A Gift Guide for Street Photographers


What do street photographers really need? Give them a streak of sunlight across a bustling intersection, reflections in a store window, contrasting characters walking toward them, and a stealth camera to capture it all, and they’re happy. I can’t think of too many purchasable items that would make or break a street photographer’s ability to create, but there are always certain things to make your workflow smoother, your load lighter, and your photos a little better. Below are a few.

As I mentioned, a stealth camera—lightweight, small-profile, fast autofocus, fixed focal length—is usually important for the street photographer, so if you’re going to give someone a camera, I suggest the FUJIFILM X100F Digital Camera. While part of its appeal is its manageable size and fixed 23mm f/2 lens (35mm equivalent), it also offers a hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder, 91-point autofocus sensor with 49 Phase-Detect points, ISO to 51200, and 8 frames per second of continuous shooting.

FUJIFILM X100F Digital Camera

A little item that can help keep your X100F stable and improve comfort is the Match Technical EP-2F Thumbs Up Grip. It is a simple device that slides into the camera’s hot shoe and provides an ergonomic place to rest your thumb. It certainly can help keep your camera stable if you are shooting with one hand and, while it may look like a film advance lever from an older 35mm camera, its sole purpose is stability and comfort and, toward that end, it offers solid brass construction and silicone rubber insert.

Match Technical EP-2F Thumbs Up Grip

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is an outstanding all-around camera and one that any street photographer would appreciate. It has an upgraded sensor, image processor, and AF system, compared to its predecessor. Olympus makes the dedicated ECG-5 External Grip with shutter and dial control specifically for the Mark III. The ECG-5 enables a more comfortable grip and allows access to the camera’s battery and memory card slots. Any photographer with big hands will certainly appreciate these grips, and compatible grips are available for most cameras.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Mirrorless Digital Camera

If you are the type of gift-giver who lives to impress, you won’t do much better than the Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH lens. Be sure your street photographer uses M-mount cameras before you pull out the credit card, but if so, this lens provides the 35mm focal length that many street shooters regard as the “sweet spot,” a fast f/2 maximum aperture and, of course, the acclaimed Leica optical quality.

Not all street photographers want small cameras, but it’s understandable why most would. However, many small cameras do not provide built-in optical or electronic viewfinders. Fortunately, it is an accessory that is common to all manufacturers. Have a look at this link to find viewfinders that are compatible with your camera if the LCD screen is just not cutting it for your compositional needs.

Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH Lens

Straps are an almost essential accessory when it comes to street photography and, while many shooters keep it simple with a standard neck strap, BlackRapid offers the Sport Breathe Camera Strap, which affords easy and fast access to your camera with its unique cross-body design. It also has an adjustable length up to 65.7" and a 4.0" moisture-wicking shoulder pad. These straps are specifically designed for left or right- handed photographers, so be sure to order the correct one. If your favorite photographer prefers to show off a bit, perhaps a strap from EDDYCAM, such as the Edition 35mm Camera Strap, might to be to their liking. An elegant and very comfortable strap, it is made from wax-coated Scandinavian elk leather with black stainless-steel clips.

BlackRapid Sport Breathe Camera Strap

While one doesn’t normally associate lens filters with street photography, all lenses should be protected from the damage that may occur with the bump and grind of working in streets and subways, and an affordable way to keep your expensive lens safe is a simple UV filter, such as the Hoya 52mm alpha MC UV Filter. Basically, put it on and forget it, but rest easy knowing that when your camera swings forward and knocks against something, your lens will have an extra layer of protection.

Hoya 52mm alpha MC UV Filter

Finally, what may be the perfect gift for the street photographer (or any photographer) is an item from the Philadelphia-based TogTees apparel line. This is a photographer-owned product line that creates t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and other items that incorporate photo-centric logos and sayings. My favorite is the simple gray T-shirt with an image of a “classic” camera, but this company's ball hats and even pins are all perfect gifts for the holidays or any time.

TogTees Classic T-Shirt
TogTees Classic T-Shirt

This is obviously a short list and there is no set of items that are only for street photographers, but if you can suggest a piece of gear that improves your street photography, please share it with us in the Comments section, below.


In the second paragraph, "fixed focal distance" should be "fixed focal length."


Thanks Eric for catching that! We have made the correction.