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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017 Photography Christmas List

I've gotten a few questions about photography Christmas gifts. Over on Facebook I put out a request for everyone's favorite photography gifts too, and you can click HERE to get to that list, (it's towards the bottom.) And I put a list out way back in 2014, but really it's time for a new one, so here it goes!

My top 10 photography gifts!

1) A gift certificate to one of my classes!
I have classes for beginner through intermediate photographers and they can be put towards any class I offer in 2018! Just email me with the amount you'd like to purchase, and I can even send you a gift certificate that you can print off at home to wrap up and put under the tree! Any amount for beginner-intermediate photographers.
2) Pete Souza Photography Book(s)
I've had a little crush on Pete since he came to the White House in 2009 and never really paid any attention to images from the Chief White House Photographer until then. Not matter your political preferences, you gotta admit he's crazy, ridiculously talented behind the lens. And he was Ronald Reagan's Chief Photographer too! ~$18-40 for all photography levels

3) Tripod
The thing with tripods is that they can carry a substantial investment. So you want one that's gonna be worth putting the value of your camera and lens on it. Tripods are not the place to cut back. This is the one I have from Slik, and I've been very happy with it. And the bonus is that the price has come down since I purchased it a few years ago! If you're going to to hauling it around and/or hiking with it consider upgrading to carbon fiber. ~$125 for intermediate+ photographers
4) Interval remote 
This little guy is a timer and remote that you can set to take X amount of pics every Y amount of seconds/minutes. This is an updated version of the one I have by Vello and after wasting money on 2 prior remotes I finally found one I love! It's what I used to take pics of me and the kids in Thanksgiving and Christmas cookie baking pics. If you have a Nikon camera you may already have this feature in your camera. If you have a Canon camera, you're probably out of luck like me. Thus the interval timer to the rescue! Couple with the tripod above, I've been working towards my goal of capturing myself in pics more often. ~$100 for intermediate+ photographers

5) Your first DSLR!
I wrote a whole blog post HERE. If you're looking for your first DSLR this is the one I recommend. You can also usually find it refurbished with a guarantee to save some money, and if you'd like to look into that just give me a holler and I'll point you in the right direction. ~ $400-$799 for beginning photographers
6) Upgrade your DSLR
But if you already have a DSLR, you already know how to shoot in Manual mode and are frustrated by it's limitations, then maybe it's time for an upgrade. Upgrading your camera body will help you focus more accurately and shoot in lower-light settings among other things. I'd recommend the Canon 6D Mark II, (starting at $1700) the Canon 5D Mark III (starting at $2800 or $2000 refurbished) or Canon 5D Mark IV (starting at $3200 or $2800 refurbished) depending on your budget. Again, you can also usually find these bodies refurbished with a guarantee if you want to save some money, and if you'd like to look into that just give me a holler, and I'll point you in the right direction. ~$1700-$3200 for intermediate+ photographers

7) My favorite girly camera bag
This is my go-to camera bag. It looks and functions like a purse, and it's real leather so it wears over time very well! My favorite part of this bag is there are 3 big zippered compartments, and the middle one if JUST for camera and lens(es). The other 2 zip separately so your stuff, (wallet, Chapstick, snacks...) doesn't commingle with your camera gear. ~$250+ for any level photographer

8) My favorite more-practical camera bag
But let's say you're not a girly-girl type of gal or maybe you just want something more practical. Then This is the one I'd get. Works great as a backpack and there's easy access to your camera via a side pocket. The top storage compartment keeps your stuff separate from your camera gear. There are bigger and smaller versions of this bag depending on your needs but do look for one with the side pocket camera access. Disclaimer-I don't have this camera bag but traveled with someone who did and was insanely jealous the whole time! ~$100 for any level photographer.

9) Camera Strap
I get headaches regularly, like yucky, migraine headaches, and a traditional, over-the-neck camera strap just wasn't working for me. Then I discovered this Black Rapid cross-body strap and problem solved! Now I can comfortably wear my camera for hours. The under-arm strap that's pictured is optional. ~$75 for any level photographer.

10) LensBaby
If you're looking for something to get you out of a creative rut, give Lensbaby a try. Lensbaby is a line of interchange about lenses that creates distortion and special effects with focus. It can be used with most all cameras that have interchangeable lenses. I recently got THIS one and am having fun playing with it. Beware, Lensbaby lenses are manual focus, but really that's part of the fun! I think this 50mm Sweet Optic Composer Pro II would be a great one to try! And I gotta say, their customer service ROCKS! ~$249 for intermediate+ photographers
And just to you know, I have no affiliation with any of the companies listed above. I wish I did, but I don't. But if any of them are reading this and would like to build a relationship with me, I would love to shout your name from the rooftops and have a giveaway for my readers!

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