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.

All-Marshmallow Boxes of Lucky Charms Are Back, But Not Everyone Will Be Able to Get One

Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms

Hot on the heels of a Virginia brewery's cereal-inspired marshmallow beer, another way for grown adults to feel like kids again has emerged. Marshmallow-only Lucky Charms are back—this time with unicorn and rainbow shapes. Unfortunately, only 15,000 boxes of the sweet stuff are up for grabs.

If you were already planning on treating yourself by picking up some regular Lucky Charms from your local supermarket, be on the lookout for promotional boxes that say “You could win a box of only marshmallows” on the front. The inside panels of those boxes contain codes that can be entered at MarshmallowOnly.com for your chance to win one of the rare pure-marshmallow boxes. The promotion will run through the summer, so you’ll have plenty of time to enter up to 30 codes. Here's a list of participating retailers carrying the coded boxes [PDF].

This isn’t the first time that General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, has held this sweepstakes. In 2015, the company gave away 10 boxes of marshmallow-only cereal (or, as it calls the sugary shapes, “marbits”). Based on the popularity of that promotion, it handed out 10,000 boxes in 2017.

"It's no secret that Lucky Charms fans love the marshmallows," Scott Baldwin, director of marketing for cereal at General Mills, said in a statement. "Consumers have flooded our inboxes and swept our social feeds begging for Lucky Charms Marshmallow Only to return. You asked, and we listened!"

If you’re not feeling especially lucky, you can buy similar versions of the marshmallows on Amazon. Retailers like Medley Hills Farm and Hoosier Hill Farm (which are apparently unrelated companies) sell one-pound bags of cereal marshmallows for $11 and $10, respectively. You can also order an 8-pound bag, or, if you’re feeling especially peckish, a 40-pound case of dehydrated marshmallows for $228. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, it's “just the right amount."

Start Your Morning Right With the Alarm Clock That Makes You Coffee

For those who can't function in the morning, a cup of coffee is key. For those who can't even function enough to make that cup of coffee, there's the Barisieur. This innovative alarm clock (now available at Urban Outfitters) awakens the sleeper with the smell of coffee and the gentle rattle of stainless steel ball bearings as the water boils.

Take sugar or milk? There's a special compartment for milk so the liquid stays fresh and cool until you're ready to use it in the morning. On the front, there's a drawer for sugar. The whole tray can even be removed for easy cleaning.

Not a coffee fan? The Barisieur also brews loose-leaf tea.

The milk vessel of the coffee alarm clock
Barisieur, Urban Outfitters

The gadget also has an actual alarm that can be set to sound before or during the coffee making process. 

This invention was thought up by product designer Joshua Renouf as part of his studies at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Though the idea started as just a prototype for class back in 2015, Renouf managed to make it a reality, and you can now buy one of your very own.

At $445, the alarm clock is quite an investment, but for coffee lovers who have trouble forcing themselves out of bed, it might be more than worth it. Go ahead, picture waking up slowly to the smell of roasted coffee beans and only having to sit up in bed and enjoy.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

[h/t: Design-Milk.com]

A version of this article first ran in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the product's current availability.

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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