I’m excited to share more ideas on gifts for someone interested in photography. This post is the second in a series of 3 posts on gifts for photographers of different levels; beginner photographer, intermediate photographer and advanced photographer. Have someone on your list that just wants to take better photos with his phone? Check out this gift guide for mobile photography.
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If your beginner photgrapher has grown into an intermediate photographer, he/she will want a camera that is faster, more versatile, customizable and has better controls than his old point and shoot. Getting a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera will give him the versatility he will need including shooting faster (capture fast moving dance, sports or other motion), having the ability to interchange lenses, taking low light photos with no flash and achieving greater depth of field. Two major brands lead the DSLR market and honestly you can’t go wrong with either. These cameras shoot high quality images as well as video. Here are two very comparable entry DSLR options to consider:
Most new DSLR’s will come with a lens already but to make the most of your new camera, you’ll want to get an extra lens or two. Here are some lenses I recommend for both of the major brands:
50mm f/1.8 Lens for Nikon or Canon
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens for Nikon or Canon
Vanguard Alta Pro Tripod Kit We already recommended a tripod in the gift guide for a beginner photographer but now that you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera you are going to need a larger, more stable tripod due to the added weight of the camera and various lenses. I love this tripod because it comes with a ball head included. This will allow for easier camera adjustments once you have the camera attached to the tripod. Trust me, your photographer needs this. I also love that you can swing the center of the tripod different angles to give your camera multiple perspectives. This gives you so much versatility in one piece of gear.
This section of gifts for your intermediate photographer really helps to bring your photography to another level. Creating amazing images is so much about finding the light. Some photographers use natural light to make their photographs. Besides being in the right place at the right time of day to get that light, one tool that helps them do that is called a Light reflector.
This awesome 5-in-1 Collapsible Multi-Disc Light Reflector helps you to reflect existing light in several colors including silver, gold and white. There is also a transluscent white part that you can use as a shade to create more even light on your subject. Best of all, it folds up in a circle like one of those window car shades and you can toss it into your backpack.
Other photographers bring or create their own light for their images. You can spend a lot of money on lighting equipment but there are also some very resonably priced lights (called flashes or speedlights) that are powerful and portable. I’ll list a couple of options here for the most popular camera brands. Gift at least one, get two if you really want to give your intermediate photographer even more creative lighting options.
All of these flashes can be mounted to most DSLR or mirrorless cameras but the real magic happens when you are able to point the flash at your subject from a different position besides the top of your camera. To do that, you’ll need a few more items. Purchase the light stand, bracket and umbrella and you are ready to start pointing your new light and shooting some amazing portraits. Ever wonder why your pictures don’t look that great, compared to photos you see online or in magazines? Those professional photos have the best light! You can get the same results with these items and your intermediate photographer will become an advanced photographer in no time!
Here is what the setup looks like all put together:
Accessories for your Intermediate Photographer
Here are some recommended accessories that you could give for stocking stuffers! When you start taking more and more photos, these are a fwe items that just make the whole process a little easier. Who doesn’t need a little more ‘easy’ in their life?
We already talked a little about the importance of buying the right type of memory cards in my beginner photographer gift guide. It is almost as important to protect those cards and keep them organized. This Honsky Memory card case will do the trick!
Sure you can use a cable to download photos from your camera to your computer but that uses a lot of battery power. Get him this Anker 8-in-1 USB 3.0 Portable Card Reader so he can save that battery power for taking more photos!
Your intermediate photographer will want to look the part so do him a favor and get him a solid camera strap so he doesn’t have to use the strap that came with his camera. BlackRapid Cross Shot Sling Camera Strap
Intermediate Photographer Learning Resources
The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes
This book is a great instruction manual for how to do shoot different kinds of photos using your new off camera flashes. Lots of pictures and how-to’s from a pro photographer that has been doing this for a long time. Great resource for learning and inspiration!
By this time, your intermediate photographer should be learning how to enhance his images on his computer after he shoots them. I recommend Adobe Lightroom as the best software for editing photos.
I recently purchased and also recommend this fantastic online training course on Adobe Lightroom called Lightroom Photo Editing: The Complete Guide on how to get the most out of your software. A few other courses that would be helpful for Intermediate Photographers are:
More Gift Ideas for Photographers
Do these gift ideas look a little overkill for your guy? If so, check out some of my other gift guides:
I hope this guide helped you with some great ideas for your mid-level photographer.