2011 Frugal Gift Guide for Photographers

Gift Guide

Let’s face it – the economy being what it is, the really high end items are likely out of the reach of most mortals.  While it’s true that in some cases “you gotta pay to play” (i.e. sports photography), there are economical ways to handle most any photo challenge.  Some are tried and true, some are innovative and new, while others are just plain cool!  The rules for my gift guide are simple – everything must be under $50! The reason?  Well, lots of photographers are posting their own versions of “Gift Guides”, and some are just plain decadent with money.   Ladies and gents, I give you…

The 2011  Frugal Gift Guide for Photographers

1.  Lens Cap Keeper – courtesy of the folks over at Photojojo, this handy lenscap keeper gets added to your camera strap and makes for a clever way to handle two lens caps (one size on each side…with varying sizes available).  It’s only $18, so definitely cheap enough to consider adding to your camera bag.  Fair warning – if you use the Rapid Strap from Black Rapid, it’s not going to fit.

2.  Camera Bag Flashlight – while most wouldn’t think twice to get a basic flashlight from the local Target, Wal-Mart or whatever your shopping preferences call for, consider getting one with a red light instead of the harsh white LED ones.  The red filter introduces less light pollution for your shots and those of others who may be around you.  I recommend the one linked here for night and astro-photography.

3.  A Spare Battery – Always a good thing to have is some spare batteries.  As we head into the colder temperatures of the year, you’ll be surprised at how quickly that juice will just drain away.  The crop sensor battery for the Canon SLR line is linked here (20D – 50D), but B&H carries most batteries for $50 or less. (The LP-E6 for newer models is a smidge over $50…)

4.  Gaffer Tape – Take your pick of size, width, color, to any degree you want – most are well under $50 and can be used for emergency repairs, marking a trail, and a myriad of other uses – it just makes sense to have a roll in your bag.  I would definitely recommend a colored one though as it’s easier t find in your bag or if used in trail marking.

5.  Gray Card Set – If you really want to get your colors spot on, a Gray card is an awesome budget-friendly option to ensure you know where your absolute white, black and 50% gray points are in any image.  These three cards are great for on-location work as they can snap off your neck strap easily to throw into a scene for a quick shot setup.  At only $10, a great accessory for any camera bag.

6.  Expo Imaging Lighting Gels – A great way to color the light of a scene to your particular tastes, and they are re-usable for all your lighting needs, these have got to be the most cool things I’ve seen with lights in ages.  At only $30, you can’t go wrong!

Those are my best picks of the year for 2011!  Have you got your own just perfectly cool photo accessory?  What really struck a chord for your camera gear bag under $50?  Sound off in the comments as more gift giving ideas are always a good thing!

I’m going on Auto Pilot


After some serious burning of the night oil, I’ve got the last Newsletter of the year ready for release – if you want to get it, the push goes out at 10:30am eastern time.  This means subscribers will also get a sneak peak of the final 5 items on the 25 for $50 gift guide list for 2010.  That final list will be released here on the blog tomorrow with full photos and write-ups of each, so if you miss the newsletter, be sure to stop in on Wed. for that.

The final podcast for 2010 is recorded and in the gates, ready to be run on Thursday too, so this is going to be a week with lots of multimedia and distributions for everyone to download and enjoy as we head into the holiday season.  On that note, I’ll be enjoying the rest of this week off (so no blog post on Friday), and hopefully get the rest of my own family and friends shopping completed in short order.  What is it – ten shopping days left?  If you’ve not started yet, time’s a wastin!

And, oh yeah, one last item to note…Lightroom has had it’s latest update to 3.3, and Camera Raw (for CS5 users) to 6.5!  You can grab the downloads here for Lightroom, and on the Raw Converter the downloads are Windows and Mac specific.

So, on that note, I am going to let the powers of scheduled posts and media distribution do their work while I catch up on a few Z’s and other things!  I will check in periodically for comments, questions, and other feedback items, but for the rest of the week, this baby’s on auto-pilot!  Happy shooting, and we’ll see you next week…..unless of course anyone has any questionszzzzzzzzzzzzzzz?