You know how it always is with photographers, whether you are one or even if you just know one. They will buy things for themselves, on a daily basis if they can afford it, always talking about the new toys and gadgets they have bought at the cost of what they could have spent taking their loved ones for a night out or even a weekly all inclusive holiday to some sunny climate with their whole family...
But don't think a years worth of selfish purchases means they still don't expect christmas gifts from you. So what do you buy someone who seems to have everything? Well, here are some of my suggestions.
1. Camera Lens Mug
What is it? It is a mug that has been shaped to look like a SLR lens. They come in different models, but more importantly brands, make sure that you buy the right lens for the camera your gift receivers uses, There is a massive camera brand rift between photographers, and choosing the wrong one will have consequences, ranging from having the hot coffee in the mug violently spat in your face, right to the inconsolable sulking and huffing. And you know how world ending it is to have a sulking photographer on your hands.
Appreciation level? 3/10: Well... Umm... to quote Jeremy Clarkson on a christmas episode of Top Gear... If you know someone really likes the Ferrari Enzo... They want a Ferrari Enzo... not a picture of one on a tea towel. The same theory can be used here, a photographer wants a new lens, not a lens shaped mug. But... photographers do drink a lot tea or coffee, so this is a much more practical gift than the tea towel example. Some of the lens mugs even come with a lens cap which makes a perfect holder for the many Jaffa Cakes they will eat too.
How Much? £10 - £30
2. iPhone Lenses
What is it? iPhone lenses are attachments for the popular Apple communication device (I'm sure there are ones for other phones too, but every 'real' photographer will surely be an Apple user). They come in all different shapes and sizes, from full case multi lens dials to single stick on magnetic ones, with a range of different lens styles from fish eye to colour effects. Which one you get is purely down to your budgets.
Appreciation level? 6/10: Walk up to some professional photographers and say you shoot all your stuff on iPhone and you are likely to get slapped. They will all profess that it is sacrilege... but don't worry, secretly and deep down they can't help but take little snaps on their phone. So even if they pretend to hate this gift, you can be assured they secretly love it.
How Much? £15 - £200
Where? Various Places for Various Brands
3. LensBaby Control Freak
What is it? Welcome to the world of Tilt-Shift. Tilt-Shift photography is a rather big trend at the moment, it's a selective focus technique that can create interesting fashion images or even make real life locations look like a miniature set. The Control Freak is a very good value for money option compared to the more traditional tilt shift lenses on offer.
Appreciation level? 9/10: They will love it. Every photographer likes new composition techniques to play with. Be careful though if you are buying one for someone you spend a lot of time with, because you will either not see them much for a while, or if you are out with them, everything will take longer to get around as they will be fiddling with their cameras a lot more.
How Much? £200
4. Adobe Creative Suite Keyboard Skins
What is it? Just like most computer programmes, the Adobe suite is full of shortcuts. These handy little slip over keyboard covers transform the boring black buttons with letters on, for a rainbow array of "press my magic function" buttons instead. They come in different styles for different programmes, but most photographers will want the Photoshop one.
Appreciation level? 7/10: Do you have one of those photographer friends who is always telling you of the hour or days worth of sleep depravation they have to endure with their coffee induced shaky hands and monitor glare square eyes just to make their images ready for the world to see? Chances are they are spending so much time on retouching because they haven't learnt the shortcuts yet. This product will speed them up a bit and might give them extra time to appreciate you. Although, they will probably use this spare time selfishly looking through catalogs of new gear instead.
How Much? Range from £9 - £35
5. The Photographer’s Ephemeris
What is it? Light, Light, Light... it's all about the Light. It's true though, light is everything in photography. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a handy little phone, tablet or desktop app that can show your photographer friend when sunrise and sunset will be and at what direction the light will come from from anywhere they point to on a map.
Appreciation level? 7/10: Gone will be the days of guesswork and missed opportunities. Buying this app will help your gift receiver a greater chance of getting good light every time they leave the door. Providing of course they don't miss the train or get stuck in traffic.
How Much? £8
Where? The Photographers Ephemeris
What is it? Its a twisty grippy tripod thing. They say it can attach to anything, but I bet it won't attach to the roundness of the photographers belly after munching on all those mince pies. It is good though. Trees, walls, and lamp posts are not difficult adversaries to the grippy GorillaPod. They also come in different sizes depending on what your photographer friend needs to attach to it.
Appreciation level? 7/10: Quite a lot of the time a photographer will leave the house without a tripod due to their weight and finger trapping abilities, and it's guaranteed on those days they will decide they needed one. The GorillaPod is small and light, so it should fit in a camera bag without a problem, providing of course they haven't already filled their bag with biscuits.
How Much? Depending on size: £20 - £100
Where? Calumet or any other reputable camera retailer.
7. Adobe Creative Suite Pillows
What is it? A soft and cuddly pillow designed, shaped and coloured to look like Creative suite logos. Come in 7 different styles to match seven different programmes.
Appreciation level? 4/10: If you have one of those friends who says they have sleepless days editing, what could be better than when they do finally get a chance to sleep, they have to crawl up with a constant reminder of why they were so tired in the first place... actually, now that I say it, they probably don't want a constant reminder of the bane of their lives. They are pretty though... and soft.
How Much? £15 each
8. The F-Stop Watch
What is it? It is a watch... with F-stop numbers instead of hour numbers... Umm... it has a strap... and... OK, its just a damn watch, Cant really say more than that.
Appreciation level? 2/10: This is one of those gifts you can only give to people who either have everything in the world already, or is one of those irritating people who say "I don't need anything for christmas" over and over. At least that way when they say "Why have you got me this weird watch?" you can just tell them its their own fault for not suggesting anything.
How Much? £30
9. The DIY Twin Lens Camera Kit
What is it? Lo-fi film cameras are quite on trend at the moment, and what can be better than building your own? Not only will you get the vintage film treatment when complete, but can also learn the internal workings of a camera, and all without an engineering degree too.
Appreciation level? 6/10: We have already learned a photographer likes toys. Well, they are also tech nerds too. So this gift will pander to both these emotions. Be careful though because your photographer friend will want to build this straight away, and will ignore you for the remainder of Christmas Day, and when they finally get it working, all the pictures they take will be of you... drunk... and annoyed at the loneliness you have had to deal with. Just try not to stamp on it in rage.
How Much? £20
10. Leica M Digital Camera
What is it? The Leica M is the daddy of pocket sized cameras, or at least it will be when it is released early 2013. It is possible to pre-order this camera though, meaning you can guarantee whoever you buy this for will be one of the first in the world to get their hands on one. The current, and replaced version, the M9 is the choice of celebrities, even Justin Bieber has been spotted with one.
Appreciation level? 11/10: Yes, 11... just like in Spinal Tap this gift would just be 1 more than what the scale was built for. If your photographer friend isn't already indebted to you for the remainder of their lives, prepare to have their soul under your thumb forever. It might look like an expensive purchase, but its quite a cheap investment for the years of slavery you get from them.
How Much? £5100 (but this is for body only, you will need lenses too)
Where? Clifton Cameras
So there you have it, christmas gifts sorted. All that's left now is the wrapping.
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