I’m really excited to do this gift guide because it also is a little bit of a sneak peak into my camera bag and house! Watching the video, can you tell I am excited though? Although a Sigma ART 105 1.4 would be amazing as a gift, for most of us, it’s completely unrealistic and with photography being a SUPER expensive hobby, I thought I’d think practical rather than theoretical. Heres my run down:
[This post contains links that may give me some pennies if you buy a gift through them – this helps to keep me creating, but if you’d prefer you can just google the products to avoid helping me out. Your call my friend!]
Gift 1: Camera Bag | £85 – £130
Gift number 1 for me is a camera bag from MindShift Gear. Now, there are two options available here, one is a big bag, the other is a more normal sized bag for the average photographer. If you are pro, consider the big one. If you are an amateur, beginner or otherwise non-pro, consider the smaller one. Let’s run through both:
This bag is awesome. A super comfy backpack and ideal for hiking, it has ample space inside accessed via a large, easy opening zipped pocket on the side. The bag has outer quick access pockets for drinks and tennis balls, so it gets a solid 10/10 from Alfie. What fits in it though I hear you ask? Well, it fits an ungripped DSLR, 3–5 lenses including a 70–200mm f/2.8 attached and up to a 15” laptop.
Examples of kit inside:
- Sony A7RII with 24–70mm f/2.8 attached (hood extended), 70–200mm f/2.8 (hood reversed), 16–35mm f/2.8 and a flash
- Canon 5D with 24–70mm f/2.8 attached (hood extended), 70–200mm f/2.8 (hood reversed), 16–35mm f/2.8 and a flash
- Nikon D810 with 70–200mm f/2.8 attached, 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, 14–24mm f/2.8 and a flash (hoods reversed)
- Sony A7RII with 70-200mm f/2.8 attached, a flash and personal gear
For me it fits my A7r iii with a 27-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 105 1.5 Sigma Art, my white balance card, 16-inch Macbook pro, cables, batteries, memory cards, water bottle, dog treats and a tennis ball. Winner winner chicken dinner.
This bag is also awesome. Suitable for probably most of the followers at That Dog Spot, this bag perfectly fits your essential kit and is built with ultimate comfort in mind. Also, it looks great. Technically, it fits one ungripped DSLR or Mirrorless body with 2–5 lenses along with a 10” tablet. It also has handy compartments for your essential batteries and memory cards, lens cloths and treats.
Examples of kit inside:
- Nikon D750 with 85mm f/1.8 attached, 24–70mm f/2.8 and a SB-910 flash
- Canon 5D with 70–200mm f/2.8 attached and a 580 EXII flash
- Sony a7rII with 90mm f/2.8 macro attached, 16–35mm f/4, 50mm f/1.8 and a 28mm f/2.0
- Fujifilm X-T3 with 56mm f/1.2 attached, 50-140mm f/2.8, 23mm f/1.4 and a 16mm f/1.4
Gift 2: Camera Strap | £40
UltraFit Sling Camera Strap for Women by Joby | Buy Worldwide
UltraFit Sling Camera Strap for Men by Joby | Buy Worldwide
Yes I know, a little bit confusing this one because there are 2 options available. The difference is in the curve of the strap so for women, this strap is really quite comfortable when you select the women’s version! This strap goes over your head and sits on one shoulder, and it’s super easy to use when shooting because of the neat pulley system which tightens and loosens as you raise and lower your camera. I’ve loved this strap for years and it screws into the body from the bottom, meaning as your walking, the lens sits out over your side – very comfortable compared to being bashed in the stomach with every step!
Gift 3: Lens Cap | $25 for 1, $40 for 2
Universal Lens Cap Magnum by KUVRD | Buy x 2 Worldwide
Big claims from KUVRD:
Get dirty, your lens won’t. With a tight seal around your lens MICRO & MAGNUM prevent water, mud, and the finest dust and sand from scratching & mucking up your lens. They also work as both a front & rear lens cap, never falling off and ensuring that your glass is always protected.
Legit though, they aren’t wrong.
These lens caps fit any lens but I would recommend having 2 on hand really so that you can use them on each end OR easily swap out for lenses in the bag. One I guess would be a cool gift though?! They can be a little tricky to put on but when you get used to it, it’s really very easy. No more fighting to find the right lens cap for this lens, the other lens cap for that lens. One cap, all lenses. Awesome.
Gift 4: Lens Cleaning Kit | £10.99
Lens Cleaning Kit from [insert any optician] | Buy Worldwide
“But Jess, nobody is going to be excited to open a lens cleaning kit!!” – Well, more fool you. Genuinely a USEFUL stocking filler, a lens cleaning kit comes with me everywhere and my kit has been used to clean tractor windscreens at international agricultural shows – no job is to big or small for these bad boys and to be honest, if you’re going to use it, why not recieve it as a gift?
At the end of the day, if you’re pooped about receiving a lens cleaning kit as a gift, maybe you need to look a little bit at yourself and remember that any gift is an amazing kindness and should be appreciated to the moon and back. Write that down if you need to!
Gift 5: Calibrator | £159
SpyderX Pro by Datacolor | Buy Worldwide
Always in my desk and out every month for a quick recal, my Spyder is a staple for my office. In fact, I’ve had a Spyder in the office for the last 10 years or so and I can’t really fault them! Getting the hang of calibrating can be a little tricky, but these tools are worth the investment.
Designed to sit on your screen, run a program of colours and read the results, you end up with the perfect colours for editing and printing. Yes, it will change your screen and editing experience. Yes, it is worth it. No, I don’t actually have any literal proof. Worth it? Absolutely!
Gift 6: SD Card | £39 – £196
Extreme PRO 128GB SD Card by SanDisk | Buy Worldwide
One of those slightly pricey little things that you can NEVER have enough of, this is my own personal choice when it comes to SD cards and there are two options available, the UHS-I and the UHS-II. The difference is the transfer speed but unless you’re shooting 8K film and doing insane bursts of high res RAW action shooting, the UHS-I will probably do the job. I personally prefer the big beasty card like a 128BG but it’s totally ok to go with a 64GB or a 32GB or even a 16GB – your call my friend.
Gift 7: Grey Card | £25.95
Ezybalance Grey Card by Lastolite | Buy Worldwide
Never far away from me is one of these. Invaluable and probably an absolute essential in studio, and useful to have on hand outdoors, the Ezybalance cards help to level off white balance in seconds. All you need to do is take a shot and then use the eye dropper tool in your favourite editing program to click once and that’s you sorted.
Really, it’s worth it. I’ve not found another grey card that I like working with more – maybe it’s the fun little “ping” when it opens, or the mad twist and contract to pack down? Who knows, I enjoy it, and it works. Awesome.
Gift 8: Hard Drive | £47.99 – £89.98
4TB Backup Plus Slim by SeaGate | Buy Worldwide
Stacked up like jenga on my desk are these little beauties which are so nice and small and quiet, i’ve not yet found a better option for off-computer storage that isn’t in the cloud. Also, you can colour coordinate or colour code based on what they’re storing (eg, black for a Time Machine backup drive and silver for storage of images, that’s mine!).
Remember, I did say this list would be useful!
Gift 9: Software Curveball | $79.99
DeNoise AI by Topaz Labs | Buy Now
I know this doesn’t technically exist in real life but honestly I use it ALL the time and it is a super awesome little piece of software which directly works with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. Yes, I used it on every Award image. Yes, it is worth the hype.
I did do a review of this, that lives here.
Gift 10: Photography Tuition | £50-£85
An Online One-to-One with Me | Buy Now
I know this kind of might not count, but I only wanted to list things I can 100% recommend, hand on heart. I guess I recommend me? All the info for one-to-ones lives here and every week I jump on calls with people around the world, from California to India, to talk all things dog photography. Simple, useful, sorted.
That’s it guys, that’s the top 10!
Think I’ve missed something mega that should’ve been in here? Drop it into the comments below!