Obligatory 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for Photographers

Despite declaring my disregard for anything tangible this year as far as photography gifts, this still continues to be the time of year when friends come out of the woodwork asking for suggestions on what to get for their photography-loving people in their lives.

If you’re the “photography person” in your social circle, I find it funny that people instantly assume you have this inherent deep-rooted knowledge for knowing everything that happens around both the craft and the business . It’s certainly not the case for me but it’s from these conversations where the idea for a Photographer Holiday Gift Guide comes from.

Some of the recommended gifts I already own and others I wouldn’t be against receiving if I was compelled to choose something for myself. Six of the gift ideas are affiliate links from Amazon so it goes without saying that by purchasing any of them, you’re supporting the site by placing some money in my travel jar.

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

1. Domke F-5XB Shoulder and Belt Ruggedwear Bag: I don’t need any more camera bags as much as my wife doesn’t need any more shoes or handbags herself and yet I finally understand when she’s told me that “it never hurts just to see what’s available.” I own a Kata DR-465 and a Tribeca Sling-Bag both of which have traveled with me to numerous places but I’ve always wanted a shoulder bag to have in my collection and the Domke F-5XB is one that I would strongly consider. It’s not that expensive and this model already has that worn-out look that I typically gravitate towards.

2. Fuji Instax Mini 50S Film Camera: I didn’t understand the high prospect of fun and instant gratification it would be to use this camera until I read what travel photographer Gavin Gough had used it for during his amazing journeys around the world. Rather than simply photograph his subjects and feel like he had walked away taking something personal from them, he extended his appreciation by giving them each a mini-polaroid of themselves.

I don’t mean to piggy-back on what he’s doing but the idea behind it by using a camera like this could be a great confidence booster for any street photographer who prefers the route of interacting with their subject.

3. Storytellers: A Photographer’s Guide to Developing Themes and Creating Stories with Pictures: The physical act of taking a photograph is easy as long as you’re able to locate where the power and shutter button on a camera is. But I assure that the more you progress as a photographer and the more you invest into the craft, the sooner you’ll realize that what you do with the camera is never more important than what you’re able to tell with it. I love books that focus on the philosophical aspect of photography rather than the technical side which could get really boring really quick for me.

4. Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job: I love recommending books that may not be directly related to photography because you’ll be surprised how much inspiration you can draw from them and how often you’ll relate certain passages from them to your journey as a photographer. Jon Acuff did an absolutely remarkable job with this book. The title alone should have already piqued your interest because I certainly learned a lot from it as a photographer.

5. Pelican 0910-010-110 Secure Digital Memory Card Case: The one essential quality you should know about this case is that it’s built like a tank which means nothing but extra protection for your SD cards. I’m not a fan of those clear plastic cases that SD cards typically come in when you buy them so I invested on this tough container to secure them all in.

6. Photography Workshop: I’ve never attended a workshop mostly because the one’s I’ve looked at are relatively expensive and there’s always that doubt of whether you’ll benefit at all from participating in one but like anything else, you’ll never know until you give it whirl.

I’ve done endless searches for workshops here in New York until I eventually discovered Brooklyn Creative which offer very affordable ones. I haven’t signed up yet but it’ll unquestionably be an experience that I hope to take on in 2012.

7. Plane Ticket: If you’re convinced that you have to travel thousand of miles to somewhere exotic for people to perceive you as a good photographer, then I gotta tell you that you’re mindset is in the wrong place already. Despite how much people may complain about how tedious airport procedures are, the notion of traveling is absolutely fascinating but you should have the impulse to produce amazing work wherever you are even if that means in your own neighborhood.

If you find a great flight bargain to a place you’ve dreamt about visiting such as Brazil for me, go for it. I don’t lush over the name brand stuff like other people do, mostly because I rather invest on buying experience than things.

8. Visual Stories: Behind the Lens with Vincent Laforet: Much like the previous book, this one focuses strongly on the story aspect of photography as well but it’s from Vince Laforet which instantly attracted me to it because it seems that every project he’s involved in is absolutely amazing. Do I need to remind you about Reverie? I didn’t think so.

9. Blurb Notebooks: Photographer Dan Milnor is a heavy Blurb user and it’s through him how I’ve quickly been charmed by the service and the array of products that are offered for you to do even more with your photographs. Blurb Notebooks is one of their newest ones and can you imagine what an awesome gift it would be to give an avid writer a notebook which serves as a platform for you to highlight some of your best work.