Buying gifts for the lens-lover in your life can be a daunting (and often expensive) task. With so many variants of just about every photographic accessory you can think of on the market, choosing the best one to suit the recipient’s needs – and your budget – can be a bit of a minefield.
With this in mind, we’ve done the hard work for you, cherry-picking a selection of the best photographic products and accessories around, with a range of options to suit just about anyone.
So, whether you’re after a few extra photo-themed stocking fillers or a slightly pricier sleigh-stuffer for your loved one (or just a little treat for yourself) you should find plenty of inspiration here.
Streamline your Lightroom workflow
Perfect for frequent users
Quick access to key controls
No for everyone
If you or some one you know is a dab-hand at image editing and uses Adobe Lightroom, then this photo-editing console is a great pick. Called the Loupedeck, it’s been custom-designed from the ground up to ‘super-charge’ the experience of using Lightroom, making the whole process of selecting and editing shots quicker and more intuitive.
With dedicated controls for Lightroom’s core settings laid out clearly on the Loupedeck, your workflow can be sped-up immensely.
ONA Bags The Bowery
It’s not cheap
ONA Bags’ The Bowery is a gorgeous compact messenger bag that’s aimed at those who want to travel light and carry only essential kit – perfect for wondering round the city or a short break.
The stylish retro design of The Bowery certainly looks the part and is beautifully crafted from a premium leather (water-resistant waxed canvas and nylon versions are also available), and finished off with a leather trim and a tuck-clasp closure on the front. If you want something a little bit special then The Bowery, even allowing for its premium price, won’t disappoint.
Manfrotto Pixi Evo
A great take-anywhere tripod
Good payload support
Handy ball head
Mini tripods are great take-anywhere options, and perfect for those times when you don’t think you’ll need a tripod, but want to bring one just in case. Some can be pretty flimsy though, but the Pixi Evo offers a decent payload support and good flexibility. It comes with a handy ball head and extending legs – not really to extend the height, but to use on uneven surfaces. The limited working height does mean you’ll have to position it on a wall or table, but take advantage of the low angle to get some interesting viewpoints.
BlackRapid Curve Breath
Take the strain off your neck
Easily raise camera to your eye
Fiddly to remove
Placement might not suit everyone
The camera strap you get with your camera’s fine, but if you want something to spread the weight of your camera kit, then BlackRapid’s Curve Breath strap is a great choice.
With a shoulder pad made from nylon mesh, curved TPE foam and poly air mesh, it’s incredibly comfortable. It’s clever design means your camera kit sits next to your right, allowing you to quickly and easily raise the camera to your eye.
Berghaus Tephra Stretch down insulated jacket
Keep toasty on cold shoots
Incredibly well insulated
Better waterproof alternatives
Underarm panels aren’t windproof
If you or you know someone who’s into landscape photography, you’ll know it often means early starts to capture the best light, and that means bitingly cold conditions if its in winter.
So you’re not stood there shivering in the cold and regretting that early start, wrap yourself up in a Tephra Stretch down insulated jacket from Berghaus. Available in both men and women fits, it features super insulated Hydrodown filling that’s made up of a special down that repels up to 75% of water and dries 50% faster than ordinary down. It’s also been treated with Nikwax that keeps the down dry for up to 16 hours
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018
Perfect for the enthusiast photographer
Easy to use
Helpful guided edits
Lacks some advanced features
Might be to basic for some
Adobe’s latest Creative Cloud Photography plan which includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC is perfect for those wanting a host of high-end features, but the monthly subscription payment model isn’t for everyone.
That’s where Photoshop Elements 2018 comes in. Incorporating many of the advanced features found in the high-end version of the software, including a host of raw conversion controls, Elements 2018 still packs a punch and is perfect for the enthusiast photographer looking for a versatile photo editing program.
Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3
Bring your smartphone images to life
Lots of fun
Easy to use
Film can be expensive
A bit bulky
The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 lets you bring your smartphone images to life. This great little printer lets you transfer images wirelessly from your phone to the Instax Share SP-3, which will produce square format instant prints (the image is printed 62 x 62mm, with a total size of 86 x 72mm) for you. There’s a handy reprint button, allowing you to share the same print with friends multiple times, while your pics on Facebook and Instagram can also be transferred to the SP-3.
Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2
Delivers nice, soft light
Easy to set-up
Only for portraits
More affordable options
A naked flashgun can deliver some pretty unflattering light, so this mini flat-pack softbox from Lastolite fits neatly on the front of your flashgun to soften the light nicely. It’s relatively compact size means it’s only really suitable for head and shoulder shots (larger versions are available), but it does mean it easily collapses down to pack away into your camera bag without taking up too much space.
Cactus V6 Transceiver
Off-camera flash triggering with almost any flashgun
No TTL control
While it’s possible to shoot off-camera flash images but triggering the remote flashgun via the camera’s built-in pop-up flash, it’s not the best way to work. It needs a direct line-of-sight for a start, while compatibility can an issue. Especially if you don’t have a pop-up flash on your camera. The Cactus V6 is a transceiver, and in order to use your flashgun off-camera, you will need to mount one on the camera and one on each flash.
While there are a host of transceivers out there, what makes the Cactus V6 special is that you can trigger pretty much any brand of flash from any brand of camera. While the build quality could be better, the flexibility and performance is excellent, while for the price it’s hard to beat.
DJI Mavic Pro
Get a unique look at the world
Easy to use
Decent flight times
Low-light camera performance
When most people think of drones they usually imagine a big, scary, four-armed miniature helicopter. The Mavic Pro is DJI’s smallest, smartest and most approachable drone yet. With the ability to fold up into a water bottle-sized package, it has a 12MP camera and can shoot 4K video. Controls are easy to get to grips with, while there’s a brilliant homing instruction to boot.
Wacom Intuos Photo CTH490PK
Bring greater precision and control to image editing
USB cable too short
Pen stylus quite lightweight
If you’re going to be using Photoshop regularly, making tricky selections and modifying parts of your images – dodging and burning for instance, or some precise retouching, then a graphics tablet can transform the way you work. While using a mouse or a trackpad does the job, a graphics tablet like this one from Wacom delivers much more precision and control.
As well as being able to use the supplied pen to make control the cursor, the tablet also supports multi-touch gestures. This allows you to use the Wacom like a smartphone or tablet, with pinch and zoom control and multi finger gestures.