Saturday, December 19, 2009

getting gifty: photographer edition

Santacon New Haven, last Saturday on the Green
I'm not going to recommend the  single kickass camera that you must have slung around your neck.  One that magically turns she who possesses it into an amazing photographer. You know why?
It's not the camera, it is what you do with it.
But camera  accessories? oh yes! I have Big Opinions on those.  Like, a new camera strap is a perfect gift.  Until Nikon pays me for the ad space around my neck, I ditch the loud branded strap that comes with my cameras. My current favorite strap is aqua with big brown dots from My Funky Camera . But the faux wood strap over at  Splityarn cracks me up,  and  how about these at Souldier.  FWIW? The ones you'll find that are black rubbery non-slip feel awful to wear (and leave black skid marks) and the uber stretchy neoprene ones are sweaty and way too bouncy, especially if you have a heavy dslr slamming up into The Girls.  If you know what I mean. 

The most important accessory: the camera bag.  Great gift options. We women photographers have compounded camera bag issues. a) being smaller than guys , the gender most camera gear is designed for and b) needing to solve the purse/camera gear conundrum. If not the purse/camera/diaper bag/knitting bag conundrum.
Keep in mind these important points:
1) I was only kidding, diaper bags & camera bags do not mix well. Bacterial mold can invade your camera lens elements  and it costs a lot to get it cleaned out. Ask me how I know.
2) You don't want your digital camera bumping & jostling around. Back in the  day, you could be all cool and casual and toss your mechanical metal slr into any old bag. Now, you want those electronic sensors to be floating on air and padding . Go for function over form in the  camera bag department.  If it's cute but not padded with divider sections, take a pass on it.
Personally, I like a bag that's roomy, that allows quick one handed grab access to what's inside, and that doesn't send out a siren screaming  "Hey, over here! I am a photographer ! Grab my bag!".
•  Domke bags. These wear like crazy, look even better when they are all beat up, are well designed and you'll fit in with the globe trotting PhotoJ crowd. Downside: no matter where you go, you look like you are on assignment. Or maybe that's an upside, the bag gets you access.
The LowePro backpacks. That one I linked to is a two piece deal, with a super padded belt pack , you could use it alone swung forward, that holds a camera, lens battery packs and strobe, and an upper packpack section for clothes or knitting ot whatever I'd put in my purse.  Downside- totally inaccessible when it is on your back. Upside- sturdy, compact & pretty comfortable for travel in all terrain & airports.
• Crumpler bags . So many sizes and colors. So...cute.I haven't personally tested one but I'm looking at you Crumpie.
Courierware Incognito bags. Look at the bottom row. Form + function, this could pass as a purse. brilliant.
Extra special camera bag gift idea: put something in it. An inspiring photo book, or a Tshirt like this one , or the PhotoJoJo book that mixes photography and crafty projects. Or a gift certificate to a photography class . Self promotional alert: if you happen to live near Connecticut, I just happen to be teaching  one day workshops of Photography for Knitters in January.  I have gift certificates and I'm not afraid to sell them. Just saying.

ps. If you are looking at cameras , click over to  DPReview, it has a features search and a compare side-by-side function. Nice!

Disclaimer: none  of the aforementioned gear was given to me to flack.  Most of it I've test driven personally, or examined covetously.


Anonymous said...

I just bought the National Geographic camera backpack. Going to look like Indiana Jones! I really want their camera strap too - it's got pockets on it for extra memory cards (that I'd probably never use but they may be useful for putting a bit of cash into), but it also detaches from the main strap so you can clip it onto your backpack.

livnletlrn said...

oh, excellent. all of it. Thanks, Gale!

Mary Lou said...

I must go get more caffeine I read " especially if you have a heavy slr slamming up into The Girls." as "if you have a heavy SIR slamming up into the girls", and wondered if you took photos in crowded conditions frequently.

Ellen Bloom said...

Hah! Meeee tooo! I am SO lovin' that wood-grain camera strap! I'm totally ordering one for Larry's mid-January b-day! Thanks for the gift tips, Gale!

AudKnits said...

Love this post - so full of great ideas!

I can think of a few great stocking stuffers, too. The little brush that looks like a lipstick tube - the cap prevents grit from getting into it, unlike brushes that have no cover. Or my favorite thing, a wireless remote. I use mine ALL the time. Also, you can get little white balance cards the size of a biz card. Very handy.

Ooh, photography is so much fun!

Lori said...

I actually wore out one of the Domke bags. Of course it took me about 20 years to do it. And I have an early version of the Lowe-Pro back pack, still going strong after 20+ years.

A new Domke is on my wishlist.

BlueRose said...

Found your post while looking for camera strap options, and found it really helpful. I have neck problems so cant carry my camera around my neck, and need to sling bandolieer style but having issues finding a strap long enuf (and its much easier on the girls btw)

Interesting comments on the bags, my biggest requirement was that it be light - I found the Lowepro to be very well constructed but heavy. And they also shouted out what they were to anyone who knew the brand name - I bought a Tamrac instead, REALLY light.

Great post - thx

Diane said...

Thanks for the Photojojo info. I bought it thinking I'd give it to a photographer friend but decided it was too crafty for her (although I think she'd enjoy a few of the ideas.) Instead I'm giving it to my step daughter for her birthday. She's always taking pics of her kids and some of the crafts are also kid friendly. Perfect gift for her.