Photographers are notoriously difficult to buy for. This month’s tip is geared towards helping you provide a list of some photography gifts that won’t break the bank for anyone looking to get you something special this season. Most of the items on this list are available online as well, so your gift giver won’t even need to leave their house to get you something you will use.
Tromping around in snow and mud ultimately pays off when it helps you capture the image you envision, but getting wet feet while you’re in the middle of taking the shot, can really put a damper on the process. NEOS Overshoes come in multiple styles and tech levels allowing them to cover your feet in a variety of ways. They are the perfect addition to your photography kit when conditions aren’t that optimal. We love them in locations like Alaska when we are photographing coastal brown bears.
Our recommendation is that you get your photos as close to perfect in-camera, and do your best to minimally adjust your images on your computer later. Primarily, because the less time you spend sitting in front of your computer, the more time you get to spend in the field photographing.
There are a myriad of filters and filter manufacturers out there, each supplying similar products in the marketplace. To help you narrow it down consider these two basic styles…
Circular Filters (Screw On Style)
Circular filters thread on to the end of your lens, and affect the entirety of your frame. We typically use Neutral Density (solid or variable) or Polarizers (circular or color enhancing). Within these types of filters there are many different options including color correction, beauty filters, vignettes and more.
Where a Circular filter allows you to adjust your photo by coloring or darkening the entire visible area of the photograph, a Graduated Density Filter allows you to even out high dynamic exposure in an image to match your creative vision. Graduated filters are made of rectangular glass or resin, with only half of the glass coated with a darkening or color adjusting coating.
Resources for Purchasing Filters
Cokin Filters http://www.cokin-filters.com/creative/filters/
Tiffen Filters http://www.tiffen.com/filters.htm
REMEMBER: If someone you know purchases a Singh-Ray filter, have them use code GOODRICH10 to receive 10% off the total order!
VSCO (Visual Services Company) did something really creative with their business model – they produced a series of presets for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw that simulate many of the films from the film days. While every photographer remembers film (at least on some level), there are a few films that standout through photographic history. The VSCO team now gives you FujiChrome Velvia, Kodak Tri-X 3200, and hundreds more at a simple click a button. Here’s what they have to say about themselves on their website:
“Our goal is to honor art and artist while fueling a worldwide creative movement through innovative tools and experimental projects.”
The bottom line here – if you use VSCO software on your computer, you can quickly replicate a particular look, or evoke a particular feel that film gave you without spending a ton of hours creating your own Lightroom or Camera Raw presets. We use them as a key starting point in our processing work flow, and highly recommend them. This is a really inexpensive way to take your photography to a new level. While it won’t help you in the field like some of our other gift ideas, it will certainly take your digital darkroom to a new creative level.
Check out the VSCO websites for all the details, options and pricing info.
For your computer:
They also have an app for your iPhone/iPad/Android:
The staff here at TPW uses and recommends SanDisk cards and card readers, but there are plenty of manufacturers, sizes, speeds and styles available beyond our choice.
After many conversations with photographers, two schools of thought emerge. The first, is to get more cards at a slightly smaller size (16MB instead of 32 or 64MB) so that if you lose a card you don’t lose that many images. The second, is get the biggest card you can (64MB or larger) and shoot all day. More memory equates to a greater cost per card, so keep that in mind as you reach for your credit card. Larger sensors create larger files, so keeping plenty of memory on hand and accessible is a great idea as well.
Another gift option within this category is to get memory card storage to safely transport your cards to and from the shoot. While there are a number of options out there, look to companies that sell camera cases or backpacks. Pelican makes a waterproof hard-case option and Think Tank has a soft sided version that fits in your pocket like wallet.
Electronic devices, especially ones as complicated as the DSLR’s we all use, require power. Often a lot of it. Having an extra set of batteries may be the difference between getting the shot or yelling at yourself later. We recommend spending a little extra and purchasing the manufacturers batteries. You can find batteries with more charge (and potentially a longer use time in camera) but you may not get the same warranty or guarantee from the manufacturer. Non-OEM batteries may be more prone to issues as well. We cannot state with any certainty that buying a battery not made by your camera manufacturer will damage your gear, but we leave that decision up to you.
It seems that every photographer has some type of eBook these days. You’ll find eBooks to help you take better pictures, many will tell you where great locations are, and even more will show you beautiful images. You’ll find them on many photographer’s websites, so once you find a photographer whose style or look appeals to you, check to see if they have created any eBooks that speak to you. You’ll find a number of offerings from Jay Goodrich and if you sign up for his newsletter they are all free!
Our goal with this list is to provide a few specialty items that we use that will not break the bank for anyone looking to get you a photography gift this season. This way you may actually get something useful for photography, instead of some gag photographer gift that doesn’t help you further your craft.