Finding gifts for nature photographers is hard. Each year, I cringe at the lists that contain some form of a camera bracelet, that infamous travel coffee mug shaped like a lens, or a pair of kitschy camera socks. I know some people may want to receive those items as gifts. To be fair, I’ve been gifted that coffee mug multiple times now, which is the reason I do not need another.
However, my hope with this article is to share a variety of gift options, where the majority show an appreciation for the art of photography as well as support the artist who invested in themselves to deliver a quality product. Here are my favorite items from 2022 (in no particular order) that the nature and landscape photographer in your life will appreciate. Or you, that’s right, treat yourself!
To be clear, I’m not talking about any of the stock calendars you’ll find in mainstream stores. Take a look at some of the photographers who your loved one follows online and then go to those websites and purchase one of their calendars directly. This is by far the best way to support all the photographers who produce annual calendars. I found and ordered these two calendars below because I thought they were particularly special.
Celebration Calendar by Anna Morgan
Anna’s work pairs perfectly with her celebration calendar printed on 100% recycled paper. Also known as a birthday calendar or a perpetual calendar meaning there is no expiration date on this calendar. Her timeless collection of images will be a favorite piece of decor on my wall year after year. I’m excited to have one place with all my special days, like birthdays and anniversaries, noted each month. Learn more about Anna’s calendar here.
Wildlife Calendar by Brooke Bartleson
If the photographer in your life gets giddy when near any animal large or small, then they will love receiving Brooke’s calendar as a present. She is based in Alaska and her Instagram stories often show how much grit it takes to capture these truly incredible wildlife images. Animal-themed holidays marked throughout the year complete this masterpiece. Not only are the photos incredible, but seeing a new animal each month with those special holidays doubles as a great parenting tool to spark conversation and learning about a variety of animals throughout the year.
Whether it is a coffee table book or writings on photography, this is another way to support photographers and artists while giving a thoughtful gift to spark and inspire. Again, go see who they follow or interact with on social media. Find something that relates to your gift recipient. These are a few of the recent books that have made an impact on me. That’s why I feel these are great universal gifts that would bring a smile to any nature photographer.
Rhythm of Nature by Sandra Bartocha
Rhythm of Nature is a wonderful collection of images in a premier-quality coffee table book. The images are both familiar, and at the same time, have an air of mystery. Please do not let the international shipping fee deter you. This is one of my favorite books I’ve added to my collection this year. Sandra’s work is an absolute joy to peruse when I have a quiet moment to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and a glass of wine.
The Interior Landscape by Guy Tal
Guy’s insight and writing captivate many landscape photographers. So much so that his books have become a cornerstone in our landscape world. One of the easiest choices this season is to pre-order Guy’s latest release The Interior Landscape. It begins shipping at the end of 2022. Even if it misses your holiday celebration, I would gladly accept a delayed gift for this collection of 60 brief reflections on art, creativity, expression, and life in photography.
In addition, you can secretly check your friend’s bookshelves. If they do not already own Guy’s previous books, send one or both of those. Guy released Another Day Not Wasted in 2021. It is a compilation of his meditations on photography, art, and wilderness. The first book and what I consider a classic for many nature photographers is his book More Than a Rock. It is on its 2nd edition and filled with personal essays on creativity and expression. This literature trio makes for an excellent gift set for the nature photographer in your life.
Get Intimate by Charlotte Gibb (eBook)
In her book and eBook titled Get Intimate Making a Personal Statement with Intimate Landscapes, Charlotte seamlessly guides you through her thought processes and considerations to curate your photographic voice when capturing intimate and small scenes. From time to time, I make it a point to reread this one. It helps me to recenter when I experience a spell of feeling flustered with the smaller scenes. While the physical book is sold out, it is still available via eBook.
Conversations with Nature by Eric Bennett
Eric poured his heart into this book in both his images and his words. The quality of Conversations with Nature is outstanding and showcases the photographs exquisitely. The book is organized by image collections of forests, deserts, mountains, and canyons. Each section is accompanied by a reflective essay on the sheer brilliance as well as the criticality of these places in our world. Eric is running a Black Friday sale right now so it’s the perfect time to grab your copy.
11 Compositional Lessons by Sarah Marino (eBook)
The secret sauce with Sarah is how much time and effort she puts into her educational material. The title may say 11 lessons, but in reality, it is 130+ well-written pages guiding you through the details of her lessons. The accompanying visual examples deliver another layer of paint in understanding the concepts. As if that wasn’t enough, the case studies are the grand finale to drive home the 11 Compositional Lessons in this eBook. It’s another resource that is a perfect gift no matter where someone is on their photographic journey.
The Photographer’s Portfolio Development Workshop by William Neill
Curating a compelling and meaningful portfolio is just as important of a skill as learning to operate your camera or edit your photographs. William Neill concisely shares his tools and techniques to methodically create a tightly edited portfolio of your images. Whether you want to create a gallery for an exhibition, a book, or simply put your best foot forward with the images on your website, Bill’s book is a wonderful resource to serve as your guide.
I’m not going to recommend post-processing tutorials. I feel editing is best left to the photographer’s choice. Post-processing should fit the aesthetic of how one wants to edit their images. In addition, it should be taught at the right level for the student. What I will recommend are two courses that I feel are quite universal for any photographer in your life. Both of these are complete in the sense that people at any experience level will benefit and they serve as a one-stop-shop on their topic.
Producing Better Prints Course by Sean Bagshaw & Zack Schnepf
There’s something special about physically holding an image you created in your hands. Often, it’s a huge accomplishment because learning to produce a decent print is challenging to say the least. Sean and Zack did a great job tackling much of what you need to know to produce quality prints of your images. This is one of those courses that opens doors you didn’t even know existed for you as a photographer. Sean will be running a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. That means after November 25th is the perfect time to add Producing Better Prints or one of his many other courses to the gift bag.
Let’s Get Organized! in Lightroom by Chrissy Donadi
Yes, it’s my product. However, this is one of those items that people didn’t know they need until they get it. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of learning to efficiently and effectively organize and catalog the multitude of images we create. This is the present that never stops delivering. Viewed another way, it’s the gift of time. No longer will someone or you need to spend minutes or even hours searching for images among the thousands of photographs. If your images are well organized, all that time previously spent searching is given back to you. Send me an email to gift a subscription to Let’s Get Organized. I’m happy to coordinate a gift code.
Gifting someone a subscription is a lovely and thoughtful way to keep them immersed in nature and landscape photography conversations all year long. I feel the majority of photographers enjoy reading photography articles and seeing the work of others. This is so much more inspiring and valuable to growing as an artist than scrolling through social media.
In my opinion, Elements Magazine consistently produces high-quality and thought-provoking photography articles every month. They feature some of the most respected nature photographers from around the world. Each 100+ page issue contains a featured interview highlighting a prominent nature photographer along with articles on various topics. This isn’t available in print so make sure your person is an eReader. I’m not much of an eReader, but this is one where I make the extra effort because I value the content that much.
Nature Photographer’s Network (NPN)
NPN as the locals call it is a platform dedicated to the art and technique of nature photography. It is a welcoming community filled with photographers of various levels in a supportive atmosphere. NPN publishes photography articles, hosts ask me anythings with featured photographers, offers webinars, facilitates image critiques, and curates members-only discount codes on various photography products. Click here and scroll to the bottom to easily gift a membership.
I’m embarrassed to say that I only learned about Brooks Jensen and the LensWork publications in the last couple of years. But in that time, I’ve been impressed by how much is accomplished in his magazine, books, and podcast. In addition, this cracks the windows into various genres of photography.
Membership comes in a variety of options from full online memberships to different printed magazine and book options. Unless you know your person is an online reader, I think the print edition of LensWork (6 bi-monthly editions per year) or the Monographs (3 books per year featuring the curated work from a selected artist or a single theme of work) are the better gift options.
The Monograph that sealed the deal of how special these curated publications showcasing various artists are the most recent Monograph by Jennifer Renwick and David Kingham titled Reverence: Death Valley. Getting a signed copy is the cherry on top, and with this one you get two signatures, so two cherries on top! They still have a few copies left at the link above.
I know this may seem like a copout of a gift, but sometimes this is one of the greatest acts of kindness you can give a photographer. It’s no secret that photography gear is expensive. Moreover, it’s difficult to know what someone will need or want to purchase next. Perhaps this is the best way you can directly support the artists in your life.
The year that each of my family members gave me a B&H gift card afforded me the opportunity to purchase the lens I had on my wishlist. If you still want to accompany your gift card with a small physical gift, then you can always order items like a rocket air blaster, Zeiss Lens Wipes, SD cards, or extra camera batteries for their camera.
Another failsafe option is to give an REI gift card and perhaps pair your purchase with a microfiber cloth or even a new headlamp. I don’t know any photographers who haven’t put an REI gift card to good use. Quality gear is outrageously expensive but worth the investment to keep us warm and dry.
Conclusion on the Best Gifts for Nature Photographers
Are any of these items sponsored? No.
Is this list biased? Sure, I’m not Oprah or Julie Andrews, but these are a few of my favorite things. It’s my perspective of quality items that either deliver a feast of inspiration or that will make measurable impacts on someone’s photographic journey or both! There is no storage of artists in the world. And I know there is so much more yet to be discovered. With that in mind, I would be happy if you left a comment with your ideas on favorite gifts for nature photographers.
🎁 Giveaway! 🎁
Hey – you made it to the end! Congrats! As a token of thanks to my readers and newsletter subscribers, I’m offering a giveaway featuring many of the gifts for nature and landscape photographers mentioned above. If you aren’t getting my monthly emails, join the newsletter and the giveaway here. And if you aren’t into newsletters, it’s easy to unsubscribe after the giveaway ends, but I hope you’ll stay.
I was able to clean some dust bunnies off the sensor of my Leica M. I used the standard size of the Rocket Air.