We recently posted two other Photographer’s Holiday Gift Guides, but, thanks to a comment from one of my Twitter followers, I’ve been inspired to present my list of Ten Great Gifts for Photographers for Under $100. Check out the list, and feel free comment.
By the way, if you’re on Twitter, why not follow @TheLightroomLab?
You might also want to check out technex’s Flickr photostream here. He’s the one who suggested I come up with some more reasonably-priced gift suggestions. As always, thanks for the feedback!
#1: National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) Membership – $99
The National Association of Photoshop Professionals is a unique trade organization best known for its stellar training resources on Adobe’s software products. A one-year NAPP membership includes the following benefits:
- 8 issues of Photoshop User magazine written by the best Adobe® Photoshop® gurus on the planet.
- Photoshop User Bonus Issue explaining the latest features of Photoshop CS4, including a Q&A by Matt Kloskowski and little known changes by Adobe’s Terry White. Only available to NAPP members.
- Professional development resources like video tutorials, a portfolio gallery, a user forum, a job board, and more.
- Weekly tips, tricks and techniques via the PhotoshopUser TV podcast featuring “The Photoshop Guys” Scott Kelby, Dave Cross, and Matt Kloskowski (No membership needed for this one, however).
- Tech Support to answer your Photoshop questions, provide solutions, and give advice on systems and camera gear.
- Special discounts on instructional books, DVDs, online training, and seminars from Kelby Training. Plus, exclusive offers from Apple, Adobe, B&H, Dell, Wacom, Epson, and more.
It’s not just Photoshop, itself, either. NAPP provides some great resources on the whole Photoshop family, including…our favorite…Lightroom! The NAPP Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Learning Center is for members only.
A one-year membership costs only $99…less than $9 per month! Click here to join the National Association of Photoshop Professionals!
#2: Western Digital My Passport Essential 320 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive – $99.99
I mentioned my favorite portable external hard drive, the somewhat-more-pricey LaCie Rugged Drive in my previous Holiday Wish List post, but I also carry one of these Western Digital Drives to use as my Time Machine backup drive on my MacBook Pro. For a Time Machine backup drive, you’ll ideally want one that’s larger than your computer’s internal hard drive. Therefore, if you have a 320 GB drive in your laptop, you might want to throw down the extra $40 for the 500 GB version.
The Western Digital My Passport Essential 320 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive has performed well for me so far. It’s only a USB 2.0 connection, not as fast as the FireWire 800 connection I enjoy on my Rugged Drive, but perfectly functional for a backup device. At only $99 from Amazon.com, it’s a real bargain.
#3: Lensbaby Muse – $99 (with plastic optics)
Lensbaby has come up with some fairly innovative products over the last few years, but they are really on a roll lately. They started with the Original Lensbaby, the faster Lensbaby 2.0, the Lensbaby 3G, and now their line consists of three Lensbabies:
- The Muse
- The Composer
- The Control Freak
If you want to start playing with the Lensbaby look, you might want to give the Lensbaby Muse a try. It comes with either glass or plastic optics. The plastic optic will only set you back $99. It’s a Lensbaby, after all. Do you really need glass?
Not familiar with the Lensbaby look? It’s not for everyone, so check out the Lensbaby Group on Flickr for some examples.
#4: SmugMug Power Account – $60
There are lots of image sharing websites out there. Many of them are free. So, why should you pay for it? Here’s why I think paying for SmugMug is a good decision:
- Unlimited Storage and Traffic
- No ads for you or your clients
- Customized themes and branding on your sharing site
- Site and gallery password protection (optional)
- Gallery-level product sale control
They offer three levels of membership; Standard ($39.95/yr), Power ($59.95/yr), and Pro ($149.95/yr). Most users will be just fine with the Power plan.
The SmugMug Pro account is outside the self-imposed $100 limit for this article, so I hesitate to mention it, but it adds the ability to store and share HD video, place custom watermarks on your images, and set prices for sales so that you can make a profit.
While your waiting for Santa to fulfill you list, you can sign up for a free, 14-day trial (no credit card needed…no risk) by clicking here or take the SmugMug quick tour.
#5: OP/TECH Pro Camera Strap – $13
This may not look like much, but if you’re still carrying your camera around with the strap it came with, the OP/TECH 37012 Pro Loop Camera Strap is worth every penny.
The biggest advantage with this strap is not some fancy, super-specialized feature. It stretches. The strap is built from a material that actually helps to eliminate some of the stress and strain on your neck and back that can result from carrying your camera. I know. It’s hard to believe. But it really is the most comfortable camera strap that I’ve ever used.
It’s available from Amazon.com for less than $13.
#6: Kata LAB-21 Computer Bag – $70
With my laptop functioning as my main computer and accompanying me almost everywhere I go, I’ve tried a lot of computer bags. My favorite, by far, has to be the Laptop Advanced Bag (LAB) from Kata. Originally producing items for military service, Kata’s experience has resulted in the release of heavy duty, practical, and quite different camera and computer bags for both video and still photographers.
In a nutshell, there’s plenty of padding and rigid protection as well as lots of somewhat-modular compartments in which to store cables and accessories. From a glance at Kata’s website, it looks like this bag has been discontinued, but it’s still available at B&H Photo, as well as some other retailers.
#7: Animoto All-Access Pass – $30
I just recently discovered Animoto, and, boy, was I impressed! It’s basically a web site where you can upload photos and have them (almost) instantly turned into a very interesting, dynamic movie.
This 30-second clip took me just moments to create, and…it was free!
Right now, you can create an unlimited number of 30-second shorts for free. You can pay by the full-length video ($3/video) or get an All-Access Pass for only $30/year. This allows you an unlimited number of videos and downloads. Cool!
If you’re a commercial photographer (wedding, event, etc) you may be interested in an Animoto for Business account. For the price of $99 for three months (or $249 for a year), you get full, no-strings-attached use of the videos you create. From Animoto’s website:
“If you’re choosing music from our library of 175+ commercially-licensed tracks, you can distribute your videos in any way you like. There are no licensing hurdles to jump through. In fact, you could even run your 60 second Animoto video as a 60-second spot during the Super Bowl! And, Animoto makes it easy to distribute your video online, share via email, or simply download and burn straight to DVD. The possibilities are endless.”
Most users won’t be reselling videos, however, and will be quite happy with a $30/yr All-Access Pass. Click here to check it out.
If you’re gonna give it a go, be sure and tell them we sent you by entering our referral code when you sign up: odywakxu Thanks!
#8: Joby Gorillapod – $22
If you have a point and shoot (which I think everyone should have), you’ll love this functional little tripod. The Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod has legs that flex to almost any angle and stay where you put them allowing you to position your camera on all kinds of terrain. You can even wrap the legs around a post or branch or bike handlebars. It also sports a low-profile quick release for easy use. It’s no full-sized tripod, but its light weight (around 8 ounces) and size (less than 2x2x6 inches) allow for easy transport when compared to a traditional tripod.
Priced at $22 from Amazon.com, this is a must-have for point-and-shooters. (Hint: I’m a professional photographer and photography instructor. I love my point-and-shoot. If you carry your SLR with you everywhere you go, then maybe you don’t need a point-and-shoot, but remember, if you don’t have a camera with you, you won’t get the shot.)
Joby also makes SLR and SLR-Zoom models priced at $40 and $50, respectively. They are beefier and supposed to support an SLR and/or and SLR with a zoom lens. Yeah, right! I’ll believe it when I see it. For your full-size camera, stick to a full-size tripod.
#9: Refurbished Apple 8GB iPod Nano – $99
Yeah, Yeah..I know. I cheated for this one. But it really is a good deal. You can the previous-generation 8GB iPod Nano for only $99 from Apple with a one-year warranty.
Why for photographers? Well, first of all, you can sync photos in JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PSD (Mac only) and PNG formats to the iPod for viewing. Of course, there’s the obvious: music and videos while traveling to that exotic shooting location (or just waiting for the bride to throw that bouquet, already!). With an adapter (sold separately) you can even show those movies or photo slideshows to a a client on a TV from your new iPod.
The $99 refurbished models are available at the Apple Online Store for a limited time.
#10: Petzl TacTikka Plus 4-LED Headlamp – $36
Here’s another non-obvious photographer gift, but something that any nature photographer shouldn’t be without. The Petzl TacTikka Plus 4-LED Headlamp is small and lightweight (78 grams, with batteries). The 4 impact-resistant LED bulbs will burn for up to 150 hours and the included pull-down red filter helps preserve night vision. It’s comfortable to wear, easy to use, and even has a flashing mode in case your adventures take you a bit too far.
This is my most-used out of the half-dozen or so Petzl headlamps that I own. I highly recommend it. It’s only $36 at Amazon.com.
#11: Bonus Gift – TheLightroomLab.com Newsletter Subscription – FREE!!!!
If you like what you see here, why don’t you try out our FREE newsletter subscription? You’ll get email updates of our new articles and tutorials (no more than one email per day). Plus, no SPAM, we don’t sell or trade our email list, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.
To sign up, just enter your email address in the Subscribe box near the upper-right of this page OR just fill it out right here:
Fill us in on your Holiday desires in the comments below. You never know who might be making a list and checking it twice…
Filed Under: Uncategorized