If you’re getting a bit close to the Christmas wire, and still struggling to think of gifts for the gorgeous and talented photographer in your life, fear not. Most of the time, we can be appeased with offerings of film, whether expensive or cheap – it’s all good.
My personal favourite colour film is the exquisite and jewel-like slide film Velvia 50 – a friend bought me three rolls of it one Christmas, and it was massively appreciated. At over £10 a roll, it’s not cheap, so if you’re looking for the budget option, try the C-41 (standard negative film, can be developed at most places) Fujifilm Superia 400 instead. Saturated colours, and can be used in a wider variety of conditions, as it’s 400 ISO rather than 50. If you’re looking for black and white film, why not start with Ilford XP2 – unlike most black and white film, it can also be developed at a lab – perfect for someone just starting out with monochrome photography.
As for gear, the Billingham Hadley bag is the one most photographers covet, but at £170, you’d have to have been REALLY good in 2016 to get one.
On the other hand, there are plenty of Chinese-made bags that have internal padding, lots of pockets and look much cooler than your standard camera bag. This one is only £25, much more affordable. Camera bag inserts are another option – pop your delicate camera bits in one, then put it in your normal backpack.
Camera straps are another good bet – if you don’t fancy using the boring one your camera came with, or the old one inherited with a second-hand film camera. Loads of choice on Etsy – I’ve bought straps from here before and not been disappointed. Some made with ties, silk scarves, leather – you name it. Just remember to make sure your delivery time is accounted for – a lot of sellers are worldwide.
For education and inspiration, The Photo Book is a good all-round bet. It was published in 1997, so it won’t contain the very latest photographers, but there are countless decades of history to rifle through – I always enjoyed flicking through my copy when I ran out of ideas. It’s nice and small as well – good stocking-filler.
If you have any suggestions for gifts, do share them in the comments below!