For those of you procrastinate on holiday shopping until the last minute, I understand your pain. We are indeed kindred spirits.. :P Here is a quick list to hopefully help you find some excellent photography gifts.
1. The Canon S95 ($369)
I have used Black Rapid straps for the past two years and my neck personally thanks me on a daily basis. I couldn’t live with out this strap. Plus, the new girlie model looks much better with evening wear :P
My first lens and one of my favourites. Great for portraits and food shots. A lot of new parents love this lens for baby photos. Tack sharp and super light to carry. If the $400 price tag is too much, get the 50mm f/1.8. At $100 it is a steal for a f/1.8 lens. If you shoot Nikon try their 50mm f/1.4.
4. Canon 100mm f/2.8L $879
If you have the $$, this lens says “I love you” on so many levels. This lens is one of the most beautiful lenses I’ve worked with. A must for photographers that love macros. It also works as an amazing portrait lens.
5. Moo Postcards ($19.99 for 10)
An excellent sentimental gift from one photographer to another or someone special. I just made postcards of my Disneyland trip and they turned out sensational. You won’t be able to get these before Xmas, so make an IOU for the New Year.
For $69 this is an excellent off-camera flash kit. It’s $50 off right now, so it’s a great time to buy it. I’ve been really happy with my new lighting set-up from Wescott, so I highly recommend their stuff. :)
This tripod has changed my life. I have nearly dunked my dSLR into a river several times because of a crappy tripod. It really is an investment for keeping your camera safe. This tripod is so secure, even for bigger lenses and light to carry for a massive tripod. If $400 seems too steep for a tripod, then try the Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 ($259). It’s a bit more weighty, but still a great tripod.
Again, another recent purchase I couldn’t be happier with. It’s not a super expensive ball head, but it works excellently and the quick release is a game changer. You can mount your camera in seconds and release it even quicker.
This is the best lightweight directional mic out there. Great for shooting videos with the 7D or 5DMKIIs. Improves sound quality 10 fold. I’ve had mine for over 3 years, throughout the 2010 Olympics, and it’s still one of my most used pieces of gear.
If you are thinking of doing portrait work or shooting events, you need a flash. The 430 is smaller and lighter than the 580EX and works well as an on-camera flash and as a second flash for off-camera strobist stuff. I have used it as a main strobe for portraits as well. I can’t speak for the Nikon version but David Hobby likes the Nikon SB-600 so I guess it’s good. There is a newer model, the SB-700 ($259) that’s worth a look as well.
Both are essential for an event photographer! I’ve been using an Omni-bounce for events and personal photos — like my trip to Disneyland. The Omni works great for shots of one or two people, but isn’t great for big groups, which you get a lot of at conferences and weddings. This is why you need something a bit beefier like the Lumiquest Softbox to direct nice soft, diffused light on your subjects!
Flash light generally makes people look like the undead, so slap on a nice orange gel and everyone will look like they just got back from a week in Hawaii. As well as being corrective filters, you can also use these gels to create fun and cool experimental photos.
13. Spiderlite TD5 Head ($363)
I just got one and I love it. Continuous light is perfect for video and great for stills. If you are a photographer that does both video and stills, this is an excellent lighting head. The daylight balanced fluorescents stay cool even when they’ve been on for hours. And I know because my boyfriend is currently using one as a lamp :| Not impressed.
14. Adobe Lightroom 3 ($299)
In all honesty, this is one of the best gifts you can give a photographer. My pictures would not look nearly as good without Lightroom. It’s noise reduction software alone is worth the price. I do almost all my RAW processing in Lightroom before I work on my shots in Photoshop. You can do almost everything in Lightroom, including dodging & burning and painting and trust me once you learn how to unlock the power of Lighroom — photographic glory will be yours!
15. Photojojo’s Bokeh Kit for dSLRs ($25)
Seriously fun and very addictive for bokeh nuts especially with a tree full of sparkly lights nearby…
16. Oh Snap! Camera Necklace ($18)
Cute little gift for the female photographer in your life.
Those are my recommendations without any affiliations or freebees :P, so these are all things I use and love. I hope my list helps ease your holiday shopping whoas a little or maybe gives you some ideas to put on your wish list for 2011!