Keeping your photos safe is your number 1 job as a photographer. Today I walk you through why buying a cheap external hard drive is a bad idea and what you can do to prevent data loss.Read More
Understanding what a RAW photo is and how to use it properly can be a huge step forward in your photography journey to taking better photos today!Read More
With the holidays fast approaching you may be thinking about gifts for the photographer in your life but with such a technical hobby it can be hard to know what to buy them. We are here to help you! Below is my list of the best 57 gifts for photographers broken down into what their interest is. So no matter if you’re shopping for the photographer who loves to photograph children and families or someone who loves to photograph animals and nature there is sure to be plenty of stuff on this list they would love to receive.
14 Gifts for Every Photographer on Your Holiday List:
Here are some gifts that would apply to any photographer no matter what they specialize in! These are pretty safe bets if you are unsure what to get that photographer in your life!
1: Computer Monitor Calibrator
This tool is essential if you plan on taking photography seriously as it ensures your computer is displaying accurate colors so your edits are correct!
2: Color Chip Chart
This handy card fits perfect in any camera bag. You take a photo of the chart before you start shooting your subject so when you start editing you can ensure your camera recorded accurate colors!
3: A Beautiful Camera Strap
The camera strap that comes with your camera can be kinds boring. Luckily a new camera strap is an easy and cheap upgrade to add some flare and personality to your shooting style.
4: A New Camera Bag
Having the right camera bag can make or break your shooting experience. You want a bag a large enough to carry the gear you want to bring, but not so big its a burden. I recommend these bags as great for day trips or even vacation!
5: A GoPro Action Camera
GoPro is the gold standard in action cameras. The GoPro Session 5 records beautiful 4k footage and is just slightly larger than an ice cube so you can get creative with it and put it anywhere!
6: A Drone
Drones use to be large, scary, and hard to fly. Not anymore! The DJI Spark is the perfect beginner drone. Small and ultra portable, has a wonderful camera, and with DJIs iPhone and android apps it can practicly fly itself!
7: An Instant Photo Printer
There is nothing like having photos printed. To be able to hold them in your hands is incredible. Being able to take a photo with the incredible camera on your phone and then print it 5 seconds later so you can give away to family or a friend, priceless.
8: A Better Memory Card
Beginners typically buy entry level cards that are not made to take the every day use most photographers require. They fail within a year and all the photos on the card disappear. For just a few dollars more that what you can get at walmart you can get not only a reliable card but a fast card that is the industry standard for most pros! It's a must have!
9: Memory Card Wallet
Beginners typically just throw all their memory cards in their bag with no organization. This awesome wallet keeps all your cards in one place and ensures you don't overwrite a card by accident!
10: A Fast Memory Card Reader
The camera is not made to plug into your computer to transfer files. It's slow and constant use of the usb port can potentially damage your camera. A good fast memory card reader gets your photos on your computer quicker so you can go out and keep shooting!
11: Rocket Air Lens Blower
Dust can cover a lens faster than you'd think. When you're switching lenses all day you can even get dust inside your camera. The Rocket air dust blower will keep your camera gear clean and free of any dust that can ruin your shots!
12: A Big External Battery
These external batteries are not just for Cell Phones. These things can charge everything from Drones, to Instant Photo Printers, and now most cameras can be charged with one of these things as well. Its become an essential piece of gear that I use way more than I thought I would when I bought mine!
13: Tons of Storage!
Everyday cameras are getting more megapixles and we are taking more photos than ever, and its not slowing down. Its easy to see how quickly you can run out of storage on your computer. The Drobo 5D3 is a storage device that can expand with your needs. It holds up to 5 hard drives and keeps your data safe even if 2 hard drives fail! This thing is truly a magic worker and a must have for anyone who wants to take photography seriously and does not want to lose their precious photos. And the best part, it's plug and play. No complicated set up and co4iguration! I trust my business with this Drobo!
14: Inspirational Photo Books
It can be easy to get into a photography rut when you're shooting the same thing day in and day out. Getting a little bit of outside perspective from some great photo books can literally change the course of ones photography journey!
7 Gifts for the Family Photographer
15: Family Photography Posing Guide
Posing one person can be hard enough, posing every member of a family can be a nightmare unless you know what your doing. When you can show up and confidently pose everyone to look great everyone will take your seriously as your work takes off!
16: A Big Beautiful Blanket
Family Photos are usually outdoors in all of natures beauty. Having a nice place to sit or a comfy blanket for the family to wrap themselves up not only provides a comfortable place for the family but shows them you know what youre doing!
17: Camera Belt Spider Holster
Family Sessions can be hectic. Trying to wrangle and pose kids you often need both hands. The Spider Holster Belt lets you keep both hands free and your camera at your hip availible at a moments notice when a kid is finally smiling after 10 mins of posing them.
18: Off Camera Lighting
Having photos with good consistant and even lighting is the mark of someone who takes their work seriously. Luckily getting into off camera lighting is no where as hard as it use to be! With just 2 flashes, a wireless trigger, 2 stands, 2 sandbags so the stands don't fall over in high wind, and a soft box you can really make something incredible and will pay for itself in just one session!
19: Rechargeable Batteries + Battery Charger
Not only are rechargeable batteries better for the environment but they also offer higher energy capacity and faster recharge times of your flash without getting as hot! They will pay for themselves in no times!!
20: Portable External Storage
Photography can take you to places near and far. Keeping our photos safe is essentially our most important job. If our photos get get deleted or go missing so does our work and client relations. For just about $100 you can take a deep breath knowing your protected.
21: Cleaning Supplies
Why is a lint roller and a stain cleaner on this list for photographers. Because it saves them time makes the photographer more valuable to their client. Not only will you not have to photoshop out any minor stains or clone out lint and dust but your clients will thank you for your clear experience and expertise. Mistakes happen, you can fix them!
13 Gifts for the Wedding Photographer
22: Approach to Wedding Photography Book
Wedding photography is not easy. Its 8-10-12 hours on your feet figuring out how you can tell the best story possible through each individual image you take. Its trying to elevate your work above anything that any guest can achieve with their fancy smart phone cameras and point and shoots. This book is a wonderful approach to getting started in this crazy industry we love so much!
23: Wooden Dress Hangers
It Blows my mind that dresses upwards of thousands of dollars still come on the worlds cheapest hangers. When taking a photo of the dress they stand out and look a bit tacky for such an expensive dress. Keeping 2 or 3 wooden hangers in your bag for the brides dress and a bridesmaid dress is inexpensive way to really elevate the quality of your dress photos.
24: A Macro Lens
A Macro lens is one of the most used by wedding photographers to get great close ups of details like the Rings.
25: Tac N'Stick
Taking photos of the rings is not always easy. They dont want to stand up, they like to roll around and imagine how horrible it would be if a ring fell off a table and you lost it! No thanks! Tac N' Stick keeps rings in their place and lets you mold them how you want!
26: Hand Held Reflector
Often when starting out we don't have assistants so the ability to hold onto a reflector with one hand and shoot with the other is a huge help! These can do it all from block light, diffuse light, and of course reflect light!
Clamps come in handy way more than you might think. From securing a light stand to shaping a dress into a more flattering shape. It never ceases to amaze me how much I use them!
28: Mini Tripod
I own 3 of these things and take them with me everywhere. They are great for placing a flash on and backlighting a couple, they are great for a quick long exposure without having to pull out a full size tripod, and they are great to put a GoPro or cell phone on and have a compact selfie stick. I love this thing!
29: All In One Travel Bag
For a wedding I always take 2 bags. My go to messenger bag with everything I know Ill need on a wedding day, and my all in one travel bag that holds all my "Might need"s and backups like flashes or camera bodies. This multitasker can also be used for travel and holds a laptop as well for longer trips!
30: Solid MultiTool
I can't tell you how many times a bride had a loose sting that needed cut or a bridesmaid had a stuck zipper and this thing has come in handy every time! I wouldn't shoot a wedding without it!
31: Tide Pen
I'm not sure what Wizard waved their wand to create these things but they are pure magic. Maybe the groomsmen started drinking a bit early and spilled a drop on their white dress shirt or maybe the flower girl got nervous and threw up on their white dress (I've seen it happen) a tide pen is a godsend that will make you an instant hero to your clients!
32: Comfortable Insoles
Wedding Days can last 8-10-12+ hours on your feet. Staying comfortable is key! A Good pair of insoles can be the difference between getting the sparkler exit and missing it completely!
33: Dude Wipes
Ladies, these arn't just for Dudes! These unsented and 100% biodegradable wipes can be a God send on hot wedding days to cool you down and keep your energy up! Also some wedding venues don't have the best TP in their restrooms these flushable wipes will keep you comfortable!
34: Quality Water Bottle
No matter the time of year you need to stay hydrated to keep you going. This vacuum sealed double lined water bottle keeps your water from reaching boiling hot temperatures in your car.
8 Gifts for the Newborn Photographer
35: Newborn Baby Posing Guide and Business Book
Working with newborns brings a whole new set of challenges from any other focus of photography. Safety and comfort are your number 1 concern with the posing being second. This book will help anyone get a grip on the world of newborn photography.
36: PoseBaby Pro Beanbag
You cant just rest a baby on the floor. Babies are delicate and need additional support and comfort. The PoseBaby Pro ensures you have a comfortable spot for baby to rest for you to photograph.
37: Comfortable Blanket
Babies are soft and delicate. White is timeless. And fluffy is comfortable. This blanket is a great surface to lay over your PoseBaby to keep your baby comfortable and dreaming while you snap away!
38: Compact Space Heater
Babies need to keep warm. Thats why we put them in so many layers but when we photograph them they are typicly more exposed than normal. A Portable space heater will keep them happy so you can keep shooting!
39: Baby Burp Cloths & Extra Wipes
Lets be honest. Babies can have accidents. A few extra burp cloths and baby wipes handy can keep clean up quick!
40: Good Soft Lighting
Babies look beautiful bathed in natural light. But a large window is not always availible to let the light in so you need a great soft light source that you can fly in whenever you need it. These lights provide continuous power and do not flash making them a great choice to not disturb the baby!
41: Large Reflector Disks
Sometimes you just need a little extra light bounced up to make a babies face look more evenly lit. These reflectors over a ton of control and fold up for easy storage and transport.
42: A Fast Portrait Lens
The lens that came with your camera is typically not the best quality. A 50mm portrait lens is a must have addition to your camera bag especially if you are photographing newborns. The fast aperture lets in a ton of natural light and gives you that beautiful out of focus background everyone loves so much!
12 Gifts for the Landscape / Nature Photographer
43: The Art, Science, and Craft of Landscape Photography Book
Landscape photography is easy. Good Landscape photography is unbelievably challenging. From time of day, the weather, the foreground, the color of the trees, the sky, the mountain and waterfall. All of these things need to be taken into consideration when shooting landscapes. This book walks you through the process step by step to change the way you think about a shot and change the way you see the world around you.
44: A Sturdy Tripod
Landscape photography can require longer shutter speeds to keep the iso low, It can require a steady camera position to use longer zoom lenses and also for use when bracketing. A sturdy tripod is worth its weight in gold and should not be skimped on. Its truly something that you can buy once if you buy it right. This would be a welcome addition to any landscape photographers toolkit!
45: A Rugged Travel Backpack
Landscape photography can often take you to remote locations. Places where you can't easily bring multiple bags of gear. This Manfrotto backpack can carry a lot more than it looks like and will keep it all safe with its extra padded pockets and compartments.
46: Gnarbox Portable Backup and Editing System
The Gnarbox is for any serious traveler. You can backup your camera on the go to its built in Solid State Storage and then with the accompanying iOS and Android apps you can edit your RAW photos and even 4K video and share right away with the world. No computer required! This is truly a must have for the Traveler in your life!
47: Samsung Gear 360 Camera
Sometimes your camera just cant capture all the beauty of an exotic or remote location no matter how hard you try. Thats where the Samsung Gear 360 comes it. It takes fully immersive 360 degree photos and video that you can share with friends and family as well as on Facebook live. Letting your loved ones join you on your journey letting them look all round for a truly incredible experiance that will be sure to blow them away.
48: A Wide Angle Lens
This one is for the Canon photographer in your life as Nikon offers nothing this wide for this cheap. A good wide angle lens can let in a lot more of your surroundings so you can fill your frame with the beautiful loacation youre photographing. Perfect for those starting out as the investment is low but the quality is great!
49: Microfiber Lens Cloths
Its not surprise how dirty your lens can get outside in the elements. From dust, sand, and even rain keeping your lens clean ensures a sharp crisp photo! These microfiber clothes are great for photographers as they are great quality, inexpensive, and fit just about anywhere!
50: BlackRapid Quick Access Camera Strap
To be prepared for whatever comes your way you want to keep your camera in your hands but sometimes you need both hands and don't want to stop to put your camera back in your bag. The BlackRapid camera strap lets it hand securely while still giving you easy access to grab a quick shot at the drop of a hat! This thing is great for vacations, day trips, events, and adventures with friends and family.
51: Insect Repellant
Being outdoors in beautiful nature can make you feel alive. It can also make you feel like a human buffet to all of natures insects who carry god knows what viruses. This is a cheap investment in your happiness, health, and well being.
52: Hand Warmers
Did you know the best time to get photos of stars and the milky way are in the winter months when there is much less moisture in the air? The thing about winter is that its cold. Freezing even. When you use your hands to zoom, focus, and change the settings on your camera before you even take the photo you will want a way to stay warm. HotHands are a great way to keep warm for hours!
53: A Rubix Cube
How is a Rubix Cube going to help you and your photography? Well for landscape photographers who spend a lot of time outside often with long exposures there can be several minutes where you're just sitting around waiting for your camera to finish. The Rubix cube is a great way to stay mentally alert and active while also completing a fun task. A harmonica might do the trick too!
54: Trail Mix
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. Easy to store packaging and good nutrition for those long hikes to the perfect waterfall or mountian peak.
Last Minute Gifts For Any Photographer On Your Holiday List
Sometimes you just don't know what the photographer your shopping for has or needs. Thats ok. These last 3 gifts are sure to please even the most picky or difficult to shop for photographers!
55: Apple or Android Giftcard
With this age of digital content we rely on our phones more than ever and the technology and photography related apps become better and better its an easy bet to assume the photographer on your list might want a new app to edit or share their favorite snaps!
56: Spotify Gift Card
We photographers take a ton of photos with our phones which takes up a lot of storage. We can't be loading up our phones with music so we just stream it from Spotify!
57: Amazon Gift Card
There are a lot of options here to get the photographer in your life for this holiday season. Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming and you want to let them decide what pick out what they want. Thats where the amazon gift card comes in. No one has ever been mad to get an amazon gift card. It also makes the perfect stocking stuffer!
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When starting out in photography it can be hard to know what new gear to buy. What gear is worth it and what is a waste of time and money? That is why I have compiled my list of the 5 Essential Pieces of Gear Every Beginner Needs. Because you can buy it right, or you can buy it twice.Read More
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Traveling is the one thing everyone wishes they could do more of. So When you get to travel you want to make the experience last and a great way to do that is through photography. Having the ability to relive your travels through your photography can bring you joy years after you return home. You don't want to take the same boring vacation photos as everyone else. You're a creative and want to showcase your abilities so when you're showing off your vacation photos to family and friends they feel like they were right there with you. So here are my top tips to getting incredible travel photos with your DSLR.
1. Tell a story
A photograph will retain information better than our brains will so get as much info in each photo as possible. Get try to get at least 2 the 5 W's in each photo. Who What When Where Why. Most of the time the WHY being most important. Who you are with and Where is the easiest. Tell the When and the What if you're going to a festival. Combining multiple W's will always make your photos more interesting and compelling to look at for others.
2. Pack Light
When on vacation I often just bring one lens with me. More often than not its its a prime too. The flexibility of a zoom lens is great don't get me wrong but You still want to enjoy yourself and be in the moment. The weight of a zoom lens is just not worth it to me. It could be for you if you are going to a more scenic location or large event. I might pack one flash with me for getting creative shots but more often than not It gets left in the bag. My bag just has the camera, lens, spare memory cards, an extra battery, and a lens cloth. Most of that could fit in my pocket if I wanted it to. I ultimately want to enjoy as much of my vacation as possible and not have to worry about the excessive amount of gear I could bring.
3. Don't forget the details
What makes travel so great is seeing how different the rest of the world is. If everywhere was just like the town you live in than travel would now be that cool. So figure out what makes that place so unique. Is it the beautiful mountains, is it the incredible food, or is it just great friends? You are telling YOUR story so focus on what makes the place so great to you! You don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Go ahead and take a photo of the leaning tower of piza along with the million other people. But make it your own. Try a unique perspective.
4. Take some video!
"But Raymond this blog is about taking better travel PHOTOS" Ask yourself WHY are you taking photos? To relive an experience. Photos can be great for that but sometimes you can tell part of a story quicker with video. Thats why Youtube is the number 2 search engine in the world and Flickr is not. Every DSLR that has come out in the past 5 years has the ability to record great video. Just take a few seconds of every day life in this place. People walking, the cool shops, the locals. Keep your clips short. 10 seconds will be enough. But what are you going to be doing with all of these video clips?? Funny you should ask
5. Put it all together!
Here is your chance to tell the whole story and not just the bits and pieces with each photo. If you want the ultimate control bring all of your photos and videos into a program like Adobe Premiere or even Apples iMovie. While you will get the control and flexibility with both of those programs they will take up a good chunk of time to create the final video. Thats why I use Animoto for the majority of my videos. Their easy to use drag and drop interface and video themes makes creating incredible fusion slideshows simple and painless. The last night of your trip you can easily make a video of the whole vacation to share with family and friends back home on social media. I made this video below simply with iMovie as I wanted a bit of creative control with the music and the drone shots. This video contains more than just DSLR footage but you get the idea. It took about 5 hours to put together.
6. Back up your photos.
If the point of taking photos is to be able to relive your memories then backing up your digital photos so you don't lose them forever is essential. If you're able to travel with a laptop bring along a slim portable 1tb external drive to back your photos up to. If you're not able to travel with a laptop there are a lot of great wireless hard drives that let you back up memory cards to. My recommendation would be the WD My Passport pro. It has a ton of storage, downloads the cards quick, and has a built in battery that can also charge your other devices like your phone! Score. Then when you get back home to your computer you can off load them to start editing!
Taking these photos so you can remember your trip later is the goal here. So don't get so wrapped up in taking every photo you can think of or perfecting your technicals that you don't actually make any memories of the trip yourself. Follow these tips and you will be sure to get great photos on your next adventure!
DJI the leading Drone manufacturer has just announced the DJI Spark. An ultra portable, inexpensive, and compared to todays standards is a totally underpowered drone. It's also the best drone you can buy.
The DJI Spark is TINY compared to other drones. It has a flight time of only 16 minutes and records video at 1080P rather than todays 4k standard. Every cell phone that has come out in the past 2 years records video in 4k. So how is the DJI Spark the best drone you can buy??
Why are we taking more photos today than we ever have before? Our grandparents had cameras why weren't they taking as many photos as we are taking today? Convince. Because cell phones have become so small today everyone has a camera with them. The image quality from your cell phone is nowhere near as good as even the most basic point and shoot camera but they are so much more convenient than carrying around a dedicated camera that you can forgive a little quality for a ton of convince!
The DJI Spark may not have 4k recording, it may have a short battery life, it may not have all the bells and whistles as most other drones but what it lacks in those areas it MORE than makes up for in convince.
The DJI Spark was designed be thrown in a backpack or purse and be controlled with just your hand. No large controller necessary. The DJI Spark is designed for fun rather than for film professionals. If you need the best image quality, flying speed, or max distance than the DJI Spark is not for you and you know that. The Spark is made for the person who wants to buy their first drone without having to take out a second mortgage.
Drones can be tricky to fly and spending $1000-2000 on a toy that even if you're experienced has a high possibility of crashing or breaking does not seem wise. However a drone designed to be autonomous so you can take with you on vacation or out on a hike or kayaking and not have to worry about packing extra controllers and cables and accessories that would require its own case, all for just $500 is a great value.
I have preordered mine on Amazon. But it will be more than just a toy. I will be using it at Weddings too. Delivering more to my clients to enhance their memory, experience, and wedding day.
If you want to pick yourself up a DJI Spark I highly recommend buying it through our Amazon affiliate link below. Amazon will give us a little kick back which helps keep the podcast afloat! The "Fly More Combo" Comes with a physical remote control, an extra battery and props, as well as a carrying case.
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