Brought me to the next level.
"This course helped understand new ways of improving my winter photography. I enjoyed the full manual shoot video. Things I never thought to consider when shooting manually."
Julian Stocker, Norway
"I enjoyed going through the course. There was a lot of useful information from clothes layering to way more. The photography info was really well done and the composition ideas very useful.
I liked that it was short and yet complete. I will refer back often."
Elaine Flournoy, USA
November 18, 2020 10 min read 1 Comment
What do you get the outdoor photographer who has everything? More stuff, of course! For a non-photographer, buying a photographer a gift may feel overwhelming. Hundreds of brands, thousands of gadgets. Where do you even start? Don't worry, we'll help you out.
Even the most seasoned photographer who has everything can benefit from some of these photography staples. Let's jump in!
Some of the most practical and useful gifts fall under (or at) the €50 mark which is great if you're on a budget or looking for something low key. Here are our best recommendations for smaller budgets.
No matter how well prepared you are, sometimes you just need a little artificial heat to keep you going. We keep a few of these hand warmers in our camera bag in case the weather really takes a turn for the worse. There's nothing more irritating than having to end your shoot early because you got too cold. You can buy them here.
You don't have to be a world-class explorer to get some good use out of a standard compass. Most photographers have apps that tell them the position of the sun and the moon but there's truly nothing as reliable as analogue. You can pick up compasses from any outdoor store or you can find them here.
The neck is one of those regions of the body that always gets forgotten about but that area is crucial to keeping warm. Depending on how cold it is, we like to throw in a merino wool neck warmer for mild days and a more heavy-duty fleece neck warmer for colder and windier days. These things are so easy to pack and can make a huge difference when it comes to comfort levels.
There's nothing like the gift of knowledge! If your photographer is a beginner to intermediate, an ebook or an online course could be a great gift. We created a full Winter Photography Basics course that takes you out into the field with Vallerret co-founder Carl van den Boom and teaches you everything you need to know about getting started with winter photography.
If your photographer is more of a reader, there are some amazing ebooks out there to help them improve their skills. We love this course by Norwegian Photographer Christian Hoiberg: A Comprehensive Introduction to Landscape Photography. This ebook is designed for photographers getting started in Landscape Photography and is a great place to start for someone new to the field.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, cold weather and fully charged batteries do not mix. When the temps drop, your battery's charge starts to dwindle at an alarming rate and they only way to revive them is to stick another battery in whilst you warm up the other one. Batteries are one of those items you can truly never have enough of. You will need to know what kind of camera your photographer has to make sure the battery is compatible. This is a great battery duo and charger for Sony Cameras that we use and love.
Shooting the best light often means getting up before the sun has risen or finishing your shoot once the sun goes down but either way you look at it, you'll likely be spending some time in the dark. A headtorch is a trusty tool that will always come in handy. You can get them in varying lumens (the more lumens, the more expensive) but if they are only using the headtorch for short amounts of time walking to and from the car, a headtorch under €50 will easily do the trick.
Remember what we said about your camera batteries? The same goes for your phone battery and any other battery-powered device you carry around. Far too often we've been caught out with a dead phone no charger in sight. We love these battery packs from Anker because of the incredibly long charge they provide. A full-power bank should get you through a week of phone charges.
It's best practice these days to not delete photos from your camera as you need space but instead, to format the card completely, which will wipe out all data and information saved on the phone. This means if you're out in the field and you get stuck with a full SD card, you'll have to go home to save your photos before re-formatting your entire card. An easy solution to this is to have multiple SD cards handy. We recommend a card like this one with a higher Speed Class Rating.
We know, we know. Presets aren't everything but for many photographers, they are a great starting point. Presets are essentially editing settings that are applied to a photo all at once so if you know your editing style is going to be roughly the same, a preset is a great base to start with. There are thousands and thousands of presets out there so choose wisely. We recommend finding a photographer you're familiar with. Christian Hoiberg has a great series of 51 presets for dark and dramatic landscape scenes which would be a treat for any landscape photographer.
You didn't think we were going to forget to mention our own gloves, did you? We only include them because we think they are a fantastic gift and crucial element for every photographer. For those of us on a budget, the Power Stretch Pro Linergloves with touch are a great option. They will help take the chill off on mild days and will work great under any of our other photography gloves.
The Peak Design Lens Kit is a great accessory for photographers who regularly shoot with multiple lenses and who need quick and easy access to their spare lens. This kit is compatible with the Peak Design Capture (sold separately, see below). We love nearly everything Peak Design makes but we're especially stoked on this piece of kit which has made our shooting easier and quicker.
Winter photography means snow and ice for most parts of the world. Even the best winter snow boots may fall short when it comes to snow and ice which is why we like to keep a pair of microspikes in our bag for our winter sessions. The microspikes simply slide over the shoe and the metal underfoot gives better traction and footing than a rubber sole. You can find cheaper or you can splash out for the bigger names like Kahtoohla Micro Spikes which may last a bit longer.
If your photographer is into skiing and snowboarding, they will likely need to carry avalanche gear with them depending on where they are touring. For the photographer who likes to get out into the peaks, piecing together a touring kit is not cheap. A touring kit comprises of a transceiver, shovel and probe. Most of these items individually will fall under the €50 mark.
Have a bit more money to spend? These are our top recommendations for gifts for photographers under (or at €100).
Merino Wool layers are hands-down our top pick for baselayers no matter the weather. From milder days to freezing temps, merino has the incredible ability to keep you warm when you're cold without overheating you like traditional wool. There are dozens of merino wool companies to choose from but we like Mons Royale and Kari Traa. As a natural fibre, merino does wear out quickly so you can truly never have enough merino baselayers.
The Peak Design Capture Clip is a game-changer for photographers who hike or ski whilst photographing. The Capture Clip is made to eliminate the need for taking off your backpack, digging around for your camera, taking a photo, and putting your camera back. The clip is made to encourage quick photography so you don't miss your shot. Simply attach the clip to your belt or backpack strap and you'll be set. Unclip your camera in seconds and never miss another shot!
To the non-photographer, a camera strap may seem unimpressive but to photographers, this simple piece of kit can make a huge difference. The Peak Design Slide Camera Strap can be worn as a sling, neck, or shoulder strap and will accommodate any camera set up.
Small Rig makes amazing and secure cases and cages for all types of cameras and is essential for videographers. Most camera bodies are made pretty durable already but many cameras aren't made to accommodate mounts for things like microphones, lights and other accessories. Before buying this gift for your photographer, be sure you know what type of camera they have! Check out the Small Rig Cages here.
Internal Camera Units (ICU) help keep your camera gear organized and safe. The foam dividers help separate your lenses from your camera body and even more importantly, help keep your camera away from things in your backpack that may bump and harm your camera. We like this ICU from fstop.
Our range of photography gloves help keep photographers warm no matter what the conditions are. For the photographer who needs more warmth than the liner we listed above, these gloves would make for a great gift:
Filters are a great way to elevate your photographer's game and if they are a landscape photographer, filters are a must-have! There are many different types of filters so if you're not sure what to buy, check out this handy article that helps differentiate from the filters.
Polarising filters reduce the glare of the snow and can help make the colours in your photo pop. ND Filters and Variable ND Filters are also great for occasions where you need a slower shutter speed in bright light (think long exposures for waterfalls.) Both NiSi and Lee make top of the line polarising, ND and variable ND filters.
Digital photography has nearly eliminated the need to be picky with photos which means that as photographers, we often get snap happy and end up with way too many photos than we intended. Having a few additional external hard drives is crucial to a photographer who regularly shoots photo and especially video. Raw files and video files take up a lot of space so it's good to have a few spares around. We like this rugged external drive because of its protective outer case.
Going big? Your photographer is in for a treat! Here are our best recommendations.
L Brackets are little unassuming tools that help make your life with a tripod much easier and smoother. If you regularly shoot in portrait, you'll know that it's not easy to use a tripod with a camera that needs to be on its side. This is where the L Brackets come into play. The L Brackets help you orientate your camera without fuss.
For the photographer who needs ultimate warmth, check out our gloves made for Deep Winter and Arctic conditions:
Skadi Zipper Mitt: Made for deep winter conditions. This glove is great for photographers and videographers who need access with all five fingers. This glove includes a Polartec Liner.
Alta Over Mitt: The Alta is our warmest glove in the line up and is made to fit over your other gloves, acting like a sleeping bag for your hand. They are for photographers who regularly shoot in cold, bitter conditions.
There's nothing like a hot cup of coffee in the middle of a freezing cold day to lift your spirits and keep you shooting. Unfortunately, thermoses only go so far so for the absolute warmest cup of coffee out in the field, it's best to take a trail stove. Jet Boil is famous for its impossible quick boil times meaning you can have a hot drink in minutes no matter where you are.
Cold feet and cold hands are some of the top complaints we hear when we talk to winter photographers. Luckily, we've got the cold hands thing covered with our range of photography gloves but it's equally as important to have toasty toes if you're going to fully enjoy your winter shoot.
Winter boots can really vary when it comes to quality, durability and warmth so it's best to do some shopping around before you buy. In short, we recommend a waterproof, insulated boot. In Norway, we like and use the Sorel Caribou but if you do more trekking, you might opt for something like this from Salomon. Ideally, you'll have a high ankle boot to help keep the snow out. The shoes should have excellent grip in the rubber but if you need some extra grip, you can always chuck on your microspikes (listed above).
Opinions on the best camera backpack are about as varied as they come and we have a great article here that helps break down our ambassador's favourite bag choice. In short, any of these bags would be an awesome gift for a photographer if you have the budget.
Winter weather can often be unpredictable, especially when you are shooting in the mountains and while you may be tempted to grab the sturdiest, heaviest duty tripod on the market, keep in mind the tripod will be lugged over all types of terrain so if you're going to splurge for a tripod for your photographer, look for something that has a good balance between being sturdy and being light enough to carry. We recommend these tripods from Manfrotto and also love the Peak Design Travel Tripod.
What's on your wishlist for this year? Drop us a comment below if there's anything we missed!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we will receive a small commission without any cost to you. We only ever recommend products that we have personally used and can stand behind.
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