It is the time of the year when we start to see all kinds of photography related gift lists, either for you to purchase or if you are lucky enough, have someone purchase for you. And I do love these lists, except that in most cases you would need to take out a small loan just to purchase a few of the items.
With that in mind, every photography or photography related item on my list this year is under 12 dollars and over the next 12 days, I'll add one item each day*. Think of it as the 12 days of Christmas, only without any partridges or pear trees, which even though they might be the cheapest item on that list, would certainly be more than 12 dollars.
Ok, technically this is more $12, but since it is under $10 per month, I'm going to make it the final item on my list of 12 gifts. When Adobe switched to the Creative Cloud they took a lot of heat from a community used to making one-time software purchases. And at the start pricing, and a lot of misunderstanding was an issue. That all changed when the photographer's plan was introduced and now I recommend this all the time, even to those who consider photography a hobby. If you are still using an old version of Photoshop or Lightroom, please consider upgrading. You will not regret it. Besides, if it doesn't work out, cancel and go back to using whatever the last version of Photoshop you own. Let's just hope it is newer than version 3.0.
Day Eleven of Twelve
I still can't believe this item is under $12. I was looking to purchase a second tripod plate prior to a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains and came across this L-bracket and couldn't believe it, especially given that I have previously looked at camera specific L-brackets, but couldn't justify spending between $150 and $200. Let's just say I was skeptical. I may go into more detail about this item in a future blog post, but for now, I can say this product is well-made and works perfectly fine with both my DSLR and Fuji x100s. Don't hesitate on this!
Day Ten of Twelve
This is another one of those items you will never think about until you need it. In fact, you will probably get tired of seeing it in your bag and be tempted to leave it behind. Don't. My suggestion is to find that little-used pocket in your backpack or camera bag and just stick one there for a rainy day. Sorry for that, but not sorry for recommending it. You won't regret it.
Day Nine of Twelve
There are all kinds of carabiners on the market and many are under $12, although not all of them have the
Day Eight of Twelve
Now is the time to think about how you are going to organize all the items on this list, whether it is cables, batteries, cleaning cloths or the Lens Pen. There are of course more expensive storage bags and then again you could just put everything sandwich bags, but for under $12 these are a great solution. Bonus tip. Since they are assorted colors, use them for rechargeable battery management, charged and ready in the yellow bag and used in the red.
Day Seven of Twelve
Like many of the items on this list so far, you can never go wrong with giving a photographer a microfiber cloth. I know your strategy is to pick these up at trade shows and I don't fault ou for that, but under $12, what do you have top lose by actually purchasing them. Besides, they don't last forever, so that microfiber cloth you picked up from the Nikon booth at PhotoPlus in 2013, is probably ready to be replaced.
Day Six of Twelve
This is the original Joby GorillaPod and for under $12, you just can't go wrong. Admit it, from the beginning you thought this looked silly and was one of those gadgets you carried around and never used, until one day you just stopped carrying it altogether. Give it another try, it takes up almost no room, is light and granted, this version will not support your DSLR, but what about a strobe or a GoPro or... You get the point.
Day Five of Twelve
This "doohickey" is another item on the list (and won't be the last) that at first may not seem like a photo gift, but how many times have you gone to fasten a tripod plate to your camera and realized that you don't even have loose change in your pocket. And thanks to the terrorists, you may not even have a multi-tool with you, especially if you had to fly somewhere. Well, this item is perfect to keep clipped to your backpack, camera bag or use it as a keychain. You'll forget it's there until you need it and for the price, you could order three and still be under $12.
Day four of Twelve
In a recent post, I wrote about peace of mind while on a photo shoot or traveling with your gear. These small locks are perfect for securing everything from zippers on your backpack to securing gear to a fixed point in your trunk. These won't stop a determined thief, but if these little lock allows me to enjoy a bite to eat, or concentrate more on my shooting when seperated from my gear, it's worth it for under $12.
Day Three of Twelve
This item will make any photographer on your gift list smile. And even if they already own one, having another won't make them sad. Plus, it does an outstanding job of removing dust and smudges from your lenses and filters. If you've had one of these in you camera bag for years, remember there is a limit to its effectiveness, so now may be the right time to order it again at under $12.
Day Two of Twelve
Gaffers tape is something you only think about when you don't have it. It's bulky, heavy and takes up space in a camera bag, which is why I'm suggesting this smaller 30-yard roll that just happens to be priced slashed and available now for under $12.
Day One of Twelve
You may not have known what they were called, but I'm sure you have seen them around, organizing cables big and small. Cable management is one key to good packing and also maintaining sanity while on a photo shoot. I guarantee a pack of ten will not be enough.
*I own and have used every item that appears in this post.