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Sometimes you just need to find that little extra inexpensive gift for your friend, who is a filmmaker, videographer, or photographer.
And while cameras and lenses can cost a fortune themselves, luckily there are a lot of affordable accessories and tools you can give as a gift for the next Christmas, or birthday.
1. Memory Cards
I’ve yet to meet the videographer or photographer who doesn’t need another memory card.
Everybody in this business needs storage, and I mean, everybody!
Luckily, the times where you had to pay a fortune for 8 Mb is long gone.
Today you can get a 256 GB SD card for dirt cheap, like this one from SanDisk.
I use these cards from SanDisk all the time, and I can always use more.
If you know which camera your friend has, you can check out this guide to memory cards to get the perfect one.
I know it sounds stupid, but for years I ran around with different sized hex keys and a spoon (or a coin if I had forgotten the spoon!) for tightening the slot drive on my tripods, quick-release heads, and camera cages.
Then I discovered that the company named Smallrig had put all of those tools and more into a budget-friendly swiss army knife for filmmakers.
Needless to say, I bought one immediately!
3. Digital Picture Frame
Because a lot of hybrid cameras today are equally capable of taking photos and shooting video, a lot of videographers have begun to move into photography and vice versa.
Unfortunately, most pictures end up hidden away on Instagram or some backup cloud storage somewhere.
With this beautiful and minimalistic 10 Inch digital picture frame, you give your photos a new life and show them to your family and friends.
The display has touchscreen that you can use to browse through the gallery, swipe through photos, pause on a particular photo you really like, and delete photos.
The frame is really easy to set up, and when you want to send new photos to it, you simply send them in an email directly to the frame.
You can even email your photos directly from your vacation to those at home if you want to show off.
Best of all, it doesn’t cost a fortune.
4. Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod 3K Video Pro Kit
This little flexible tripod from Joby is a masterpiece of engineering and ingenuity.
With it’s flexible and strong legs, you can attach your camera to everything from railings to street lamps.
It really is a lifesaver, and I found I use mine a lot more, that I initially thought I would
It’s available in different configurations on Amazon, but for your filmmaker friend, I’d recommend the Joby Gorilla Flexible Tripod 3K Video Pro Kit.
It comes with a small video head and a quick-release plate, so you can quickly slide off your camera and take it into your hands instead.
It will hold cameras up to 6 lbs/3 kg, i.e. most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
The fluid video head with the arm makes it possible to make smooth movements like pans and tilts to capture the action.
It also comes with an extra arm for adding accessories like a small LED-light.
A word of advice: don’t buy the cheap knock-offs. Go with the ones from Joby.
I own several from other manufacturers, and they either won’t hold the camera in the right position or the arms “grow tired” quickly rendering the tripod useless.
I’m a big fan of competition, but in this case, you really do get what you pay for. And the Joby really offers a lot of bang for the buck.
5. Micro LED light
One of the most important thing in both filmmaking and photography is light.
But sometimes you can drag along a huge fresnel, or the scene simply doesn’t call for it.
Or you might have to create a little extra something in the background or fake the light from the dashboard in a car or a mobile phone in a movie scene.
This is where tiny and budget-friendly micro LED lights like the AL-M9 Amaran from Aputure comes in handy.
You can use it as an on-camera light for quick interviews on the go, tape it to a wall with a bit of gaffers tape, or use it for more creative effects in your film scene or photograph.
This one weighs only 140g, has adjustable brightness, high color accuracy, and run of batteries that are quickly rechargeable via USB.
I never go for a video shoot for a client without a couple of these in my backpack, because you never know when they might come in handy.
6. Cleaning Gear for Camera Lenses
This is another favorite of mine, that I never leave the house without when I’m going to film or photograph something. Not even when I’m just going for a leisurely stroll with my camera.
And if I’m going on a job for a client, I always have this with me. I simply can’t afford to come home with three hours of footage just to discover that it is unusuable because of a stain in the middle of the picture.
The Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit is dirt cheap, but it can end up saving you a lot of money because you don’t lose any footage or photos due to dirt on the lens.
So there you have it. Six quick, highly recommended, and affordable gift ideas for videographers, filmmakers, and photographers. Great for the next Holiday season, birthday, or film school graduation.
If you got any questions, let me know in the comments below.
About the author:
Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.