Christmas is a gift for photographers.
Between frosty landscapes and candid snaps of family members pulling their practised grateful faces, there’s no shortage of inspiring subject matter to shoot over the festive period.
Shopping for a shutterbug? From instant cameras to smartphone gimbals, gift your favourite snapper something from this list and they’ll wear a smile worthy of a self-portrait.
Papping unsuspecting relatives is all part of the festive fun. So is surprising them with printed evidence of their post-pudding slumber. Do both with Polaroid’s best instant camera yet. Connect to the smartphone app for full creative control, including an aperture priority mode for artful depth of field effects. There’s a tripod mount too, so the Now+ can stand steady for an analogue family photo. Add a rose-tinted filter to the front for guaranteed nostalgia.
Lowepro Photosport III
Banana leaves are a sustainable way to wrap your gear. Trouble is, they don’t do much to cushion your kit from a tumble in the jungle. Lowepro’s latest camera bags are green but free from foliage: 75% of their fabric panels are crafted using recycled fibres. Designed for intrepid shutterbugs, the lightweight Photosport sacks feature a harness system for comfy weight distribution. The smallest 15-litre pack includes an insert to securely carry a crop-sensor CSC camera, plus a pair of smaller lenses. There’s also a waterproof cover, in case Mother Nature throws a tantrum while you’re traipsing through the undergrowth.
Syrp Genie Micro
You don’t need the powers of a magic lamp to push some buttons, but this Genie will grant your wish for wireless control. Attached to the hot shoe mount of a modern DSLR or mirrorless model, the Micro will talk to your mobile via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You then can tweak ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings from afar. Connect a Shutter Link Cable for remote trigger release – ideal for time-lapse, stop-motion and shameless selfies.
Benro Tablepod Kit
There’s more to macro photography than sticking your lens in an insect’s personal space. Become competent at close-ups and you might find your still life shots sell well. Upgrade your homespun studio with this tabletop tripod: with a working height of 19.3cm, it has the perfect proportions for shooting on domestic surfaces. Setting out in search of pint-sized subjects? Carbon fibre tubes mean the Tablepod weighs just 250g when folded, with a profile fit for your jacket pocket. Plus the kit ships with a smartphone holder, so you can host a desktop live stream when you’re not busy bothering bugs.
DJI OM 5
From paper ripping to cracker pulling, there’s plenty of Christmas action worth capturing. But all the excitement can make it tricky to keep your mitts steady. Enter the DJI OM 5: equipped with a 3-axis gimbal, the folding holder is the ultimate tool for festive filmmaking. Stick your mobile in the magnetised mount for footage smoother than your gran’s brandy sauce. Lock on with ActiveTrack before lining up blockbuster ShotGuides sequences in the smartphone app. Need a better angle? Pull out the extension rod to record from merrily on high.
Instant prints might be good for a quick vintage hit, but the true warmth of film photography takes time to develop. Slow things down with this ode to old-school shooting. A reference manual for all things analogue, the illustrated instruction book covers everything from programming to processing. Pair it with a second-hand camera if your recipient’s made the nice list.
GoPro Hero 10 Black
Mulling wine might make for a tasty macro shot, but get too close with a standard camera and your snapper’s in for a sloshing. Not GoPro’s flagship action cam, which gladly goes where others fear to film. Powered by a GP2 chip, it’s slicker and snappier than before, plus horizon-levelling can keep scenes straight even if it’s tilted to 45 degrees. Which is highly likely after a few glasses of glühwein. Need slow-mo B-roll to complete your Christmas compilation? 4K at 120fps should do it.
Instax Link Wide
Photography teachers will tell you to think outside the box, but that’s tricky when your art form is framed by a white border. Impress your professor by stretching the box instead. This portable instant printer produces plus-size prints that reveal more of a moment. Select photos on your smartphone before firing them wirelessly for Wide snaps in a jiffy. Go natural for authenticity or enable Rich Mode to give your pics a vibrant vintage vibe.
ULanzi Anamorphic Lens
True cinephiles will instantly recognise the ultra-widescreen appeal of the fabled 2.4:1 ratio. Trouble is, most movie cameras are well beyond the budget of DIY filmmakers. This anamorphic add-on lets you get the Hollywood letterbox look for a lot less. Attached to your smartphone, it distorts how images are projected onto the camera sensor, fitting a wider view into the same frame – and giving your videos that classic cinematic aesthetic (with matching horizontal lens flares).
You know the tiny barrel borne by St Bernards? Some say it was built to carry rolls of film. Maybe. What’s certainly clear from this coffee table tome is that dogs are a photographer’s best friend. Fresh from the archives of the fabled agency, Magnum’s tribute to furry friends features 180 pages of photogenic hounds – all captured by its accomplished snappers. From pooch portraits to canine candids, the compendium’s sure to set your tail wagging.
Buying for a well-behaved vlogger? Streamers in Santa’s good books could find Sony’s social shooter in their stocking. Small enough to fit in a sponsored satchel, the ZV-E10 has the skills to impress every influencer: excellent autofocus, sharp 4K footage and an articulating screen for framing selfies without a backup crew. Creative modes make it a cinch to keep content fresh for followers, while a directional three-capsule mic setup should better capture their thoughtful commentary.
Matador Camera Baselayer 2.0
Wrapping up for a winter shoot? Don’t leave your camera without a jacket. Matador’s padded pouch protects DSLR and mirrorless models from the elements. A drawstring bottom means you can easily adjust the size to suit your snapper (and its barrel), while a magnetic closure makes access quick and easy. Heading into a December downpour? Roll the top of the drybag liner tightly shut for IPX6 waterproofing. There’s also a zipper pocket for lens caps, memory cards or tiny snacks.
Kingston DataTraveler Max
Cloud storage is super for keeping shots safe and sound, but uploading full-fat files can quickly burn through your bandwidth. For photographers in need of speedy sharing the traditional way, Kingston’s fastest flash drive should do the trick. Capable of writing files at up to 900Mb/s, even the largest library shouldn’t take too long to transfer. Plus it ships with up to 1TB of capacity, so you’ll need a few 4K flicks to fill it.
Lomo HydroChrome Sutton’s Panoramic Belair
Liquid and lenses don’t typically mix too well. Luckily, Lomography’s bonkers barrel is built to be rinsed. Select and inject a colourful serum using the bundled syringe for experimental fluid filters. The fixed-focus setup eliminates any need to fiddle with focal lengths, leaving you free to wonder at the creative effects of wetness. And because the camera back takes standard 35mm film, you can easily have the results developed – or try your hand at home processing for further hydrous hijinks.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Run out of wrapping paper? For a gift that needs no ribbon, add a Creative Cloud package to their editing workflow. At a tenner a month, Adobe’s Photography subscription is a stocking filler on repeat. The affordable bundle bags your darling snapper access to Lightroom and Photoshop for tweaking their pics like a pro, plus 20GB of cloud storage to stash their finished snaps online.