9 of the Best Gifts for Photographer Moms

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We all know that cameras make fantastic gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day (or on birthdays and holidays as well!), but what if Mom is already a photographer? B&H Photo has you more than covered!

Is Mom a professional photojournalist? Or, is she the designated shutterbug for the local Scout troops? Maybe she is totally into floral macro photos. Or, is Mom responsible for the awesome family portraits that are framed on the mantle and hang on the wall?

Regardless of her photographic passions, there are always great gifts in all price ranges that can make her Mother’s Day special and help make her photographic experiences a little more unique.

Strappy Straps

Almost every camera in the world comes with its own camera strap. The world, and Mom, are not in short supply of camera straps. But, is Mom always dressed to the nines and fashion forward, while walking around with the default camera strap emblazoned with the camera company’s logo on it? Well, it’s time to stop giving the camera company free advertising and letting Mom walk around with a strap that clashes with her latest outfit.

B&H has literally hundreds of camera-strap options from dozens of manufacturers. Check out the funky “Space Zoo” design on this miggo Universal Padded 2-Way Speed Strap or, if Mom is a leather aficionado, the Cecilia Gallery Adjustable Leather Camera Strap has materials and construction that will put her expensive handbags to shame.

miggo Universal Padded Camera 2-Way Speed Strap

Also, there are some camera straps that are specially designed to fit the female body better. Check out the Indigo Marble Padded Neoprene Anti-Slip Sling Camera Strap and the Joby UltraFit Sling Strap for Women.

A “50mm” Lens

If Mom is relatively new to photography, there is a good chance she is shooting with a “kit” zoom lens or lenses. There is nothing wrong with that, and Mom is probably getting great shots, but you can surprise her by letting her unbox a brand new 50mm lens on Mother’s Day. Most camera manufacturers make inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 lenses that will outperform the kit zooms that Mom is carrying around right now.

The biggest benefit? The large f/1.8 maximum aperture will allow Mom to snap portraits of friends and family with beautiful blurry bokeh backgrounds.

Examples of these lenses include the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8, and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. If Mom shoots an APS-C-format Nikon, she will love the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens that gives a 35mm equivalent field of view as a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera. If you don’t know what 50mm lens to get Mom, be sure to give us a call or email askbh@bhphoto.com!

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens

Creative Views

Is Mom a creative photographer? Help her expand her creative touch with a lens from Lensbaby.

The California company has a treasure trove of unique lenses on the market that give super shallow depth-of-field effects, selective focus, artistic blurring, glowing softness, etc. Check out the entire line and look at example photos to see what the lenses can help Mom achieve.

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Sweet 50 Optic is a newer, more streamlined example of the original Lensbaby designs. And, for a more traditional shooter, the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6 lens looks and feels like a conventional lens, yet, when the aperture is set wide open, the lens creates an ethereal quality in the images that you really cannot replicate easily in digital post production. Check out my review of the Velvet here, and Jill Waterman’s take here.

Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Sweet 50 Optic

Mom Has Got a Brand-New Bag!

OK, so this is a tough one. Mom is likely going to want to go one way or another (or both ways) on this path, so be careful and be ready to do some sleuthing and use the powers of observation and good judgement. Mom will either be into the classic camera bag—usually black ballistic nylon—or she might be the type who wants to accessorize her look with a more fashionable leather or canvas bag.

ONA Bowery Camera Bag

Again, B&H has hundreds of options here. Too many, if you ask me! Kelly Moore makes a great line of bags designed with women in mind, like The Libby 2.0 Shoulder Bag that even carries a laptop, as well. The more traditional camera bag is represented by models like the black Lowepro Nova 160 AW Shoulder Bag with its rugged nylon-and-polyester exterior. If you want to walk the line between fashion and hard-core shooter bag, the Domke F-2 RuggedWear Shooter’s Bag is based on Domke’s classic reportage design, but with a unique waxed-canvas exterior.

Kelly Moore Bag The Libby Shoulder Bag

A Global View

So, Mom already has a camera, but she probably doesn’t have a camera like the Ricoh Theta S Spherical VR Digital Camera. Give her the creative tool needed to capture 360-degree spherical photos and videos of her assignments, or gatherings of friends and families at home. Even when she is armed with a traditional camera, adding the Ricoh Theta S to her quiver will allow truly unique capture of any subject or environment.

Ricoh Theta S Spherical VR Digital Camera

After she takes the videos or photos, they can be shared with the Ricoh app or website, and everyone viewing can scroll and zoom around the image—up, down, right, left—there is nothing that was not captured in the shot. Check out my hands-on review of the Ricoh Theta S here.

Protection from the Wet

Not all family events occur when the weather is fair. Parents (and kids) know that some sports, like soccer or football, are played rain or shine. Shine isn’t the problem. For Moms taking photos on the sidelines, rain can ruin your whole day. Let yours be one of the few on the field still getting the great shots with rain protection for her camera and lens.

Again, we have many to choose from, but this Ruggard Fabric Rain Shield is great for protecting a DSLR and long lens.

Ruggard Fabric Rain Shield

Polarize that Lens

Before digital photography, lens filters for special effects were popular. But, today, Mom can emulate many different effects on the computer after the photo is taken, except for one—polarization.

The polarizing filter remains virtually unchallenged by the digital realm and, if Mom wants darker blue skies, clouds that pop, and less glare in her photos, the only way to do that is to spin a polarizer on the end of her lens.

So, when Mom isn’t looking, dig into her camera bag, figure out the filter size she needs for her favorite lens, and grab a polarizer like this Tiffen 77mm Circular Polarizing Filter.

Tiffen 77mm Circular Polarizing Filter

The Camera for the Phone that Isn’t a Phone and is a Camera

There aren’t many photographers around these days who carry their heavy camera gear wherever they go. The main reason for this is that most of the phones we carry in our pockets have cameras in them. However, as photographers, we are often disappointed and limited by the capture capabilities of the smartphone camera. Sometimes “good enough” is OK, but at other times, you wish you had a better machine with which to capture an image. Enter the DxO ONE digital camera.

DxO ONE Digital Camera with Wi-Fi

Now Mom can leave the heavy rig behind on casual outings, but still have a capable “real” camera at her disposal for quality captures of important moments or chance events. Oh, make sure Mom is using an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector—the DxO ONE will not work with Android phones.

The Pen is Mightier Than the Mouse

OK, here is one you probably weren’t thinking of, and neither was Mom. Is she spending a great deal of time post-processing her photos on the computer? Is she into intricate and creative Photoshop techniques and tricks? Well, a Wacom tablet might be just what she needs to speed her workflow and step up her editing game.

The pen, at least for those of us who didn’t grow up with an electronic rodent under hand, is much more intuitive than the mouse and, once Mom gets used to it, she might ditch the mouse altogether. There is a learning curve for tablets like the Wacom Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet, but ride that curve and you will be rewarded. Check out my article on photographers and Wacom tablets here.

Wacom Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet (Medium)

Are you a mom, or is your mom a photographer? We would love to hear your thoughts on what gifts are great to get! Let us know in the Comments section, below.

7 Comments

I just treated myself to the  Think Tank Photo Lily Deanne Mezzo Premium-Quality Camera Bag (Licorice) and oh my gosh im so glad i did! i bought the Manfrotto bumble bee first, and its just too.... wide, bulky, camera bag looking! the think tank is perfection, im so in love with it. even the box it comes in! i have a Canon 700D T5i i believe you call it, and some extra lenses and hot shoe, and there is still room for my purse! i am keeping an eye out and the moment the other colour or other sizes are on special, im getting them too! just a beautiful stylish bag. i also have a think tank holster that pops down to fir the zoom, which is great on my bike rides. i initially bought the think tank sling back pack, but i have a disc problem and back packs are not for me, so my daughter has it and she loves it.  

Awesome! Thanks for sharing, joanne!

I - as Annie - have the ThinkTank Turnstyle - but the 20.  I love this bag.  I travel the world extensively and I have been using it for more than one year.  I fit not only my full frame DSLR with 28-300 lens attached - but up to two prime lenses, filters in cases and my Olympus OMD5 all inside.  It is easy to configure with the velcro dividers. (If not extra camera - then water bottle and/or small umbrella) - side pockets carry my wallet - cell phone - extra batteries - flashlight - and other small items.  I have only replaced the pull cords with the ring of a keychain to make it stronger as I open an close it multiple times a day.  I hand wash it and dry it in the sun.  The strap adjusts easily - I am 5' 2" - small frame - I often carry this in large cities - without it ever leaving my body for up to 8 hours a day.  It doesn't bother my back, shoulder or neck.  I usually can also carry on the other shoulder my tripod which could balance out the weight to the body - but it really isn't necessary.  There is a velcro wrap on the strap that if not carefully covered will cause snags on clothing - but I have modified that.  As Annie also stated - it can brought around to the front safely and used to change lenses - or gather items without having to put it down.  Fabulous bag!! **Fits perfectly under the seat in front of you on an airplane or in an overhead bin even on the small commuter planes.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Stephanie! And, thanks for reading Explora!

I think some women struggle with camera bags that are heavy (read made of leather)  and/or fit awkwardly on a woman's body (like a backpack that accentuates your chest.)   When traveling, like on an airplane, I carry two bags, one for my camera stuff and a tote for all the other things.  I have a Think Tank Photo Turnstyle sling style bag that can be converted to a waist pack.  The bag comes in differents sizes. I have the 10 which carries my full format DSLR, two lenses and my strap and batteries and stuff.  I wear it on my back and still have my hands free.   I can pull it forward to sit down or get the camera without have to remove it from my body.  Doesn't weigh me down and my shoulder/body never aches from carrying this bag.  

The other thing I own which I'd recommend is a 6ft tripod, that weighs about 2.7 lbs and which cost me $40.  It is small enough it can go anywhere.  It makes using a tripod not such a chore, with the result that I use it more often.  

Great onfo..what would help are specifics  thanks

Thanks for sharing the tips and your experience, Annie!

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