Gift Guide: Gifts for the Photographer

Meghan Ralston, Columbus Alive

These are some of the most inexpensive - yet also the most useful - gifts you'll ever give. I'll start with the free ones: Snapseed and Camera Awesome. They're made for iOS and Android, and help you do quick edits on your phone, including brightness, saturation, contrast and more.

As for the paid apps, I suggest NightCap (only available for iOS) for nighttime photo nerds. It lets you take photos in low light conditions by allowing the camera's "shutter" to stay open longer. And for the big-time photog on your list, I highly suggest an app called The Photographer's Ephemeris, which can give photographers the precise time and direction of dawn, sunrise, sunset and dusk in any place on the globe at any time they specify. Does your photographer stalk locations for days to see what the light looks like before each photo shoot? Not anymore.

Rechargeable Batteries and Charger, approx. $30

I know you've heard it from me before, but really, rechargeable batteries are almost worth their weight in gold to shutterbugs. They're an expense that never quits;no matter how many you have, you always need more to replace the ones that go bad over time. It may not be a glamorous gift, but it's a damn good practical one. If you want, you can even spring for a charger as part of the gift. I suggest 15-minute chargers, just because it cuts down the charge time to almost nothing.

Reflector -Promaster SystemPro Reflectadisc 22-inch 5-in-1 set,approx.. $40

Does your photog like to take photos without flash? This is a great tool for them. It'll let them reflect, diffuse or block natural light sources. It's lightweight and works in more tough lighting situations than you can shake a stick at. Plus, you get to watch them figure out how to fold it back up, and that's worth the cost alone. (I may or may not do this to our reporters.)

Midwest Photo Exchange,

3313 N. High St.,Clintonville

Gary Fong Collapsible Dome, approx. $60

This is a gift for a photographer who's just starting to work with flash. The Gary Fong dome fits on top of their flash unit and redirects the harsh light that comes out into the done, where it bounces 360 degrees, giving the entire affected area a softer lighted look. It's great for photographing events, portraits and can even be used when doing larger set-ups once they get further into their craft.

Midwest Photo Exchange,

3313 N. High St.,Clintonville

Joe McNally books: "Hot Shoe Diaries," $30 and "Sketching Light," $33

Joe McNally is a flash guru. If the man played a flute, I would half expect flashes to start floating out of baskets like snakes would for their charmer. These are a must-read for any photographers new to flash. His books are great not only because the visuals will give your photographer inspiration, but because he teaches the basics of flash and then how to really expand their skill-set to make the light their own. I own both books and re-read them occasionally to remind myself what can be done with flash.