Shopping for your shutter bug can be tough, especially with all the photo gear on the market today. Whether you’re looking to spend $30 or $300, Chad has some great ideas for the photo enthusiast in your life. Please note the equipment listed below is what Chad currently uses after 20 years of photography, and they are his personal preference. There are many great brands that make these products and we encourage you to ask your photo nerd which photography equipment brands they like. Please watch the video below to see how all of these products work.

  • Graduated Filters ($100-$300): Great for the friend that loves shooting landscapes. These filters help you properly expose your foreground without losing the beautiful clouds in the bright sky. For even more fun, colored versions of this filter really add a pop to your photos that will set them apart. You can add a case to carry and protect your filters, as well as a filter holder to mount the filter to your lens. The standard size of these filters is 84 x 120mm and will fit most lenses. We also recommend getting a filter with a soft edge, which looks like a more natural effect as opposed to a hard edge filter.

3 stop Galen Rowell ND Filter

Cokin Filter Holder

Cokin Filter Wallet

3 stop Singh-Ray Graduated Warming Filter

Shot with a combination of color filters.
Shot with a traditional 3 stop graduated filter.
Chad using a sunset colored filter.
  • Polarizers ($25-$100): Polarizers are essential when shooting during harsh light. As the sun rises during the day, light and glare can wreck your images. What you see is a beautiful waterfall, but what you get is blinding highlights in your photo. This is where a polarizer comes in really handy, during the day our lenses live with them on. Pay attention when buying them though, you must know the lenses thread size in order to buy the right polarizer for that lens. These come in a wide array of sizes and brands so once again feel free to shop around and ask your nerd what brands they like.

B+W 77mm High Transmission

Tiffen 77mm Polarizer

77mm Carl Zeiss T*  (Probably overkill for the casual hobbyist)

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. Even in the mist, a polarizer helps make that green pop.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland. Waterfall with Kirkjufell in the background. Especially shooting water, a polarizer can really help cut the glare and bring out a body of water’s color.
  • External Hard Drive ($60-$300): We all take way too many pictures. Don’t clutter up your computer trying to save them all, and what do you do when all your cloud storage is gone, and what about that 10 day trip to Hawaii, how are you going to be able to get all your photos back? Easy, get an external hard drive. These come in all shapes and sizes, but we do have some strong personal favorites listed below. The most important thing is to get one that is bus powered, usually between 2 to 4 terabytes is solid storage space. This may not be a sexy gift, but trust us it will absolutely be used and is absolutely necessary. We buy these monthly and wish we could order a palette of them.

WD 4TB My Passport USB 3

Lacie 2TB Rugged Mini

Lacie 2TB Rugged Thunderbolt (if speed is your desire)

For when the office is a diner.

Or you have to get things done on the road.
  • Bags ($25-$300): Bags are always necessary and even if your nerd has one, you can find another one that will serve useful in a different situation. A lot of times I have a big heavy camera bag on.  But when I can go light, I take the fanny pack option, especially when backpacking. Bags wear out like ski boots and need replaced every few years so even if you get your nerd a very similar bag, it will still get used. It’s another item you can’t go wrong with as a gift.

MindShift Gear Backlight (For the nerd that likes to have all their gear at all times)

Ruggard Outrigger (For your backpacking nerd)

Lower Passport Sling III (For your week to Paris)

Some lighter mid size bags work great for day hiking.
Some bags come with a rain cover. The bag I’m wearing is great, but at this point weighs 40 pounds and I needed help getting on the horse with it.
  • The Canon G9 X Point and Shoot ($379): A lot of people just want to look cool, with their big lens and massive 40 megapixel dslr. But as a professional photographer, I want the best equipment for the job. Enter this little point and shoot camera. This little camera is always with me when I have the occasional wedding to shoot. At the reception lighting stinks, the dance floor is cramped, I don’t want to use my cell phone but I need something small and powerful to get into the action. This little guy does just that. It has a 20 megapixel sensor that shoots raw photos and full HD video. This is a great camera for Christmas parties and catching those family moments that if your honest with yourself, are most of the photos you’ll end up keeping anyways.
I was just a guest at this wedding, snapped a quick pic of my friends. They used at as their Facebook profile picture for a month.
A fun camera to play with! Low light halloween party, use flash and movement to make a creepy scene.