Do you have a friend or family member who’s interested in getting into photography—or maybe they’ve just started to dabble in it? Maybe you know that they’ve really got an eye for composition after following them on Insta for years, and think that the right gear could make a major difference in them really getting to dig into their passion for photography. It’s important to remember that just because something’s a hobby doesn’t mean that you can’t give that person accessories and equipment that help them elevate their craft.
That being said, the cost of photography gear can run the gamut in terms of price and quality. Obviously, if you’re giving someone a gift, you don’t want to buy something that’s too cheap or runs the risk of breaking. At the same time, your relationship may not warrant spending $1,000 or more on a camera lens. Whether the person you’re buying for is just starting out or has been taking photos for years, the following gift guide will help you find the perfect present for the amateur photographer in your life.
Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm lens
If the shutterbug you’re shopping for is still using their iPhone to take photos, buying them an actual camera will go a long way in helping them bridge the gap into amateur photography. Canon is known for its high-quality lenses and cameras, meaning that even a lower-end DSLR camera can capture stunning photos when paired with the right lens and lighting conditions.
The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is an incredible entry-level DSLR for amateur photographers, especially because Canon includes an 18-55mm kit lens with the package to get things rolling. Sharing the same setup and form factor as some of Canon’s higher-end cameras, it’s a great camera to learn the ropes on, thanks to features like 9-point autofocus and an optical viewfinder. Plus, with a 24.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, you’ll get excellent high-resolution photographs with an impressive depth of color and detail. The Rebel T7 even features WiFi connectivity so that you can quickly share your photos to your phone or computer and get them uploaded to social media.
Available for $399 from Amazon.
Many people think that photography is as simple as pointing your camera at something and pressing the shutter button; however, that’s an oversimplification of an art form that can demand serious technical and artistic chops. As such, any classes you can take as an amateur photographer are worth their weight in gold when it comes to building your skills. With a yearly Masterclass subscription, you can offer a world of knowledge to the gift recipient—all for the price of $180.
Two of Masterclass’ top photography instructors are world-renowned photographers Annie Leibovitz and Jimmy Chin. Leibovitz’s course is specifically tailored towards portraiture, with class sessions on working with light, shooting in a studio vs on location, the technical aspect of taking a great portrait, and how to work with your subjects. Jimmy Chin focuses on adventure photography, offering insights about crafting a narrative through your work and capturing your passions. Altogether, both instructors offer a treasure trove of information that any budding photographer can learn from, before watching seminars from other teachers like David Lynch, Martin Scorcese, and Misty Copeland about creativity and the life of an artist.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
If you’re shopping for a camera lens, it’s easy to quickly get overwhelmed by the array of numbers and acronyms you’ll face (not to mention how pricy some lenses are)! One tried-and-true lens you can turn to—if your gift recipient has a camera with an EF lens mount—is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. Affectionately called the “nifty fifty” by photographers of all stripes, this lens packs some serious punch at a price point under $150, from Amazon.
For portraiture, especially, the shallow depth of field offered by the Canon EF 50mm lens is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s a lightweight lens so it’s easy to toss in a camera bag, and the f-stop of 1.8 means that it performs incredibly well in low light situations, too. While its fixed focal length does mean that photographers need to physically maneuver themselves to get tighter or wider on a subject, the quality offered by this lens is well worth a more kinesthetic approach to shooting.
Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with Hybrid Head
A reliable tripod is another worthwhile gift to give an amateur photographer. After all, not every shot can be taken handheld, especially if you’re shopping for someone who’s interested in dabbling with long exposure photos or nighttime photography. Manfrotto is a trusted name in the manufacturing of sturdy tripods, and their compact 5-section tripod kit is an ideal, compact tripod for under $70, from Amazon.
Offered in a variety of heights, including a 51”, 61”, and 65” version, Manfrotto’s compact action tripod is built out of high-quality aluminum. This makes it lightweight to carry, but sturdy enough to accompany you while backpacking or hiking. The ergonomics of this tripod have been optimized for DSLR users, so if the person you’re shopping for already owns a DSLR without too many heavy lenses, this tripod is an excellent complement to their existing gear. With a weight limit of about three and a half pounds, you can even use it with some of your higher-end lenses if necessary.
K&F Concept 58mm ND Fader Variable Neutral Density Adjustable ND Filter
If you’re looking for a photography gift that’s a bit less expensive but still super useful, purchasing a neutral density filter is a great choice. ND filters help reduce the amount of light reaching the camera, which offers more options to photographers looking to control light as part of their shoots. Especially if you’re buying a gift for someone who’s a nature enthusiast and does a lot of birding or outdoor photography, an ND filter can be particularly helpful in reducing glare from the sun.
One thing that makes K&F’s neutral density filter such a great option for amateur photographers is that it’s adjustable. This means that rather than swapping different filters on and off of your camera lens, you can adjust it between nine different stops for a range of exposure settings. Keep in mind that it’s important to know what the threading on the lens is before you buy an ND filter since a 58mm lens threading will only fit with 58mm filters. Thankfully, K&F also offers ND filters in ranges from 37mm to 82mm.
Find it now for under $25 on Amazon.
Lowepro Camera Bag
A great accessory that many novice photographers don’t think about is a sturdy camera bag to house all of their equipment. As their experience with their hobby grows, so will the additional accessories and number of lenses that they’ll want to be able to take with them when going out to take some photos. There are, quite literally, hundreds of different camera bags on the market, all ranging in price. However, one leading brand when it comes to a reliable bag to store, carry, and protect your camera and other gear in is Lowepro.
Lowepro’s camera bags range from around $50 up to $300, but one of their more affordable bags is the Adventura SH 160 II. Featuring a modern design and relatively small size, this camera bag is great for storing your camera, two lenses, and a flash. A molded base offers protection from bumps as well as moisture, and it can be carried in a variety of ways, including by hand, over the shoulder, and using a belt loop.
You can find it on Amazon for $35.
5-in-1 Portable Reflector
Whether you’re shopping for someone who shoots outdoors or indoors, a reflector is a basic piece of equipment to add to their kit that offers a lot of flexibility. Selens offers a 5-in-1 portable reflector which can be used to help bounce light and brighten up subjects in a variety of ways. Featuring two comfortable grips and the ability to be folded into a compact shape, the Selens 43 inch circular reflector is easy to store and use.
Selens’ disc reflector makes it essay to switch between different colored materials in a snap. Whether you’re looking to bounce light using a white, soft white, black, gold, or silver color to bounce light off of, this reflector will do the trick. Find it on Amazon starting under $25.
Especially if you’re shopping for someone who likes taking pictures of other people, it can be important for them to have a variety of backdrops for their portraiture. This can help their portfolio have a distinct look and help differentiate shoots with the same subjects from each other. One of the cheapest places to find backdrops for indoor photography is a website called Backdrop Outlet.
Backdrop Outlet offers a vast arraay of backgrounds to choose from. Currently, they’re even running a buy-one-get-one free sale where you can stretch your gift budget even further by getting twice as many backdrops for the price of one, two, or three. From textured backgrounds like wood, brick, and marble to more abstract options, you’re sure to find some suitable choices when you browse their wide inventory. Priced at only $50 a piece and coming in a variety of sizes and finishes, it’s easy to get a great gift for the photographer in your life by shopping at Backdrop Outlet.
A Speedlite flash is an excellent gift that can really help an amateur photographer stretch their capabilities. For about $50, Neewer’s NW625 GN54 Speedlite Flash is an excellent entry-level option for about $50 that’s compatible with Canon DSLRs, as well as Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic. With vertical and horizontal rotation, it’s easy to aim your flash and bounce it off of walls or the ceiling to brighten up darker interior spaces. Rotating from -7 to 90 degrees vertically and -90 to 180 degrees horizontally, Neewer’s Speedlite is both flexible and versatile.
The Speedlite flash can be powered by batteries but also attaches to your camera’s hot shoe adapter, which also helps sync up the flash with the shutter button. In addition to attaching the Speedlite to your camera, it’s also possible to use the flash on a light stand, if necessary, making it one of the more versatile lighting options to toss in a camera bag. Find it on Amazon starting at $50.
Ultrapro Battery Grip Bundle
Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur, nobody wants to run out of power while on a photo shoot. The Ultrapro battery grip bundle solves all of these problems by extending the battery capacity of your DSLR camera from one battery to two. Together with two high-capacity rechargeable batteries, this vertical battery grip doubles how much power your Canon DSLR camera can run off of.
The grip connects to the bottom of a camera without compromising the option to secure your camera to a tripod, but is still quite ergonomic to use when shooting by hand, too. The Ultrapro battery grip bundle also comes with a rapid travel charger so it’s easy to get more juice for your batteries when you’re on the go. If you want to give the gift of peace of mind, it’s hard to go wrong with the Ultrapro battery grip bundle, which will keep the photographer you love shooting for hours and hours.