Bigger gifts for the photographer in your life

IMG_0064 copy

We’ve looked at little gifts for photographers, we’ve had a peek at books for photographers, but what sort of thing could you splash out on for a much-beloved photographer if you’ve a little bit more to spend? I’ve come up with some ideas that range from around the £50-mark, to potentially into the £1,000s, and cover those new to photography and more experienced hands, as well. (And yes, if you’re reading, Ma, there are a couple of things here that I wouldn’t mind.)


Buying lenses is a hugely personal thing. In fact, unless I were to be taken into a shop and asked, ‘Which lens would you like?’ I think there’s only one person on the planet I’d trust to give me a lens. That said, if your favourite photographer is not in possession of a 50mm prime lens, stop what you are doing right now and go buy her or him one. Really.

Lots of lovely prime lenses available from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

If your photographer is perhaps a bit more experienced and wants to try having some fun, then have a look at a lensbaby and be prepared for tilt-shift-a-go-go.

Lenbabies from, ehm, Lensbaby.


Swiftly following a prime lens, comes a tripod on the new photographer’s must-have list. There are quite a few different types out there: little ones, big ones, travel-weight ones, super-expensive ones, and fairly cheap ones. I’ve a Velbon 347. It cost me about £70. It isn’t super-tiny and it isn’t super-light. However, it does fit in my backpack and I can shlep it around. I’d recommend it. You can spend less if you want to, or you can spend more on a Giottos or a Manfrotto. This one’s middle-of-the-road.

Velbon 347 tripod about £60 from Amazon UK or around $130 from Amazon US.

In addition to a tripod, a gorillapod is a genius piece of kit. You can wrap its legs around almost anything to secure it – and your camera – almost anywhere. They don’t weigh very much and they aren’t ludicrously expensive, either. Superb!

Gorillapod for dSLRs, around £30 from Amazon UK or $40-ish from Amazon US.

Camera bag

Sloop camera bag (via Photojojo)

Me, I don’t want my camera bag to look like a camera bag. I’d rather that the dodgy guy sitting opposite me on the Tube didn’t know that my bag contains a few thousand pounds-worth of camera kit. For that reason, I’m rather partial to bags by AHA, Sloop, and Timbuk2. No, they’re not cheap, but my kit is more expensive. (Alright, I admit it, my thing for bags is almost as serious as my thing for shoes, too.)

AHA camera bags from Amazon UK, around £40.
Sloop camera bags from Photojojo for $149.99
Timbuk2 camera bags around $130.

Remote shutter release with timer

Earlier this year, we published a tutorial on making a time-lapse. It’s not something that’s easy to accomplish without a timer, though. Having a remote shutter release (great for self-portraits, too) and timer is a rather nifty addition to the kit collection.

Hähnel Giga T Pro 2.4GHz Wireless Timer Remote for Canon (also covers Pentax and Samsung, according to website), Nikon, Olympus, or Sony, around £60 from Amazon UK.
Hähnel Giga T Pro 300′ Wireless Shutter Release Timer Remote for Canon (also covers Pentax and Samsung, according to website), Nikon, Olympus, or Sony, around $100 from Amazon US.

Editing software

We’ve done a few reviews of editing software here at Small Aperture. For the occasional photographer, using one of the free options is absolutely fine, but for someone who is more serious about her or his photography, it’s worth investing in some software. For Team Small Aperture, it’s all about Adobe Lightroom 3 (but other editing suites are available).

Adobe Lightroom 3 from £232.65 or $299.

Compact camera

SLRs are wonderful, awesome, and amazing. But they’re not exactly pocket-sized. Having something that is pocket-sized is also wonderful, awesome, and amazing. The compact camera market is absolutely flooded right now, but if you want something that truly is pocket-sized and won’t leave a seasoned dSLR-user wanting to scratch out her or his eyes, then the Canon S95 seems to be a good pick.

Canon S95 available from Amazon UK for £302 at the moment, or Amazon US for $389!

Time away

One of the best presents that I’ve been given recently was a long weekend away with my best friend, our cameras, lots of fabulous food, and somewhere new to explore. We came home with awesome memories, fabulous experiences, and beautiful photographs. (And very full tummies, too.)

It’s the sort of present that can be organised for £250, or much, much more. Pick somewhere!

Any other suggestions? Let us know!