Hey, guess what? It's the holidays again. That's right, it's time to gather around the fire, sing songs, drink hot cocoa and stress about what you're going to buy for everyone. Wait, who am I kidding, no one gathers around the fire and sings songs anymore, because we're all too busy stressing out about what we're going to buy for everyone.
It doesn't have to be that way! At least not if your friends and family are all photographers like you. And if they're not, well, I'm sorry. You can still use this list as your own personal wish list, which will at least stop your mom from texting you every five minutes wanting to know what she should buy you for Christmas. Anyway, here's my annual gift list, from the inexpensive to the sort-of expensive. Happy holidays!
Gifts $25 and under
OK, so last year I had one of these mugs in my holiday gift guide, and I thought it was pretty danged funny then. But this one is even funnier, so I'm afraid I have to be redundant by including it. With this mug, you can declare to the world that not only do you shoot people, you also sometimes cut off their heads. Thank god there is a picture of a camera, too, or people might run from you and then call the cops.
Another great stocking stuffer for your favorite photographer, this retro camera-themed journal features an inspiring quote, and can be used to record shot lists, location data, or just your general thoughts about life as a photographer (or life as someone's mom, or some dog's owner ... there really aren't any rules). It has 128 lined pages and is decorated on the inside, too, with more inspirational quotes and beautiful illustrations.
Wait, what the heck is that thing? Would you believe it's a tripod? Well, sort of.
The Scorpion Jr is actually a stabilizer—it works best with small, portable cameras, but it also works with your DSLR if it's a lightweight design. You can use it to create smooth video with a GoPro, or you can simply use it to achieve low angle still shots--the sort of thing that would be next to impossible with a standard tripod. It also includes an adjustable accessory shoe for attaching additional gadgets such as microphones and LED lights. The grip is made from neoprene, and it comes in five colors: black, orange, red, blue or green. It also comes with a GoPro mount, a 1/4-20 mounting knob and a smartphone adapter.
If you need a stocking stuffer for your favorite photographer, here it is. This fun and inexpensive USB flash memory drive is shaped like a camera lens, and even comes with a camera body to help protect it when not in use. The 8GB version will run you around $12 on Amazon.com, but you can buy it in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions, too.
This flash drive uses a USB 3.0 interface, which is five times faster than USB 2 (though you can use it with a USB 2 port if that's what you have). The manufacturer says it can be used and replaced up to 100,000 times, which means it will probably outlast your actual camera.
This fun little rotating, time-lapse tripod can be used to shoot time lapse video or panoramic stills. What's really cool about it is you can use it with just about any camera, from your cellphone to your GoPro to your DSLR. It completes a 360 degree revolution in about two hours. And you can mount it on a tripod or just set it down on a flat surface. This is a great gift for just about anyone who takes pictures--it's affordable and comes with all the attachments you need to use it with just about any device.
You know those super-cool photos of landscapes, flowers and other objects inverted in a glass sphere? I'm sure you've spent some time admiring them, and you might have even thought that the technique was probably a little beyond you. Well that's not true--you can take pictures just like the ones you've admired, all you need is one of these little Lensball Spherical Crystals. Anything you want to photograph is refracted in the crystal ball, meaning it will appear reflected but inverted 180 degrees. The lensball is extra-clear so there won't be any imperfections standing in the way of those super-wowing photographs. And it's affordable, too, and comes in a box for easy portability.
So let's face it, selfie-sticks are so 2015. And who wants to walk around with one of those things sticking out of their back pocket? If you have a little portable tripod for your smartphone, you can set that up almost anywhere and use this little pocketable device from Photojojo to grab a selfie from just about anywhere. And it's great for group portraits, too. The Photojojo shutter remote works from up to 30 feet away and can be paired with any device via Bluetooth. And it's so small that you can hide it in your hand, so no one ever need know that you're both the subject and the photographer.
Gifts $50 and under
Say goodbye to boring wireless chargers—this one is for photographers! The Power Lens Fast Wireless Charger looks like a camera lens, complete with lens markings. It's Qi-enabled, and all you have to do is plug it in and drop your phone in place. When charging begins, the Lens Fast even makes a sound like a camera's shutter. Yep, that's pretty cool.
Color runs are loads of fun and they make for some fantastic photo opportunities--but they only happen once a year, and not everyone has the means or the time to attend them. Now you can buy a color run in a bottle--or three bottles, to be exact. Cool, right?
Color Blast comes with three bottles of bright pink, yellow, and blue. Just squeeze the bottles to create a cloud of color, then keep clicking for some one-of-a-kind images (hint: you'll need an assistant). You get 100 puffs of color from every bottle, so this set could get you through a lot of fun and creative photo sessions.
According to the manufacturer, Color Blast washes off with soap, but they don't recommend you use it indoors or with expensive clothing, which doesn't really sound like a guarantee. So put your kids in their art clothes and have a fun afternoon outside.
Real photographers eat, sleep, and breathe aperture—so why not count the minutes that way, too? This beautiful watch is perfect for anyone who takes photography seriously and wants to make a statement about her dedication to the hobby.
The F-stop Analog watch has a 33mm face, so it's a little on the small side and best suited for female photographers. It also has a leather band, accurate quartz movement, and it comes in a pretty cool looking box, which can double as a display case when the watch isn't in use.
Gifts $100 and under
Since we're doing retro this year, how about this really classy, vintage-looking leather box bag? This looks just like something you might find in an antique camera store. It's made from 100% vegetable tanned leather and is lined with wool felt. It is designed to fit most DSLR brands including Nikon, Canon, and Sony. It also includes a handy interior pocket for smaller items like memory cards or your phone, and one on the outside too in case you need a place to stash your lens cap.
This bag has a flap, snap closure and adjustable strings for extra security. Plus, it looks really cool.
If you have any older, life-long photographers on your holiday list, they might appreciate this slide and negative scanner, which is a fast and easy way to convert all those old photos to digital. Sending negatives and slides away to be converted is pretty prohibitively expensive for a lot of people, and this is a great alternative. It converts each image to a 22MP JPEG in seconds, and it doesn't even require a computer or software (there is a memory card slot for easily transferring images on to your computer).
Most people think this post is Awesome. What do you think?