Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Gifts for Photographers of 2021

We tested a variety of eclectic gifts for photographers to determine the best, most unique, and most functional products for the photographer in your life
From fun to practical, we'll help you find the best gifts for the phot...
Credit: Miya Tsudome
By Miya Tsudome ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 17, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
Our gear testers researched over 100 of the best gifts for photographers from quirky to practical and purchased 9 top options to evaluate side-by-side to help you find the perfect one. From practical gifts like camera bags or battery packs to fun novelties like mugs or books, we've got something for beginners or experts alike. We tested each product ourselves and assessed each gift's versatility, practicality, and value. Whether you're looking for something fun and quirky or something useful, we have plenty of options in our lineup to help you decide on the best gifts for the photographer in your life.


Best Overall Gift for Photographers

Anker PowerCore 20100mAh

Style: High Capacity Power Bank | Best For: All Photographers
High-capacity power bank
Can be used to charge a camera, phone, other small devices

When you are racking your brain for the perfect gift for a photographer in your life, the Anker PowerCore 20100 mAh power bank might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Even so, it's undeniably the most all-around useful product we stumbled across. When you're in a crunch and really need a recharge on your batteries, the 20100 mAh capacity of this slender and transportable power bank can be a lifesaver. Every photographer dreads being out shooting and seeing that low battery warning flashing at them. If the Anker PowerCore is included in your camera bag, you can head out on any shoot relaxed, knowing that you're covered.

Other than a somewhat weighty feel, we could find little to complain about for this product — especially considering the very sensible price tag. However, that extra weight and bulk makes this charger sturdy and durable, and is it capable of charging an iPhone seven times, as well as capable of charging any device that utilizes a USB port charger. Our testers shoot with a Sony mirrorless camera, which is notorious for eating up batteries, and they don't leave the house without the Anker in tow. This battery bank is hands down our first choice for a gift for a photographer.

The Anker PowerCore may not look like much, but it packs a punch and...
The Anker PowerCore may not look like much, but it packs a punch and is invaluable for any photographer.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


Best Bang for Your Buck

Camera Lens Mug

Style: Travel Coffee Mug | Best For: All Photographers
Fun novelty gift
Functional travel coffee mug
Stated 13.44 oz capacity but actually only holds around 8-10 oz
Not dishwasher safe

The Camera Lens Mug puts the fun in functional. This affordable gift for photographers has a great unique idea behind it — making a perfect replica of a Canon lens into a food-safe, stainless steel travel coffee mug. It's likely to put a smile on the face of any photographer that opens it; its playful and individual design is also a practical daily tool that is sure to be a conversation starter.

Our gear testers could only get the mug to hold between 8 to 10 ounces, despite it being advertised to hold 13.44 ounces. This was somewhat disappointing, as is the fact that it isn't dishwasher safe. Regardless, these small inconveniences don't take away from the fact that it is an awesome novelty gift for any photographer at a value price.

Don't confuse it with your real lens. This coffee mug is a...
Don't confuse it with your real lens. This coffee mug is a convincing and fun replica.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


Best Everyday Camera Carrying Case

Peak Design Everyday Sling 3L

Style: Camera Bag | Best For: Intermediate to Professional Photographers
High-quality materials, weatherproof external fabric
Desirable brand for photographers
Can be worn as a sling or hip pack

The Peak Design Everyday Sling 3L is an adjustable camera bag with a handy internal divider and small pockets for accessories. It's designed to carry a camera and one to two lenses; our testers could easily fit a large mirrorless camera with one lens already attached, along with two small prime lenses, into the nicely padded interior. With a capacity of 3 liters, this sling makes a great everyday carrying case. You can also purchase their larger 6 lite model, which makes for a more serious bag. Its sling is designed to be carried as a cross-shoulder bag but can also be adjusted to be worn around the hips. Two external carry straps allow handy accessories like a tripod to be attached to the outside. Peak Design is a highly-regarded brand known for making high-quality camera accessories, and this attractive sling is sure to make the photographer in your life very happy.

Peak Design products come at a high cost, and the Everyday Sling is no different. But this valuable item is practical and attractive and is sure to be loved by intermediate and pro photographers alike.

This handy sling can hold a large camera and one to two lenses in...
This handy sling can hold a large camera and one to two lenses in its roomy and padded interior.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


Best Gift for Smartphone Photographers

Xenvo Pro Lens Kit

Style: Smartphone Camera Lens | Best For: Phone Photographers
High quality
Two lenses in one
Carrying case with accessories
Great value
Large add-on for a phone, not very practical
Only compatible with smartphones with up to two camera lenses

The Xenvo Pro Lens Kit clip-on wide-angle and macro lens for your smartphone is a versatile and high-quality product, making a great gift for the person in your life who wants to up their Instagram game. With two lenses in one, a wide-angle and macro, you simply attach a clip, fix it in front of your smartphone's camera lens, and instantly shoot more dynamic, high-quality photos. The wide-angle lens captures 45% more with every photo, making it great for landscapes, travel photography, interior photography, and selfies where you want to capture the great view behind you too. The macro lens performs remarkably well, capturing close-up images with great sharpness and detail with impressive bokeh (blurred background) to boot. Because the lenses screw together, you'll never forget one at home, and the convenient lanyard and carrying case keep all the accessories in a convenient package. With a clip-on LED light for better photos without harsh flash and a microfiber cloth for keeping your lenses clean, this gift is an incredible value for the price.

While there are so many pros to this phone accessory, there are also some cons worth noting. The lens attachment is quite large, and while the clip fits securely, especially over our tester's thin rubber case, it is not something you would want to keep on your phone. However, the makers seem to have thought of this with the included lanyard making it easy enough to take the lens clip on and off for when you'd like to shoot. It is also noticeably hard to focus with the macro lens, and it takes a little trial and error to get what you want in focus by moving the camera closer and further away from your subject. The biggest con with this lens accessory is that it is not compatible with smartphones with more than two camera lenses, such as the latest iPhone models. Maybe the manufacturer will update this in the future, but make sure you know what kind of phone your gift receiver has before purchasing.

Quite a big lens attachment, but it truly delivers with great...
Quite a big lens attachment, but it truly delivers with great quality shots.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


Best Mini Tripod for Photographers and Videographers

Manfrotto PIXI Mini

Style: Mini Tripod | Best For: Amateur to Intermediate Photographers and Videographers
Compact tripod
Stylish Italian design
Legs fold to make an ergonomic grip for stable video shooting
Not for larger/heavier cameras
No height adjustment

The Manfrotto PIXI Mini is a sleek and stylish Italian-designed tripod, small enough to tuck away in your bag without adding much extra weight. It is a useful tool for photographers and videographers alike. With simple legs that fold out and have rubberized bottoms, this compact tripod keeps your camera stable on any flat surface, allowing you to get great still shots or video footage. The legs also fold up to create an ergonomic grip for smoother video shooting, a feature our gear testers appreciated.

The biggest downside to this mini tripod is that it can only handle a max payload of 2.2 pounds and is, therefore, a better gift for photographers who have more compact cameras. Our larger, full-frame Sony A7rii with a large 16-35mm lens weighed down the little tripod too much, threatening to tip forward. But our compact Sony A6000 with its kit lens was the perfect fit. Being compact, it also has no height adjustment. But its small size and light weight make it the perfect sleek accessory to throw into your camera bag to be there when you need it.

This handy little tripod stows away great and is well-made to boot.
This handy little tripod stows away great and is well-made to boot.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


A Great Practical Budget Gift

LensPen NLP-1

Style: Lens Cleaner | Best For: Intermediate to Professional Photographers
A must-have for any serious photographer
Not the most exciting gift

At some point or another, anyone growing more serious about photography is going to need something like a LensPen NLP-1. Essentially a glass cleaning device, this handy little pen comes with a carbon-infused cleaning tip to effectively absorb oil and smudges. On the other side, it features a retractable brush for cleaning off dust and other light debris. It is paramount to keep your camera lenses squeaky clean to ensure the best image quality possible, and the LensPen is the tool for the job.

Our reviewers could not find any real downsides to this practical, low-cost gift, other than it might not be the most exciting gift to receive. A good idea would be to pair it with another accessory to make the photographer in your life very happy.

This handy cleaning pen may not be the most glamorous gift but it is...
This handy cleaning pen may not be the most glamorous gift but it is an essential part of any serious photographer's kit.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


A Great Gift for Creative Inspiration

Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs: A Photo Journal

Style: Book | Best For: Beginner to Intermediate Photographers
Inspiring and interactive book
Photos and quotes from photography masters
More for beginner photographers

If you're looking for a gift to help inspire creativity, look no further than "Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs: A Photo Journal". Every artist gets a creative block now and then, and this book uses unique prompts as well as inspiration from great photographers to get the juices flowing again. The book encourages you to print out your photos and paste them directly to the pages so you can create a personal photo book to look back on. The author breaks down famous photographs by great artists and helps the reader understand how composition, lighting, color, or lack thereof, can tell a story.

This is a great gift for photographers who are at a beginner or intermediate level and are looking to learn more about what makes a great photograph and who could use a little inspiration to help them take great photos of their own. It wouldn't be our top choice for a gift for a more seasoned photographer who likely already knows their own photographic style and what inspires them. But if you know someone who has recently picked up a camera and needs some direction, this is an excellent gift choice to help them get inspired.

A great book to spark creativity.
A great book to spark creativity.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


A Stylish, Lightweight Camera Cover

Matador Camera Base Layer

Style: Camera Cover | Best For: Beginner to Intermediate Photographers
Down-padded technical shell provides ultralight protection
Integrated attached rainfly
Simple and stylish
Does not fully protect a camera
Matador updated the Base Layer since our review was published. Where it used to include a protective rainfly, now the entire body of the bag is constructed from waterproof 420D nylon. There is also an expandable bottom to make it practical for a wider variety of camera shapes. We're linking to the updated Base Layer, but our assessment below is in reference to the older model we tested.
June 2021

The Matador Camera Base Layer is an innovative, lightweight cover that is basically a puffy jacket for your camera. With this straightforward design, you simply pull the synthetic down cover over your camera and roll and clip the buckle shut. There's space for your camera straps so that you can carry your camera around your neck. There is even a waterproof rainfly attachment that will also help keep your camera protected from the elements.

This base layer is not designed to be a camera case, however, and has no extra pockets for batteries or other accessories. It can only fit a camera with one lens and has no straps itself. Our reviewers were disappointed that the opening for the straps is so large that the sides of our camera are actually exposed and left unprotected. It is also awkward and difficult to put this case on unless your camera is hanging from around your neck. Its simplicity is beneficial for hobbyists who know they don't need any extra gear for the day but would like the assurance of a little extra protection that is stylish and functional. This base layer is also a little on the pricey side but can be a thoughtful gift for the design-conscious hobby photographer.

Like a puffy jacket for your camera.
Like a puffy jacket for your camera.
Credit: Miya Tsudome


A Fun, Quirky Gift for Any Photographer

Ilford XP2

Style: Disposable Camera | Best For: All Photographers
Great for events, parties, and creativity
Single-use gift
Takes better photos outdoors than indoors

The Ilford XP2 disposable camera is a fun gift for any photographer. In a world of glossy, colorful digital photos, the black and white film camera is an ode to photography's historical past and is sure to be enjoyed by any photographer. Having a single-use camera that only shoots black and white encourages you to think out of the box of rapid-fire digital photography and get creative. This is a great gift for events or parties and ensures you have fun, tangible photo memories when you get them developed.

Being single-use means that its practicality and versatility are low, but this gift makes up for it with its uniqueness. There is no way to adjust settings for better exposure, and this camera seems to work better in the bright light of the outdoors and produces flatter, less punchy images if shot in the low light of the indoors. Besides these factors, this inexpensive gift is fun and quirky and will inspire creativity in anyone who uses it.

A simple but fun gift for any photographer.
A simple but fun gift for any photographer.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

Why You Should Trust Us

Miya Tsudome, the main reviewer on this project, is a professional photographer who has been taking photos for over a decade. They say that the best gift you can give is one you'd like to receive yourself, and Miya made sure that this review covered gifts that actual photographers like herself would love to receive. Miya knows what it's like to be a hobby photographer to a more serious professional, and the gifts in this review are sure to reflect this spectrum, ensuring you'll find something great for the photographer in your life.

We spent over a week with these gifts, using them with our own camera gear, testing them with everything from small point-and-shoot cameras to large, mirrorless ones, and making sure that they each were worthy enough to be given away for birthdays and holidays with a range of prices to fit your individual budget.

The Manfrotto PIXI Mini is a sleek and stylish tool that is...
This clip-on lens expands the photographic capabilities of your...
A protective camera bag is a great gift for any photographer.

Analysis and Test Results

Finding the perfect gift for someone can be challenging. And because there are so many types of photographers these days, from film to phone to digital, there are hundreds of gifts to choose from. The photographers who crafted this review made sure to include various gifts for the amateur, hobbyist, or professional photographer in your life.

Each gift was rated according to a series of metrics designed to help you choose the best gift for your needs. Practicality, fun, versatility, and value were all considered in each review. Below you will find in-depth descriptions of each metric, and which products come out on top in each category. We hope that this will help you narrow down the best gift for your photographer.


It's nice to give a gift that you know someone will use, and one thing we know is that most photographers love practical gifts that will help their craft. While some of the products in our lineup are just for fun, some of them will help enhance a photographer's life. We measured each gift's practicality by determining how invaluable each product could become in the hands of a photographer and judging how useful they each were in everyday life.

The Anker PowerCore power bank tops the list in practicality. With 20100 mAh of power capacity, it can recharge any mirrorless or DSLR camera in those desperate moments when you forgot to charge your batteries beforehand. Photographers tend to rely on many electronic devices, and this power bank can recharge most small devices like your phone (up to 7 times), iPad, or anything else that has a USB to micro USB connection. When asked which gift our testers would most like to receive, this one came out on top for its sheer usefulness.

The Anker PowerCore was able to charge our Sony A6000 with much to...
The Anker PowerCore was able to charge our Sony A6000 with much to spare.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

Among our other top-rated useful gifts is the LensPen NLP-1 and the Peak Design Everyday Sling. Every serious photographer needs an effective cleaning device to keep their expensive lenses in mint shape. The LensPen is a great stocking stuffer or small gift that will be sure to be received gratefully. The Peak Design Everyday Sling can be used just as advertised — for everyday use when you only need a lens or two in a stylish and convenient design with interior pockets for accessories and the ability to wear it as a sling or around your hips.

The roomy interior of the Peak Design sling has a convenient divider...
The roomy interior of the Peak Design sling has a convenient divider to separate lenses from your camera.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

The Camera Lens Mug is practical in its own way, being a fun and functional travel mug for warm beverages, but it is not a gift that will technically help a photographer with their craft. The Ilford disposable camera and the "Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs" book are gifts that go in the "creative inspiration" category rather than the practical one. Lastly, our reviewers were disappointed in the Matador Camera Base Layer, hoping that it would be a great, lightweight, practical camera cover but found it more difficult to use than expected and did not appreciate that it exposed the sides of our expensive camera to potential nicks and dings.


"Fun" is a relative metric, but we thought we'd include it in our analysis because some gifts should be just that: fun. And while it's nice to receive a practical gift, it's also nice to receive something unexpected and unique.

The Camera Lens Mug takes the cake in this category and is certain to bring a smile to any photographer's face. It is an extremely convincing replica of a real Canon camera lens, complete with moving focus switches on the side. Everyone needs a new travel coffee mug from time to time, and this gift will be a conversation piece everywhere it goes.

Complete with a "lens cap," this coffee mug is a guaranteed fun gift.
Complete with a "lens cap," this coffee mug is a guaranteed fun gift.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

Also high on the fun list is the Ilford black and white disposable camera. Some will have forgotten what it is like to take a photo and not see it instantly, and this retro find will inspire creativity and create keepsakes. The crafty "Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs" is also a unique gift, with its interesting prompts to boost creativity.

Say "Cheeeeese."
The prompts and inspiration in this book are fun and...

What is fun is sometimes not the most practical, and this metric category is basically the opposite of our "practical" one above. The Anker PowerCore is a highly useful battery recharging block, but won't have your gift receiver laughing with surprised delight. The LensPen is low down on the fun list, as it would be hard to describe a lens cleaning pen as anything more than practical.


We measured each gift's versatility by seeing how many uses they provided and whether or not they were a good gift for any photographer — no matter what type of equipment they already have.

The Anker PowerCore again tops the charts being not only a very practical gift but also a very versatile one. Because it can charge multiple devices and has such a large power capacity, this invaluable tool will meet any photographer's needs. The LensPen is another practical yet versatile tool, because it will clean the lens on any camera, film or digital or otherwise (as long as it's glass).

Using the LensPen to clean up smudges on a lens.
Using the LensPen to clean up smudges on a lens.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

While the quirky gifts of the Ilford disposable camera and the "Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs" book might not strike you as versatile at first, because they are creative inspiration tools, they can be given to any photographer and help inspire a little out-of-the-box thinking. Our reviewers were very impressed by the quality of the Xenvo smartphone camera lenses. They found this gift to be very versatile as it can fit over most smartphones with up to two camera lenses with an easy clip. Since many smartphones are coming out with more and more built-in camera lenses themselves, we could hope to see an update with this product to reflect this change.

The wide angle and macro lens screw together so you always have both...
An example shot using the Xenvo wide-angle lens which can easily...
An example shot using the Xenvo macro lens. It is a bit tricky to...

While we would hope that the Manfrotto PIXI Mini tripod would be more versatile since it is a mini tripod, it cannot bear the weight of larger, professional cameras very well and is more so suited for smaller point-and-shoots. That being said, it is a versatile tool for photographers and videographers alike, with its ergonomic handle for smooth video footage and small travel size that will fit easily into most everyday bags. The Camera Lens Mug and Matador Camera Base Layer were a little lower on our versatility list, with the camera case having no strap of its own, no pockets for accessories, and holding only one camera with one lens at a time. The camera lens mug simply being a fun travel coffee mug and little more (we guess you could use it as a pencil-holder if you wanted to, though).


It's nice to know that when you buy a gift for someone, that you get something that has a high value for money spent. In this analysis, we break down which gifts have a high value to price ratio.

The Xenvo smartphone camera lens kit is a complete package including a wide-angle lens, a macro lens, a mini clip-on LED light, a lanyard, and microfiber cloth, all in a convenient carrying case. Our testers were impressed by the quality of the lenses that both create beautiful, sharp imagery with no vignetting or distortion from the wide-angle, and creamy bokeh and great detail from the macro. The clip-on LED light has three brightness settings that allow you to light up your subject without the jarring flash of your smartphone's built-in camera. This complete package is an incredible bang for your buck, and if you know someone who uses their phone camera a lot, this gift will be sure to get anyone excited.

So many accessories come with the Xenvo which all fit into a...
So many accessories come with the Xenvo which all fit into a convenient protective carrying case.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

The Anker PowerCore again proves it's the best in the bunch because of its sheer usefulness and versatility making it such a good value gift. The LensPen is another one that can't be beaten because it is such a practical tool that can be bought for such an affordable price and will be appreciated by any serious photographer.

The Anker is slim enough to take with you wherever your camera goes.
The Anker is slim enough to take with you wherever your camera goes.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

The Matador Camera Base Layer falls short yet again, and this time is too expensive for what it delivers. For a very basic, synthetic down layer that pulls over a camera and does not have its own carrying strap, we would expect a lower price point. And while it does have a stowed rain cover, which can be very useful, this layer does not make up for the fact that this base layer is just subpar overall.


While gifts for photographers come in all shapes and sizes, we hope you are able to find one in our diverse round-up of some of the top gifts on the market. From camera bags to lens cleaners, there are many things to choose from out there. The photographer in your life is bound to be pleased with their thoughtful gift.

We hope this review helps you find the best gift for the...
We hope this review helps you find the best gift for the photographer in your life.
Credit: Miya Tsudome

Miya Tsudome