What NOT to Buy a Photographer This Holiday Season

What NOT to Buy a Photographer This Holiday Season

Dear well-meaning photographer friend or loved one,

Don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t do it. I repeat: do not do it. Don’t purchase that lens mug. Delete it from your cart. We’re begging you. We don’t need another one. We are huge fans of piping hot coffee and tea but really, believe me, we won’t use that lens mug. (We know this because we already have four collecting dust on a shelf somewhere.) 

It’s really sweet that you went through the trouble of finding the exact replica of our trusty 24-105mm lens but that still won’t push us into using it. This might be shocking to hear but… we have actually never wanted to drink out of replica camera gear. When we’re drinking coffee many of us actually don’t even want to think about photography. We’re making a grocery list in our head. We’re thinking about our next vacation. We’re gazing longingly at our neighbor’s adorable dog. We know, it’s crazy to admit that in this hyper-competitive industry we aren’t thinking about photography 24/7, but life is a balance, right? 

It’s time to stop the madness. Save your money. Donate what you would have spent on that lens mug to an environmental organization! There’s already far too much plastic in the world. Or hell, if donations aren’t your thing, give us a lens cloth. We can always use that for our glasses. Just whatever you do, please please please don’t give us that lens coffee mug. 

Thanks for understanding,
Every photographer you know 


All joking aside — and while we encourage everyone to be grateful for all gifts, of course! —  we thought it might be fun to poll the pros about what they don’t want or need more of. Take a look at our round-up of the top 10 gifts photographers would like you to avoid: 

  • Lens lookalike coffee mugs. (By and large, this was the #1 answer for what photographers didn’t want. They break easily. Your photographer already has 10 of these and they don’t want to think about work while taking their coffee break.) 
  • SD cards. They’re not all made equal. And getting a low quality or low-speed card can sometimes mean your camera freezing up on the job.
  • Mainstream or cliche photography books.
  • A cheap/light plastic tripod. “They will only give you a headache and bring you tears,” said one photographer.
  • A “hippie-looking” camera strap. Many photographers told us they aren’t even using a camera strap and if they are, they have very specific preferences. 
  • A G-Tech drive. “Mine failed after just over a year of use and the customer service was awful!” 
  • Off-brand gear. “No Canon gear for me! At this point, I’m so deep into Nikon that it would be counteractive to switch to any of the Canon systems, great as they are.” 
  • The new Mac Pro. “It’s overpriced and not worth it for the individual photographer.”
  • “Anything set on automatic.”
  • Decorative photography gifts. 

If you’re unsure about gifts this holiday season, eliminate anything listed above. And be sure to check out our latest guide, The Photographer’s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide, for more ideas and inspiration. 

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