Gift Ideas for Photographers Under $30

Can’t figure out what to get for your photographer cousin’s birthday? Grandma won’t let up until you’ve sent her your Christmas list but you’re out of ideas? I’m here to help.

Buying gifts for a photographer can be tricky because the gear is very specific, and generally has high price tags. There’s a lot of inexpensive “junk” too, and of course you don’t want to buy something that they won’t find useful.

Here are a few inexpensive items, all under $30 that I love and use all the time. I’ve brought most of these around the world with me on photo gigs and found them undeniably useful and worthy of space in my bag. You can be assured these aren’t just things that will find their way to your “stuff-I-don’t-use” shelf.


Velcro Cable Ties

Let’s be real; nobody has ever been good at cable management. Throwing one of these amazing little velcro cable ties on your chargers and data cables makes it so easy to wrap your cords up so they don’t annoyingly explode into a tangled mess in your bag, but also get stored safely without straining the cable joints.

These little velcro guys fit cables of all sizes, and great news; they come in the only color that matters, black. A 100-pack should be enough for even the most hardcore of cable hoarders.

I will admit that if I opened a gift and it was a pack of Velcro I might have an “… uhhhh … thanks” response, but I can assure you that in time your photographer will thank you for changing their life.


Screen Wipes

These little wipes are useful for just about everything. I use them to clean my Macbook screen, my lenses, my camera’s viewfinder and just about any other surface that I look at. Like most photographers, I travel a lot, and carrying around a whole bottle of screen cleaner is an annoying waste of space. A handful of these wipes fit nearly anywhere, and I usually have at least a few on me.


Magnum Contact Sheets

This is a legendary photography book, that gives some unmatched insight into the process of some of the greatest photographers in history. Any photography lover in your life would literally cherish this book, and it’s an incredible resource to learn and gain inspiration from, no matter what you shoot. Even if they’re unfamiliar with the book itself, as soon as they crack it open they’ll immediately love and appreciate it.


Pocket Screwdriver

This screwdriver is a great way to make friends. Do you know how often people need a teeny-tiny screwdriver? It’s a little crazy. Being the guy with the mini-screwdriver is not only socially helpful, but also a vital tool for a photographer. I use it most frequently to tighten screws on lenses, camera bodies, laptops and their parts. There are quite a few tiny screws on camera gear that you don’t think about, and trying to source a mini-screwdriver while on a trip or a job because some screws loosened up is the worst. A precision screwdriver is one of those things you don’t think you need until you really, really need it. Oh, and it works great for loose sunglass screws too, for what it’s worth.


Peak Design Cuff Wrist Strap

Photographers seem to just accumulate cameras. But what we don’t accumulate as quickly is quality camera straps. The ones you get with purchasing a camera are never comfortable or convenient. Even if your photographer loved one has a good strap setup for their main camera, I can almost guarantee you they’ve got 4 or 5 more little cameras lying around the house that they wish they had a strap for, but never bothered to pick one up.

This wrist strap from Peak Design is awesome; comfy, lightweight, small, and can attach easily and safely to any small to medium sized camera. I love using this strap on my little film cameras or small mirrorless bodies.


“A Music Photography Magazine” Issue 2

Music photographer Adam Elmakias has brought together 55 of the best photographers working in the world of music today, and showcases their work in the second issue of A Music Photography Magazine. It’s a beautiful collection of work, and one that any type of photographer can appreciate.

ProductsMatty Vogel