What camera and photo gifts to buy for Christmas for the photographer in your family | Nashville Family Headshot Photography

It’s the season of giving!  The question of what to buy for those special people in your life is floating around in your brain. Do you have a photography buff on your list? Or are YOU the one taking all the photos? Maybe you can add some of these items to your Santa wish list this year!


CAMERAS For the newbie: WHAT TO BUY

I recommend used camera gear for a budding photographer, be it teens or adults.  Photographers are ALWAYS trading in their gear for the next best thing, which offers you a great opportunity to purchase their gently used equipment at great prices!  Retailers offer camera bodies and lenses that have been inspected and are guaranteed to work. It’s low risk with big reward! They rate each camera, so you can find one in great condition.  I buy used gear from the following vendors:

But what to buy? In the world of DSLRs, there are cropped sensor and full frame cameras. A cropped sensor is a smaller camera that produces smaller photos. It’s a beginner DSLR, if you will. I started my business with one of these cameras,  so it works just fine for the new photographer.  Canon has the EOS line (Rebel, and the 50D series cameras) and Nikon has the DX series. A few less features (that you don’t need as a new photographer) and a good price point. I’m a Canon girl, so I’d say this is a great place to start.  Expect to pay 200-400 for a used cropped sensor body in great condition.

Want a little more muscle, and a camera that does better in low light? Maybe you are looking for an upgrade? The full frame cameras are the more recent DSLR cameras for professionals. Canon has the D series (5D Mark 3 or 5D Mark 4 are excellent) and Nikon has the FX series, with bodies like the D750 and D780.  The basics of the camera are similar, but they handle a little better in low light, and have extra features.  No built in flash on these cameras – you’ll need a hot shoe flash for these!  Expect to pay $700 or more for the Canon bodies and a little more for the Nikon bodies.

The newest camera technology is the mirrorless camera. It has recently replaced the DSLR, with a different shutter system.  DSLRs are being phased out by manufacturers, so if you want the latest and greatest tech, grab a first generation mirrorless camera if you want the best value with a used camera.  The first generation R6 from Canon is selling used for around $1500 currently. Nikon’s first generation mirrorless camera is the Z6 which sells for a similar price.




Most of the people that I meet want to create great photos of their families, their kids, their dogs, and they want the subject in focus and the background blurred (that’s called bokeh.)  This can be achieved with an inexpensive lens (cost is around $125) commonly referred to as the Nifty Fifty.  The 50mm 1.8 lens is a beginner prime lens that allows you to lower the focus to separate your subject from the background.  Again, that first season I took photos of my clients with this exact lens!  It is a must for anyone wanting great portraits.  Here’s a link to the lens at amazon for the beginner DSLR cameras mentioned above:  Canon version  Nikon version    There are different versions of this lens for the bigger cameras.  Feel free to message me for help with a purchase!

Are you interested in photographing sports? If you have young kids and can get close to the field, there are lenses you can purchase that can do the job. If you have older athletes, you know you can’t get as close.  For those shots, I recommended renting a lens from Lensrentals, which conveniently has a dropoff/pickup location in Brentwood. Other rental companies ship to your door as well.


Camera bags (Etsy has some cool ones!), custom camera straps, lens wipes, classes (Here’s a list of the 8 best online beginner photography classes for 2022,) or a gift certificate for 1:1 or group classes with me!  I teach my SNAP workshop to groups and also offer 1:1 classes for teens and up to learn how to use your camera, and to answer all of your questions to help you capture all the family memories.

EDUCATION:  This is the first book I used to hone my photography skills, and I still recommend it to new photographers:  Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson


Moms (and often Dads, too) LOVE photos of their kids and families. Here are a few gifts you can buy to win the “best gift award” for this year!

  1. GIFT CARD/GIFT CERTIFICATE for a family photo session:  I love when husbands message me and ask for a gift certificate to present to their wife because they know “she LOVES family photos!” I even wrap your gift and have it ready to put under the tree.  Gift cards can be purchased in increments of $50 and $100 and never expire or we can create a custom gift certificate for whatever type of session you’d like!  Last minute e-gift certificates can be a life saver!custom linen photo album
  2. A CUSTOM PHOTO ALBUM: I offer beautiful custom albums with your recent or multiple session images and these are a favorite keepsake for many years to come!  We can create the album quickly and have it to your door in 3-5 days! You can also use a service like Chatbooks to print albums from your phone images.  I’ve created many chatbook albums of our family vacations and love to look back at them again and again.
  3. A PHOTO CALENDAR: Use your favorite or recent photos to create a beautiful 12 month wall calendar from Minted or Shutterfly.  My parents look forward to this gift each year and enjoy it all year long. I create a wall calendar using cell phone and professional photos mixed together, highlighting the year or special celebrations during the month they are featured in.canvas wall art
  4. PRINTS!  Do you know that this decade has the most photos ever taken but the fewest photos printed? Let’s change that by printing your photos!  Whether they are your professional photos, family vacation favorites, or quick phone pictures that capture your every day life, help your kids have their memories when they grow up by printing your photos!  My favorite companies are Unitprints and MPIX.  Chatbooks allows you to print right from your phone into cute monthly books that mail straight to your door (the best idea ever!) and there are even companies online that give you 100 free 4×6 prints! Snapfish gives you 100 free 4×6 print credits EACH month!   Or really make their day and order wall art of their favorite family or kid photos!


There are so many one of a kind gifts that are the perfect way to show your love.  Here are a few I’ve received or have gifted:

Camera Lens Coffee Mug from Etsy

Personalized Memory Film Keychain Etsy

Notecards, framed prints, a subscription to Adobe for editing software…the options are endless!  Need more ideas or help with any of the above? I’m glad to help! Message me!

What gift would you like to receive this Christmas?

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