Photography as a hobby can be expensive but it does not have to be, which is great news for people looking to get a camera related gift for a photography obsessed acquaintance. I have put together a little list of cheap camera accessories and photography-related items. Everything on the list is under £14 ($20). For your convenience I have added links to Amazon’s UK and US sites for most of the items. If you wanted to spend a little more you could of course look at some of my books or prints. You could of course go crazy and send someone on one of my photo courses, but if your budget won’t stretch to that, check out my bargain suggestions below:
Neoprene camera strap
If you use an SLR or camera of a similar weight you’ll need one of these. I have had the same one since 2003 and could not live without it. I have come to the opinion that the camera straps that come with most SLRs are specifically designed to cut into you neck after half an hour or so of wearing! This bad boy, on the other hand, will bounce and stretch as you walk making it much more comfortable to wear.
Chevolution is a documentary about Cuban photographer Alberto ‘Korda’ Diaz who in 1960 captured the iconic photograph of Che Guevara. The film looks at how this image became one of the most reproduced images in history and how it became an international symbol of protest. Ninety minutes on one photograph, real chin stroking stuff!
Manfrotto MP1-C01 Pocket Support (mini tripod)
There is quite a lot of choice when it comes to mini tripods. The first that would spring to mind is a Gorilla Pod but they can be a little bulky for a jeans pocket or handbag. Manfrotto’s offering is tiny and folds up flat; it’s designed for use with compact cameras. You can still use it with a SLRs, although you’re going to have to support it to stop it toppling over. At least you can eradicate camera shake from spontaneous night time photos where you would of not normally had a tripod with you.
FLOSO magic gloves
The Floso gloves are great for night time and winter photo shoots. They are covered in little rubbery dots that give you grip so you’re able to turn knobs and press buttons on a camera. There is nothing worse than having to take off your gloves in a cold environment when you want to change camera settings. They’re not the thickest of gloves but they’re a good trade-off between being able to control your camera and keeping your hands warm.
The Genius of Photography on DVD
This is a classic and comprehensive six part BBC documentary that covers the history of photography from the beginnings of the art form in 1839 right up to the present day. It first aired in 2007, so even if you’ve seen it before it’s probably time for a re-watch. It includes interviews with William Eggleston, Andreas Gursky and Martin Parr, to name a few. Unfortunately it looks like you can only get the book of the series on the US Amazon site.
Photographic reflectors are really simple bits of kit that every photographer should have. I’m an advocate of shooting with natural light but sometimes you might need to lift the shadows from under someone’s eyes or chin. The easiest thing to do in this situation is to use a reflector. This reflector has a 60cm / 22” diameter and collapses down to 20cm / 8” which is small enough to get into most bags.
Skies can be made to look more dramatic through the use of a circular polarizing filter. Circular polarizers are used to reduce the light reflected from windows, water and other reflective materials. When used in landscape photography they can make the sky a much deeper blue. I have not linked to a single filter as the one you need depends on the thread diameter of the lens it’s going to be used with. If you want to go all out, I suggest a Hoya branded Circular Polarizer.