The Eclectic 2016 Gift Guide For Photographers

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The Eclectic 2016 Gift Guide For Photographers

Christmas is weeks away and you have a photographer you can’t quite find the perfect gift for. You might have a budget or not. You could be a photographer reading this looking for a brilliant idea for a gift to buy or ask for.

Here is the last minute rescue. My list is a bit eclectic, reflects me I suppose. Some of these items I have or admire. Most of the links will take you to the maker’s site.  A google search with your home town will find most items available locally and there is always online shopping.

My list contains items for stocking stuffing, some things for a few bucks to some items that carry bigger investments, from photography gear to education.

So in no particular order here we go.


The Camranger. This is the coolest remote viewer. It connects through local wi-fi, creating its own wi-fi network. Take a shot, the jpg appears on your phone or iPad. You can even control your camera with it remotely. For more choice, they have a “revolve platform” feature so you can put the camera on then control camera movement. I have used it to great effect in shoots.

The Nice Clip. Its a little, handy lens cap and other item holder. Just a few bucks, clips to your camera strap or something similar. You will always know where your lens cap is.

Posing books

Inspiration lighting setup cards. You can also find posing guide packs. They come in a variety of unusual styles. You have a handy reference to set up lights or a guide for poses. If you are learning it is fantastic but still great if you are looking for some unusual things to add to a portfolio. This link takes you to some lighting set ups, Google search for other ideas.

Memory cards. In this digital world, it is the new film. What is not common knowledge is the speed of the flash card determines how fast you can get images from the camera onto the card then again from the card to the computer. If the flash card is slow the camera can’t transfer the data fast enough to clear the camera’s buffer. Stops motor drives cold. You don’t always need a huge size. I like the 8 to 16 sizes so I have to change the cards out, if I lose a card, I don’t lose everything.

Keep to brand names for these. I like Sandisk.

Spider Holster

How to carry the Camera. My new fav is the Spider Holster. Rides on my hip, no neck strain, no camera bouncing around. It securely locks and you feel like a quick draw gun fighter of the west.  Another good option is the Black Rapid approach. It’s a side shoulder strap that puts your camera on your hip, effortlessly pulls up for that sudden shot. Comes in dual camera straps. A whole bunch of imitators have sprung up, they are good too but these guys are the originals.

Learn – grow – from the pros. Creative Live is the coolest place.  They run 2 to 5 full day online workshops 5 days a week. Live instructors teach a full range of topics, from lighting to posing to business. Different pros, top of their game, emerging rock stars with cutting edge approaches. Buy a gift certificate for the course of their choice.


Canadian Imaging Conference. Nothing is better than learning live. Meeting that admired photographer, asking them questions; talking with other photographers, learning from them, building a network. Immerse yourself in four days of real life meetings, trade shows, full day workshops and hour or two lectures. There will be Instructors from across Canada and the US. A big bonus this year is that the convention is in Calgary April 16th thru 19th, 2016.

You can buy into the whole event, or just one program. There is nothing like live! I bought my ticket the day they came out.

Wifi your images off camera. The Eyefi is the coolest tool. It is a memory card that sends your images to a remote device.

The Gorilla Pods. These are wild, funky looking and oh so practical. Their unique leg design clings, hugs and wraps around nearly anything. They come in different sizes to hold any size camera gear. Good to put a flash onto too for more creative lighting with no clumsy light stands.


Monitor Calibration. Getting it right in the camera is one thing and important. But you have to be sure what you see on the screen is accurate and is what will be printed. The Spyder monitor calibrator is one of the best. You can google search for other choices. If you or your favourite photographer does not have one, they will see a transformation of their prints when they do.

Camera White Balances. With all the mixed lighting around, your images will have color shifts. It can take you hours to get your image’s color right. With this item, just make it your first shot. When you process your images, click the eye dropper on your neutral grey (while in camera raw of course) and poof, you have the perfect color. Mass process all your images with that balance and they are all perfect. You can even color calibrate your camera so the jpgs are perfect.

ColorChecker Passport

Battery holders. This is a few bucks but for the organized photographer, this is gold. It keeps all the batteries on hand, organized and to ready grab.

Rosco Color Gels. This set fits the flash heads. You get them in rolls or sheets. Most camera stores carry them. Rick Friedman will be teaching the magic of using them at the Imaging Conference. Lighting is not just about how bright it is or what quality; it is about what color it is and what mood it creates. These gels get you into creative lighting. You can paint with color. I love these. I have drawers of them.

Rosco gels

Camera Stores. Gift cards are always great. The Camera Store in Calgary is amazing. It is a toy store for camera buffs, pro or amateur. You will also find fantastic help at the Robinsons camera store. I know these guys personally, their goal is informing the camera buyer. The last of the big three in Calgary is Vistek.

The Think Tank Camera Cases. They have the whole line of bags for the modern cameraman. Some hold laptops or iPads, as well as gear. I travel with the airport bag. Once I watched a baggage handler drop it 15 or more feet to the tarmac, nothing damaged.

The Camera Store carries their whole line. Go down, poke, prod; fall in love with the new camera protectors.

Charity always works. In writing this list I came across the coolest charity group. Called 100 cameras it raises funds to teach children how to use cameras. To explore their world, express their vision and best yet, to raise funds by selling their images through 100 cameras.

There are so many things to put a big Christmas smile on any photographer. So if you are a photographer looking for cool things to get or someone looking for a perfect gift, you have the gold here.

100 cameras

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