The Photographers Christmas Gift Guide 2020 (things your favourite photographer actually wants)

It’s that wonderful time of year, where you get to fly into a blind panic trying to think of thoughtful and meaningful presents for the people in your life. Some people are easy to buy for, others not so much.

For those who are a little more tricky to buy for, you can usually fall into one of three traps:

  1. Generic seasonal food/drinks (not a bad thing per se, but we all know it’s an easy gift)
  2. The lynx/bodyshop/shower gel gift-set
  3. You know they have a hobby or interest, so you latch onto it as a gift crutch (where this article is here to help!)

Photography is a subject so broad that I could easily write a different gift guide for every kind of photographer out there. Everyone has different interests, tastes, and equipment so there’s rarely a one size fits all solution when it comes to gifts.

That being said I’d like to mention on behalf of the whole community, we already have a camera-shaped mug, we already have camera-shaped shot glasses, yes I actually have not one, but two camera lens shaped coffee flasks and I have personally seen about 100 other camera shaped decorations, gifts, even egg timers.

I’d like to help you make this the best Christmas ever for the photographer in your life. I’ve listed a few of the best ideas and products below to help you navigate the tricky world of gift buying this Christmas!

CameraFilmPhoto have released this amazing advent calender for film photographers in 35mm and medium format. A perfect way to get them fully into the Chistmas spirit! This does comes in at $90USD (£68.21appx) BUT it does have 11 rolls of film inside so it’s actually a decent price for something that is a bit of a novelty!

Dora Goodman is one of the most prolific camera makers on my radar at the moment. She first caught my attention by recladding old cameras in wood making them look even more luxurious than they already were. Over the past few years she began making her own 3D printed camera kits including the GOODMAN ZONE and now the SCURA. These cameras are available as ready to assemble kits direct from Dora or you can get the files and print your own at home if you own a 3D Printer!

The SCURA is a stunning little kit that I hope to add to my own collection some day, a wide format 35mm pinhole camera that is currently in an Xmas Edition which includes a roll of film and custom engraving. There are plenty of optional extras that you can choose with the camera but the base kit is perfect for just under £80!

Film, get them all the film you can. As someone who shoots mostly analogue I can tell you that there is never enough film in the world and your beloved photographer will truly appreciate whatever you get for them. It is best to do a little research of the work they make by checking out their instagram/social media (if they shoot mostly Black and white, probably best to get them some more!) I usually pick my film up in person from the labs, shops in my area including Express Imaging, and Camera Centre UK but Analogue Wonderland has one of the biggest catalogues of film online that I’ve seen recently!

I’m a collector at heart and Polaroid has had some interesting collaborations. The variation in the vintage polaroid market is insane politely speaking. Through the years the company came and went through various hands eventually ended up doing what they did best once again, making cameras! This year they released a Special Edition collection in partnership with The Mandalorian. The camera is stunning and comes with all the latest features found on this new breed of instant cameras, they even released the i-type film with frames associated with the series. Worth checking out if you want to get a bigger gift they probably don’t already have yet!

If you’ve heard your photographer talking about getting into home processing or has recently gotten into film photography then I cannot recommend the Patterson 4 Developing system starter kit that you can pick up from most reputable photography stores but I’ve included a link for AG Photographic as they’re a great supplier!

Books can be a wonderful gift for photographers of every level, be it information at reference books for those learning or books about their favourite artists and photographers. The Photographers Gallery in London has a whole collection as you’d expect (their shop has some excellent gifts too) but its worth looking around your area too. Local indy bookshops often stock things like zines or local photography like Shelf Life in Cardiffs own Castle Emporium.

Prints are a little more risky as a gift, knowing who you’re buying for is gonna be a massive plus. Talking to them about their inspirations and finding out what kind of photography they like is gonna be as enjoyable for them as a print of their favourite artists! Always go direct to the artist to get a print if you can, or you can trawl the Magnum Photo Agency online shop until you find something you think they’ll love!

Some people have a real issue with buying gift-cards, thinking that they are in some way impersonal or otherwise not a good gift to give. But gift-cards and vouchers are one of the best ways to make sure they’re really getting what they want. Pretty much any of the websites in this list have gift-cards available but I’d recommend checking out what local stores they use in your area and shop local where you can!

One of my favourite online stores is Lomography, they have all kinds of weird cameras and a whole load of specialist film stocks!

If you find yourself wincing every time your photographer is outside because it may be because they are running around with an expensive camera and no way to protect it. Companies like Hyperion Camera Straps give them that little added security and a little style without breaking the bank!

I hope you found this post to be of use this holiday season, just remember that the major takeaway and perhaps the most important point here is to engage with the photo enthusiast in your life. Even having conversations with them and showing genuine interest in what they’re doing will a be a gift in itself!

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