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!