11/13/2014 03:02 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Michael Sweet's Top 25 Holiday Gifts For Photographers


Film Canister Toilet Paper Holder #6 On The List

Lists are never definitive, never. They are, at best, simply a good collection genuinely reflective of the person who made them. This list is mine. The things on this list are things which I, as a photographer, would enjoy receiving this Christmas. That's it, nothing more, nothing less. My hope in publishing the list is to help someone out there find just the right thing for the photographer in their life.

Please note NONE of the items on this page or the companies which manufacture or sell them have offered me any compensation for this article. All links are not sponsored in any way. I get nothing for this, it's just for fun and to help you find that special gift for the photographer in your family.

1) Nova - The Wireless Pocketable Phone Flash $59 - This little gadget is awesome. It will surely be loved by the mobile photographer in your life, especially the one who likes to imitate Bruce Gilden or Martin Parr and needs that off-camera flash for their handiwork.

2) The Pocket Spotlight $30 - While I am on the subject of mobile phone lighting, this little rig is also a true gem. The bright and even LED lights will prove handy in nearly any situation where natural light is just not sufficient. Now even you or that special photographer in your life can control the sun!

3) The Impossible Instant Photo Lab $199 - Does the photographer in your life like Polaroids? Perhaps they are a child of the 70's and just cannot let go of that disco-era photo format. This little photo lab uses the new Polaroid film from The Impossible Project to transfer iPhone photos onto instant film. The best of both worlds, truly.

4) The Photo Book - A truly fantastic collection of photographs, in fact, 520 pages of them. That's quite a deal for a book that comes in at under $10. Any photographer will love this book. I know I do. In fact it was one of the books of the year for 2014 on

5) Photography - The 50 Most Influential Photographers of All Time $10 - Here is another great hardcover photography book for less than ten bucks! This marvelous introduction to the greatest photographers of all time will be a big hit with photographers and art lovers alike. A great gift for someone on tight budget this Christmas.

6) Novelty Film Canister Toilet Paper Holder $10 - Everyone likes to keep (hide) an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. Perhaps the photographer in your life would enjoy this fun little novelty item that disguises the toilet paper roll as a 35mm film canister. Another gift for under ten bucks!

7) Film Canister Salt and Pepper Shakers $15 - Although digital photography may well be the wave of the future, there are still lots of photographers around who love the look and feel of a 35mm film canister. These salt and pepper shakers are sure to thrill any photo fiend.


8) Meaning of a Photographer Mug $17 - Cameras and coffee go hand in hand for most photographers. So any cameraslinger should be more than happy to see this little dandy under their tree this December.

9) Wooden Camera Stamp $10 - Every photographer will love this one. A good old fashioned rubber stamp depicting a camera. Stamp your postcards, letters, greeting cards, or simply anything you own! Stamp cameras all over the place!


10) Camera Cufflinks $30 - These will be mighty handy for when your photographer man dresses up. Perhaps he's a wedding photog and often needs to spiffy himself up. These little gems will come in mighty handy.

11) F-Stop Watch $40 - This is a really, really cool watch. It also has a weird James Bond feel to it to boot. I love it. Any photographer will!

12) Camera Earrings $10 - Yes, I do realize that not all photographers are men! So here is a nifty gift for that photog gal in your life. Of course, a man could wear one too! Camera earrings, who would have thought!

13) Powered by a Photographer License Plate Frame $15 - Forget about that cheesy baby on board sticker for your car, get this cool "powered by a photographer" plate frame. Just be warned, you might get rammed by some bitter bride who just got back some really awful wedding photos!

14) The Human Fragment Photography Book $30 - Okay, so yeah, it's my book. I thought I would hide it in the middle of the list and hope you wouldn't notice. This book is not for every photographer, but if that special photographer in your life likes street photography and New York City, than this might be just the book to put under their tree! As a special bonus, just send it to me letting me know you found it here and I will sign the book at no cost to you! I will even post it back to you for free! Limited time offer for 2014 holiday season.

15) Black and White Magazine subscription $35/year - This is THE magazine for the black and white photography lover. International content, pages and pages of high-gloss photographs and handfuls of interviews and Q&As to boot. If your photographer gets only one magazine subscription, let it be Black and White Magazine!

16) Popular Photography Magazine $14/year (special price) - Popular Photography is another great magazine subscription to stuff into that photographer's stocking this season. Although it has plenty of ads for my taste, contrasting greatly with B&W, it's still a good solid read for anyone with an interest in photography and the latest gear.


17) Holga 135 35mm Camera $35 - This classic little plastic camera has a worldwide cult following. Most photographers out there haven't shot a roll of 35mm film in some time. This little camera will bring back the love of analog. So, if that photographer in your family was raised on film and now shoots digital, believe me they will love the thrill of playing around with this and a roll of fresh film on Christmas morning!

18) The Lomo Instant Camera $120 - This is hot of the presses. This new instant camera has a host of features in a sleek black body. Complete with flash, this camera is the new Polaroid! It takes Instax mini film from Fujifilm which is widely available. Every photography should enjoy the experience of instant photography. So if the photographer in your family doesn't have an instant camera, this is my top choice! Go for it, it will be loads of fun!

19) Regarding Women SIGNED photobook by Elliott Erwitt $99 - What an opportunity! A wonderful book of photography signed by the famous Elliott Erwitt a true living legend when it comes to photography. This book is a steal at only $99 and will surely increase in price many fold over the coming years. While you are in the Magnum store, you can look over the many signed books there from various famous photographers. Any of them would be loved and treasured by the photographer in your life. Just keep the cat away from the tree if you put a treasure like this under there!


20) ZeroImage Pinhole Camera $120 - A truly beautiful handmade wooden pinhole camera with brass accents. These ZeroImage cameras will not only make great photographs, but they will also make great conversation pieces and decorative accents. They really are a great value at just over a hundred dollars. Remember, they are handmade from gorgeous wood and finished with brass. These pinhole cameras come in a range of formats - 35mm, 120 etc.

21) USB Film Roll $20 - This is a great little novelty. Photographers are always looking for USB keys to port photos around, right? Well, this one will surely not be mistaken by the kids who might otherwise run off to school with Mommy's photos!

22) Camera Cookie Cutters $18 - Now who doesn't like cookies? Better yet, cookies that are shaped like a camera? How cool! I want these myself.... hint, hint! They are both an outline cutter and a stamp combining to make beautiful cookies ready for decoration or just plain eating. BPA-free food grade plastic.

23) Crystal DSLR Camera $65 - Okay, so this is not really a very practical item, but there is something cool about it just the same. Use it as a paperweight, a conversation piece or a bookend. Come on, it's a camera made of crystal!

24) DIY Lomo Camera $10 - Know any photographers who are also toy model fans? If so, this would be an ideal gift for them. It's a working camera that you build yourself. Believe me when I say that it is really cool, but not for the faint of heart - considerable skill working with small parts needed.

25) Compendium of Cameras Wall Print $29 - A HUGE wall print of virtually all the cameras ever made. Well, okay, not really that comprehensive .... but it sure is a cool poster and has most of the famous cameras depicted. Great for the home office, the studio, or even the basement darkroom.

Michael Ernest Sweet is a Canadian award-winning writer and photographer. Follow him on Twitter @28mmphotos or through his website at