Christmas shopping is well into it's peak mayhem of retail carnage and there are lots of people with photographers on their shopping list. What are the best gifts you can give the photographer in your family? I'll skip the formalities and cut to the chase below:
- Single malt Scotch.
- Gift cards.
- Anything but photography equipment.
Why would I say this you ask? Simple. You probably don't have any idea what they need or want. The chances of buying something completely inappropriate is incredibly high. What gear is appropriate to their specific needs and any one particular time can be mind boggling enough for the photographers themselves, but an outsider guessing the right thing is almost impossible. Even if they drop 1001 hints about really wishing they had a new 70-200 2.8 lens with image stabilization just like the one in the second shelf of the third case from the left at the local camera store, don't risk it. Find out how much it costs and get a gift card for that amount. Incidents of photographers thinking they need one thing but being corrected by a more knowledgeable salesperson is also rather high.
Let's turn the table for a minute and put you on the receiving end. You have a beautiful Mercedes Benz Cabriolet that you pamper and detail with no expense or effort spared. Then it's Christmas time and someone you love and don't wish to offend presents you with a gift that they bought because they know how much you love your car. Now you drive around town in the only Mercedes equipped with Yosemite Sam seat covers and a furry steering wheel.
It's the same thing when you buy that Polaroid lens for someone's high end camera. Sure it will work, but the photographer has no use for it. It's not your fault, you didn't know any better, but you made the mistake of venturing into a territory that takes years to understand.
"Thanks Grandma! Yes, I'll be sure to use it to shoot cousin Julie's wedding next month."
So thank you for your generosity, and now that you've been forewarned and are ready to go out and buy that gift card, make sure it's from a local camera shop with expert staff, not a big box store staffed by overworked twenty year olds being managed by inept twenty five year olds. The recipient will be far better off for it.
"Japan Camera" - G. Aquitaine (Creative Commons)
"Polaroid ProCam" - Andrew Butitta (Creative Commons)
Text - © 2016 Troy More - All rights reserved.