Last Minute Holiday Shopping Ideas
I'm assuming that if you are reading the articles here that you are a photographer or at least have a serious interest in photography. I'm going to further guess that you know others who are too. If you are still looking for some last minute gift ideas for your photographer friends, allow me to offer a few suggestions.
Rather than suggesting you buy everyone you know a brand new shiny Nikon D200 or an expensive lens though, I want to limit my suggestions to things that are more affordable, and hopefully to things you may not have thought of.
Sensor and Lens Cleaning Supplies
Sooner or later, everyone who uses a camera and lens will need to clean them. I've written previously about cleaning both lenses and digital sensors. Rather than repeating myself here then, I refer you to those articles for further information.
Most serious photographers spend plenty on their gear but try to skimp in other areas to save money. Monitor calibration is one of those areas. But the truth is that one really can't tell what their images look like unless their monitor is profiled. Even getting their prints to match is no guarantee since they may merely have duplicated in one the errors in the other. Do a photographer you know a favor and solve this vexing problem for them. Compared to the time, paper and ink wasted on trial and error, the price of a monitor calibration solution is cheap.
Photoshop isn't cheap, and every couple of years Adobe wants even more to upgrade it. But each new release does have a lot of new features. If you know someone who hasn't upgraded in a while, get the upgrade for them. New versions of Photoshop Elements come out regularly too.
Gloves or Other Warm Clothing
It gets cold in the mountains before sunrise. Good warm clothes are always appreciated. Good gloves even more so. Finding ones that still allow for some finger dexterity isn't easy.
Double Spirit Level
To help keep one's camera level while shooting, more than one company makes a small plastic block containing two bubble levels at right angles that fits in the flash hot shoe. An indispensable accessory.
Compact Flash Cards (or Film of course)
Anyone still shooting film will always appreciate a few more rolls, but those shooting digital can often benefit from an extra compact flash card. Although you can reuse a compact flash card time and time again, it can simplify things to have to offload images less frequently. Think of it — no more having to stop in the middle of the action to make more file space. As card prices come down and capacities go up, most digital photographers are always eyeing the next CF card purchase.
Printer Paper and Ink
Consumable supplies such as paper and ink are always welcome. Just make sure you get the right kind. Anyone truly interested in making the best prints they can won't print with just anything.
Custom Printer Profiles
Epson has long provided excellent color management support for their printers, and Canon and HP are working hard on playing catch up. Whether it will be an extravagance or a necessity though, a custom printer profile can be surprisingly affordable and can provide that extra edge for getting great prints. Several companies provide this service, but this is my current favorite.
There are a lot of good photography books out there, covering all aspects of the craft. If you are looking for some ideas, you may be interested in some of my favorites.
By the way, there's nothing that says you can't buy some of what I've suggested for yourself too. It's the holiday season, after all.