Skip to main content

Father's Day gifts: 12 photography gift ideas for camera-mad dads

Father's Day gifts: 12 photography gift ideas for camera-mad dads

Coming up with Father's Day gift ideas is always a tricky task. After all, there's only so many old DVD boxsets and bottles of booze you can give before your presents start to feel a bit predictable. So what are you going to do this year's Father's Day on Sunday 21 June?

Luckily, if your dad happens to be a photographer, he will likely be afflicted with the condition known as GAS: gear acquisition syndrome. This means that he will love anything to do with cameras – so we've come up with the best photography gifts to make your life a bit easier.

Whether you're shopping for a digital dad, an analog dad, a DSLR dad or a phone snapper dad, we're confident that at least a couple of these 10 gift ideas will be right up his alley!

(Image credit: Lomography)

01. Lomography Konstruktor Flash DIY SLR Camera

It doesn't get much more unusual than a DIY film camera

Inexpensive camera
Tons of DIY fun
Bare bones features
Room for user error during construction

For just under $40, your dad can build his own camera with this upgraded version of the Konstruktor. It even comes with a PC socket for flash photography, though you’ll need the hot shoe adaptor in the optional accessory kit (another £17). However, we found there were a lot of plastic panels, parts, screws and springs to put together so this is one that will reward those with a degree of patience as well as constructing dexterity. 

Unsurprisingly, like the camera body itself, the lens here is plastic and has a focal length of 50mm and an aperture of f/10. We enjoyed using the waist level viewfinder and the through-the-lens viewing that comes courtesy of the spring loaded mirror level. Very Heath Robinson it may be, but it’s not without charm if your dad doesn't mind putting the initial work in.

02. Polaroid OneStep 2: Stranger Things Edition

Time to turn dad's world Upside Down

Ultra-cool edition of an ultra-cool camera 
Ideal appetizer for Stranger Things 3
Don't forget to buy the right film
Can develop an expensive film habit

If you're looking to flash a little more cash and you think your pop would enjoy an camera that he doesn't have to build himself, this is the coolest one you can buy right now. A limited edition version of the Polaroid OneStep 2 i-Type instant camera, this has a retro colorway and branding to match the hit Stranger Things Netflix series – making this an extra timely present if your dad is a fan of the supernatural show. 

Don't forget to pick up some film, as well – if you want prints that are as cool as the camera, grab a pack of Color i-Type Film Stranger Things Edition (8 shots per pack) with unique designs and logos inspired by the show. 

03. Magnum Photos: Field Notebook

The perfect place to jot down some Martin Parragraphs

A taste of Magnum Photos greatness
Genuinely useful
Doesn't grant Magnum membership
Don't forget to get a pen, too

Magnum Photos is widely considered the industry’s gold standard. The legendary agency, whose co-founders include Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, is arguably the most prestigious in the world. For the vast majority of photographers, though, no amount of from-the-hip street images or 4am golden hour shoots are going to be enough to receive a membership invitation.

You can still give your dad a taste of the high life, though, with this embossed Magnum field notebook. It's perfect to stick in the sleeve of a camera bag and jot down shoot plans, settings and setups – along with all the important stuff that dads need to scribble down in a hurry when they're on the phone. 

04. X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2

Make sure Father's Day is colorful – and accurate

Every photographer needs one
includes calibration software
Dad will probably leave it somewhere
Pricier than regular color targets

There are few things more infuriating than getting home after a long day of shooting, loading all the photos onto the computer and then finding out that the color temperature of the shots is all over the place. If you've ever walked past your dad's office while he's editing and heard some salty language being muttered, there's a good chance this is the reason.

Help him out by picking up the new ColorChecker Passport, which doesn't just help ensure that your colors are properly calibrated – it has handy (and accurate) grey and white cards as well. Trust us; long after dad's favorite bottle of whisky is empty, he'll still be thanking you for this gift.

05. Umiko 3D iPhone Camera Design Case

Make an iPhone feel a bit more "camera-y" for taking photos

Creates an actual shutter button 
Funky iPhone case
Comes with a "camera" strap
You KNOW dad will try to adjust the lens

If your dad is anything like ours, when he uses his smartphone to take a photo, there's a pregnant pause when he tries to figure out how to hold it, forgetfully puts it up to his eye, then takes a pic and scoffs that "It's not like a real camera, is it?" While it won't magically turn his phone into an SLR, the Umiko 3D Camera case will at least make it look and feel a bit more like something he's used to.

This iPhone case even comes with a lanyard that mimics a camera strap, should your dad be the sort that loses his handset all the time. Probably won't stop him trying to keep turning the ring on the artificial lens, though. 

(Image credit: Mixbook)

07. A sentimental photo book

Help your dad relive his happiest memories

Super sentimental
Easy to put together
Great quality

There's nothing better than sitting down and going through old photos together, but with so many of us still stuck in lockdown, this might not be possible for you and your dad at the moment. However, you can still celebrate memories together with a photo book. Whether you're reproducing old childhood photos, collating shots from a recent trip together, or simply putting his favorite images of his grandkids in one place, a photo book is a great way to keep your dad feeling connected. Printing a photo book might initially seem like a daunting task, but it's actually easier than you might think – check out our photo book creation guide here.

• Read more: Best photo books

(Image credit: Lensbaby)

08. Lensbaby 50mm Spark Selective Focus lens

This affordable Lensbaby is super easy to use

Affordable
Fun and unusual effect
Plastic build

This is one of the most affordable Lensbaby special effects lenses, and it's great fun to play with. This lens creates a selective focus effect that you can control through squeezing and tilting the lens to move the 'sweet spot' of focus around your potential image. It might take a little practice to finetune the effect, but it's easy to pick up. The plastic build might feel a little cheap to some, but this super light lens is virtually unbreakable. The Lensbaby Spark is mostly marketed as a portrait lens, but it can add an extra bit of flavor to any genre of photography.

09. How to Photograph Absolutely Everything by Tom Ang

A book that every shooter will get something out of

Available in paper or hardback
Hardback edition is updated
A highly regarded photography book
Really does help you shoot anything
Empty list

There are some fantastic photography books out there (and more than a fair share of stinkers, too), but unless it happens to be written by your dad's favorite photographer it can be hard to pick one that you know he'll like. Fortunately, one of the best books around is the fantastic How to Photograph Absolutely Everything by Tom Ang – simply put, if you enjoy using a camera, you'll enjoy reading this book. 

A highly respected photographer and educator (or "sharer" as he prefers to put it), Ang has an effortless way of explaining things and his book really does show you how to photograph virtually everything. A great one for the bookshelf, and something dad will be sure to read cover to cover.

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

10. Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System

Take your portraits to the next level with these wacky filters

Lots of creative possibilities
Highly adjustable
Two separate lens thread sizes

Sometimes one of the best ways to experiment with your photography gear isn't about what's behind your lens, but rather what's in front of it. The Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System is designed to add a splash of color to your images through this unusual set-up. All you need to do is screw one of the filter rings onto your lens and then use one of the magnetic Effects Wands to help distort the light as it enters the lens. This is actually pretty similar to the common DIY hack of holding transparent sweet wrappers over the end of your lens to cast a colorful hue. However, this filter system helps make the creative process as easy as possible. 

11. Lastolite HaloCompact collapsible reflector

A reflector that folds down to the size of a hot dog

Folds MUCH smaller than other reflectors
Has a 1/4-inch screw mount
Reflection and diffusion options
Pricier than most (but not the priciest)

A reflector is something that just about every photographer should have in their bag. However, because they can be so bulky even when folded down, the choice is often to either take a bigger camera bag or leave the reflector behind. That's no longer an issue, though, with the Lastolite HaloCompact – a reflector that doesn't just fold down, but completely collapses to take up about as much space as a hot dog. 

The HaloCompact comes out of its bag as a series of connected rods that spring together, on top of which you can clip either a reflector or a diffusion cover (see video above). Et voila! You now have a fully structured reflector that only takes up a fraction of the space, meaning you can finally put one in a small kit bag. 

(Image credit: SanDisk)

12. SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB-C

Easily transport files with this useful device

Super compact
Rapid transfer

If your dad is anything like ours, his phone will be stuffed with pictures of kids, grandkids and perhaps the latest tomatoes sprouting at his allotment. Save him from his next moment of panic when his storage runs out with this handy little device. 

Designed for next-generation devices with the new USB Type-C port, you can now quickly and easily free up space on your smartphone with the SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB-C. It can transfer files between devices at USB 3.1 high speeds of up to 150MB/s. The SanDisk Memory Zone app for Android is then available to help your dad manage his device's memory and content.

Need more inspiration? 

The 50 best photography and camera accessories in 2019
The best portable hard drives for photographers in 2019
The best camera backpacks in 2019: carry camera gear, laptops and more
The best photography books for beginners and pros in 2019