Shopping for your photographer and travel friends and family is hard. Camera gear is expensive and each brand has its own features. I’m here to help with these travel photography gear gift ideas for under $100. Because we DO want to give kick-ass amazing gifts that travelers love, but we do NOT want to break the bank!
I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored. All my opinions and experiences are my own.
Probe around the Globe does use affiliate links. If you decide to follow one of my links and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.
Things to keep in mind when shopping for travel photography gear
If you want to hit a home run on your birthday or Christmas gifts for your traveling friends who love photography, do keep an eye out for the following things:
What camera do they already own? Many photography gear is brand specific. Not all lenses go on each camera. If you don’t know: ASK! Photographers love to chat about their camera and gear.
What kind of traveler or photographer are you buying for? Does she travel carry-on only? There is no use in buying them a useful, but bulky photo booth. Is your friend an adventure traveler? Then the photography gear you’re buying as a gift must be sturdy!
Stay on budget. When you’re shopping for photography gear, it is easy to go over budget. Big time! Keep an eye out for those Black Friday discounts, as photography gear is usually on sale.
- I’m steering this gift guide towards your traveling female friends, loved-ones and family. Because I believe there is enough black, bulky (boring) photography gear out there. But finding some cute, versatile and sturdy stuff for women can be harder. If you’re reading this for travel photography gear gift ideas for your male friend, please shop ahead. All products I recommend are also available without flowers or pink colors.
With my below-mentioned gift ideas for travel photography presents, you’ll do a great job at becoming the best gift-giver ever!
No photographer or traveler can go without memory cards. With files getting bigger and cameras having the option to film; memory cards are always too small. You can never go wrong with an extra memory card for your friend who travels.
Keep in mind, more GB is always better, and the faster the card, the better. I love the ScanDisk memory cards as they go with any camera and fit into every card reader and most computers.
It's nice that when you buy a DSLR Camera, you get a camera strap to go with it. But most of the time, these are not sexy and just show off the brand in big bold letters.
Now, some people get off on showing what kind of camera brand they can afford. Others don't want to flash around their stuff. Especially not when traveling around the globe.
I never got around to buying a cute camera strap, although they are not that expensive. This makes them the perfect gifts. OMG, can you see how cute that one with the map is? I'm going to get myself one of those!
The guys over at PacSafe got you covered for those sturdy slash-proof camera straps.
Lens for the DSLR camera
Ok, this can be tricky. I assume you know what kind of camera your traveler friend has. And what kind of lens she uses? If not, go ask! Photographers love to talk about their gear. They will throw around words like a prime lens, Tele lenses, image stabilization, F4, and more words that confuse you.
Now, some lenses can cost you up to $2,500 which is a little more than you'd like to spend. But I promised you we'd keep this photography gift guide under $ 100 so I put together some great lenses that won't go over budget.
Each of these lenses are prime lenses, which can be used for portrait photography. Perfect for those traveling friends that like to cover street scenes when traveling.
Add on lenses for Mobile Phones
If your friend is anything like me, they also get lazy when traveling. We don't want to carry our bulky DSLR camera around everywhere, but we do want to snap pictures whenever we feel like it. Luckily, our new mobile phones do a pretty amazing job at capturing our travel moments. But it can always be upgraded!
Buy these booster packs for their smartphones and they'll might ditch the DSLR camera altogether (like I did in the end).
These are funny little add-on booster lenses. You can easily clip them on your iPhone or Android and have instant zoom or a nice fish-eye lens.
I'm going to be honest with you: buying a camera bag is as difficult as buying a wedding dress. It is personal and depends on the gear a traveler is carrying, where they are going, and what they find comfortable.
I might argue it's even more difficult than buying a wedding dress. Imagine you'll get married 5 times next year. To 5 different guys. In 5 different locations. You need a new dress for each destination. The same goes for a good camera bag.
One time, a photographer is fine just stuffing their camera in their handbag. On other occasions, we want to take our wheelie camera suitcase, and another time we want to blend in and take a bag that looks like a normal bag, but actually has all these useful compartments for all our camera gear. I used messenger bags, photographer's backpacks, slingshot bags, and a normal handbag for just my camera.
Although it is hard to shop for a camera bag for your traveling friend, the upside is, you can't go wrong! As a photographing traveler, you can never have too many bags! So let's get shopping.
Give Online Storage as a gift
This is a great gift for all travelers who love photography. Because being on the road and snapping hundreds of pics per day, brings risk with it. Where do you store all those brilliant photographs?
People usually look into online storage for their photographs when it's too late. When your friend is ranting on their Facebook page about how they lost all their pictures when their camera got nicked from the bus. It's better to be safe than sorry and online photo storage is a useful gift (might not be so sexy but useful goes a long way).
According to TechRadar, the top 5 online storage cloud bases software for 2018 are Dropbox, GoogleDrive, Microsoft OneDrive, Flickr, and Adobe Creative Suite. Read the full article here. Most of these have free options, but if we're looking at 1T storage, you need to pay. This could make for the perfect practical present.
Depending on where you're located, you can purchase a 1 year DropBox account for $99 or GoogleDrive 1T for $99.
Portable External Hard Drive
Imagine you're traveling in South America for 1 month (like I did) and you take all these amazing pictures of Machu Picchu, Bolivia, and Chile. You don't want to lug around your camera gear AND your computer. But you do want to back up your photos. Wouldn't it be great to have a portable external hard drive with you?
These make for excellent gifts. Again, pretty practical but so needed for your friends who travel the globe. These come in different colors, but most importantly, different storage sizes. Again, the bigger the better, but 1T storage (that's 1 terabyte) will go a long way.
Give a photo album as a gift
I like photo albums. Even with my digital pictures, I still get them developed, buy a blank photo album, and put them in there. Kinda like scrapbooking as I add little ticket stubs or memorabilia in there too. I feel it's a great tangible reminder of a memorable trip.
But these things take a ton of time. And are quite costly. Luckily, nowadays you can also make a photo album with digital images. Just download the software, add your pictures, type in some text, maybe a background and you're good to go! I made one for my mom when we traveled to Rome together. Read why I love travel with my mom here.
Fliphtml5 lists the best photo album-making software, so I'd suggest go compare and then buy your traveling friend a photo album!
Now back to the practical camera gear again. When you buy a new lens as a photographer, you want to protect the lens when you travel around and use the lens. Dust, specs, and scratching can damage your costly prime DSLR lenses and you want to protect them.
I never used a lens without a neutral filter to protect it. Although you can't see anything of the filter, they do cost money. Wouldn't it be great to get such a filter as a Christmas gift?
Sounds boring as a gift? Ok, how about filters you actually notice the difference when they are there? Filters can really make or break your images. When you travel, you usually encounter difficult photography conditions.
Filters can help neutralize the colors, take away the harsh light or add fun effects to your pictures. Saves a ton of editing on the computer. A bundle with all sorts of filters is a good buy!
You do have to keep in mind the diameter of the lens the filters are used on. Unfortunately, it's NOT a one-size-fits-all. I list below the quite common 58mm, but each filter can be purchased for 52mm or 77mm or 46mm.
Buy a Lomography Camera
All the above ideas are practical gifts for your traveling photographer friends. Wouldn't it be amazing to give them an actual camera? Yes, they are expensive but a fun, quick little camera is the Lomography Camera by Lomography. They explain who they are here:
Lomography started out as a spontaneous artistic approach to photography in the Vienna underground scene. It's now an international socio-cultural movement, one that uses analogue photography as a creative approach for capturing the world. Today we are a globally active organization dedicated to experimental and creative snapshot photography. The idea of Lomography encompasses an interactive, democratic, social, cultural, vivid, blurred and crazy way of life.
I gave the Lomography Diana F+ camera to my boyfriend for Christmas (he loves it) a couple of years ago. I have to admit, this one was slightly over budget ($139 retail price) but you might be able to snag a good deal on Black Friday.
However, Lomography also has a couple of low entry models to get you started with Lomography for under $100. And that's what we're after! Of course, you need to get some film for Lomography too. Check out Lomography's Instagram account for inspiration.
Now we're on the subject of camera buying, have you considered getting your traveling friend a Polaroid Camera? Great instant snaps on the go? I went to Vienna and did a Polaroid Photo Tour and absolutely loved it.
You can read all about it here. It was so much fun and I vowed myself to use a Polaroid camera more often. But then I'd need one. Wouldn't it be nice to get one for Christmas?
Photo Tour for their next travel destination
You want to buy a perfect gift for the traveler in your life. Where are they heading? Maybe you can give them a photo tour! Depending on which tour you choose, they go with a professional photographer and snap the most interesting sights of a city.
Or the tour is more geared to techniques, like photographing during sunset or capturing the northern lights. I love to give travel experiences as a gift (read all about how to give it and how to arrange it here) and I'm sure you'll become the best gift-giver ever.
Give a few days Lens Rental as a gift
Did you know you can rent a lens for a couple of days? Perfect to test things out or if you have a specific travel purpose but no lens to go with it. For example, your friend will go bird watching at Lake Tahoe. Or on an African Safari.
Many people have the DSLR camera but only carry one or two lenses. Wouldn't it be nice to have a zoom lens for that one-off occasion?
When I started with my speed skating photography, I rented a 70-200 zoom lens a couple of times, before I decided to buy one of my own. You rent a lens for a couple of days, have it shipped to you, use it, (fall in love with it) and then return it. It does costs a few bucks but it can give you unique pictures that last a lifetime.
A few of the bigger lens rental companies out there are lensrentals.com, borrowlenses.com and for people from the UK, hirecamera.com. Make sure to check conditions before agreeing to a rental (like taking it abroad, renting for someone else, etc).
I have no personal experience with either of these companies as I always used a local (Dutch) rental company.
There are many situations when we travel when we can do with a little extra light. Some cameras have a built-in flash but most DSRL cameras have a hot shoe where you can easily click on your flash.
If you have one.
Luckily, these are not that expensive and make for excellent gifts for your traveling photographer friends. Some are compatible with all brands, others are specifically designed to fit with a Canon camera or a Nikon camera.
A Flash Kit provides all the essentials in one go, like the actual flash, matching remote to trigger the flash, and other accessories like batteries and pouches.
Inspirational books about travel & photography
Whenever the new coffee table books of Lonely Planet come out, with their "Best of Travel" series, I just have to have them. There is something soothing at looking at pretty images of the world.
The place we want to travel to.
Holding such a heavy book on your lap, respectfully touching the pages, flipping through amazing imagery.
A little inspiration can go a long way. Give your best friend an inspirational book showing the best places to travel in the most beautifully captured ways.
Tripod for camera
It took me the longest time ever to finally switch to a tripod. I always felt I could do handheld night shots. Or high-speed action. Turned out blurry and useless all the time! In the past, tripods were a nightmare.
Heavy, bulky, impossible to set up, not stable etc. Nowadays, they have these ultralight, versatile tripods that you can set up in 5 seconds and take anywhere.
Good thing about these tripods is they can be used for all types of cameras and all brands.
Extra batteries or battery grip
Again, a not-so-sexy gift but practical and necessary. With my big DSLR camera and telelens, I needed a battery grip to keep it stable in my hand and be balanced. Each camera comes with its own specific battery, so you have to know what you're buying.
But this could be a great Christmas gift for your daughter or wife if you're certain about what camera she uses.
These are not so imaginative, but highly practical photographer's necessities. Plus, they don't cost an arm and a leg, so you can make up for it and include a sweet and thoughtful Christmas present too.
Who doesn't have a GoPro these days? Well... I don't. But that's okay. I do want one. That's for sure. But for being 100% complete and covering all the bases, Go Pro accessories must be on this gift guide for photographers.
Or should I say videographers? There are so many accessories out there, I love these GoPro bundles that open up a whole world of options for your GoPro.
We like to show our style and flair. If your friend is anything like me, I always have my camera with me and just take one extra lens which I think I might need. No need to carry around all my camera stuff, but we do want to protect our lenses.
These cute lens cases do just that, and they look good too!
Depending on the size of the lenses, a small pouch suffices. Or you want a protective case for your zoom lens that doesn't fit any bag? These are some great options!
Print the best image
Is your traveling friend grounded for a while? Or want to give something to spruce up their apartment? I love to display my travel photos on the wall in my house. As a matter of fact, one of the first purchases after I bought my house, was a giant panoramic print of a picture I took in Pisa, Italy.
I love that picture so much, I not only made it the feature header image of my home page and all my social media, but also printed it on a 3-meter wide print to put up on my wall.
I love to use Zazzle as they have a range of products and they are really good at textiles and stationery. Below are some examples of my panoramic prints, but you can upload any picture to any of their products (posters, canvas, tapestries, shower curtains, bath towels, calendars, tote bags, passport holders).
Travel Photography Gear Gift Ideas
All you have to do now, is order these amazing photographer gear presents, wrap them up nicely, and TADAAAA... Best gift giver ever! Your traveler friends will be super stoked to try out their stuff. And that's a wrap!
Do you still need to do your Christmas shopping? Did you manage to stay on budget? Let me know what your friends thought of the amazing photography gift you've bought them! I'd love to know. Use the comment section below or share this on social media.