5 Gifts for the Photographer

We haven't crunched the numbers or anything, but we're pretty sure that photography is one of the most expensive jobs or hobbies to sustain. Just think about it. An aspiring photographer is going to spend close to a grand just to acquire all the basic equipment to get started. Then down the road when he or she is ready to upgrade, well, we just don't really like to think about how much that'll cost. Let's just say us photographers do it for the love of it and believe that everything else is worth it.

But lucky for you, you're just buying the photographer in your life a gift, and that definitely does not mean you have to promise away your first-born child to do so. Here are five presents that your shutterbug will love -- and that you'll love giving to them.

See also: 5 Gifts for the Book Lover

A vintage camera

Photographers love learning about and hopefully getting all of the latest equipment and photo technology, but sometimes, as Matthew McConaughey will confirm from the plush leather seat of his Lincoln, you have to go back to move forward. Plus, film photography is making a huge resurgence locally and nationally. Maybe your photographer never got the chance to learn film photography or maybe they haven't touched it since their high school darkroom days, but either way giving them a vintage camera could spark something new in them. And the best part is antique cameras are not as expensive as you'd think. You can find some nice, fully functioning vintage cameras around town for under $100. Poke around in Qcumberz, Antiques on Camelback, or some of the other antique shops in the Melrose District, along Seventh Avenue between Indian School and Camelback roads, and we're sure you'll find something.

A photography class from Phoenix Center for the Arts

Okay, maybe we got ahead of ourselves a bit. For all we know, you could be looking for a gift for someone who has just dabbled in photography and is looking to learn more. Well, Phoenix Center for the Arts, 202 North Third Street, has a variety of photography courses to help your photog get their feet wet in the art or take it to the next level. Their six-week beginning digital photography course is $134 and requires no experience, though it does require students to have their own camera. PCA offers other classes for various skill levels and focuses, like alternative processing and portrait photography, for more experienced photographers. Registration is open now at phoenixcenterforthearts.org. Plus, who doesn't like a gift that stretches out for weeks?

Arizona Highways Photography Guide

Don't know if you've noticed lately, but Arizona is gorgeous. And the holidays just happen to be smack in the middle of the Valley's outdoor season. So what better way to inspire your photographer to get out there and document our beautiful desert than with the stunning photography and instruction of Arizona Highways, who produce arguably some of the best landscape pictures of our state. Plus, have you ever seen the Grand Canyon in the winter with the walls of the canyon speckled with snow drifts? Even if you have, give your photographer this guide, let the creative juices start flowing, and then take them on a little road trip up North. We promise it will be worth it. The paperback guide is $24.95 at Changing Hands.

Gift certificate to Tempe Camera

Like we mentioned earlier, photography can be a big financial commitment. Thankfully, we have Tempe Camera, where you can rent equipment to give it a test run before you and your wallet dive in. With their giant selection of rentable equipment, your photographer can decide if they'd prefer to get a 100mm for super macro shots or a 50mm for a little more versatility. Or maybe they just want to set up a little home studio and play around with lighting and backdrops for a day. Give a gift certificate to Tempe Camera, 606 West University Drive, and the possibilities are (almost) endless.

Hand-painted camera strap from Infinity by Boschma

We're not going to lie to you. Being behind the camera is definitely not as glamorous as being on the other end of the lens. And the more equipment you acquire and have to carry around, the more you start resembling a pack mule or some creature that just crawled out of the photographic dump. So we photographers have to find whatever ways we can to keep ourselves and our gear stylish. A hand-painted camera strap from Infinity by Boschma is a perfect way to add a little pizzaz to your paparazzo. The geometric patterns come in teal, pink, or black, and each strap is $18 plus shipping and handling an can be purchased through her Etsy account.

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