6 Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Photographer On Your List

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I haven’t met a photographer yet that has everything they want. It’s getting down to the wire, but there’s still time. If you have a photographer on your holiday gift list, I’ve hand picked 5 gifts that he or she will love. Best of all they are all under $500 (some below $200). So in no particular order let’s get to it:

 

CamRanger

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CamRanger is a wireless/WiFi control system for the most popular Nikon and Canon DSLRs out there. Once your photographer has CamRanger setup they can wirelessly control their camera from a mobile device such as an iPad as well as see the images their taking as they take them wirelessly on the same mobile device.

Get it here.

 

Westcott 6-in-1 42″ Illuminator Set

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This is definitely my favorite reflector and diffuser kit and I take it on all my portrait location shoots.

You can get it here.

 

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan Card

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If you have a photographer on your list then they will certainly appreciate always having the latest versions of Photoshop CC and Lightroom. Even if they are already Creative Cloud Photography Plan members, this card will give them another full year of membership.

You can get it here.

 

Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book Box Set

ScottKelbyDigital PhotographyBook

Get the photographer on your list a wealth of knowledge from the world’s best selling photography book author, Scott Kelby.

You get all 5 books for one low price here. Also don’t forget to check out his NEW Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers here.

 

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium Tablet

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I can’t imagine retouching a photo without a Wacom tablet. I just would rather wait until I got home or back to the office. This is why there’s one on my desk and one in my bag.

You can get the medium version here.

 

Westcott Rapid Box Octa 26″

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This is hands down my favorite on location softbox for speedlights. Quick and easy to setup and a great quality of light output.

You can get it here.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the items in my 2014 gift guide

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here.



Photoshop for Photographers Program

photo by Victoria Pavlov
photo by Victoria Pavlov

One of the things you may have overlooked in the midst of all the Creative Cloud announcements on June 18th was the fact that the Photoshop for Photographers Program, which was a limited time offer that kept getting extended has now spawned a permanent offer (now called Creative Cloud Photography). That’s right, even if you never owned a license to Photoshop or Lightroom, you can get:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5
  • Lightroom Mobile and Web with unlimited photo syncing
  • 2 GB of Cloud Storage to optionally to use anyway you want (LR mobile doesn’t use this storage).

for only $9.99 a month. This means you also get access to all the feature updates along the way at no additional cost. The original offer was such a success that it kept getting extended and Adobe just decided to go ahead and make it a regular plan of Creative Cloud.

You can learn more or sign up here.

Watch the Keynote for the 2014 Release of Creative Cloud



How Would You Change the Nikon SB-900?

As a Nikon shooter, when people ask me why I use Nikon over the other brands I tell them that I really am not into the religious war between the various camera brands out there. I bought a Nikon D70 (upgrading from an Olympus EN-20) back in the day because at the time the specs met my needs and of course once you start investing in lenses you're pretty much locked in. So honestly I don't really care what you use. I don't! If you're a Canon shooter and you're happy with your gear, more power to you. That's great! Go out and take great pictures because that's what it's all about anyway. Once I get past the story about how I started, I then tell them that now that I am a Nikon shooter there are a couple of things that definitely keep me with Nikon over the other brands (besides the lens investment). One is the integrated GPS support in the Nikon DSLRs.

Although I wish the GPS chips themselves were built-in to ALL CAMERAS, I do appreciate the fact that I can buy the GPS module of my choice and just plug it in. The Nikon DSLRs will automatically record the Geo location information into the metadata of the images (both RAW and JPG) and there's even a menu for it right on the camera.

The other thing that I LOVE is the built-in support for wirelessly controlling the Nikon Speedlights.

If you have a Nikon DSLR that has the Commander mode/feature built-in, then the pop-up flash can be configured to send out a pulse (instead of/or in conjunction with a flash) to not only fire the Nikon Speedlight remotely, but also control the power output directly from the back of the camera. You can even control different groups of Nikon speedlights turning the power up and down as needed. This way you can put the lights on stands or anywhere you want around your subject.  If your Nikon DSLR doesn't have the built-in Commander, you can buy an external one and put it in your hotshoe.  I use both these features all the time and would miss them dearly if I were to switch brands. I started with an SB-600 Speedlight. Then I bought an SB-800 and then an SB-900. I have and use all three when needed. The other night I was having dinner with some fellow Nikon shooters and we got on the subject of the SB-900. We all agreed that in many ways the SB-900 was actually a step backwards from the SB-800. So the question becomes…

 

How would you change the Nikon SB-900?

Yes, I know you would drop the price to $99 🙂 So let's move on to the features. We all agreed that the one new feature that is VERY NICE is the simple selector switch to switch the light from being a Flash to a Remote Flash. So simple and so long overdue. On the previous models you'd have to dig through the menus to make these simple choices. Beyond that it was hard to come up with things we liked better. The SB 900 is bigger than the 800, but yet doesn't put out any more power. It just makes it harder to fit it into your existing cases. Also Nikon still only puts the sensor eye on ONE SIDE of the speedlight. While you can swivel it around, it would GREAT to have this sensor on BOTH sides or make it RF based instead of requiring line of sight. We can assume that Nikon is probably working on the their next Speedlight and here's what I'd want:

  • Either give me a sensor on both sides or make it RF based
  • Make it smaller or give it more power. Pick one!
  • Give me the option of buying an accessory that allows me to plug it into the wall! If I'm using it inside and power is available why should I have to use AA batteries.?
  • Lower the price a bit. It's hard to justify buying more than one of these when you can get strobes for the same price!

 

How would you change the SB 900?

You can get the SB-900 here from B&H for $459.95 (List price $570)