11 Thoughtful Gifts for the Photographer

iStock.com/MarioGuti
iStock.com/MarioGuti

Photography lovers can be hard to shop for, since their equipment is often both very specialized and very expensive. But you don’t have to break the bank to get your favorite photographer something they'll love. Below are 11 gifts we recommend for the photographer in your life. And if they happen to use their gift to take a beautiful photo of you at the holidays, well, who’s to stop them?

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Kodak Mini Shot

A Kodak Mini Shot printing a photo of a boy eating ice cream
Kodak, Amazon

While photographers may spend more time on Instagram than picking up prints these days, uploading photos to the cloud doesn’t have quite the appeal of holding a freshly printed photo in hand. Your favorite shutterfly can enjoy the best of both the digital and physical photography world with Kodak’s Mini Shot, a camera that combines all the upsides of a digital camera with the on-demand printing abilities of an instant one. With Bluetooth connectivity and in-camera editing options like filters, stickers, and cropping, users can shoot, edit, and share photos as easily as they would on their phone, but they can also instantly print their favorites—including sending their favorite smartphone photos to the camera for printing.

Find It at Amazon for $120 and at these other retailers:

2. GoPro Fusion

For the adventurous photographer, the GoPro Fusion shoots high-definition, 360° photo and video that users can edit from their phone. It can turn stunning travel shots into virtual reality landscapes, with built-in stabilization to ensure crisp images while hiking, biking, surfing, or doing any other kind of activity. It can even do underwater photography—it’s waterproof to depths of up to 16 feet.

Find It at Amazon for $589 and at these other retailers:

3. GoPro Shorty Mini Extension Pole Tripod

GoPro’s pocket-sized, extendable tripod is designed to make sure your favorite photographer’s images are never constrained by their arm size. The Shorty goes from less than 5 inches long to almost 9 inches to allow the user to shoot those hard-to-reach angles (selfie and otherwise) while on the go.

Find It at Amazon for $35 and at these other retailers:

4. Joby GorrilaPod Flexible Tripod

Unlike the GoPro tripod above, this flexible little number can hold cameras up to 6.6 pounds. And it can be mounted anywhere. The bendy legs with rubberized feet can secure a camera in any position, even on surfaces that aren’t completely flat. For photographers working with smaller cameras, Joby also makes a version designed for smartphones as well.

Find It at Amazon for $39 and at these other retailers:

5. Think Tank Retrospective 7 Shoulder Bag

A khaki-colored, messenger-style camera bag
Think Tank, Amazon

Anyone who’s serious about their photo equipment needs a way to keep it safe on the road. While the perfect camera bag depends on what it’s going to be used for—someone who’s shooting a wedding will want something different than someone shooting landscapes in a national park—every photographer needs some way to carry their gear. Think Tank’s Retrospective 7 Shoulder bag is a fashionable, versatile option. The lightweight, form-fitting bag can fit a DSLR, a small laptop, and several lenses, with pockets and organizers for smaller accessories. For event photographers, it has “sound silencers” to minimize the noise associated with opening and closing the bag. For outdoor photography, there’s a rain cover to protect equipment.

Find It at Amazon for $140 and at these other retailers:

6. Yuneec Breeze 4K

To get those detailed aerial shots, your photographer friend is going to need a drone. You could easily drop several hundred dollars getting them a top-notch flying robot, but Yuneec’s compact camera-copter will do the job for much less—in 4K resolution, even. At less than 9 inches in diameter and weighing less than a pound, it’s small enough to tuck into a bag and can be controlled with a smartphone. It has several automated modes that can help any amateur pilot get cinematic shots with the integrated camera, including a dedicated Selfie Mode to help take flawless group shots from afar.

Find It at Walmart for $149 and at these other retailers:

7. Seagate Backup Plus Slim Hard Drive

A man slips a black Seagate hard drive into a laptop bag.
Seagate, Amazon

For any passionate photographer, hard drive space is precious. Free up some of your loved one’s computer storage by gifting them a new external hard drive. Seagate’s Backup Plus portable drives are fast, simple to use, and affordable. They work with both PCs and Macs and come in numerous colors that make them a bit more exciting than most external drives. The 2 terabyte option provides a nice balance between weight, storage capacity, and price, but if you’ll looking to splurge a bit more, there are 4 terabyte and 5 terabyte versions available, too.

Find It at Amazon for $64 and at these other retailers:

8. Canon DSLR Camera Kit

If your photographer has yet to upgrade from their smartphone, the Canon Rebel is a starter camera. This kit comes with the camera body, a 18-55mm lens, and a 75-300mm zoom lens. In addition to capturing great photos, it shoots 4K-resolution video and features built-in Wi-Fi and smartphone compatibility to make sharing footage between devices easy.

Find It at Amazon for $399 and these other retailers:

9. Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite

Nothing can transform a photo like good lighting. This external flash works with both Nikon and Canon DSLRs and has eight brightness levels that can be controlled manually. It can also be rotated 90 degrees vertically.

Find It at Amazon for $34 and at these other retailers:

10. Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

A cleaning device shaped like a rocket
Giottos, Amazon

No matter what kind of photography your loved one does or what kind of equipment they use, they’ll need to clean their camera. This low-tech tool is great for gently puffing away dust from delicate camera sensors. It’s lightweight but powerful, with a one-way valve that prevents it from sucking any of the dust back into the device. And unlike blowing air from their mouth, this way, the camera sensor won’t end up with any spit on it.

Find It at Amazon for $10.

11. Figosa Leather Strap

Figosa’s Italian-made leather camera straps offer a vintage look at a bargain price. The highly customizable straps come in three different sizes, with black or brown leather and gold or silver metal fasteners. This version comes with a shoulder pad to make it more comfortable to wear with heavier cameras.

Find It at Etsy for $61.

Put Summer in Hyperdrive With This Millennium Falcon Pool Float

SwimWays, Amazon
SwimWays, Amazon

If you're not as adventurous as Han Solo, you can take a ride on the Millennium Falcon from the comfort of your backyard pool. This Star Wars-themed pool float from SwimWays is modeled after the iconic spaceship from the movie franchise, and instead of flying at hyperdrive speeds, it's designed to drift through the water on leisurely summer days.

Measuring 5 feet long and 3.8 feet wide, the inflatable spacecraft is the perfect size to hold one passenger, either an adult or a child age 5 or older. It's also durable, with heavy-duty PVC material that's strong enough to withstand attacks from the Dark Side.

The float is just as fun at pool parties as it is on solitary days of relaxation. If you're planning a Star Wars-themed party this summer, SwimWays makes more pool accessories inspired by the series, including a Death Star beach ball, lightsaber dive sticks, and a BB-8 pool toy.

The Millennium Falcon pool float is available for $22 from Walmart. It's currently out of stock on Amazon (where it's listed for the same price), but it's set to ship again starting June 18, so you don't have long to wait if you prefer Prime shipping.

Star Wars-themed pool float in box.
SwimWays, Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

ThinkGeek Is Merging With GameStop, and Everything is 50 Percent Off Right Now

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek, that beloved destination for nerdy goods like Star Trek bathing suits, Game of Thrones doormats, and astronomy-themed jewelry, is moving. While the site isn't going out of business, it is merging operations with its parent company, GameStop, and shutting down its website in the process. "After this move, you will be able to shop a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop," the site explains. And that's good news for you, if you're looking for a bargain. 

ThinkGeek is clearing out inventory by offering 50 percent off everything on its website. That includes 20-side-die-themed waffle makers, constellation lamps, unicorn wall sconces, and more. There are whimsical goods and apparel designed for fans of everything from Doctor Who to The Avengers to Star Wars to J.R.R. Tolkien to Harry Potter to Firefly to Pokemon. Love Funko POP! figurines? ThinkGeek has you covered. What about Super Mario Bros.? Heck yeah. This would be a great time to search for a Halloween costume.

Here are a few things that we would buy if we were you, but there are more cool designs available than we could ever highlight here. 


This 34-ounce TARDIS French press coffee maker is just $20.


ThinkGeek has a bunch of pop-culture themed wallets, but this Star Trek one is extra cool. And it is now just $10. (The NASA one is also great.)


This constellation backpack is out of this world. It's just $24 with the discount.


For $7.50, it's hard to resist this Mario-themed soap dispenser. Add a Mario-themed toothbrush holder to really make getting ready in the morning fun. If you're all about that bar soap, there's also a soap dish.


Wrap yourself in happiness with this Bob Ross-themed blanket that is just $17.50.


If you want to wear your fandom, this Harry Potter Deathly Hallows necklace set is an attractive choice. They're just $7.50 for two.


This handsome Mars watch doesn't have typical hour and minute hands. The moon Phobos orbits the Red Planet as the minute hand, the moon Deimos is the hour hand, and a miniature Mars rover takes the place of the second hand. It's a steal at just $20. 


When it's filled with hot liquid, this Game Boy mug changes from a blank screen to an image of Mario rescuing Daisy. It's only $7.50.


Several '90s cartoon-themed lunch boxes with puzzles are on sale, including ones celebrating Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold!, and Rugrats. The puzzles that come inside the tin lunch boxes are 500 pieces. At less than $5 each, you should go ahead and buy all three.

Shop the sale here using the code MOVINGDAY until July 2. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the sale, all purchases are final, and you'll have to pay for shipping.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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