It’s Never Too Early to Start Christmas Shopping for the Photographers on Your List. Gifts Actually Under $50

By Mark

You may have noticed that photography gear tends to be expensive.  Almost all of us have G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and so our loved ones often weep in despair trying to find something affordable for the upcoming holidays.  Well here are ten actually useful products that are in the “reasonable” price range.

1.   If you like landscape photography, getting the horizon straight is of paramount importance.  Here is great tool which fits into your standard flash mount—a spirit level. $9.99

2. There doesn’t seem to be the one perfect camera bag for every instance.  They also cost waaaaay more than our self-imposed limit.  Not to worry as there actually are really useful accessories to help contain the small items which need to be moved back and forth between those other big bags.    “Think Tank” has earned a reputation as a maker of great quality bags.  (I confess, I have three)  They have expanded their line up and one of my favorite new small bags is their portable and protective memory card holders.  

a.    $16.75

3.   Small accessory bags are also great for keeping track of the many small components. I have one bag for all my “Pocket Wizard” gear and another for things such as the charger and the various cords.   As a side note, they also have introduced little miniature bungee cords, called “red whips” which are just fantastic for keeping cords in check.  You will use them for everything.   $22.75

4. For stocking stuffers you can get protective covers for the camera and for your photographer as well.   The “camera condoms” come in 2 packs and can be stuffed into the camera bag.  $6.95


5.   Since Photographers love to be out in the early morning darkness and late into the night and obviously don’t care about looking cool there is another tremendously useful device you can get.  Find one of those bicycling or hiking headlamps.  When you are rummaging through the bottom of your camera bag, or trying to change the settings on your camera, they will come and thank you.  $17.99


6. When I am out shooting in daylight hours, the most common question I am asked when people see me using my “Hoodman Loupe” is “ooh, where can I get one of those.  It is one of those things that you wish you had been smart enough to think of.  It is a magnifying loupe which fits up against your camera’s LCD screen blocking out the sun and actually allowing you to see your photos.  Simple and very effective(Note, these used to be under $50, but they have crept up to$80.00)  Still worth it

7.   If you happen to actually like some of the pictures your SO takes, consider getting them printed on “Moo Cards”.

8.   If you don’t like the photos they take, then you might consider buying them some books on how take better pictures.  We think that the Scott Kelby books are very helpful.  They walk you step by step in an easy to digest conversational style.  $14.27

9.   You can consider getting them 3 months’ worth of subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud plan for Photographers.  At $9.99 a month, they will have to, and will want to take over the cost for the rest of the year.

10.   Finally, there are lots of great books by amazing photographers who can inspire and show how great photographs can capture more than just an instant in time.  They can grasp mood, emotion, passion, beauty and the full breadth of the world outside our lenses.   A few recommendations:

a.   Light, Gesture, Color—Jay Maisel

b.   From Oz to Kansas—Vincent Versace

c.    The Moment it Clicks—Joe McNally

d.   –Steve McCurry

Unfortunately, for my wonderful family, I already own everything on this list.  Maybe just a little outside the $50 limit, how about pre-ordering the rumored new Nikon D5?

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Mark

This blog is up a day early this week due to all the preparations for the holiday.  There are lots of turkeys who need to be stuffed and I am just one of them. 


Everyone is all tensed up and ready to hit the starting line for black Friday—not me, my shopping is 90% done already.  For those of you out there with photographers on your naughty list there are a lot of great deals out there to shove in their stockings.  Right now the best deal out there is the offer from Adobe for the special rate on the Photographer’s package which includes Lightroom, Photoshop CC, a Behance account and online storage.  Previously, you had to have a current version of PS to get the deal.   For only $10.00 a month—well, it is a great deal but which won’t be around forever.

Small, relatively inexpensive gifts are sort of hard to find.  Here are a couple of suggestions:  A two-way level which fits onto your camera hot shoe can help get those horizons straight.

2 way bubble.jpg

Or perhaps a good Lens Pen cleaning system to take those nasty smudges from your glass.

Lens Pen.jpg

I’ll be the first to admit that Photoshop can be fairly challenging to learn and to master.  One of the really useful things you can give this year is some training.  Just getting them a membership to the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) gives them access to lots of free training, a great magazine and some pretty awesome discounts, that actually do pay for the $99 cost of the membership.  


You can also consider giving them a subscription to the thousands of hours of professional training through the  At $199 per year, it is a little pricier, but having unlimited access to the world’s best photographers and Photoshop experts is pretty impressive. 

Of course, if you want to spend lots of money, your photographer can certainly help with that.  We all might suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome or GAS.  Lots of new lenses and camera bags to put under the tree for your own turkey.