26 Useful and Fun Gifts for Travel Photographers
There’s nothing worse than giving someone a gift that collects dust.
So, if you’re shopping for a traveler or photographer or better yet, a travel photographer, then here’s a list of things I love and I’m sure they will too.
Have you ever tried to read Game of Thrones in hard cover? It’s impossible without cramping your hand. Now try traveling with it. No thanks! That’s why I got a Kindle Paperwhite. It’s light, portable and not backlit, so unlike tablets, you won’t get glare and eye strain. The new one is even water-proof so it’s perfect if your traveler is headed for a beach vacation.
2. Bose, Noise-Cancelling Headphones
The engine roars, a baby cries and all I want is sleep. My Bose headphones are brilliant for sound quality, comfort and noise cancellation. The headphones cover the full ear and block out most exterior sounds, even with the noise cancelation turned off. I often wear them on the plane without music, just for quiet.
Consider this: I have a sensitive inner ear so the noise-cancelling technology actually made me sick. All that considered, I still prefer these headphones (I turn off noise-cancellation) over anything else I’ve tried. While this may happen to some people, most are fine.
A perfect pairing: A Spotify subscription means your traveler can access great music without ads and download playlists for flights with no wifi.
3. Packing Cubes
If you’re buying for someone who is practical and organized, then I promise, these will change their lives. In fact, you’ll probably end up buying a set too. They are perfect for backpacking trips and regular checked luggage.
4. S’well Water bottle
When traveling, it’s easy to forget to drink water until it’s too late. This bottle keeps water cool for hours, plus the design is streamlined and it comes tons of colours!
Consider this: I like the 17oz size. The larger one doesn’t fit in my side pockets and the smaller one doesn’t hold much water.
A perfect pairing: They’ll need a bottle brush to clean the inside. I like the Simple Modern cleaning brush. It comes in different colours so it’s a bit sexier than giving boring cleaning supplies.
5. Moleskine Voyager Travel Notebook
I always bring along a Moleskine notebook when I travel. Generally I bring a small field-note book so I can record details from meetings and photography locations. The larger Voyageur notebook is useful for traveler who want to take more notes and organize their thoughts and information. It’s got a great map and places to store useful information like travel fidelity programs.
6. National Geographic Traveler Subscription
When you think of the best travel photographers in the world you think of National Geographic. This iconic magazine is less focused on “tourism” and more on travel as a way of life. So expect reflective pieces and less fluff.
Consider this: Look at the different subscription packages. There’s sometimes discount prices for auto-renewals and purchasing the print + digital packages together.
7. Condé Nast Traveler Subscription
If National Geographic is a way of life, Condé Nast is a lifestyle. They’re always one step ahead of everyone else; profiling the next great travel destination and luxurious spots. They cover things like swanky hotels and restaurants for foodies. It’ll certainly spark any luxury traveler’s wanderlust.
Travel Stocking Stuffers
8. Lush Hair & Body Bars
Many seasoned travelers use Lush products. The simple reason is that they save space and limit liquids. I highly recommend the shampoo, conditioner and body wash bars. I also just bought the toothpaste tablets and they’re great!
Consider this: For Christmas this brand is pro at making beautiful gift boxes for a more robust gift.
A perfect pairing: Grab some tin cases so your traveler can store their wet bars in a clean way.
9. Saje’s Peppermint Halo oil blend
Saje is a Canadian company that offers natural products and essential oils. I got hooked when I bought a diffuser that made my house smell like a pine forest. Anyways, I digress… I live for their oil rollerballs. The best one is peppermint halo, which after a day of walking in hot weather, you can rub on your neck/back/legs and instantly feel the refreshing peppermint.
A perfect pairing: Saje also has rollerballs to help with things like sleep and tummy aches. You can get a kit for your traveler to sample.
10. Foldable Travel Bag
Have you ever tried to check-in a bag and the airline tells you it’s overweight and it’s going to cost you a billion dollars? I have. It was horrible - Air Transat lost my business that day.
All that to say, I learned my lesson and always travel with a foldable bag. They easy to pack. And this way your traveler can bring home extra souvenirs without the hefty fees.
11. Universal Travel Adaptor
It may not be glamorous BUT it’s practical. Today we travel with so much tech that one adaptor plug just doesn’t cut it any more. This plug’s got 4 USB ports making it perfect for all your traveler’s tech gear.
Consider this: This adaptor will work for the majority of items but it won’t cut it for hair dryers/straighteners. The voltage will likely fry them (as with most adapters). For those items you’ll need a converter. They’re slightly bigger and heavier but worth it if it means saving precious styling products.
12. Peak Design Camera Backpack
The 20L Peak Design Everyday Backpack was my first backpack and it will probably be my last. It has an incredible aesthetic and is technically designed with the photographer in mind. It has swivel arms that help maneuver gear to the front of the body. The material is water resistant and the inside is compartmentalized to protect camera gear. It fits my laptop, camera body, 4 lenses (2 small primes) plus there’s room for some snacks, accessories and a light jacket.
13. Ona, Bowery Camera Bag
Sometimes your photographer won’t want to carry a backpack. In those instances the Ona “Bowery” messenger bag is a great option. It has room for a camera (lens mounted), another small lens and accessories too. It’s a great option for street photographers.
Consider this: I originally purchased the leather bag. Style-wise, it’s much nicer BUT it’s heavy. The canvas is not only lighter, it’s water resistant too.
14. Peak Design Slide and
Slide Lite Strap
I love the accessories from Peak Design. This strap is great because instead of flashing camera brand names to the world like a tourist, this allows your photographer to move discreetly in crowds and support the camera weight in different ways.
Consider this: If your photographer has a small, mirrorless camera and uses small lenses, then the Slide Lite strap will likely be more suitable for their camera. I own the regular slide but find it a bit clunky when I’m using small lenses.
15. Peak Design Clip
If your photographer does landscape photography or enjoys hiking then this is a great gift. It clips onto backpack straps and uses a mount to attach cameras. This allows photographers to have their hands free when hiking and with a push of a button it easily releases the camera.
16. Fujilove Magazine Subscription
If your photographer uses a Fujifilm camera then consider subscribing them to FujiLove. This monthly digital magazines offer tips from experts, talks about different gear and provide inspiration from other photographers.
Consider this: Fujilove also prints a quarterly, high-gloss magazine. Each quarter is a new theme, so they’ve done one on landscapes and another on portraits. Still geared towards Fujifilm users, it’s a great addition to a digital subscription. There’s nothing I enjoy more than flipping through high-quality photography magazines.
Travel Photography Coffee Table Books
17. Steve McCurry
The Iconic Photographs
Steve McCurry is my favourite photographer. There’s no doubt he’s one of the masters. His compositions are breathtaking and often leave you wondering how he planned them.
His most iconic work features photos from Europe and Africa but mainly South East Asia. This is a book that your photographer will take their time with and savour every page turn.
18. Visual Atlas of the World
When we think of epic photos we think, National Geographic. They hire the best photographers and their Visual Atlas puts them on display.
Published in 2017, this book is updated from their first 2008 edition. Not only is it a perfect way to dream about travel but it’s filled with maps so your photographer can get a geography lesson too.
Sebastiao Salgado is another iconic photojournalist. He’s known for creating jaw dropping black and white photography.
Genesis, is a collection of his landscape, wildlife and indigenous peoples photography. He tries to shed a light on the issues that we’re facing as a society, including global warming. More serious for sure, but important and impressive work.
20. One Decisive Moment
Henri Cartier-Bresson is one of the original street photographers. This book includes his iconic, early work which, as the title suggests, is all about capturing the right photographic story through the precise moment.
Don’t expect colourful pictures and vast landscapes. It’s real, raw and filled with character. It will certainly appeal to any street photographer.
21. Before They Pass Away
I bought “Before They Pass Away” for my dad as a gift and now I want to steal it. Jimmy Nelson spent years photographing the lives and cultures of different tribes throughout the world.
His work is important and impactful, since many of the tribes are slowly disappearing. He’s captured some exquisite human shots. So this book is perfect for any photographer that likes portraits and people.
Fujifilm Camera and Lenses Gifts
Let me start by saying camera gear is highly subjective so my recommendations are based on my personal experience.
I was someone who loved traveling and always took pictures on an iPhone. One day I decided I wanted to take better photos but didn’t want a big camera weighing me down. I ended up with the Fujifilm XT-1 (new models have launched since) and I highly recommend the Fujifilm X-Series.
22. A New Camera
The Fujifilm XT-2
If you’re feeling generous, then the gift of a new camera is incredible. Fujifilm offers many options based on budget. Here’s why I recommend the XT-2 for your lucky travel photographers.
The camera body is weather sealed
This is great because if you buy weather sealed lenses then the entire system is protected from dust and rain. I want to emphasis that this doesn’t mean waterproof. The weather sealing has kept my camera safe from the mist of Niagara Falls and the water guns in the Songkran water festival in Thailand but if I dropped it in a lake it would be another story.
The other caveat is that the kit lens (the lens that comes with the body, 18-55mm) isn’t weather sealed. So while it’s a good lens, you can’t take it out in the rain.
It’s smaller and lighter than DSLRs
If you’re exploring a new location all day long, the last thing you’re going to want is to carry a heavy camera. The Fujifilm XT-2 is a mirrorless camera, this means it’s smaller and lighter than traditional DSLRs (the larger, professional cameras). The best thing is that even with a smaller sensor, it still produces great quality photos with rich colour profiles. I can’t stress the importance of size.
You can grow with it
When I first got my camera I had no idea how to use it. There were so many dials and buttons, I kept everything in automatic. The brilliant thing about this camera, is that I was able to learn and grow into it. Plus Fujifilm is always launching free software updates, making the camera even better. Just remember, if you start with a basic camera, you will grow to a basic level.
Fujifilm offers an impressive lineup of lenses. If you’re getting the camera for a first time photographer then you can probably stick with the kit lens. But you do have the option to buy the body and lens separately.
There’s so much to talk about with lenses that if you do decide to purchase a Fujifilm camera and you have questions, please feel free ask my opinion.
The most basic understanding is that there are two types of lenses. A prime lens and a zoom lens. A zoom lens is what most people are familiar with. It allows the photographer to zoom in and out of the picture. A prime lens is a constant distance. Why would anyone get a prime lens you ask? Well the overall quality tends to be better with prime lenses.
This is important to understand because depending on the style of photography your photographer is interested in, different lenses would be useful. I’m not going to talk about portraits and macro. I’ll recommend lenses that I have found useful for travel.
Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
To date, this is my favourite lens. Being a zoom lens means it’s more versatile for travel. I used to carry three prime lenses that did the job of this one. The issue with travelling with so many lenses (other than the weight) is constantly changing them. You’re more likely to get dirt on the sensor, especially with mirrorless cameras.
Let me also mention, this is not a lens I would have started with, because it’s expensive. But I certainly grew into it and if I had it at the beginning I may not have purchased several others (so in the end, it would have saved me money).
This lens is weather sealed (one of my most important factors for travel) and it has a constant 2.8 aperture. In basic terms this means it can let in lots of light and produce a lovely bokeh effect at focal lengths which other lenses wouldn’t be able to.
Fujinon XF35mmf2 r wr
This was the first lens I got after my kit lens and it was when I really started to see the results of a good prime lens.
Because there is no zoom it’s small and compact making it great for travel.
My essential travel kit consists of the 16-55mm and this lens. If I know I’m shooting portraits of people, I love this lens. It’s also great for food photography, when you might need that extra bit of light to capture an incredible meal.
Fujinon XF23mmf2 r wr
If you’re only going to get one prime lens for your travel photographer then I would recommend this one. If your traveler is going to any destination with ruins or large landscapes, the 35mm will be too tight in most situations and this extra width will allow them to capture some of the larger scenes. This is my go-to lens if I want a small and light camera for a day out on the street.
It’s more discreet than the larger zoom lens (16-55mm) so it’s less likely that I’ll be noticed. This is key for street photography and capturing candid moments.
Fujinon XF55-200mmf3.5-4.8 r
I wouldn’t say this lens is a requirement for beginner photographers. But I’m including it in case your photographer has an interest in wildlife.
Because of the longer focal length, photographers can get closer to the subject without moving, which is great for animals.
The caveat here is that this lens is not weather sealed.
Photography Stocking StufferS
23. SD Cards & Batteries
These are the practical gifts of the gods for photographers. They can never have enough memory cards. 64 GB is a size that I like. I can shoot a lot with that capacity.
24. Extra Batteries and a Charger
Ask any photographer, they will tell you they can never have too many spare batteries. These batteries fit the Fujifilm camera. There are cheaper options by other brands (Wasabi) but the brand name batteries last longer and are not prone to swelling.
25. Cleaning Kit
Similar to the batteries and SD cards, wipes and cleaning materials are always useful. I love this kit because it’s got all the essential cleaning items; brushes for lenses, a puffer for the sensor and of course, the wipes.
26. SD Card Holder
SD card are precious and fragile things and there’s nothing worse than losing your photos. Since photographers tend to travel with multiple SD cards they should remain protected and the flimsy cases that they come in don’t do that. A solid card holder is a good purchase for anyone with multiple cards.
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