Sunday, November 30, 2014

Photo Series: Photography Gift Guide

Even though I have hung up my professional camera strap, I still get asked often advice on camera purchases and equipment. With the holidays just around the corner, and with awesome Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales going on, I thought I would share some of my favorite cameras, accessories, and gifts. 

Hands down digital slr cameras are the number one asked about purchase. There are multiple options and a crazy amount of debate which is the absolute "best" one, and I could go on and on and on about the technical aspects of each to you, but for 90% of you that would be a boring post. So here are some quick favorites. 

Two great beginner dslr cameras are the Nikon D3300 and the Canon EOS 100D. Both are great starter cameras, are easy to use and are compact. You can slip these in your purse with ease, and they are lightweight enough that you won't break your back carrying them around all day. Both are economical and will produce outstanding photo quality for just about any project you have in mind. Plus, I am not going to lie, the fun Nikon red option just screams "I'm the perfect Christmas gift. I am already well coordinated."

If you are looking to have a pro quality camera body, and have a little (read: a lot) larger budget to play around with, the Nikon D810 and Canon 7D Mark II are what you will want to focus on. I am going to fully disclose now that I am a Canon girl at heart and the latest model in my stash is a Canon 5D Mark II. Technology has advanced since that purchase, and now there is a Mark III option, but the 7D is a little more budget friendly for the everyday advanced user. 

A lot of inquiries I get start off a little something like, "What camera can I get to give me photos with the blurry background?". Now to get photos with the "blurry" background you have to do a wide range of things with your camera to achieve that look, and that my friends is a different post for a different day. One step closer to accomplishing that desired goal is to make sure you have the proper equipment. Lenses play a huge roll into the equation, and here are some of my starting suggestions. My first suggestion is always the 50mm 1.8. It is a great lens and very economical. Once you get a little more advanced and want a little better quality glass there are other options, but this is a great starting point. Another favorite starting lens of mine is the 85mm 1.8. You won't go wrong with either being in your bag. 

Some people still like to use point and shoot cameras. They are small, lightweight, easy to use and can fit in most everyone's pockets. These also make great gifts for grandparents who might not quite be on board yet with the smart phone era (Hi grandma and grandpa!!), or for pre-teens who aren't quite allowed a cell phone just yet, but have shown an interest in taking photos. My favorite option for years in this category has been the Sony Cybershot. At under $100 this is a great choice.

A few years ago, my husband and I went on a snorkeling trip while on vacation. Last minute we threw a couple of disposable underwater cameras in our bags and blindly shot all the beauty that we saw. Needless to say, when we saw the printed pictures we were a little disappointed. Now there are some fabulous options for affordable waterproof cameras. We purchased the Lumix Tough, but the Olympus Tough has gotten great reviews and comes in the fun red as well!

One camera that I added to my list simply because I think it is just flat out fun is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8. I love that there are still instant film cameras out available and this little model is comes in a variety of colors and would make any party fun. 

Another fun camera/video option is the ever popular Go-Pro HERO4. If your husband is anything like mine this is on his wish list. This fun little camera can attach just about anywhere and give you such a unique view on photography/videography. And who doesn't like the fact that you can have your very own drone to coordinate with it?

One of the most important suggestions I can give anyone, regardless of what camera they want to use, is to make sure you have a good back up for all of your photos. Photos take up a lot of space on your computer, and you never know when something might happen to it. Get in a good habit of backing up your photos either in off site storage or with an external hard drive. I like to use the WD My Passport HD because it is small and comes in both Mac and PC compatible versions. 

If you are giving a camera as a gift this holiday season don't forget the accessories. Most digital slr cameras come with a camera strap but a fun patterned one is way cuter than the standard black one the manufacturers include in the kit. 

Also, don't forget a camera bag! Most beginner cameras do fit into a purse or are easy to throw over your shoulder, but once you start accumulating lenses, filters, SD cards, and other equipment you will want to have some where to store and protect your investment. There are tons of practical options out there, but I instantly fell in love with this fun plaid option!

Now if you already have a well stocked photographer in your household and want some fun alternative photography related gift options, I have some awesome finds for you. 

For the coffee loving photographer, how fabulous fun is this lens coffee mug

I loved these fun stud earrings I found in an Etsy shop. They were also super inexpensive, and would make a great stocking stuffer. I had to resist ordering myself a pair!

These little camera themed USB drives are perfect! Not only are they adorable, but they are practical and will make any photographer smile.

Right now at Target there are a ton of fun vintage photography themed office accessories. I loved these little photo/memo holders!

Hopefully for some of you this post was a little helpful. I tried to link as much as I could for additional information, but please feel free to email me with any questions! Happy shopping everyone!
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