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Top Christmas gifts for photographers: from tripods to SSDs

(Image credit: TechRadar)
Christmas gift guides

We're bringing you a tech-focused Christmas gift guide every day up to the big day itself, to help fuel your present buying inspiration.

Day 1: Apple fans | 2: Photographers | 3: Nintendo fans | 4: Xbox fans | 5: PlayStation fans | 6: Retro gamers |7: PC gamers

Looking for the best Christmas gifts for photographers? Given the cost and complexity involved, snapping up presents for the lens-lover in your life ain't easy. That's why TechRadar is here to help see you through to a photo finish this festive season.

Photography can be a bit of a minefield, honestly: there are accessories, lenses, and lighting systems in all shapes, sizes, and prices, so we're on hand to help you capture the right thing for your resident photo lover.

With this in mind, we've done the hard work for you, cherry-picking a selection of the best photographic products and accessories around, with a range of options to suit just about anyone.

So, whether you're after a few extra photo-themed stocking fillers or a slightly pricier sleigh-stuffer for your loved one (or just a little treat for yourself) you should find plenty of inspiration here.

Billingham Hadley One

Something a bit special

Reasons to buy
+Premium finish+Stylish
Reasons to avoid
-Fiddly fasteners -It's not cheap

Billingham's Hadley One is a gorgeous messenger bag that's aimed at those who want to travel reasonably light – perfect for wondering round the city or a short break. The stylish, classic design of the Hadley One certainly looks the part and is beautifully crafted from a premium leather. As well as space for a mirrorless camera or DSLR, there's also a separate 13-inch laptop compartment. If you want to treat someone to something a little bit special then the Hadley One, even allowing for its premium price, won't disappoint.  

Manfrotto Pixi Evo

A great take-anywhere tripod

Reasons to buy
+Good payload support+Handy ball head
Reasons to avoid
-Does flex-Quite large

Mini tripods are great take-anywhere options, and perfect for those times when you don’t think you’ll need a tripod, but want to bring one just in case. Some can be pretty flimsy though, but the Pixi Evo offers a decent payload support and good flexibility. It comes with a handy ball head and extending legs – not really to extend the height, but to use on uneven surfaces. The limited working height does mean you'll have to position it on a wall or table, but take advantage of the low angle to get some interesting viewpoints.

(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe Photoshop Elements 2021

Perfect for the enthusiast photographer

Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Helpful guided edits
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks some advanced features-Might be to basic for some

Adobe’s latest Creative Cloud Photography plan, which includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC, is perfect for those wanting a host of high-end features, but the monthly subscription payment model isn't for everyone. That's where Photoshop Elements 2021 comes in. 

Incorporating many of the advanced features found in the high-end version of the software, including a host of raw conversion controls, Elements 2021 still packs a punch and is perfect for the enthusiast photographer looking for a versatile photo editing program.

Samsung T5

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung T5

Still a fantastic external SSD for snappers

Reasons to buy
+Very small and compact+Super fast
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey-May find you need more than one

The Samsung T5 is still regarded as the gold standard for external SSDs among photographers, and it's now even more affordable than ever.

Its tiny form factor makes it particularly suited to life on the road, so you can back up photos while out on a shoot. And it's super-fast too, using a USB Type C connection to get every bit of performance from the solid-state drive inside.

It's available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB flavors, with the middle two now ideally price for Christmas stocking duty.

Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3

Bring your smartphone images to life

Reasons to buy
+Lots of fun+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Film can be expensive-A bit bulky

The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 lets you bring your smartphone images to life.  This great little printer lets you transfer images wirelessly from your phone to the Instax Share SP-3, which will produce square format instant prints (the image is printed 62 x 62mm, with a total size of 86 x 72mm) for you. There’s a handy reprint button, allowing you to share the same print with friends multiple times, while your pics on Facebook and Instagram can also be transferred to the SP-3. 

Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2

Sculpt your light

Reasons to buy
+Delivers nice, soft light+Easy to set-up
Reasons to avoid
-Only for portraits-More affordable options

A naked flashgun can deliver some pretty unflattering light, so this mini flat-pack softbox from Lastolite fits neatly on the front of your flashgun to soften the light nicely. It's relatively compact size means it's only really suitable for head and shoulder shots (larger versions are available), but it does mean it easily collapses down to pack away into your camera bag without taking up too much space.

Lee Filters DSLR starter kit

Master those long exposures

Reasons to buy
+Excellent quality+ND and ND grad filters included
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Needs an adapter

If you know someone who's getting a new DSLR for Christmas, then this is a great addition to their kit. Featuring a Neutral Density and Graduated Neutral Density filters, it helps balance exposures in extreme light as well as allowing you to extend exposures as well, great for blurring water, clouds and people. You'll need an adapter ring to match the lens you're going to use it on, but this kit is a must for the budding landscape photographer.

(Image credit: Canon)

Canon Pixma Pro-100

Our number one photo printer is hugely versatile

Reasons to buy
+Stunning print quality+Covers most paper stocks
Reasons to avoid
-Ink can be pricey-Not cheap

The Canon Pixma Pro-100 is an excellent printer for the enthusiast or professional photographer, which is why it's our number photo printer.

Thanks to its 8-ink dye system, the Pro-100 offers superb color accuracy along with a print resolution of 4800 x 2400 dpi, the same as its pricier Pixma Pro-1 cousin. It also produces outstanding black-and-white prints and has a decent printing speed, all of which make this a fine all-rounder for the snapper in your life.

(Image credit: Wacom)

Wacom Intuos Pro Small

Give their image editing a very precise hand

Reasons to buy
+Stylus is highly sensitive+Compact and portable
Reasons to avoid
-Small compared to rivals-Lacks free software

If you’re going to be using Photoshop regularly, making tricky selections and modifying parts of your images – dodging and burning for instance, or some precise retouching – then a graphics tablet can transform the way you work. While using a mouse or a trackpad does the job, a graphics tablet like this one from Wacom delivers much more precision and control.

As well as being able to use the supplied pen to make control the cursor, the tablet also supports multi-touch gestures. This allows you to use the Wacom like a smartphone or tablet, with pinch-and-zoom control and gestures supported.

Motif Photo Book

Immortalise your photos in print

Reasons to buy
+Easy to use software+good range of themes
Reasons to avoid
-More for family snaps-Mac only

Download the Motif app from Apple's App Store and you can started making your own photo book - whether as a gift or for yourself. It's pretty easy to use and is great for family and holiday snaps. 

If you're after making a more 'serious' coffee table book, you'll probably want to look at alternatives like Blurb, which has more advanced templates.

John McCann

John joined TechRadar a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs of some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.