Photo Brigade Holiday Photo Gift Guide 2015

gift guide 2015

We’re thrilled to again bring you our yearly Holiday Photo Gift Guide with tons of recommendations from our photo industry friends and contributors. It’s a great opportunity to get some last minute holiday shopping in before the end of the year so you can deduct the purchases on your taxes!

Keep checking back as we’ll be adding more recommendations from our friends throughout the holiday season!

We’ve also asked some of our partners to list off some of their cool products you might be interested in this holiday season. Check them out below!

Tenba Cooper

Tenba Cooper

Tenba just introduced some beautiful looking canvas and leather bags that feature Quiet Velcro — no more noise when you open the flap. You gotta try it to believe it. The Cooper 13 Slim is especially nice for the pro mirrorless shooter who needs space for extra lenses and audio equipment but doesn’t want a bulky bag.


adoramapix metal prints
AdoramaPix Metal Prints

If you’re looking to add some serious shine to your holiday gifts this year, look no further than AdoramaPix’s beautiful metal prints. Your images are infused  into the surface of a solid sheet of metal for a look that is unmatched by others. The result is a print with a rich iridescent sheen, bright vivid colors and a life line depth of detail. Metal prints come in four different finishes, white, silver, satin and glossy. They offer a timeless, frameless, minimalistic gallery look and are lightweight. AdoramaPix understands one size does not fit all, so their metal prints come in dozens of shapes and sizes. It’s the perfect holiday gift for others.. and yourself!

4v straps4V Straps

The LUSSO Slim camera straps are handcrafted with the traditional methods used by Tuscan “Cuoio Masters”. The double  full grain leather layer construction, three layer enamels, hand painted edges and beautiful stitching are unique to these straps and come from a long history of quality and attention to detail. Made with longevity in mind, the scented Tuscan Cuoio will soften up over time. The more it is used the more beautiful it gets.


Elinchrom QuadraElinchrom Quadra Living Light Kit

Designed to be very portable and very durable, the Ranger Quadra Hybrid AS RX is a compact portable 400Ws battery flash system for studio and outdoors use.  Complete with fast recycling times, wireless trigger and remote options via the EL-Skyport, the Quadra Hybrid really is a perfect system for anyone who likes to work away from the mains. Choose from two battery options – Lead-Gel batteries for low temperature robustness or Lithium-Ion batteries for light weight, high flash capacity. Round out your kit with either an Action head for action freezing flash durations or the Standard head for maximum flash power and HyperSync applications.

Sekonic L-478DRSekonic L-478DR LiteMaster Pro

The L-478DR’s touch-screen-operated display makes it instantly familiar and easy to use. It is packed with unique, must-have light-measuring features for both still and motion story tellers. The L-478DR built-in radio transmitter provides remote flash triggering and power control with select studio flashes connected to PocketWizard ControlTL radios.

rotatrimRotatrim Professional M36

Designed for every day continuous use, this popular precision trimmer will comfortably cut materials up to 914mm (36€”) in length – large enough to accommodate A1 landscape. Using the finest quality Sheffield Steel self-sharpening blades, this trimmer will cut most flexible materials up to 2.0mm in thickness. Twin chrome steel guide rails completely eliminate head swivel while delivering a smooth gliding action. Comes with overload protection feature and solid laminate gridded baseboard with aluminum side rule and cursor.

Induro CLT203Induro CLT203 Stealth Carbon fiber Tripod

Known for building some of the strongest, most stable tripods available, Induro has upped their game by adding a 9X layer to their new carbon fiber for yet more strength and stability. Showy in it’s new Stealth 9x weave pattern, the Induro CLT203 incorporates a wide stance cross-braced magnesium alloy spider, oversized center column lock and enhanced leg angle locks for a tripod that will never let you down in the field or anywhere else. Includes interchangeable rubber feet and stainless steel spikes, a tool kit and deluxe carrying bag and strap.

Benro Aero4Benro Aero 4 A2883FS4

Take to the skies with Benro’s Aero4 A2883FS4 travel tripod kit for video. This super compact video tripod utilizes reverse folding legs, making it small enough to fit inside of a backpack, rolling case or carry on. Independently lock legs into place at 3 different angles for extra flexibility. The Integral Leveling Platform provides fine leveling control on the vertical center column. Kit includes the S4 Video Head, a center column hook, interchangeable stainless steel spiked or rubber feet, flip-lock anti-rotation legs and a deluxe carry case with tools.

MeFOTO GlobeTrotterMeFOTO GlobeTrotter A2350Q2T

Traveling this season? The GlobeTrotter Tripod Kit provides an exceptional combination of materials, construction and features – now available in 5 popular colors!
Great for both compact and full frame cameras with larger lenses. As an added bonus, it converts to a monopod in seconds. Only 16.1″ when folded yet 64.2″ extended and can support up to 26.4 lb. Available in Aluminum and Carbon Fiber.

Chip Liderland

Chip Litherland

Chip Litherland is a self-diagnosed color addict. Pretty much sums it up. He is on a 12-step-program to break the cycle of addiction to random gratuitousness, filling rectangles with extremely anal compositions, and sick perversion to oversaturated color. He is also an award-winning photographer based in Sarasota, Florida, with over twelve years of experience working in photojournalism and commercial photography. He is a regular contributor to ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, NPR, TIME, Entrepreneur Magazine, Tampa Bay Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and USA Today in addition to lending his talents to commercial clients such as LEGOLAND Florida, Space Coast TDC, Universal Orlando, and Promethean Inc. His work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, Best of Photojournalism, Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, Southern Short Course, and the National Press Photographer’s Association. Chip is married to his lovely wife, Elaine, and they have two beautiful daughters together. There are no grey walls allowed in his house.

No one is buying me a Medium format camera anytime soon, so here’s five affordable photographer-friendly gifts under $100 ;):

Mophie Juice Pack AirMophie Juice Pack for iPhone 6s – $99.99I was terrible about letting my iPhone die at the most horrible times, but ever since I got this, it has been amazing to have. Beyond just keeping you charged so your editor can yell at you, it is the BEST on long plane flights to shoots when trying to finish Wedding Crashers on a 4 hour flight and you forgot to plug in on the way to the airport.  The headphone extender is a must have (comes with some models, just make sure).

Think Tank Mirrorless MoverThink Tank Mirrorless Mover – $44.75

ThinkTank Photo makes the best bags hands down, and the Mirrorless Mover line is the perfect bag for all those Fuji, Sony, and Leica lovers out there rocking a smaller system when they travel like I do. This one is tiny, but they make a couple larger ones if you just can’t get all your photo geek stuff in this one.


Moo Luxe CardsMoo Square Luxe cards – $49.99

These are awesome, and you can print them straight from your Instagram feed for a killer card. Why not save your photographer friends’ butt and make them a quick set of cards for him/her to carry around and get more work? Make sure you get the Luxe cards, they are worth the extra $ for sure and can be color customized. Photographers seem to never have cards on them, but it’s the simplest way to get a random editor you’ve met your details. Also, the square cards are sure to stick out in a stack of business cards on someone’s desk.

Photek umbrellaPhotek 46″ Softlighter II – $99.95

I am currently building up my light kit around the Profoto B1s I love so much and this Softlighter came as a recommendation and has by far been the most versatile and simple modifier I use now. Super cheap, available in multiple sizes, and replaces bulky beauty dishes and octas in my travel kit. I beat the hell out of my gear so replacing this isn’t too hurtful if something happens.

Star Wars Chewbacca Camera StrapChewbacca Camera Strap – $14.99

For the scruffy looking nerf herder in your life, this Chewbacca inspired camera strap would be the perfect stocking stuffer for a photographer wanting to feel The Force during shoots. I’m asking Santa for one as well.


Jamey Price

Jamey Price

Jamey Price is an award winning motorsport photojournalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. His work has been published around the globe by Road and Track, RACER magazine, Autosport, F1 Racing magazine, Motorsport Magazine, F1i magazine, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, SPEEDTV, Southern Living, QC Exclusive, the Washington Post, The Charlotte Observer and many more.

filterBreakthrough Photography FiltersI’m no landscape photographer, but I am a motorsport photographer. Which means I spend a lot of time at f22 panning fast moving cars. I’ve tried a lot of ND filters before, and the ones that Breakthrough Photography have made are certainly top class. Cant go wrong with these for the landscape or motorsport inclined artist on your list. They make UV filters, ND filters and Polarizers. (Prices vary)

light modifierFStoppers Portable Flash Disc

I dont do tons of environmental portraits, but these small portable soft boxes are amazing. Perfect for the quickie portrait with strobes of people, food and whatever else the job can throw at you. And they are perfectly and reasonably priced. $49.99


Lexar CFLEXAR 32gig Professional 800x CF cards

Long story short, I dropped my memory card filled with race images of the Monaco Grand Prix in a drain filled with water. Fearing the worst, not only did the memory card survive a minute submerged, but it’s also the fastest memory card I have ever owned. I trust my LEXAR cards totally and completely. Adorama has these on sale for 2 for $64.95

GoPro Hero4GoPro Hero 4

I don’t use GoPro’s much for my work, but I swear by them as the best vacation camera ever made. Anyone who knows me knows I am not the guy to be sitting on the beach sunbathing. I’m the guy chasing stingrays and fish and biking and hiking around the mountains. I take my GoPro fishing and snorkeling and anywhere else I may go. I ALWAYS have one in my backpack. Just in case. You can find them for around $329.00

Nikon 24mmNikon 24mm f1.4

A little on the expensive side, I recently bought this lens as an addition to my arsenal and I have barely taken it off my camera. Perfect for portraits, food, sports, and my work in pitmans around the world. I am in love. If you’re looking for a pricey gift for the snapper in your family, this is the lens I can’t say enough good things about.


Robert Caplin

Robert Caplin

Robert Caplin is an editorial and corporate photographer based in Manhattan who specializes in documentary, travel, celebrities, portraiture, and events. He’s a regular contributor to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal and his work has been published in National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, TIME, and Newsweek. His clients include individuals such as Justin Bieber, Tiki Barber, and Victoria Justice and organizations such as The International Emmy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, and American Electric Power. His photographs were honored at the 2010 Clio Awards for advertising, and HarperCollins published his long-term documentary as part of Justin Bieber’s New York Times Bestselling visual autobiography, First Step 2 Forever, which has sold over a million copies in 25 languages.

trunk clubTrunk Club Gift CertificateFor the busy male photographer like myself who really dislikes going shopping for clothes, check out Trunk Club. I heard about it last year through an advertisement on a radio show and decided to give it a try, but basically it’s a mobile app that connects you to a stylist who you give all your measurements to. Through the app or website and your stylists you can try out various looks that go together, which they ship to you for you for free in a large trunk for you to try on. It’s like Christmas, everything fits and looks great. Simply keep the items you like and ship the rest back, again for free, and you’ll only be charged for the clothes you keep. The only catch is that all the clothes are designer items, so the items are on the higher end of the spectrum, but there’s no uncharge for the service, I’ve checked all the prices and couldn’t find a better price online for anything I’ve kept. Highly recommended!

Handlebar Bike MountTrackform Handlebar Bike Mount for iPhone

I enjoy taking nice rides on my bike in the park and one thing I hate is keeping my phone in my pocket. I’ve tried a number of DYI solutions to mount my phone onto my handlebars using GoPro accessories, but it was never quite right. I finally decided to look for an inexpensive proper mount and have been very happy with the Trackform Universal Mount. It’s really quite simple and easy to install and fits most mobile phones, including my iPhone 6s Plus and other brands.

wallet caseiPhone Wallet Case

For the past two years now I’ve been wallet free ever since I’ve upgraded my normal iPhone case to a wallet case. There are many types of wallet cases, most of which have a folding cover, but I dislike those kind. The Silk case accepts 4-5 credit cards on the back of the phone utilizing a small slot on the back. I always keep my ID, personal card, business card, ATM card, and my metro card with me. Gone are the days of carrying a bulky wallet in my butt pocket…as long as I have my phone, I’ve got it all. I also often keep an extra $20 bill inside the case behind the phone for an emergency too. The Silk is very similar to the Speck Wallet case, but half the price. And I prefer the Silk because of the matte finish material which has shown no signs of wear vs the immediate scuffs the Speck received after normal use.

compact chargerAnker Astro E1 5200mAh Compact Charger

There are tons of different types of portable chargers out there and they all basically do the same thing. What I’m looking for is the smallest and sleekest design with the most power for multiple recharges for the best price. Anker makes really nice chargers, very reliable, and they are designed small and beautifully. This particular charger at 5200 mAh also has PowerIQ technology which delivers a 4X faster charge than plugging into a computer USB port and will charge an iPhone 6 twice fully.

Melissa Lyttle

Melissa Lyttle

Melissa Lyttle is an independent freelance photographer based in Florida, who specializes in documentary project, editorial, travel and portrait photography. Her work has been recognized by UNICEF, the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, POYi, NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, the Southern Short Course and the Alexia Foundation. She was recently appointed Vice President of the National Press Photographers Association. She’s an alumna of the Eddie Adams Workshop (Barnstorm XIV) and has been back for 11 of the last 13 years as a member of the faculty. She’s the founder of the online photo community called APhotoADay, which started in 2001 with exactly two members, and has grown to over 2,500 worldwide.

moleskineMoleskine NotebookI love Moleskine notebooks. I am a consummate writer-downer. I jot down ideas for projects, take notes during talks, sketch out lighting diagrams, make to-do lists and keep lists of movies to see, books to read and websites to check out. I buy the small ones so i can fit them in the back pocket of my jeans, or my camera bag, with ease. I’ve always got one with me, just in case… And while I’m partial to the plain pages and gray covers… they’ve got a color, size and style for everyone.

Instax Mini 90Instax Mini 90 Instant Camera

Who doesn’t want to revert back to the days of instant, tangible fun. This camera has retro good looks, and is spitting out super fun Polaroids – by fuji so um… fujiroids. Even has double exposure and bulb modes, a tripod mound and a self timer. Can come in handy when you’re shooting in some situations (has helped when I’ve been in other countries) and want to give back, or when you’re just looking to be spontaneous and fun with friends or if you want to shoot a personal project on your dog to hang on your refrigerator. They’re also the perfect size to tape in your Moleskine notebook.

Profoto B1 KitProFoto B1 Kit
Hands down the best money I spent this year was on a ProFoto b1 kit. If you’re buying a gift for the professional photographer in your life, or simply treating yourself to something new and just want to up your lighting game i can’t say enough good things about these lights… portable, powerful, modifiable. Buy an extra battery or two, and a few fun toys like a beauty dish or the phototek 60” shoot through umbrella and these lights will pay for themselves with the work you’re doing and able to bring in.



When in doubt, if the photographer in your life has all the gadgets and gizmos and toys already… you can always buy him/her a scarf.



Michael Ip

Michael Ip

Michael Ip is a freelance photographer and photo editor based in Barcelona. He was previously the Senior Photo Editor at Newsweek. He has also edited at the New York Daily News, ABC News, Daily Mail and Maxim. Nowadays he focuses on portraiture and fashion. He has an unhealthy obsession with cats, shoes and Leicas.

While the economy begins to recover, many working photographers continue to endure self-imposed austerity measures. As the holiday season creeps up on us, the days of splurging for Leicas, Hasselblads and Maseratis are behind us.

So this year, I’d like to suggest a few gifts for the budget conscious international photographer.

Filson Harvey bagFilson Harvey bag – $335Every photographer needs a good bag to carry their equipment. They need their bags to be durable, well designed and comfortable. The Filson Harvey, designed in collaboration with Magnum photographer, David Alan Harvey, this bag is made of water resistant cotton and is extremely durable.  At face value it might seem a little pricey, but should easily outlast any other bag in this price range.

photo mechanic


Photo Mechanic v5 – $150

I’m sure many of us are still using older versions of the best ingesting image browser out there. It’s time to upgrade.


sigma 50mm 1.4 ART


Sigma 50 1.4 ART – $849

Everyone needs a good 50 mm prime. The Sigma ART lens is one of the best. While it is bigger than the Nikon and Canon ones, the image quality is outstanding.


NPPANPPA membership – $110

If you’re not already a member, you should be. If not for the excellent News Photographer magazine, you’re also supporting an organization who works tirelessly advocating for photographer rights and educating photographers of acceptable practices and ethics.


Nicolas Enriquez

Nicolas Enriquez

Nicolas Enriquez is a 21-year-old Colombian photojournalist and documentary photographer based in New York. Having recently graduated from ICP, International Center of Photography, in Manhattan, his work is focused on social issues and urban conflict. He shares his work from his current long-term project on Bloodline, the New York chapter of the Latin Kings, one of the largest gangs in America and the World.

Zoom H5Zoom H5 recorderThis is one of those things that you need to spare space in your bag for. Recording quality is great and clean, you have several options for microphones and audio settings and just with a bit of Internet research you’ll be all set to start recording ambient noise or great interviews that will just add up on the great experience of looking at photographs.


Sony RX1Sony RX1 r II or the older RX1 r

I can’t recommend this camera enough, is small practical and the image quality surprises me every time, for those looking into buying something small but that will keep up with the heavy duty work of one of your big DSLR’s this should be on the top of your wish list. Point and shoot camera with a full frame sensor, comes with a 35mm lens that’s is extremely sharp and fast even in low light conditions. For those trying to be a “fly on the wall” this is for me the closest you can get, is even smaller than your gold iPhone 6 Plus.

Fuji Instax wideFuji Instax Wide

This Instant film camera is lots of fun, take it to a friends party or on a holiday vacation and you’ll instantly have a physical photo album and images you can frame and start placing around your house or with magnets on the fridge.


Pelican casePelican case

Adorama has several pelican cases in different colors and sizes but the ones I really recommend are the ones that are big enough to fit your Hard drive, they’re inexpensive and if you’re like me and don’t trust the cloud yet this is the best not so old school way to keep you calm. Make sure your hard drives fit and that they’re tight (not moving around) and you’ll have a great water proof, shock proof case.

Taylor Glascock

Taylor Glascock

Taylor Emrey Glascock is a Chicago photographer who loves cats, toy cameras, and the color red. She specializes in photojournalism and portraiture and her clients include AARP, CNN, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

canon 35mm lens

Canon 35mm 1.4 II

I’m not a gearhead, but my treasured Canon 35mm f.4 got a major facelift this year. I consider the 35mm an all-around perfect lens, so I wasn’t sure if it could get any better, but I was wrong. Boasting better optics and faster focusing, she’s a real beaut.


iphone 6SiPhone 6s

Cursed with what some would refer to as “baby hands,” I was worried about trading in my iPhone 5S for its larger new sibling, but man, am I glad I upgraded. The Retina HD display makes browsing Instagram a joy, and the 12-megapixel camera is leaps and bounds above its predecessors in terms of resolution and low light performance. If you have hands like a normal human, I’m sure the 6S Plus is killer, too.


lomo instant wideLomo’Instant Wide

Lomography’s latest incarnation of the Instax offers all the fun of an instant camera plus more creative control. This can do long exposures, infinite multiple exposures, and even has a PC Sync Socket if you want to use an off camera flash. If you’re looking to step up your Instax game, this is for you.


Cowboy Studio flash trigger and receiver setCowboy Studio flash trigger and receiver set

Pocket Wizard gets all the love, but I’m a big fan of Cowboy Studio. The set up isn’t fancy, but these flash triggers and receivers have never let me down, and it’s hard to argue with a like price $32. These are great if you don’t do a ton of off camera lighting, but would like to have something reliable and affordable on hand.




Felt Penguin Holding A Camera

Okay, this isn’t practical in the slightest, but dang, it’s adorable.



Zach Roberts

Zach D Roberts

Zach Roberts is a photographer and videographer who splits his time between New York and Alaska. His work has been published in The Observer, The Guardian, The Brooklyn Paper, and BBC, as well as Gawker, and He is currently the photo editor of and a regular contributor to

sandisk SSD


Solid State Drive

The best thing you can do outside of buying a new laptop is to upgrade to a solid state drive. Great gift for yourself – but if you’re buying it for someone else – make sure you get the right one.



With cold weather already around us you’ll need to be able to instagram those photos of icicles without getting frostbite that means not taking off your gloves. With nanotips you can just simply paint the fingers of your gloves and they’ll suddenly be able to work with your phone.


Manfrotto MonopodManfrotto Monopod

A little extra stability on those family holiday shots will make all the difference if you’re shooting without a flash which is why I will use a light weight monopod. This one from manfrotto is also compact and under $25 – also comes in different colors if you want to stand out a bit.


It's what I doIt’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario

Fantastic autobiography on a photojournalist travels though South America, the Middle East but most importantly how her work effects her personal life. I’ve read a lot of bio books on photojournalists – few really hit home like this one.


Daniella Zalcman

Daniella Zalcman

Daniella Zalcman is based in London and New York. She has worked for The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Vanity Fair. Her photographs have appeared in exhibits throughout New York City and are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She graduated from Columbia University in 2009 with a degree in architecture. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

I spent the last week at a hostile environment training course (HEFAT), and one of the instructors recommended a range of small gadgets that could make a journalist’s life easier and safer on the road in tough areas.



DoorJammer Portable Door Security Device

When you don’t trust your hotel/accommodation, use this to physically jam your door shut.


Shepherd Door Wedge

Heavy Duty Door wedge

Or more simply, a small rubber door wedge will add an extra layer of security and takes up virtually no space. One guy told a story about being in a hotel while a gunman was walking through the hallways breaking into rooms, and he managed to jam the door and lower himself to the ground with some rope (so I guess the lesson is also carry rope).




For doors that don’t have locks, this tiny plastic gadget will allow you to secure any door with a handle.


anti-theft Pacsafe

Pacsafe Travelsafe 12L Anti-Theft Portable Safe

This anti-theft Pacsafe bag for storing money, wallets, passports, or any other small objects has a metal mesh lining, and can be locked shut and locked to any large piece of furniture. Remember that hotel safes aren’t necessarily secure, and most staff members will know how to open them.


Hanging Closet Safe

Hanging Closet Safe

If you want to obscure belongings from someone who might be hoping to quickly rifle through your room, this undershirt storage unit can fit underneath a button down or a jacket and will make it much harder for thieves to find your valuables.


Fix a flat


Fix-A-Flat Aerosol Tire Inflator

If you’re in a hostile environment and can’t afford to stop to change a tire, this magic solution will patch tiny holes and allow you to drive to a better spot.


For more gift ideas, check out last year’s Holiday Photo Gift Guide!

Please support The Photo Brigade!

You're awesome and that's why we work hard to bring you quality content, gear reviews, and guides. If you're interested in purchasing any of the equipment or services mentioned in our posts, please use our links as we will receive a portion of the sale to help run the blog. You can also search for gear directly via Amazon, B&H, and Adorama.

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and listen to our podcasts on iTunes!