It’s that time of the year again, the time where we all share our must-haves for every area. Whether you’re in the market for new fashion and beauty tips, coffee essentials, smart home gear, tech-enhancing products, or music creation, we’ve got it all for you. However, this year I’m focusing on a slightly different area: cameras. If you’re someone who loves to take photos, or it’s something you’re wanting to get into, this photography gift guide is for you. From camera bodies to tripods, storage, and more, we’ve got it all in our photography gift guide.

Getting started  with photography gifts – Cameras for any budget

If you’re shopping for camera gear this holiday season, you might as well start with the main component itself: the camera. Given my experience with a few different manufacturers, I’d have to recommend starting with Sony’s offering. While you can generally find Sony’s a6000 for around $550 at Amazon these days with an included lens, stepping up to the a6400 is an easy recommendation. It’s a bit more expensive at $898 without a lens, but it offers so much more.

With the a6000, you’ll get a 24.3MP APS-C sensor and the ability to record 1080p video, while the a6400 gives you a similar (though updated) sensor and 4K shooting capability.

Sony a6400

There’s one more recommendation here, and that’s just to use your smartphone. The device we keep in our pocket is only getting better at taking photos, and the latest iPhones and Google Pixel 4 are no joke. Even if you don’t have the latest and greatest, our handy guide shows you how to take even better photos with just about any smartphone imaginable, so do keep that in mind.

Overall, the a6400 is our go-to camera for those who are wanting to take their photography up a notch, while the a6000 is great for the just-starting-out photographer. However, most budget-conscious shoppers might want to check out smartphone camera lenses (we’ll go over that in a little bit), to save even more.

Keep it stable – Tripods are a must

While having a good camera helps in taking a great picture, one might argue that stability is even more important. If you have the most expensive camera ever, yet shake while taking a picture, a stable iPhone photo will look far better. That’s where tripods come in.

For most, the Joby Gorillapod is a great photography gift option and fits into most budgets. There are multiple models to choose from, depending on if you need to support a smartphone or a larger camera rig. The legs articulate, making it super simple to mount it anywhere. However, even the Gorillapod has its limitations.

Personally, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is my go-to when it comes to a quality on-the-go stable platform. It folds up super small, and when deployed, is the perfect size to capture just about anything. The built-in smartphone mount makes it perfect for use with either a camera or iPhone, no extra hardware required. However, the Travel Tripod isn’t very low-cost, so this is really for the photographer who has it all.

Store it all while on-the-go – GNARBOX and Western Digital

Something that most photographers don’t think about is portable storage. I’m not talking about a USB-based hard drive, but something a little more than that. When you’re on-the-go, keeping a running backup of your files can be crucial to ensuring there’s no data loss. That’s where GNARBOX and Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless come into play.

GNARBOX is designed to be an all-in-one on-the-go mobile storage and editing solution. It has a built-in processor and SD card reader that lets you automatically back up your photos and then edit them on a smartphone or iPad with ease. The GNARBOX itself handles the processing, meaning that you can edit on just about any device. It also does on-board proxy creation, which is a dream for run-and-gun filmmakers. Find out more about GNARBOX in our hands-on review.

Photography Gift Guide GNARBOX

While GNARBOX is great for those who need some mobile power, if you’re just wanting to back up your files while on-the-go, WD’s My Passport Wireless Pro is a great alternative. For pricing sake, the 2TB WD drive is $150 whereas GNARBOX’s 256GB drive is $499. However, GNARBOX does quite a bit more than WD here. WD is strictly a backup and organizational drive and has no real processing power behind it. But, if you’re wanting to make sure that there’s always a backup of your files while out shooting. WD gets the job done fantastically.

Mobile photography gift must-haves – Lenses rule the roost

If you’re a mobile photographer than picking up some lenses this holiday season is a must. Two of our go-to brands are SANDMARC and Moment here at 9to5, both serving a similar function. Both companies offer case-based smartphone lenses, with wide, telephoto, macro, and even anamorphic offers. SANDMARC, however, also uses a clip-based lens system, making it compatible with your smartphone, no case required.

This could be a great option for those who like to go caseless (like me), or who simply want to use their own case. For more on using lenses with your smartphone, be sure to check out our handy guide.

Keep your gear organized – Peak design’s backpacks are a must

Peak Design is my go-to brand for just about anything photography related. When I’m traveling, I’ll either be using my Everyday Backpack V2 (current everyday carry bag) or the Travel Backpack. Both serve different purposes but accomplish the same task: keeping my camera gear always at the ready. We recently went in-depth with all of Peak’s latest offerings, so be sure to catch that coverage here.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L V2

Another option when shopping for a camera bag is AmazonBasics Camera Bag. It costs far less than a Peak bag at just $30 and offers a slightly different overall design. It’s more geared toward photography in general, having dedicated slots for lenses, camera bodies, flashes, and more.

Other gear for the photographer that has it all

If you’ve already got a great camera, tripod, and bag, then maybe there’s something else you haven’t thought of yet. Here’s a list of some other must-have photography gear that everyone should have in their bag:

Must-have photography gift guide gear

  • Peak Design Slide Camera Strap: $65
  • Peak Design Cuff Camera Wrist Strap: $30
  • SD Card Holder: $12
  • Peak Design Capture Lens Kit: $70
  • Anker USB-C SD Card Reader: $11
    • when you clip the on-page coupon
  • Variable ND filter: Various prices
  • Rocket Air Blaster: $17

Other 9to5Toys Gift Guides:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

You’re reading 9to5Toys — experts digging up all the latest technology and lifestyle deals, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Toys on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out the best Apple deals, our daily podcast, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Patrick Campanale's favorite gear