The best presents for photographers

This is the 2018 edition of my “what are the best gifts for photographers” suggestions. Each year I ask the A Year With My Camera community for their suggestions. This year there were 12,000 students taking AYWMC, and these are both their most popular ideas and my own personal recommendations.

Click on any image to be taken to the product page.

Prices are as published in early November 2018, and may have changed since I wrote this post.

Edit 30/11/18 - total raised from 13 to 30 November is £393.10


 

All of the links to Amazon products in this post have affiliate links. Unlike any other camera review site, not only do I tell you this up front, but I also donate all the affiliate income from this page to my favourite charity, Charity Water. If you click one of the links in this post, and then go on to buy the item, Amazon will refund between 4 and 8% of the purchase price to my affiliate account at no cost to you. I pass on all this income to Charity Water. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THESE LINKS TO BUY THE PRODUCTS, and this does not express or imply that Amazon supports this or any other particular charitable cause - I need to make that clear to stay within Amazon terms of service: you can search for the suggested items directly within Amazon to avoid using the affiliate links below.

If a product is not sold on Amazon, no donation is made.

 

If you want to make a donation to our current fundraising, click here:


For Beginner Photographers

Which camera?

 Best mirrorless camera for beginners: Sony A6000 with 16-50mm lens (£500)

Best mirrorless camera for beginners: Sony A6000 with 16-50mm lens (£500)

 Best DSLR for beginners: Canon 1300D with 18-55mm lens (£400) - for bonus points buy the 50mm lens as well (it has a wider max aperture)

Best DSLR for beginners: Canon 1300D with 18-55mm lens (£400) - for bonus points buy the 50mm lens as well (it has a wider max aperture)

 To go with the 1300D: a less frustrating lens than the kit lens shipped with the camera. (£100)

To go with the 1300D: a less frustrating lens than the kit lens shipped with the camera. (£100)

Best “how to learn photography” book for complete beginners

 My very own beginner’s course. This is Workbook 1 in a 2-part series, and will get your beginner off auto, and shooting well composed, well lit, creative images with confidence. (£20)

My very own beginner’s course. This is Workbook 1 in a 2-part series, and will get your beginner off auto, and shooting well composed, well lit, creative images with confidence. (£20)

 The planner that goes along with the A Year With My Camera course. (£12)

The planner that goes along with the A Year With My Camera course. (£12)

Gifts for any photographer

 Lens wipes - essential for anyone. (£13)

Lens wipes - essential for anyone. (£13)

 SD card to iPad/iPhone lightning adaptor (£25)

SD card to iPad/iPhone lightning adaptor (£25)

 Instax SP-3 square intant printer. (£165)

Instax SP-3 square intant printer. (£165)

 Fast, large capacity SD card. (£27)

Fast, large capacity SD card. (£27)

 1TB external storage PC or Mac (£75)

1TB external storage PC or Mac (£75)

A Year With My Camera hoodies and accessories

 AWYMC zipped hoodie (£31.99)

AWYMC zipped hoodie (£31.99)

 AYWMC water bottle (£12.99)

AYWMC water bottle (£12.99)

 AYWMC organic sweatshirt (£28.99)

AYWMC organic sweatshirt (£28.99)


For intermediate photographers

Which camera?

 Panasonic G9 with 12-60mm lens. A versatile compact mirrorless camera that will grow with the photographer. (£1,700)

Panasonic G9 with 12-60mm lens. A versatile compact mirrorless camera that will grow with the photographer. (£1,700)

 Canon 6D Mark II body only. A full frame DSLR for photographers who have moved off their beginner’s plateau. Buy the 50mm f1.8 lens (next item) to go with the body. (£1,600)

Canon 6D Mark II body only. A full frame DSLR for photographers who have moved off their beginner’s plateau. Buy the 50mm f1.8 lens (next item) to go with the body. (£1,600)

 50mm f1.4 lens - the next level up from the beginner’s 50 1.8 lens above. Buy this instead of the kit lens, if the photographer is serious about wanting to learn photography rather than take snaps (£340)

50mm f1.4 lens - the next level up from the beginner’s 50 1.8 lens above. Buy this instead of the kit lens, if the photographer is serious about wanting to learn photography rather than take snaps (£340)

Intermediate-advanced gift ideas

 A lightpainting kit: all the rage in camera clubs - this kit is designed for photographers (£17)

A lightpainting kit: all the rage in camera clubs - this kit is designed for photographers (£17)

 Part 2 of my year-long photography course. Covering editing, using a tripod, landscape, macro and printing. (£25) ( If you are reading this in November 2019, there may be a limited edition signed version available: click here for details .)

Part 2 of my year-long photography course. Covering editing, using a tripod, landscape, macro and printing. (£25) (If you are reading this in November 2019, there may be a limited edition signed version available: click here for details.)

 Another popular craze this year - the crystal ball used to invert a landscape (£13)

Another popular craze this year - the crystal ball used to invert a landscape (£13)

Books for the photographer who is beyond the basics

Experience days and subscriptions are always appreciated

These are mostly UK based, but there will be similar near you.

A Readly subscription (gives access to 1,000s of magazines for a monthly subscription, from £7.99)

Subscription to the British Journal of Photography (6 issues £39.99, 12 issues £74.99)

Photography day at the British Wildlife Centre (Surrey)

Membership at the V&A which has a new photography centre, or a gift from their photo shop (London/online)

Subscription to On Landscape magazine (£59 pa)

A Fujiholics workshop or photo walk (for Fuji users in the UK)

A workshop with Paul Gallagher’s Aspect 2i (UK and worldwide)

Subscription to “set up and done” cloud backup service, Backblaze (from $5 per month)

Membership to the Royal Horticultural Society, the National Trust, or English Heritage, for some great days out.

Before you book a birds of prey experience day, please read this post: Let’s cuddle an owl (and other things wrong with captive birds of prey in the UK)


For landscape photographers

Books to inspire and inform

 The sky makes up at least half of any landscape shot, yet photographers don’t know enough about it. This book is essential reading for any serious landscape photographer. It’s an easy, fascinating and informative read.

The sky makes up at least half of any landscape shot, yet photographers don’t know enough about it. This book is essential reading for any serious landscape photographer. It’s an easy, fascinating and informative read.

 The Photographer’s Guide to photogenic places in the UK. The series includes Snowdonia, The Lake District, Northumberland, The Peak District, Scotland, London, and The Yorkshire Dales.

The Photographer’s Guide to photogenic places in the UK. The series includes Snowdonia, The Lake District, Northumberland, The Peak District, Scotland, London, and The Yorkshire Dales.

 Enjoy this cornucopia of black and white photography inspiration and advice from the master of the genre. And then book on one of his workshops.

Enjoy this cornucopia of black and white photography inspiration and advice from the master of the genre. And then book on one of his workshops.

 Any book by Galen Rowell will be a fabulous addition to a landscape photographer’s bookshelf, but this one in particular helps him or her develop the right mindset to capture with their camera what they can see in their mind’s eye.

Any book by Galen Rowell will be a fabulous addition to a landscape photographer’s bookshelf, but this one in particular helps him or her develop the right mindset to capture with their camera what they can see in their mind’s eye.

Kit to keep the photographer warm and powered up

 A Dry Robe (from £110) - for anyone who has to wait for long periods in the cold/wet. They were designed for triathletes, but they are perfect for outdoor photographers. This is me in my medium sized, long sleeve version (I am 5’ 7”). (They are heavy, so not suitable for hiking.)  Click to visit DryRobe.com

A Dry Robe (from £110) - for anyone who has to wait for long periods in the cold/wet. They were designed for triathletes, but they are perfect for outdoor photographers. This is me in my medium sized, long sleeve version (I am 5’ 7”). (They are heavy, so not suitable for hiking.) Click to visit DryRobe.com

 A heated jacket. What’s not to like? (£80)

A heated jacket. What’s not to like? (£80)

 Hiking shoes. Not waterproof, and not a substitute for hiking boots in extreme weather, but a good walking shoe in clement weather. (From £75)

Hiking shoes. Not waterproof, and not a substitute for hiking boots in extreme weather, but a good walking shoe in clement weather. (From £75)

 A collapsible stool to sit on whilst waiting for the aurora/sunset/clouds/kingfisher. (£15)

A collapsible stool to sit on whilst waiting for the aurora/sunset/clouds/kingfisher. (£15)

 Rechargeable head torch with red light option, to preserve night vision. (£22)

Rechargeable head torch with red light option, to preserve night vision. (£22)

 Anker portable, small power unit. (£27)

Anker portable, small power unit. (£27)

 Solar panel charging. (£37)

Solar panel charging. (£37)


For flower photographers

 Color Me Floral - arranging inspiration (£14)

Color Me Floral - arranging inspiration (£14)

 A Plamp (“plant clamp”). Perfect for holding stems whilst you use the camera. (£60)

A Plamp (“plant clamp”). Perfect for holding stems whilst you use the camera. (£60)

 Vintage flowers - more arranging ideas (£22)

Vintage flowers - more arranging ideas (£22)

 A vinyl backdrop from  Capture By Lucy . Shown here is my Azure backdrop with the White Floorboard as the table top. (£29.95, save 10% with the coupon “AYEARWITHMYCAMERA”)

A vinyl backdrop from Capture By Lucy. Shown here is my Azure backdrop with the White Floorboard as the table top. (£29.95, save 10% with the coupon “AYEARWITHMYCAMERA”)

 The British Flowers Book: the only comprehensive guide showing which British grown cut flowers, fillers and foliage are available each month throughout the whole year (and I took all the photos):  TheBritishFlowersBook.co.uk

The British Flowers Book: the only comprehensive guide showing which British grown cut flowers, fillers and foliage are available each month throughout the whole year (and I took all the photos): TheBritishFlowersBook.co.uk

A locally-grown flower delivery subscription: look for a flower grower near you, and ask for their “subscription bucket” price. UK growers are listed here: Flowers From The Farm


Books to read on the journey

These are the best books I’ve read this year - page turners with depth.

(Does your photographer drive a lot, or take long journeys? Get them a subscription to Audible, and they can download and listen as they travel.)


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Notes: I pay full price for all my kit, and don’t have any kind of relationship with any camera manufacturer. They don’t know I exist. I shoot Canon (5DIV) and Fuji (X-T1). I don’t like the entry level Nikon cameras for photographers who want to learn how to take photos off auto, because they don’t have a pre-shot histogram option making it very difficult for beginners to learn how to expose properly. If the person you are buying for never wants to progress off auto mode, then the equivalent entry level Nikon would be fine. The more expensive Nikons are entirely comparable with the Canons, and it’s hard to choose between them. I need to pick just one camera in each category for this post, otherwise it would be far too long and not very useful, and I shot with a 6D for many years which is why I recommend it for the intermediate camera.

If a close relative came to me and asked for a recommendation within a budget and experience level, the cameras I would suggest are the ones in this post.

Emma Davies