Best gifts for photographers in 2021

It goes without saying that last two years have been difficult. Although things are feeling a little more normal than last holiday season – people are traveling, industries are returning and people have the ability to gather more freely – we still aren't back to "normal". The pandemic isn't over and many people are still struggling.

But for many photographers, the act of making pictures can be incredibly therapeutic. If you're shopping for a photographer this season, we think that these gifts will put a smile on their face.

The majority of the gifts in this guide are under $100 and geared at enhancing the experiencing of making pictures. You don't have to splurge on a fancy new camera or pricy lens for the photographer in your life. But, please, whatever you do, don't gift them a crappy lens shaped coffee mug.

For outdoor enthusiasts

Capturing beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the wintertime requires a different variety of tools than working in the warmer months. If the photographer in your life loves to capture wintertime wildlife, landscapes or even winter sports, they will definitely benefit from a quality pair of gloves. RucPac's Professional Tech Gloves are weather resistant and insulated, have a rubberized palm grip and are compatible with touchscreen devices. If you're photographer is working in particularly brutal environments consider the Extreme Tech Gloves instead. These mittens have a magnetic thumb and finger section that pull back for full dexterity. They can also be layered on top of the Tech Gloves.

Shooting outdoors can be tough on your gear, so it's important to make sure your camera equipment can withstand the elements. Sony's Tough SD cards are dust proof, waterproof and have a unique one-piece, ribless design that makes it much harder for bits of the card to break off inside the camera. They are available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB sizes.

A nice camera rain cover will help your photographer keep their gear safe and sound regardless of what the weather is doing. This one from Think Tank works with DSLR or mirrorless camera and creates a weatherproof barrier between the camera and the elements, has a large clear window so your shooter can still see the back of their camera, and a cinch-able collar that allows the photographer to operate the camera even when its covered.

For indoor enthusiasts

If your photo-minded friend prefers to stay indoors to make their work there are plenty of nice gifts that will enhance their experience or inspire their next shoot.

The pocket-sized Lumecube Panel Mini light is a bi-color LED light that's great for product photography, simple still life shoots or video calls. It has 3200k-5600k color adjustability, a built-in LCD screen, two 1/4" 20 tripod mounts, a built-in frosted lens for diffusion and is charged by USB-C. You also have the option to control it through your phone using the LumeCube app.

If the photographer on your shopping list is DIY-minded consider a camera that they can build at home. Lomography's Konstruktor Kit includes everything they will need to build their own 35mm film camera. The upgraded version is even flash compatible.

For the film shooter (or film-curious) consider Cinestill's C41 film developing kit. The kit includes all of the chemicals that your photographer friend will need to develop rolls of color film at home.

For creatives

We know we've recommended Instax Share printers in our gift guides before, but it's a photo tool that continues to spark joy. The new Instax Wide printer will let your photographer friend print bigger than ever before. It's incredibly easy to use, and allows your giftee to print photos from their phones camera roll onto beautifully wide pieces of Instax film. It's one of our favorite (and most impactful) ways to share photos.

A good photo book is an excellent gift for photographers, regardless of their skill level. Magnum Artists: Great Photographers Meet Great Artists is sure to inspire the photographer in your life. The book features over 200 portraits of world famous artists as captured by Magnum's photographers and the stories about how they got the shot.

Film photography is a ton of fun and disposable cameras are one of the lowest cost of entry options. Unfortunately, the one-time-use option causes a lot of waste. Lomography's Simple Use Reloadable Camera is our favorite way to shoot film in an inexpensive way. The camera comes loaded with a roll of Lomography film, features a trio of filters to add a pop of color to your pictures and when you finish off a roll you can load in a new roll and keep on shooting.

For travelers

Unlike last holiday season, it's become a lot safer and common to travel again. But traveling with a big bag full of gear can be a little cumbersome. These clever straps from RucPac turn any rolling hard case into a backpack – the best part is you can still keep the wheels and the handle attached. Whether you are traveling through the airport or zipping around on public transportation, the straps give you a hands-free option when hauling your gear around.

When you are jetting around the country or the world it's important for photographers to keep their images safe. SanDisk's Extreme Portable SSD does just that. This drive has a 1050MB/s read speed and up to 1000MB/s write speed, it's drop proof from two meters, dust resistant and has a IP55 water resistant rating. And it's clever design lets you attach it to a carabiner for safe keeping on the go.

Stocking stuffers

Looking for something small, handy and inexpensive? You can't go wrong with these gifts. LensPen offers photographers an efficient way to keep their lenses clean on the go. The pen's brush twists out and includes a carbon cleaning compound that doesn't require any fluids. This is the easiest way to clean your lenses on the go.

This photographer's multi-tool is sure to be extremely useful for any type of photographer. One side has a 5/32" allen wrench and the other a flat-head screwdriver – great for tightening tripod plates, shoulder mounts or other camera attachments. It's attached to a key ring, so it's easy to keep within arms reach regardless of the shooting environment.

Looking for something a little more kitchy? Although we've already warned you not to grab your photo friend a crappy lens shaped camera mug, we love Photodom's "Introverted but willing to discuss photography" mug or ShootFilmCo's spooky enamel pins.