Days of Deals + Giveaways
View the deals made especially for you from our sponsors.
Check back often as new deals drop regularly.
We are thrilled to present the 2021 Holiday Gift Guide, the only holiday shopping companion you need for that creative person in your life. With unique products to fit any budget, the gift guide is the ultimate resource for photographers and photo enthusiasts!
Accessories & GADGETS
THE BEST CAMERAS OF 2021
Whether you’re gifting yourself or another photographer, there are plenty of excellent options with something for every budget.
This selection of lenses is as varied as the types of shoots on your agenda.
THE BEST LENSES OF 2021
From tiny LEDs to portable, battery-operated off-camera flashes, there’s a light for every scenario you might encounter.
THE BEST LIGHTING OF 2021
A critical component of any photographer’s kit, there’s a software application for every budget and every skill level and we’ve picked some of our favorites for this guide.
THE BEST Software OF 2021
SEE Print Products
Create a gorgeous print gift with your own images, or wrap up the latest desktop and mobile printing tools for your favorite photographers.
THE BEST Print products OF 2021
Round out any photographer’s kit with useful (and sometimes fun) accessories without spending a bundle.
THE BEST Accessories and gadgets OF 2021
SEE Photo Gifts
These photo-related gift items caught our eye by offering great design, inspiration, and options for the photographer who’s got it all.
THE BEST Photo gifts OF 2021
Knowledge may be the best gift of all, and there are lots of great ways to give it, from online courses and guides to on-the-ground photo tours.
THE BEST In Education for 2021
THE BEST IN
BEST CAMERAS of 2021
Whether you’re treating yourself or another photographer, there are plenty of excellent options with something for every budget.
Whether you’re nostalgic for the good old days of instant photography or want to introduce someone to its joys, check out the latest Polaroid camera—the Now+. This model merges analogue photography with wireless technology and a new app that you can use to access more features. In addition to five new lens filters, users can now shoot in aperture priority and tripod mode via the Polaroid mobile app. Play around with light painting, double exposure and more while retaining the square format that Polaroid is known for. The Now+ uses battery-free Polaroid i-Type film (so it’s not compatible with vintage Polaroid cameras) and comes with a tripod mount, a neck strap and USB charging cable. Be sure to pick up some film while you’re at it. There’s also a starter kit that bundles two packs of color and one pack of B&W film.
BACK TO PREVIOUS CAMERA
TO NEXT CAMERA
Best For Travel
Best For Weddings
BEST FOR PORTRAIT
We’d known for months that Nikon was developing the Z 9 but without details we didn’t realize the excitement this camera was going to generate when it arrived. Think of the flagship 45 megapixel Z 9 as the full-frame mirrorless love child between Nikon's D6 and D850. While there are similarities between those DSLRs and the Z 9, Nikon has pushed the limits with incredible capture (up to 30fps speed) and highly intelligent, fast and accurate autofocus. But that’s only two of its most impressive specs, made possible in part thanks to a new stacked CMOS sensor and the more powerful next generation EXPEED 7 processor. Oh, yeah, and the Z 9 has implemented an advanced electronic shutter and eliminated the mechanical shutter. Early reports strongly suggest that this camera may well live up to the high expectations, however, be forewarned that pre-orders are already delayed.
Nikon Z 9
BACK TO CAMERA HOME
($195 for the starter kit)
You might be surprised at what this Micro Four Thirds camera can do. We’re not. Over the years Olympus has been responsible for many digital camera features including a very early version of live view, to name just one feature they brought to market. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is equipped with many of the company's more recent innovations. Have trouble holding a camera steady at extremely slow shutter speeds? No problem with this camera’s 5-axis in-body image stabilization. Love to shoot after dark? Use Live Composite to view your exposure as it develops (sort of like watching a print develop in the darkroom). And even if you’re a purist, you may find an adjustable Art Filter or two to satisfy your creative urges. Oh, yeah, it can record 4K video and takes really nice still photos, too.
E-M10 Mark IV
Better make space on your hard drive. Not just because the 45-megapixel Canon EOS R5 produces large files but the image quality from this camera is so amazing that you’ll end up with so many keepers from each portrait shoot that the trash bin may remain (mostly) empty. Hyperbole? Maybe just a little, especially if you’re ruthless when culling images. But this camera produces stellar images with excellent dynamic range. Excellent performance from high speed continuous shooting to outstanding autofocus and up to 8 stops of in body image stabilization gives the camera well-rounded capabilities for more more active shoots. Weather resistance, comfortable ergonomics and custom options simply add to this camera’s long list of got-to-have-it features.
Canon EOS R5
BEST For Portrait
If you want to look cool without sacrificing functionality, the Fuji X-T30 II, with its retro design and contemporary features, may be for you. It’s small enough to be the perfect travel companion and even has a small built-in flash for indoor shots (you can add a shoe mount flash if you’d like). With lots of manual controls and speedy performance, the Fuji X-T30 II is great for experienced photographers but can be set on Program Auto Exposure for no-brainer shooting. But it wouldn’t be a Fuji camera without Film Simulation Modes for customized looks. Special effects modes can also add a bit of fun. Great image quality and a Panorama feature that stiches together a series of shots in-camera means you’ll come home with amazing photos whether you’re traveling near or far.
Fuji X-T30 II
BEST For Travel
Wedding and event photographers need a camera that is as multi-functional as they are. Currently the flagship in Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless line, the 45-megapixel Z 7II not only comes with solid still and video specs but easily competes with other high-resolution models in its class with much less of an impact on your bank account (or credit card). That’s only part of the story. This camera ticks off all of the check boxes: good performance, excellent feature set, great image quality and relatively compact. And if you need to crop, there’s plenty of leeway with the Z 7II's large files; and don’t forget to upsell those large, wall-sized prints.
Nikon Z 7II
BEST For Weddings
BEST FOR FILMMAKERS
My go-to camera is the Sony a7 III. I've been photographing with it since 2018 when it was released and I love it a lot. Prior to the Sony a7 III, I had the a7R III. With adventure elopements and weddings, though, I didn't need the amount of megapixel that's in the R series so when Sony released the a7 III it was the perfect match. This camera has a lot of perks but the two I love most are the fast eye focus and the ability to capture crisp and clear images in low light. Photographing in low-light (blue hours, dark getting ready photos, star photos) has become my signature and what I am known for, and the a7 III allows me to do that perfectly without raising a crazy amount of ISO.
Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless
To NEXT CAMera
These days, photographers may be more likely to choose a phone based on its photo specs than any other feature. Fortunately, there are plenty of phones that impress in that regard including the new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Loaded with features for the casual snapshooters as well as pro photographers, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is built around a 108-megapixel pro sensor that can deliver 12-bit HDR photos as well as the option to capture 12-bit Raw files. This 6.8-inch phone sports a quad rear camera with ultra-wide, wide and dual tele-lenses (optical 3x and optical 10x). There’s more to love about the Galaxy S21 Ultra—not only its additional photo features but all the other smartphone functionality that comes with it. After all, you’ll be using this for more than just photography.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
(with eligible trade-in)
More than just a mirrorless camera that shoots stills and video, the Sony ZV-E10 was designed for vlogging and once you look closely, you’ll see why. A compact body with a fully articulated, 3-inch touchscreen LCD is easy to handhold, particularly with the optional GP-VPT28T grip, and offers a variety of features to keep you or your subject in focus and ensure steady footage as you’re walking and talking. With live streaming capabilities, photographers can even share photo shoots with remote clients if necessary. In addition to still images, this 24-megapixel camera captures 4K video and offers both slow and quick motion to add drama or fun to your clips. With a wide range of lenses available for E-mount, you’ll find plenty of versatility to go along with your next project.
BEST For FIlmmakers
Is the Sony a1 the one? That elusive camera that every photographer dreams about? This piece of technology probably comes closer than most cameras given its sophisticated feature set, blazing fast performance (even with its 50-megpixel sensor) and excellent image quality. And let’s not forget its 8K and 4K video capabilities. Perhaps the only thing not to like about the Sony a1 is its price. But since this camera has the resolution for gorgeous portraits, the speed for weddings, events and sports and serious video capabilities, the Sony a1’s versatility and quality output make the price seem less of an obstacle.
Wedding + Elopement Photographer, Seattle, WA
Rf 30 Rising Star 2020
CLICK ON EACH PRODUCT TO SEE MORE
BACK TO HOME PAGE
From Our Friends at
Shopping for someone multi-talented? Get them a camera that keeps up—and even opens new paths to explore. Panasonic’s LUMIX S5 24.2-megapixel full-frame mirrorless camera is a little hybrid shooter that punches above its weight. It captures 96-megapixel RAW and JPEG photos, and its 5-axis Dual I.S. 2 gives you the equivalent of 6.5 stops of exposure compensation (at 200mm with an S-E70200 lens, that is). For video, you can record in 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit mode, capture 14+ stops of dynamic range in V-Log, output RAW data through HDMI to an external monitor, shoot in slow and quick motion modes including FHD 180fps and 4K 60fps, and hook it up to an XLR mic. Pick the S5 up for your favorite creative genius (or yourself—no need for false modesty) at a holiday discount price of only $1,699. Even better, bundle up to two S series lenses with it and get $200 off for each lens!
Panasonic LUMIX S5
FROM OUR FRIENDS AT
Back to Camera Home
(Discount; MSRP: $1,999.99)
BEST Lenses of 2021
If there’s a Nikon Z owner in your circle of family and friends, the new Z 40mm f/2 lens is a great gift regardless of whether they’re just starting out or a full-time pro. At 40mm, it’s a little wider and slightly slower than Nikon’s Z “nifty fifty” lenses (walk-around lenses ideal for capturing candid moments) but it’s also smaller and lighter. This compact lens is only 1.8 inches long and is a feather weight at 6 ounces, ideal for street photography, documentary style wedding photography, and everyday shooting. Quiet but speedy focus is great for video and when silence is golden. Add a customizable control ring and a dust- and drip-resistant design, and we think Nikon has a winning combination for its Z-series cameras—especially for the price.
Nikon Z 40mm f/2
BACK TO PREVIOUS LENS
TO NEXT LENS
You don’t have to be a landscape photographer to appreciate a good wide-angle lens. And while a 24mm prime may not make it to your top 10 list, it may be time to reconsider—especially given the price of this fast, 24mm lens from Sigma for L-mount and Sony E-mount cameras. An all-metal build with a textured lens hood and a dust- and moisture-resistant mount are only a few of its appealing attributes (especially the magnet lens cap). The lens is relatively lightweight for a fast, wide-angle lens, with specs of 12.7 ounces for the Sony E-mount version and 12.9 ounces for the L Mount. Both measure around 2.8 x 2.8 inches. This lens is sharp and has plenty of other applications for wedding photographers and portrait shooters alike. And with a minimum focusing distance of 9.7 inches, you can create some interesting close-ups as well.
Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN
BACK TO LENSES HOME
Everyone needs a nifty fifty lens and if you don’t have one, we have to wonder why. We chose the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM for the Best Deal but there are other fast, compact, inexpensive 50mm lenses out there. Meanwhile, this little Canon devil is tiny but sharp and a great everyday lens for street or close-ups (the lens focuses as close as 1.15 feet). With its quiet stepping motor, the EF 50mm lens is right at home when shooting video or focusing during a quiet ceremony. It weighs only 5.7 ounces and is pancake-like svelte at 2.7 x 1.6 inches—all for the low, low price of $126. How could you not buy this lens?
50mm f/1.8 STM
When choosing a lens for portrait photography, why not stick with what works best, like this f/2.8, 90mm lens from Sigma. Like its 24mm sibling that made Editor’s Choice in this list, the new 90mm f/2.8 DG DN lens’ all metal build is sturdy but compact and lightweight at 2.52 x 2.35 inches and 10.4 ounces. Available for L-Mount and Sony E-Mount cameras, the lens mount is dust- and splash-resistant for moderate protection from the elements (keep it out of heavy downpours). At 90mm, this mid-telephoto lens produces a lovely bokeh to separate your subject from the background and is designed to minimize flare and ghosting so you don’t have to worry during sunny outdoor sessions. At this price, it’s a great gift for growing photographers and a good addition to a pro’s gear bag.
Sigma 90mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary
Forget the alphabet soup at the end of this lens’ ID for a minute and consider the 16.6x zoom range. This lens, designed for APS-C mirrorless cameras from Fuji and Sony, is the 35mm-equivalent of 27-450mm, with image stabilization, of course. That's a lot of versatility for a single lens. Add the ability to capture close-ups positioned at 0.2 inches from the lens (yes, you read that right) at the 18mm end and this 5-inch (Fuji; 4.9 inch for Sony) lens is the perfect option for a travel lens. It weighs about 21.9 ounces, but that’s a small price to pay for a lens that will go from wide angle to telephoto in a twist of the zoom ring to capture everything from historic architecture in Paris to elusive wildlife in the Serengeti. And it’s affordable, too.
Tamron 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di III-A
Photographers may have their favorite lenses for large (or small) gatherings but it’s always good to break out of your go-to gear habits and try something a little different. Given Fuji X-series cameras’ APS-C crop, this revamped 23mm lens provides the perfect 35mm field of view for spontaneous, documentary-style shoots. At f/1.4 there’s plenty of leeway for shooting in low light with a further bonus of an aperture ring for quick exposure adjustments. In case you’re wondering, the LM in the camera ID stands for linear motor, which delivers fast and quiet autofocus. Add weather resistance (WR) and this little (2.63 x 3.06 inches) lens will prove a worthy component of your next event shoot.
Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR
Smartphones are getting more sophisticated with each iteration but there are plenty of times when an accessory lens provides more versatility. Moment, one of the leading smartphone lens companies, has an 18mm wide-angle; aerospace-grade; cinema-quality lens that covers a larger area—Moment describes coverage with the 18mm lens as delivering “2x more picture.” The lens is constructed with aerospace-grade metal and cinema-quality glass. Both are desirable specs, of course, as is the company’s promise of edge-to-edge clarity and sharpness. The lens is compatible with a wide range of devices including the iPhone 13 (although you’ll need a case and drop-in lens mount). The lens is covered by a 2-year warranty and comes with a lens cap and microfiber carry bag.
Moment Wide 18mm Lens
This is not your typical cine lens—far from it—but if you’re into 3D 180-degree VR (or plan to be in the future), then this unique lens is worth checking out. Paired with the EOS R5 and a special firmware update, Canon makes it easier to work in this format not only because you can use a familiar camera but because there will be software solutions to simplify the workflow for processing 3D stereoscopic VR in Adobe Premiere Pro. Granted, Canon’s software will be subscription based but the company promises a free trial to see if it suits your needs. For more details, visit the Canon site and keep an eye out for a December shipping and software availability announcement.
Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye Lens
Do you need the Nikon Z 58mm 0.95 Noct lens? Probably not. But it has likely made it onto your wish list because—well, because this is an awesome lens. One of the fastest lenses on the market and designed with the latest and greatest technology (hence its S-line series status in Nikon’s line-up). Yes, it’s a beast weighing in at 70.6 ounces with a body that measures 4.01 x 6.02 inches but the image quality is spectacular and you likely won’t find a more gorgeous bokeh elsewhere. The lens comes with a lens hood and a special carrying case to protect this bank-account-busting beauty that will, nevertheless, remain on our wish list.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Lens
BACK TO LENS HOME
In my studio, I use a Sigma Art 50mm for my Canon EF most of the time. It's sharp and focuses quickly, which is important to me because I move quickly when I shoot. I'll be honest, I'm not someone who hones in on the technical parts of lenses and, initially when I bought this lens back in 2014, it was because it was less expensive than the Canon 50mm f/1.2 and I've never felt the need to get a different 50mm since then!
f/1.4 DG HSM
Glamour, senior + headshot photographer
Educator on Sue Bryce Education Platform
RETURN To LENS Home
BEST LIghting of 2021
This cool little gift adds a lot of functionality for such a small piece of gear. Measuring 3.58 x 2.18 x .45 inches, the Lume Cube Panel Mini will balance perfectly—even on smaller cameras—without sacrificing features like bi-color adjustments from 3200K to 5600K so it works well regardless of lighting conditions. Brightness of this 550 LUX unit is adjustable from 1-100% with matching battery run times from 14-1.2 hours. Convenient USB-C charging takes only 1.8 hours. A small but handy LCD provides critical information like battery life (which changes as you adjust brightness), brightness level and color temperature. It comes with a small DSLR camera mount/ballhead, a 3/8”-16 lightstand adapter, USB-C cable and a built-in diffuser. Pick up one for a photographer friend and throw one in the checkout cart for yourself.
Lume Cube Panel Mini
BACK TO PREVIOUS LIGHT
TO NEXT LIGHT
Cutting the cord means one thing when you’re talking about cable services but quite another for lighting gear. Following on the tails of its ELB 500 TTL that runs off a small portable battery pack, Elinchrom has released its first battery-powered, off-camera flash (OCF): the Elinchrom ONE monolight. With a footprint similar to a 70-200mm lens, this 3.3-pound lightweight flash is highly portable but also powerful and can deliver up to 725 full power flashes on a single charge. TTL, high speed sync and fast recharging (even at full power) is seamless and intuitive using this 131Ws OCF. And it features active charging so you won’t miss a beat. As a bonus, lighting assistants will appreciate the compact size and weight when holding the kit up in the air on weddings and location shoots.
TO NEXT Light
BACK TO Lighting HOME
This tiny video light is seriously loaded and goes way above and beyond a standard LED light. Not only can you adjust brightness and color temperature (from 2500K to an icy 8500K) but there’s also a hue adjustment feature on this 800 LUX light as well as 20 scene modes for your creative (or wild and crazy) inclinations. Lightning, Fireworks TV, Cop Car, RGB Strobe and much more are yours for a mere pittance. It comes with a 2000mAh rechargeable battery that charges via USB-C for a maximum run time of 2.6 hours (the same amount of time it takes to charge). A trio of cold shoes provides a wide range of mounting options. Pick up one, or several, and have some fun!
Neewer RGB 61
Just when you think an off-camera flash can’t get any smaller, along comes the Flashpoint Xplor 100 Pro TTL. We mean almost-the-size-of-a-soda-can small at 4.4 x 3.0 x 3.0 inches. This 100 watt-second monolight weighs only 18.5 ounces with rechargeable battery and features 1/8000th second high speed sync, TTL, manual and multi flash modes. Fast recycle times, wireless connectivity with R2 transmitters and modifier mounting options gives it wide-ranging compatibility. And because of its small size and weight, it’s perfect for those portraits-in-the-park sessions. The flash’s features aren’t lacking and this is the perfect gift for photographers who are starting to build their lighting kits—but at this price, flashpoint pro’s might add a couple of these lights to their gear bags as well.
Xplor 100 Pro TTL
Perfect for that little travel camera that takes great pictures but doesn’t weigh you down. Rather than adding a flash, a small LED light like the Manfrotto Lumimuse 8 will do the trick when you need just a bit more light while exploring the interior of a historic building or shooting a short video of your adventures. It’s rated for daylight at 5600K but there are snap on filters when you want to adjust for tungsten or diffuse the light. USB charging with about an hour of battery life should suffice for most travel outings, three’s a shoe mount and 4-step dimming. With 8 LEDs, it may not be the brightest of panels but it fits the bill. If your traveling partner doesn’t mind assisting, take the light off the camera and have them hold it in position. (If you’re into light painting, this is a great little tool!)
Manfrotto Lumimuse 8
Just as wedding and event photographers are often tasked with shooting stills and videos, the brand new Light & Motion StellaPro Reflex meets those dual needs as well. An intriguing new type of light, these Continuous Strobe Hybrids (C.S.H.) offer both continuous LED lighting and Digital Burst™ technology so photographers can switch between the action of wedding guests rockin’ it out on the dance floor and videos of the best man toasting. In addition to continuous lighting, the Digital Burst provides blazingly fast flash—up to 10 frames per second for the Reflex; up to 20 frames per second for the Reflex S. Compatible with a variety of accessories and light modifiers, both Reflex models are compatible with Godox and Elinchrom triggers.
Light & Motion StellaPro Reflex and Reflex S
People are now probably more aware than ever that lighting can make or break a video or live stream. Fortunately, shining some light when shooting with your smartphone doesn’t take much money or effort. Take, for example, this mini-LED that’s compact and lightweight but also comes with a couple of accessories to make your mobile life easier. In addition to the LED video light and diffuser, the Godox LEDM150 Smartphone Light comes with a stand and cold shoe so you mount the light on a camera or lightstand (or hold it in your hand). There’s also a mobile phone mounting bracket so you can shoot and light a scene while the mobile device and light are coupled. Adjustable color temperature and brightness are also available and, for $49, it doesn’t cost much to make whatever content you’re creating look better.
Godox LEDM150 Smartphone Light
There are plenty of small LED panels on the market but this one stands out, especially for filmmakers who want lots of lighting options. This pocketable LED light (4.2 x 2.4 x 0.9 inches) delivers all the standard specs and more. Creating and controlling light includes adjustable color temperature, brightness, hue, saturation, and 15 pre-programmed tweakable lighting effects. The latter—including candlelight, lightning, cop car, an explosion and camera flashes, to name a few—may be difficult to create on your own (and within a budget). So, for just $75 you can add a level of sophistication to your videos that may not otherwise be cost effective. Running low on power? Just hook it up to a power bank. It’s a great little light, whether you’re a vlogger or a Spielberg wannabe.
Nanlite LitoLite 5C RGBWW Mini LED Panel
If you want to go for the gold in battery-operated off camera flashes, check out the new Profoto B10X and B10X Plus off camera flashes. Faster to recycle and outputting about 30% more light than their predecessors, these new X-models are surprisingly small and lightweight given their power. The B10X weighs 3.3 pounds while the B10X Plus is slightly heavier at 4.2 pounds. With recycling clocking at as fast as 0.05 seconds, you won’t miss a shot with these two. The 250W/s B10X’s battery clocks in at up to 400 full power flashes and up to 75 minutes of full continuous light, while the more powerful 500W/s B10X Plus can fire up to 200 full power flashes and deliver up to 65 minutes of full continuous light. Active charging is available as is firmware updates via the flash’s USB-C port.
Profoto B10X and B10X Plus
BACK TO LIGHTING HOME
My go-to lighting tool right now that I highly recommend is the Westcott FJ200 strobe. It is super convenient, due to it’s size and weight—8.75 x 3.14 x 3.14 inches and 1.74 pounds—and has great light output so I can use it in studio or outside for portrait sessions. I always combine it with my Magmod Magbox and always have both set up and ready to go at all times to capture single portraits or small groups.
FJ 200 Strobe
Wedding Photographer, Atlanta, GA
Rf 30 Rising Star 2020
To Next LIGHT
(FOR Single kit or
$1,800 for Dual kit)
(for the Reflex and
$1,096 for the Reflex S)
(For the B10X single and $3,950 for the dual kit)
($2,295 for the B10X Plus single
and $4,545 for the dual kit)
A SPECIAL DEAL From Our Friends at
Nothing kills the mood like, “Can you hold that pose while I change my light?” Now you can give (or get) the gift that eliminates those awkward moments and lets you be the smooth, spontaneous shooter you know you really are. The superportable Reflex lets you switch seamlessly between continuous LED for video and Digital Burst for stills. It gives you 10 full-power bursts per second at any shutter speed, without breaking a sweat. Opt for the Reflex S and push it to 20. If you buy a Reflex ($849) or Reflex S ($1,096) from November 26th to December 5th, you’ll get a free Spider x Base Holster kit. You can only carry one light with it, but that’s all you’ll need.
DEAL STARTS NOV. 26!
Mount this beauty of a speedlight on your camera and you won’t miss a shot. It recycles to a dazzling 76Ws output in just 2 seconds and gives you 500 full-power flashes on a single charge. The GTR’s distinctively designed round head not only looks marvelous but provides a smooth, flattering light with a gradual fall-off for gorgeous portraiture. You can rotate the head 330 degrees, tilt it from -7 to 120, and effortlessly snap a modifier onto its magnetic rim. The GTR is also compatible with Canon E-TTL / E-TTL II, and has a built-in receiver to accept wireless signals from Geekoto Commander System transmitters. All of this power and elegance can be yours this holiday season for only $249.
to NEXT LIGHT
BEST SOFTWARE of 2021
Is there a budding photographer in your holiday gifting circle? If so, then you might want to treat them to a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022. This software makes short work of tweaking images to perfection and creating photo projects with step-by-step guides. It’s a great application to grow one’s editing skills and users can sidestep the handholding features and explore various tools and options on their own. The recent update has added some clever features such as adding an animated overlay (like moving bubbles) to still images. Since pet adoptions soared over the past 18 months, users will love the dog-and-cat editing features as well. And there are other fun and functional features as well. Add Adobe Premiere Elements for only $49 more if your giftee is into video, too.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022
BACK TO PREVIOUS PROGRAM
TO NEXT PROGRAM
Even if you suffer from FOBO (Fear of Better Options), you won’t be disappointed with Capture One. But be forewarned—Capture One 22 is coming in December. (Meanwhile, download the 30-day free trial of Capture One 21 to get a taste of what this software can do.) In addition to RAW processing, Capture One is equipped with excellent color control tools, skin tone editing and all the features you need to perfect your images. Earlier this year, Capture One added a Magic Brush that expands the software’s masking capabilities and made improvements to its Exporter and catalogue. And if you’re looking for tethered shooting, it doesn’t get much better than Capture One. There are also free and paid versions specifically for Fuji and Sony cameras, too. In addition to subscription options, a Capture One license can be purchased as well.
TO NEXT Program
BACK TO Software HOME
If you’re into the latest trends (and we’re not talking about fashion), check out ON1 PhotoRAW 2022. At its core, ON1 PhotoRAW offers solid RAW image processing and photo adjustments just as you’d expect. But you’ll also find AI (artificial intelligence) driven features and the latest specialties like Sky Swap so you can replace those dull, grey skies with more visually pleasing options. Other cool features include a Time-Lapse Creator, a variety of effects and the ability to use Photoshop plug-ins. Great organizational tools and ease of use make this a good choice for a variety of experience levels. ON1 is also known for its extensive training videos. Subscription and plug-in options are available in addition to a license for the standalone version.
ON1 PhotoRAW 2022
Anthropics Portrait Pro is a pretty amazing piece of software. You get to be a plastic surgeon (without the scalpel) and HMUA (hair and makeup artist) without leaving your computer. With the greatest of ease, you can smooth out wrinkles, plump up a subject’s lips (and curve them up into a smile), change hair styles and color—the list goes on and on. New for version 22 is the ability to slim down a subject’s upper body and tweak the lighting on a full body portrait. The software is highly intuitive, although it’s best to download the manual to discover some of the finer points of using Portrait Pro 22. Keep in mind, though, that it’s too easy to get carried away. With Portrait Pro 22, we learned quickly that less is more.
Anthropics Portrait Pro 22
Sorry Android users, the mobile version of Affinity Photo is only available for the iPad. And although we prefer the mobile version for traveling, there’s a $55 version for Mac and Windows and it’s easy to share between the mobile and desktop versions. Serif, the makers of Affinity Photo, didn’t skimp when they developed the iPad version. If you’re familiar with Photoshop tools, you’ll have no problem getting to work in the app. This is a full-featured piece of software with endless possibilities for editing including unlimited layers, and a wealth of including adjustment layers, curves, gradient maps, selection tools and blend modes. Want to create a panorama? No problem. Merge images for HDR? You got it. As fans of the desktop software, we were more than pleasantly surprised with the app's capability and performance. And for only $22!
Believe us it’s true—film (and the look of film) is not dead! And that’s the case even if you only work in digital thanks to DxO’s new FilmPack 6. This application gives photographers access to a long list of analogue film looks from the well-known (at least to those of us who cut our photographic teeth with 35mm film) Kodak Tri-X 400 to the less familiar Ilford HPS. All in all, you’ll get 84 film looks, with Polaroid, Ektachrome, Infrared, Impossible PX 6000 Silver Shade and seven film simulation models from Fujifilm X-series cameras (and support for Fuji X-Trans RAW files, albeit in beta). Add a half dozen cinema renderings, lots of adjustments and a Time Machine to take you through the history of film photography. What does that mean? You can expand the looks of photos for your wedding clients who want a taste of good, old-fashioned analogue style.
DxO FilmPack 6
Adobe Lightroom for mobile devices? Sure, there’s a Lightroom app that’s free but you only get some basics. If you want to upgrade, you’ll get Lightroom Classic (that’s the desktop software) and Lightroom (for mobile) for $9.99 a month. However, if you subscribe to Adobe’s Digital Photography plan you get Photoshop, Lightroom and Lightroom Classic for $9.99 a month. Both versions of Lightroom are extremely competent editors and organizational tools, and are synchronized so the edits you make on one are available on the other. Plus, Adobe recently announced Lightroom’s new AI-powered tool, where users can easily and accurately mask specific elements of an image and apply selective adjustments. There are a few other new additions and enhancements to both versions of Lightroom that you should check out on the Adobe site.
Adobe Lightroom (and Photoshop)
The perfect present for a fledgling filmmaker, Adobe Premiere Elements 2022 will introduce newcomers to video editing to the basics of the often confusing (and intimidating) craft. Like its still image sibling (Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022, which is available in a bundle with Premiere Elements for $150), users will be guided through the world of timelines, audio, transitions, trimming and combining video clips—all the basics needed to create a professional-looking video. Between the program’s guided edits and automated editing, it’s easy to move forward without any help. Special effects, slideshows and animated stories for social media are within easy reach thanks to this video editing software.
Adobe Premiere Elements 2022
When you’re wearing many hats (and most photographers are), the full Adobe Creative Suite may be the perfect antidote. It’s not for everyone but if your business calls for you to edit photos and videos, design wedding albums, create a promotional mailer—to name just a few of the tasks you tackle—then maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and go for the gold standard. Sure, the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite has some monthly or yearly sticker shock but consider that you’ll have access to everything from Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro and AfterEffects to Dreamweaver, Illustrator and pretty much all the creative, design and business apps that Adobe has to offer. And maybe, just maybe, some of the apps will tap your inner graphic designer as well.
Adobe Creative Cloud Suite
BACK TO SOFTWARE HOME
I am a Canon photographer who edits one-of-a-kind photos in Photoshop and with Alien Skin Exposure, which I present to clients. At present time, the software that I use the most is Exposure X7 (formerly known as Alien Skin)! It truly is a powerhouse with adding that extra creative spice to all of my out-of-the-box edits! The September 2021 update brings new custom workspaces and a faster way to mask, as well as the ability to remove pixels from a defective area on a camera sensor. Exposure X7 still includes features from previous versions, including built-in film presets, advanced color tools, nondestructive layers, portrait retouching tools, and overlays such as light leaks and flares. Exposure X7 is available as a stand-alone program, or can be used as a plug-in with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom Classic CC.
Wedding and Portrait Photographer, Long Beach, CA
Rf 30 Rising Star 2020
To NEXT PROGRAM
(or from $24 month/
$179 a year subscription )
(FOR full stand alone version; $80 upgrade)
(Annual plan paid Per Month or $600 paid annually)
($150 bundled with Adobe Photoshop Elements)
(Annual plan paidMonthly)
($89 for upgrade)
If it sounds like a superhero generator, that’s because it is. The SpyderX Create Kit turns pros into masters of the color workflow universe and blasts pros-to-be to the next level. Its superpowers include Datacolor’s fastest, most accurate monitor calibrator, the SpyderX, a ColorReader EZ scanner for instant color matching, a flexy Spyder Tripod,
a Spyder USB-C adapter, and a Spyder Shelf that perches on your laptop and gives you a handy place to set your kit, even if you’re working on your actual lap. Everything you need to capture color inspiration, nail color-accurate images, and connect with newer devices can be yours for the kit’s $200 promo price through November 19th. It’s a super deal.
Datacolor SpyderX Create Kit
(promo price THROUGH 11/19)
Back to Software Home
BEST Print products of 2021
Create a gorgeous print gift with your own images, or wrap up the latest desktop and mobile printing tools for your favorite photographers.
Sick of doing everything on a screen? Rise up, photographers, and give your people a beautifully arranged collection of images on thick, archival paper that they can leaf through without the assistance of a power charger. Artifact Uprising’s layflat albums start at $289 and give you a choice of square or rectangular format, lustre or eggshell pages, and leather or linen covers. Add a classy walnut box that you can put the album in when handing it down to the next generation. AU’s albums are made to last a lot longer than whatever device you’re reading this gift guide on.
Artifact Uprising Signature
BACK TO PREVIOUS PRODUCT
TO NEXT PRODUCT
Whether you’re looking for a big splurge or just a little gift that won’t seem cheap, WhiteWall’s HD Metal prints can accommodate. They’re rigid 1mm aluminum sheets coated with a water-resistant image layer so you can hang them just about anywhere—even out on the porch you fixed up during your pandemic home improvement kick. WhiteWall offers lots of options for size, surface and framing, starting with simple 4x4s for $14.95 and running up to framed 5-foot-wide oeuvres d’arts in the $1,700 range. Use RoomView on their website to get a preview of your spiffy new print on your wall.
WhiteWall HD Metal Print
TO NEXT Product
BACK TO Print Products HOME
People love canvas prints. They’re consistently one of the most popular ways to display photos. As a result, there are lots of companies selling them, and there’s a lot of chaff out there with the wheat. Cut through it and go straight to CG Pro Prints for their Canvas Wrap PROs. Their quality level is set to pass muster with professional photographers, they’re highly customizable, and they’re surprisingly affordable. Get a bunch of $10 5x7s for little gifts or wall collages, or scale up to a 40x60 with a walnut frame for $250. They all come ready to hang.
CG Pro Prints Canvas Wrap PRO Prints
You can’t go wrong with a nice big box of fancy paper if you’re shopping for a portrait photographer. The 100% cotton ARCHES 88 paper is new to Canson’s line, but it comes from somewhere very old: the 530-year-old ARCHES mill in France. Its matte surface is smooth enough for portraits, with a pure white base achieved without optical brighteners. For a little more luster, go with Baryta Photographique II, which looks like a rich fiber-based darkroom paper. Prices for ARCHES 88 and Baryta Photographique II start around $37 and $31, respectively, for a box of 25 8.5x11-inch sheets.
Canson ARCHES 88 AND Baryta Photographique II Inkjet Paper
Carry this instant film camera wherever you roam, and you’ll be able to take creative shots that print on the spot. The Suntur Edition Automat features a design by the Thai artist Suntur, along with options your average instant-printing camera doesn’t offer, including bulb and multiple exposure modes, exposure compensation, and a tripod mount. For $189, you also get wide-angle, close-up, and fisheye attachments for the 60mm lens; colored gels for the built-in flash; Lomo’s Splitzer for combining multiple exposures on a single print; and a lens cap that doubles as a remote-control shutter release when you take it off.
Lomo’Instant Automat, Suntur Edition
Photographers who want to add a photo booth or a little on-the-fly event printing to their repertoire will be thrilled to unwrap this super compact dye-sub printer that requires neither power cords nor powerlifting. Its 13-pound weight makes it far more portable than a typical 40-pound unit, and it can run off a portable battery for hours. Its 4x6, square, and 4.5x8 panoramic prints come out nice and flat to make it easy to put keepsake albums together on location. If you’re feeling flush, you can add DNP’s little WCM2Print WiFi module to the $489 printer for an extra $159.
BEST FOR FILM
This little 12-ounce printer occupies the part of the Venn diagram where professional photographers and young social butterflies overlap. Both will appreciate its ability to print from a smartphone and add QR codes and notes, but the pro is more likely to use these features for linking a promo print to their website than, say, linking to an audio clip of an incomprehensible joke. The printer’s understated styling will also appeal to pros, and Fuji’s Instax Wide instant film gives you plenty of space for both image and info on the print. It comes with a strap and stand for $150.
Fuji INSTAX Link Wide Smartphone Printer
Darkroom habitués know the terrible dilemma well: Fiber or RC? You can free black-and-white printers from this ponderous choice by wrapping up a box of Ilford’s premium Multigrade RC Portfolio paper. It offers the double-weight feel of a fiber-based paper with the ease of printing on a variable contrast resin-coated base. Ilford revamped its Portfolio RC papers in 2021 with their fifth-generation Multigrade emulsion, which makes them more similar to Ilford’s Multigrade Classic fiber-based paper. The Multigrade RC Portfolio papers are available in 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 sheets, with prices starting at $25 for a box of 25 4x6s.
ILFORD Multigrade RC Portfolio
BEST For FIlm
Make prints that deserve a place on the wall with this professional inkjet printer. With a 10-color archival pigment ink set, 1.5-picoliter minimum droplet size, and the ability to take papers up to 17 inches wide and 1.5mm thick, the P900 gives serious image makers all the tools they need to create lasting works of art. It’s pretty compact for a 17-inch printer, too. It will do you (or someone who really likes you) about $1,195 of damage. You can add an optional roll media adapter for $249 if you really want to go to town.
Epson SureColor P900 Inkjet Printer
BACK TO PRINT PRODUCT HOME
(for PACK OF 25 8.5x11”)
It’s a tabletop frame. It’s an heirloom print box. It’s the quintessence of a photo reveal session wrapped up in one cleverly gorgeous package. Sue Bryce’s pick is part of the eponymous collection she designed in collaboration with Graphistudio. “I wanted to create something brand new that would complement the beauty and versatility of a modern reveal session,” Sue told us. Each Reveal Box is highly customizable and handmade in Italy. You can select from leathers, linen or sateen silk ribbon for the cover, add a video display, and include up to 30 archival matted prints. Choose an 8x10, 10x10, 11x14 or 14x14 box and personalize it to your heart’s content.
Graphistudio Reveal Box
Portrait Photographer, Los Angeles, CA
Educator at Sue Bryce Education + The Portrait Masters
TO NExt product
Pair a set of museum-quality matted prints with Zno’s slide-in print stand, and you have an elegant, personalized gift that you can refresh with new prints for untold holidays to come. The solid wood stand features a discreet slot for slipping prints in and out with absolutely no fuss, and its frame depth makes it self-standing without an appendage to ruin the sleek design. The stand comes in 8x10 and 11x14 sizes, and there’s a range of art papers and canvas to select from for your prints. You can purchase up to 10 matted prints in a set with the stand. Zno’s holiday pricing for the set starts at a modest $36.
Zno’s Slide-In Print Stand
Back to Print Products Home
BEST Accessories & Gadgets of 2021
The Cirque du Soleil of tripods, the PodZilla goes where other tripods simply can’t. Whether you need to position a camera hanging from a tree branch or or balanced on rocky terrain, or to secure a smartphone on a vertical pole, with its flexible, fully articulated legs, the PodZilla can make it happen. The smaller sibling of Joby’s GorillaPod, the PodZilla is available in medium and large sizes in a kit that includes a smartphone mount and dual cold shoe attachments for lights and mics. The medium kit supports up to 2.2 pounds of gear, while the large PodZilla has a 5.5 pound-capacity and comes with a quick release plate and a bubble level. It’s a great gift (or a treat for yourself) and this nifty device will come in handy more often than you think!
BACK TO PREVIOUS ACCESSORY
TO NEXT ACCESSORY
When it’s time to add some visual magic or whimsy to images, look no further than the Lensbaby Omni Deluxe Collection II. Gone are the days of one-handed shooting while dangling crystals or colored gels in front of your lens. This collection includes a magnetic system that enables you to securely attach filters and objects to a screw-on lens ring (step-up/step-down rings come with the kit). With more than a dozen fun and creative filters—from prisms and crystals to textured films and colored gels—there’s plenty of room for experimentation and creative touches that you can add to your videos as well as still images.
Lensbaby Omni Deluxe Collection II
BACK TO ACCESSORIES & GADGETS HOME
It’s easy to amass a large collection of media cards of various sizes and capacities as formats change and more and more cameras are equipped with dual card slots. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost much to keep those cards organized (and protected) with Think Tank Photo’s Pixel Pocket Rocket. Regardless of card format and size, there’s a pocketable, foldable wallet that can accommodate between 7-10 cards. Securely contained with a Velcro closure and difficult to lose when you attach its lanyard to a bag or belt, this is a no-brainer accessory for every photographer. And there’s even a slot to stow business cards for those unexpected new client opportunities.
Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket
The Westcott Eyelighter 2’s uniquely curved design functions as a seamless silver reflector. With a redesigned center spine for version 2, photographers can mount and tilt the Eyelighter to create beautiful reflections that bring a portrait to life. At the same time, this 55-inch-long reflector can create beautiful, even lighting with only a single source of illumination—whether it’s a flash or the sun. An optional white fabric adds versatility to this simple-to-use device whether you’re shooting in studio or on location. (Note: While the Eyelighter 2 eliminates the need for an assistant to hold a reflector, it does require a light stand for support.)
Westcott Eyelighter 2
Just when you think you can’t fit one more piece of gear in your camera bag or backpack, along comes the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2. This slim, portable hard drive has everything going for it: small size, big capacity and speed—up to 2000MB/s read/write speeds, almost doubling the speed of its predecessor. Available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities, it measures a mere 4.34 x 2.26 x 0.4 inches, small enough to sneak into little cubbies of space in your bag. And with IP55 water- and dust resistance and the ability to withstand a 2-meter drop, they’re tough, too. If your laptop is not yet USB-C compatible, no worries. The drive comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable (as well as a USB-C to USB-C cable).
SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2
Memory card formats seem to change with the speed of light to keep up with heavier demands from higher resolution still and video files. Added to the alphabet soup of media is the CFExpress Type A. Although not (yet) widely used, the new Prograde Digital 160GB version is slightly smaller than a standard SD card. The Prograde Digital card can easily keep up with wedding demands of both still and video capture with a sustained read speed of up to 800MB/s and write speed of up to 400MB/s, with the latter optimized for high-res video. Currently only select Sony cameras, most notably the A7S III and the Sony A1, use this type of card with a card slot that can accommodate both the CFExpress Type A or a UHS II SD card. Keep an eye on this format, it’s likely to become more and more popular.
Prograde Digital 160GB CFExpress Type A Card
It’s the third Zoom meeting of the day while you’re out of the office, your phone or tablet is running out of juice and there’s no electrical outlet in sight. Or maybe the latest storm has taken out the power (winter is coming, you know) and you’re in the middle of editing images on your iPad. What you need is to be rescued by a power bank. Slender and easy to slip into a pocket or gear bag, the Anker PowerCore Slim 1000 PD provides enough charging power to get smartphones and tablets up and running again—figure maybe two full charges for a smartphone and a single full charge for a tablet, depending on the devices. With two USB ports for time efficiency, this power bank comes with a USB-C cable, travel pouch and an 18-month warranty.
Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD Power Bank
Whether you’re on a film set or capturing a wedding, everything is moving quickly. Switching a camera from a tripod to a gimbal and then a slider takes precious time away from the action (or studio rental). To help keep up the pace, Manfrotto has designed a quick release system that almost instantly attaches/detaches from whatever support you’re using. All you have to do is snap the plate into the lock and you’re good to go. Ready to move to a slider? Just rotate the ring and the plate releases quickly and easily. The Quick Release provides a stable and secure base with the freedom to mount the camera anywhere and any way you need to. Part of the company’s Move System, check out the site for other components.
Manfrotto Move Quick Release
Show us a photographer who doesn’t have a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod on their wish list or in their gear bag and we’ll show you proof that anomalies exist. Is that an overstatement? Perhaps. But the Gitzo GT2532 Mountaineer has a long list of appealing specs from its three-section legs, twist locks with O-ring protection from dust and dirt and a payload capacity of a little more than 39 pounds. If you—or your giftee—are tall, its 65.3-inch maximum height means you don’t have to bend over to see through the viewfinder. It’s great for travel, too, weighing in at only 3.68 pounds and folding to a length of 25.59 inches.
Gitzo GT2532 Mountaineer Carbon Fiber Tripod
BACK TO ACCESSORY HOME
So many people say they prefer a mouse but that’s only because they haven’t allowed their brains to build the neural pathways yet. It takes about two weeks. But this thing is objectively better for your wrist, more natural as a movement, and can double editing speed. It’s a game changer and a life-saver and the single piece of gear I’d take to a desert island (after all the camera stuff and a laptop to plug it into)!
Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet (small)
Wedding Photographer, Australia
Rf 30 Rising Star in 2015
To NEXT ACCESSORY
($50 for the large PodZilla kit)
($369 with dual
slot card reader)
Memory card formats seem to change with the speed of light to keep up with heavier demands from higher resolution still and video files. Added to the alphabet soup of media is the CFExpress Type A. Although not (yet) widely used, the new Prograde Digital 160GB version is, like other Type A cards, slightly smaller than a standard SD card. The Prograde Digital card can easily keep up with wedding demands of both still and video capture with a sustained read speed of up to 800MB/s and write speed of up to 400MB/s, with the latter optimized for high-res video. Currently only select Sony cameras, most notably the A7S III and the Sony A1, use this type of card with a card slot that can accommodate both the CFExpress Type A or a UHS II SD card. Keep an eye on this format, it’s likely to become more and more popular.
Just when you think you can’t fit one more piece of gear in your camera bag or backpack, along comes the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2. This slim, portable hard drive has everything going for it: small size, big capacity and speed—up to 2000MB/s read/write speeds, almost doubling the speed of its predecessor. Available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities, it measures a mere 4.34 x 2.26 x 0.4 inches, small enough to sneak into little cubbies of space in your bag. And with IP55 water- and dust- resistance and the ability to withstand a 2-meter drop, they’re tough, too. If your laptop is not yet USB-C compatible, no worries. The drive comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable (as well as a USB-C to USB-C cable).
For portraits, it’s all about the eyes, isn’t it? Sharply focused and, for a little extra spunk, the spark of catchlights. To help things along, the Westcott Eyelighter 2’s uniquely curved design functions as a seamless silver reflector. With a redesigned center spine for version 2, photographers can mount and tilt the Eyelighter to create beautiful reflections that bring a portrait to life. At the same time, this 55-inch-long reflector can create beautiful, even lighting with only a single source of illumination—whether it’s a flash or the sun. An optional white fabric adds versatility to this simple to use device whether you’re shooting in studio or on location. (Note: While the Eyelighter 2 eliminates the need for an assistant to hold a reflector, it does require a light stand for support.)
It’s easy to amass a large collection of media cards of various sizes and capacities as formats change and more and more cameras are equipped with dual card slots. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost much to keep those cards organized (and protected) with Think Tank Photo’s Pixel Pocket Rocket. Regardless of card format and size, there’s a pocketable, foldable wallet that can accommodate between 7-10 cards. Securely contained with a Velcro closure and difficult to lose when you attach its lanyard to a bag or belt, this is a no brainer accessory for every photographer. And there’s even a slot to stow business cards for those unexpected new client opportunities.
The Cirque du Soleil of tripods, the PodZilla goes where other tripods simply can’t. Whether you need to position a camera hanging from a tree branch or balanced on a rocky terrain or to secure a smartphone on a vertical pole, with its flexible, fully articulated legs, the PodZilla can make it happen. The smaller sibling of Joby’s GorillaPod, the PodZilla is available in medium and large sizes in a kit that includes a smartphone mount and dual cold shoe attachments for lights and mics. The medium kit supports up to 2.2 pounds of gear, while the large PodZilla has a 5.5 pound-capacity and comes with a quick release plate and a bubble level. It’s a great gift (or a treat for yourself) and this nifty device will come handy more often than you think!
Ever see a great color and wish you could take it home and use it in your next shoot? Now you can. Scan any color that catches your eye with the little Bluetooth-enabled ColorReader EZ, and you’ll get an instant description of it in CIELAB, Hex and RGB. You can use the data to order up a matching paint, dial your color in perfectly in post, or find the closest match in a Savage Universal seamless. Go to town creating custom color palettes, match props and products perfectly, and find new color inspiration wherever you go. Pick it up for a $49 promo price from November 22nd through December 3rd.
Datacolor ColorReader EZ
(promo price FROM 11/22-12/3)
Back to ACCESSORY Home
BEST Photo gifts of 2021
Give this $124 countdown calendar to anyone who’s got a 35mm camera languishing in the cabinet or pair it with something fun like Ilford’s own $35 Sprite 35-II or Lomography’s $79 liquid-lens Belair panoramic camera. Behind each of 12 numbered calendar doors is a different type of black-and-white 35mm film from Ilford or Kentmere. Even seasoned film photographers will probably find new things to try, and digital natives will get a nice sampling of the possibilities film offers. Ilford throws a few extra treats in with the film, too. We won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what they are.
ILFORD 35mm Gift Calendar
BACK TO PREVIOUS GIFT
TO NEXT GIFT
This special edition of Sekonic’s L-398A Studio Deluxe III meter gives you all the elegance of a luxury pocket watch with none of the pretentiousness. It’s also exponentially more useful. Stroll through your set or location with it to get continuous light level readings. Pause and lock the needle at any moment to see a range of aperture and shutter combinations for both still and cine exposures. Finished in burgundy with rose gold accents, the $498 light meter comes in a special box with a leather case and neck strap. It doesn’t come with batteries, because it doesn’t need them.
Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III 70th Anniversary Edition
TO NEXT Gift
BACK TO PHoto gifts HOME
“Don’t do it!” Now that’s priceless advice. For only 20 bucks, this generous tome edited by Jason Fulford will give you all the admonishments you need to avoid cliches, heavy-handed symbolism, dirty looks, and maybe even a lawsuit. But that’s not all you get. It’s full of anecdotes, images and deep thoughts from all kinds of interesting figures in the world of photography. If you’ve missed shooting the breeze with your photographer friends during our era of pandemic no-nos, you can fix yourself a nojito by the fire and let this book help you fill the void.
Anyone who loves shooting—or just looking at—portraits will enjoy these recent releases: Albert Watson: Creating Photographs is a bargain for $20. The iconic photographer pairs each image drawn from his 50-year career with a story and photo advice. At the other end of the career span, Our Own Selves ($55) is Nadine Ijewere’s dynamic first book. It’s full of vibrant, innovatively composed images, and an interview with the London-based fashion portraitist. If fine art portraiture rings your bell, don’t miss Gregory Crewdson’s Alone Street ($65). It includes a wealth of BTS material from his Cathedral of the Pines and An Eclipse of Moths series, along with an introduction by Joyce Carol Oates and a conversation with Cate Blanchett.
2021 Portrait Photography Books
If recent years have left you feeling like you haven’t been getting out enough, just wait until you see this book from Jimmy Chin ($50). The National Geographic photographer, Academy Award–winning filmmaker and world-class mountaineer has spent the past 20 years making daring expeditions on all seven continents with his equally talented wife and the extraordinary outdoor athletes he shoots. You can see 200 of his jaw-dropping images in this book, and when you’re done seething with jealousy, you can read his stories and insights about his travels and be inspired to plan your next adventure.
There and Back: Photographs from the Edge
Here’s the dilemma: You need to carry more gear than you can fit in your stylish shoulder bag, but you don’t want to show up to the event you’re shooting looking like you’re checking in at a youth hostel. Enter ONA’s Monterey Bag. Its waxed canvas body and full-grain leather top flap will fit right in with the decor at an upscale wedding venue, and its roomy backpack design makes it easy to grab the bag and run to the next location with all your stuff during fast-moving events. Choose from tasteful olive, smoke, Oxford blue, black options for $365.
THE Monterey Bag by ONA
If you’re shopping for an image maker who has upgraded to the iPhone 13, Moment has just the thing. The Ultimate Bundle includes a matching Apple Watch strap, AirPod case, and phone case, the last of which features a mount for Moment’s mobile lenses. The bundle is available for every flavor of iPhone 13, in a range of colors and materials. Get it for just under $200 and add an anamorphic lens for filmmakers or a fisheye, tele, wide or macro lens for photographers. If you only want the phone case with lens mount, you can pick that up for about $55.
Moment Ultimate Bundle for iPhone 13
to NEXT Gift
Shopping for a photographer who wants to shoot motion? A decent mic is the first thing they’ll need. If they’ve been making do with built-in mics, we guarantee they’ll thank you. The $200 MKE 400 is a directional shotgun microphone, so it will do a much better job of capturing subjects while minimizing backgrounds. Its 3.5mm jacks let you monitor sound through headphones and connect it to either a camera or a mobile device. If mobile recording is your main interest, opt for the MKE 400 Mobile Kit, which for $230 throws in a smartphone clamp and a Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod.
Nothing says luxury quite like an obsolete precision instrument styled to look like another obsolete precision instrument. This opulent wristwatch from TACS houses a 21-jewel movement in a water-resistant gold and black case. You can see the action through a face designed to look like a twin-lens camera. The ATL Retro Gold is being sold in a first edition of 500, packaged in a wooden gift box with a leather strap, along with complimentary engraving. Too rich for your blood? TACS offers a collection of camera-themed watches with prices starting at $200. Order one before the holiday rush. Time is running out!
TACS ATL Retro Gold Watch Box Set
BACK TO PHOTO GIFT HOME
"I think a wonderful gift for a photographer is a beautiful camera bag,” Elizabeth Messina told us. “I love ONA bags because they feel so elegant and old worldly. I’d wear one out even
if I wasn’t carrying a camera. Their sweet Bond Street bag in dark truffle leather would make a beautiful gift. If you want to splurge a little, I am currently coveting their Prince Street messenger bag. It would be perfect for your camera gear,
a laptop, and a good book.” (We think Messina’s The Luminous Portrait would fit in there nicely, speaking of gifts.) Select a leather Bond Street for $279, or opt for waxed canvas at $169.
Prince Street bags come in leather for $449
or waxed canvas for $339.
Wedding, Portrait and Editorial Photographer
Author, The Luminous Portrait, The Silver Lining, Adorments
RETURN To GIFTS Home
BEST In Education for 2021
Knowledge may be the best gift of all, and there are lots of great ways to give it, from online courses and guides to on-the-ground photo tours.
Ever heard of Annie Leibovitz? Spike Lee? You can learn photography and filmmaking from these and other household names with MasterClass. Each course the streaming platform offers includes about 20 lessons, and an annual subscription starting at $180 is required to view them. That gives you access to the entire course catalog, which covers many more subjects than photo and film, all taught by luminaries. Upgrading to Plus ($240/year) or Premium ($276/year) lets you download courses and view them on multiple devices at once. Get a multi-device plan as a family gift and let everyone follow their own star.
BACK TO PREVIOUS COURSE
TO NEXT COURSE
Are you shopping for one of those “Great Resignation” people they keep talking about on the news who quit their job to start a business? If you’re giving a gift to someone who’s launching a portrait photography business—or thinking about it—you can’t do better than Sue Bryce’s education program. Membership includes access to hundreds of online courses designed to help people build a profitable portrait business. Play patron with a full-year membership for $399, or stick to your budget with a $45 one-month subscription. Don’t forget to hit them up for a nice picture of yourself when they’re done.
Sue Bryce Education Gift Membership
TO NEXT Course
BACK TO education HOME
No light, no photography. It’s that simple. That makes buying an educational gift for a photographer simpler too, since lighting is something they’ll probably want to get a handle on. This video series includes 14 courses on studio lighting, presented by Sue Bryce and lighting expert Felix Kunze. It starts with the basics on setting up lights, choosing camera settings, and modifying lights, and then gets into the details of lighting for different subjects, settings, and styles. For just $199, it can take your lighting knowledge from 0 to 60 fast, or fill in the gaps that are holding you back.
The Portrait Masters: The Lighting Series
Want to shoot portraits that belong on the cover of a magazine? Fashion photographer Lara Jade shows you how in this series. She covers everything from storyboarding to lighting to retouching, and explains how to adapt fashion photography techniques to a wide range of clients and budgets. Even if you’re not looking to shoot for Vogue, the in-depth series will help you finesse your photographs of people. Stream or download all 18 hours of classes for $199. Looking for a more modest gift? Check out Matthew Jordan Smith’s shorter $59 course, Defining Your Style with Aperture, Modifiers and Lighting.
THE PORTRAIT MASTERS: The Fashion Series
Do you want to photograph bears? Or maybe film mountaintops from a Cessna? If getting outside and shooting something wild is your idea of a good time, Wildist has your number. The streaming platform hosts courses given by 15 successful landscape, wildlife, and adventure shooters. Get an intro to landscape photography with Taylor Burk, learn how to shoot wildlife in Alaska with Charly Savely, or dig into the details of turning your adventure habit into a livelihood with Chris Burkard. Wildist workshops vary in length and number of lessons included, and are priced from $65 to $299.
No, The Wedding School will not help you get married, stay married or improve your online dating game. But if you want to be a wedding photographer—or a better wedding photographer—it will teach you everything you need to know. A membership on the streaming platform gives you full access to its courses and library. Courses cover topics from business to shooting and post-production to what exactly you should be doing while the bride gets her hair done. The $199 annual membership is a deal, and the $25 monthly memberships can go a long way for binge watchers.
The Wedding School Membership
You could start making a movie right now. Assuming you have a smartphone with a camera like most people, you’ve got the same tool that has taken directors to Sundance. What you need is knowledge about how to use this tool, and filmmaker Andy To can give it to you (or your giftee) for only $80. In his online course, he explains his whole mobile cinematography process, from shooting and using a gimbal to editing and color grading. The three-hour course is set in Japan and NYC, and To offers detailed guidance on shooting in Japan as a bonus.
Mobile Filmmaking: Learn to Shoot Cinematic Videos with Andy To
Learn to use a filmmaking tool you already know and love as a photographer—your DSLR or mirrorless camera. This intensive two-day online workshop from Maine Media starts with the basics of camera settings and visual storytelling, then gets into the details of different shooting scenarios. For $360, it will give you the fundamentals you need to shoot motion, along with a list of filmmaking accessories to put on next year’s gift list. The workshop takes place live on Zoom with instructor David Martinez, and class sizes are limited to 14, so check Maine Media’s schedule for an upcoming date asap.
Two-Day DSLR & Mirrorless Video Online Workshop
Do you have $100 grand to spend on a trip, but still don’t own your own private jet? Have your assistant get National Geographic on the line, stat. Their top-of-the-line tour will squire you around the globe with a team of prestigious historians, anthropologists, geographers and, of course, photographers who can give you professional guidance on shooting the many wonders you will see. For those who have just given their inheritance away to charity, National Geographic offers a full schedule of more modestly priced photo-oriented tours, starting with a very nice looking 9-day trip to Morocco for $2,149.
Around the World by Private Jet Tour
BACK TO EDUCATION HOME
This comprehensive studio lighting PDF from Lara Jade Education gives you over 130 pages of in-depth guidance and over 20 lighting diagrams. Susan picked it because it’s a great gift for photographers working at any level. “Beginners will get a complete program of lighting education and theory from this guide,” she told us, “and even experienced pros will find new setups and ideas to explore. It’s really packed with inspiration for everyone.” Study it, print it, and download it to your favorite mobile PDF reader to keep a trove of lighting knowledge at your fingertips wherever you go. The $149 price includes a bonus Top 12 Lighting Tips PDF, too.
The Light Guide
Wedding and Portrait Photographer, Brooklyn
CreativeLive, WPPI and PHOTOPLUS speaker
co-founder and co-owner of The Wedding School
RETURN To EDUCATION Home
$25 per Month)