion shoots high-definition, 360° photo and video that users can edit from their phone. It can turn stunning travel shots into virtual reality landscapes, with built-in stabilization to ensure crisp images while hiking, biking, surfing, or doing any other kind of activity. It can even do underwater photography—it’s waterproof to depths of up to 16 feet.

Find It at Amazon for $589 and at these other retailers:

3. GoPro Shorty Mini Extension Pole Tripod

GoPro’s pocket-sized, extendable tripod is designed to make sure your favorite photographer’s images are never constrained by their arm size. The Shorty goes from less than 5 inches long to almost 9 inches to allow the user to shoot those hard-to-reach angles (selfie and otherwise) while on the go.

Find It at Amazon for $35 and at these other retailers:

4. Joby GorrilaPod Flexible Tripod

Unlike the GoPro tripod above, this flexible little number can hold cameras up to 6.6 pounds. And it can be mounted anywhere. The bendy legs with rubberized feet can secure a camera in any position, even on surfaces that aren’t completely flat. For photographers working with smaller cameras, Joby also makes a version designed for smartphones as well.

Find It at Amazon for $39 and at these other retailers:

5. Think Tank Retrospective 7 Shoulder Bag

A khaki-colored, messenger-style camera bag
Think Tank, Amazon

Anyone who’s serious about their photo equipment needs a way to keep it safe on the road. While the perfect camera bag depends on what it’s going to be used for—someone who’s shooting a wedding will want something different than someone shooting landscapes in a national park—every photographer needs some way to carry their gear. Think Tank’s Retrospective 7 Shoulder bag is a fashionable, versatile option. The lightweight, form-fitting bag can fit a DSLR, a small laptop, and several lenses, with pockets and organizers for smaller accessories. For event photographers, it has “sound silencers” to minimize the noise associated with opening and closing the bag. For outdoor photography, there’s a rain cover to protect equipment.

Find It at Amazon for $140 and at these other retailers:

6. Yuneec Breeze 4K

To get those detailed aerial shots, your photographer friend is going to need a drone. You could easily drop several hundred dollars getting them a top-notch flying robot, but Yuneec’s compact camera-copter will do the job for much less—in 4K resolution, even. At less than 9 inches in diameter and weighing less than a pound, it’s small enough to tuck into a bag and can be controlled with a smartphone. It has several automated modes that can help any amateur pilot get cinematic shots with the integrated camera, including a dedicated Selfie Mode to help take flawless group shots from afar.

Find It at Walmart for $149 and at these other retailers:

7. Seagate Backup Plus Slim Hard Drive

A man slips a black Seagate hard drive into a laptop bag.
Seagate, Amazon

For any passionate photographer, hard drive space is precious. Free up some of your loved one’s computer storage by gifting them a new external hard drive. Seagate’s Backup Plus portable drives are fast, simple to use, and affordable. They work with both PCs and Macs and come in numerous colors that make them a bit more exciting than most external drives. The 2 terabyte option provides a nice balance between weight, storage capacity, and price, but if you’ll looking to splurge a bit more, there are 4 terabyte and 5 terabyte versions available, too.

Find It at Amazon for $64 and at these other retailers:

8. Canon DSLR Camera Kit

If your photographer has yet to upgrade from their smartphone, the Canon Rebel is a starter camera. This kit comes with the camera body, a 18-55mm lens, and a 75-300mm zoom lens. In addition to capturing great photos, it shoots 4K-resolution video and features built-in Wi-Fi and smartphone compatibility to make sharing footage between devices easy.

Find It at Amazon for $399 and these other retailers:

9. Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite

Nothing can transform a photo like good lighting. This external flash works with both Nikon and Canon DSLRs and has eight brightness levels that can be controlled manually. It can also be rotated 90 degrees vertically.

Find It at Amazon for $34 and at these other retailers:

10. Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

A cleaning device shaped like a rocket
Giottos, Amazon

No matter what kind of photography your loved one does or what kind of equipment they use, they’ll need to clean their camera. This low-tech tool is great for gently puffing away dust from delicate camera sensors. It’s lightweight but powerful, with a one-way valve that prevents it from sucking any of the dust back into the device. And unlike blowing air from their mouth, this way, the camera sensor won’t end up with any spit on it.

Find It at Amazon for $10.

11. Figosa Leather Strap

Figosa’s Italian-made leather camera straps offer a vintage look at a bargain price. The highly customizable straps come in three different sizes, with black or brown leather and gold or silver metal fasteners. This version comes with a shoulder pad to make it more comfortable to wear with heavier cameras.

Find It at Etsy for $61.

Making Your Bed Is Easier Than Ever With These Amazing Sheets

The Button Sheet Collection, Kickstarter
The Button Sheet Collection, Kickstarter

Do you wake up every morning in a stifling cocoon of tangled bedclothes that 1) makes it hard to get out of bed in the first place, and 2) makes it impossible to fathom making your bed more often than whenever you wash your sheets?

The Button Sheet Collection is here to save you. The set contains a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and a blanket, which all fasten neatly together with four buttons that sit along the bottom edge of your bed.

The buttons ensure that your blanket will never slide off your flat sheet, your flat sheet will never slide off your fitted sheet, and you will never slide off the edge of sanity.

But that’s not the only way the Button Sheet Collection simplifies the sleeping process. Slits in the bottom two corners of the flat sheet and blanket guarantee that both items lie perfectly flat—there’s no need to fold and tuck them underneath the mattress. Also, there are extra inches added to the flat sheet and blanket, so you have an optimal amount of wiggle room no matter what your go-to sleeping position is.

In the morning, all you have to do is give the flat sheet and blanket a quick fluff and walk away from your now perfectly-made bed.

The long-staple cotton, 400 thread count, and sateen weave make the sheets just as comfortable as they are functional, and here’s yet another reason you can (literally) rest easy with the collection: it’s Oeko-Tex certified and free from any harmful chemicals.

Prices for the Button Sheet Collection—which includes one pillowcase, a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and a blanket—start at $239; you can check out more buying options on Kickstarter, and estimated delivery is in November.

Since you’re going to spend around one third of your day asleep, it’s worth maximizing your experience in whatever ways you can, from buying Button Sheets, to ending the covers tug-of-war, to finding the perfect mattress, and beyond.

This Adjustable Bag Mate Makes Traveling Anywhere Much More Convenient

NEX
NEX

Carrying a backpack for a long period of time can lead to aching in your neck, back, or shoulders. Plus, keeping essentials in your bag, like a passport or phone, can make them a hassle to retrieve when necessary. NEX, now raising money on Kickstarter, is a three-in-one bag mate that makes traveling with a backpack pain-free and convenient.

This new "bag mate" is designed with air cushions that evenly distribute the weight of your backpack across your shoulders. Since it makes your bag feel 30 percent lighter, it also helps improve your posture.

NEX features functional and hidden pockets to not only make it easier to grab your essentials when on the go, but also keep them secured—since they are much safer on your shoulders than in your bag where people can easily steal them. Each strap is designed with three inner pockets as well as a hidden pocket to store everyday valuables such as your keys or cash.

Cash and keys going in a pocket on a NEX bag mate
NEX

Sometimes a backpack isn't necessary for quick outings, so NEX can act as a cross-body bag as well. Easily clip it on and adjust the fit to your liking, and now NEX can be used when you're simply going out for a run or grabbing groceries. Plus, it's designed with recycled waterproof material, meaning you don't have to worry about your valuables getting damaged due to the weather.

guy walking with blue cross body bag
NEX

With over a week left in its campaign, NEX has already surpassed its goal of $1000, raising over $47,000 as of June 25. By pledging $19 or more, you can get your own bag mate on KickStarter. Shipping is scheduled for August.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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