Posy Quarterman, the insanely talented photographer who takes most of Laura’s photos (seriously, go check out her family sessions — they’re some of the most amazing ones I’ve seen), pulled together this gift guide for kids interested in photography. I’m basically obsessed with everything on this list, so good luck choosing.
(To make it even tougher to choose…these gifts were chosen based not only on her years of doing photography, but after also teaching kids’ classes on the topic. If we lived closer, I’d sign R and P up in a hot second.)
Seriously Cute Gifts for Kids Who Like Photography
1-4. A CAMERA STRAP THAT SUITS THEIR PERSONALITY: the adventurer, the Mork fan (nanu nanu – similar)), the cat-lover, the kid with an eye for understated style.
5-6. INSTANT LOVE: Fuji Instax Mini and the new Polaroid One Step. When we were kids the instant gratification of the Polaroid camera blew our minds, but these days kids are so used to having immediate access to the photos they’ve taken, waiting for these photos to develop is novel to them — as is having something tangible to hold in their hands. Fill their stocking with film to complete this gift!
7. DIY CAMERA: Konstruktor F is perfect for kids interested in learning, understanding and experiencing how analogue photography works. The Konstruktor F is a fully-functional 35mm camera kids can easily build at home. Don’t forget to pick up some 35mm film (and maybe a gift certificate for developing*) to complete this gift.
8-9. OLD-SCHOOL TOY CAMERAS: Holga (yellow | green | red) & Diana cameras shoot dreamy, color-drenched images on 120 film. These experimental plastic cameras require minimal effort (though I highly recommend buying one at a camera store — like Blue Moon Camera — where they can show you how to load and unload the film).
10. PAPER CAMERA THAT WORKS: Similar to the Konstruktor, this Paper Pinhole Camera Kit is easy to build and shoots 35mm film.
11-15. CAMERA BAGS OF ALL SIZES: Insulated Camera Bag (technically a lunch bag, but the insulation doubles as effective padding for a small camera), the Ruggard Compact DSLR Backpack (padded compartments for a DSLR camera, extra lens, and a laptop, all of which can be removed to covert to a standard backpack), this Hipster Hip Pack is perfect for small cameras and accessories, Instax Mini Case & Strap, and my personal favorite, the Poler Camera Cooler Bag, is a perfectly sized camera bag for a kiddo. It fits DSLR and accessories, and easily converts to an insulated lunchbox or cooler.
16. FUTURE EYES: These rainbow crystal lens monocle accessories make great stocking stuffers for photographers who like to play.
17. ONE SNAP A DAY INSTAX PHOTO JOURNAL: I’m tempted to buy one for myself…
18. USE THIS IF YOU WANT TO TAKE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS: While I haven’t seen this photo journal in person, just the description is making me want to run down to Powell’s and pick up a copy for my kiddo: “Discover a whole new way of seeing the world while honing your photography skills across composition, exposure, lighting, lenses, and observation.
Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs is packed with fun photography prompts and inspiring images by master photographers so you can get creative with your camera. Create your own highly personal photobook by sticking in your pictures with the adhesive corners provided or simply dip in and out when you’re stuck for ideas. Whatever your specific interests — street, studio, still life, landscape, or portrait photography — you’re free to interpret the prompts in any way you want. So pick a page, grab your camera and let your ideas and imagination rule.”
19.DIY SNOW GLOBE (similar): Glitter and instant photos? YES PLEASE!
20. LED LIGHT UP PHOTO CLIPS: Add a touch of sparkle and shine to your photo display (plus the option of easily swapping out images for the evolving photographer).
21. POST-IT-NOTE DISPENSER: Give me all the camera-shaped desk products!
22. INSTAX FILM PRINTER FOR SMARTPHONE PHOTOS: If you’ve got a teen who is constantly snapping photos with their phone, this is the perfect gift for them (maybe combined with those darling LED light clips?)
23. THE BORING BUT EXTREMELY USEFUL GIFT: This all-in-one card reader connects your camera and/or camera card directly to an iPhone or iPad.
24. PRINT THEIR WORK! Show them you think their photos are worthy of publishing. I’ll be making a photo book for my daughter with all the animal photos she took throughout the year (SO. MANY. DOGS). Artifact Uprising offers affordable album options that require little work on your end. Don’t have access to your kiddo’s photos? Put a gift card for prints/products in their stocking!
25. BOOKS BOOKS and more BOOKS! Here are some of my fav recommendations — National Geographic’s detailed (and thoughtfully written) guide to photography for kids, an idea-packed activity books, storybooks detailing the lives of important photographers throughout history (with a nod to social justice in the Gordon Parks book, which I highly recommend), and my personal favorite Seeing Things, A Kids Guide To Looking at Photographs (it’s a gem, I promise!). Wrap up your pile of books in this fun vintage camera wrapping paper, put a bow on top, and pop it under the tree!
Posy’s note: And that’s about it! You may have noticed that I didn’t recommend any “big” cameras on this list. Honestly that is such a huge purchase, with so many options out there, I decided to point you in the direction of good research and recommendations for all varieties of cameras for beginner photographers. First I suggest taking some time on the website of Ken Rockwell, who has done copious amounts of research on every camera out there and gives reliable honest reviews. His “Recommended Cameras” page is helpful and concise when it comes to how to choose a camera. I also recommend Portland parents head down to ProPhoto Supply in NW, and take a look at their used selection — which is a great way to stick to a budget. Digital cameras are updated and upgraded so often, it’s easy to find a barely-used camera at a much better price than shopping new. The employees at ProPhoto are knowledgable and helpful without being pushy.
P.S. Head over to our full page of 2018 holiday gift guides for more seriously cool gift ideas for all your loved ones (or whomever). Our kids’ style blog is full of other activities and toys for your kid, so feel free to check it out!