What exactly is it with Dads and photography? Whether they’re a sleep-deprived father to a newborn baby or a middle-aged retiree armed with a massive zoom lens, dads of all kinds just seem to love strapping on a camera and taking pictures. And these days, the ubiquity of smartphones with high-quality cameras makes it easier than ever to document any and every moment — from their child’s first steps to freeze-frame soccer game action shots to literally everything that happened during last year’s family vacation.
Whatever the reason for it, we think this fatherly impulse to capture and share life’s moments should be nurtured and encouraged. At every step of a photograph’s lifespan — from the spark of creative inspiration and the gear required to capture an image to the ways we store, organize and print our photos — there are countless opportunities to level up the photo game of the dads in our lives. With Father’s Day coming up, this is the perfect time to take stock of some of the best photography-related gift ideas out there.
An Instant Film Camera
The speed and convenience of digital photography is one of life’s true blessings — especially for dads with young, fast-moving subjects — but there’s still something to be said for slowing down and snapping photos a bit more selectively. For many, analog film photography is the perfect antidote to our hyper-digital existence and an instant camera is an easy, fun way to dabble in this old-school creative format.
Not only can you still buy a classic Polaroid 600, but newer entrants into the instant camera market like Fujifilm’s Instax Square SQ6 and Lomography’s Diana and Lomo’Instant series are instant cameras that offer all the fun and creative spontaneity of analog photography in an affordable gadget that fits in your pocket.
The best part? While last year’s vacation photos languish on their smartphone camera roll, they’ll have a physical, printed reminder of every moment they capture with one of these retro-style cameras.
A Life-Proof, Durable Photo Gear Bag (And Protective Filters)
Fatherhood can be a rough-and-tumble experience — especially with younger kids around. That doesn’t mean we can’t document it with some nice photography gear. For the more serious, DSLR-wielding photographer types, a durable, high-quality gear bag is a worthwhile investment.
Peak Design makes a whole range of photography-friendly bags in an array of styles, while also selling a whole slew of bag accessories and camera gear like tripods, straps, and lens kits. Other respected brands like Lowepro, Billingham, and Mindshift make some of the best, well-reviewed camera gear bags on the market. Depending on their personal style and the breadth of their camera gear arsenal — do they own a lot of big fancy lenses or keep things more minimal? — there’s a well-designed, life-proof camera bag for every Dad out there.
While you’re at it, pick up a set of protective lens filters for their camera lenses and add them to their new gear bag. One can never have too many of these round, screw-on filters, which at just a few bucks a pop, are far cheaper to replace than a $600 telephoto lens should they ever drop or bump their camera into something. Just make sure they’re the right size for whatever camera lenses they own. They’ll thank you later.
FOTO Personalized Camera Strap
Almost by definition, the photography-focused dads in your life have a creative, self-expressive streak. But why limit that to what comes out of the camera? Custom, personalized camera straps like the ones offered by FOTO are a fun way to inject some personality and expressive flair into their photo-taking experience. These genuine leather camera straps come in a variety of designs and can be inscribed with a name or short message of your choice.
Extra Storage Space (And Easy Image Transfer)
For better or worse, our cameras and smartphones are creating an infinite sea of images as we snap away. That’s a great thing for creativity and our desire to capture the moments that matter, but it can get a bit unwieldy over time. That’s why a good, high-capacity external hard drive — Seagate’s Backup Plus drives are a popular choice — always makes an excellent gift for any photographer. Even if they already own a hard drive for photo storage, a second (or even third) one will eventually come in handy — or they can use it to create a backup of a hard drive they’ve already filled up. You can never be too safe.
Speaking of digital photo overflow, you can help them tame their burgeoning smartphone camera roll with a mobile-friendly thumb drive like SanDisk’s Ultra Dual Drive USB-C for Android or the iXpand Flash Drive Go for iPhone. These handy little gadgets let them easily get photos off of their smartphone and onto a laptop or another device for safekeeping, sharing, or eventually being printed out.
GorillaPod Flexible Tripod
When it comes to taking remarkable photographs, one of the most underrated factors is the angle and positioning of the camera. Often, a creative or unexpected angle — say, shooting something from very low and close to the ground, or from a high-up corner of the room — can quite literally give us a whole new perspective.
One easy way to play around with photography angles and perspectives is by using a flexible tripod like Joby’s popular GorillaPod. These fun, bendable contraptions can be wrapped around different objects and surfaces so the photographer can mount their DSLR, mirrorless camera, or smartphone just about anywhere. As you might imagine, the creative possibilities are limitless.
A Fracture Gift Card For Stunning Glass Prints
There are lots of ways to print photos, but none are quite as eye-catching as turning them into Fracture glass prints. These unique, frameless photo prints let anyone display their images in vivid color, printed directly on glass. Whether they’re familiar with Fracture or new to the brand, they’re guaranteed to appreciate the finished product when it shows up on their door in sustainably-designed packaging, ready to hang on the wall. Fracture gift cards are available in any dollar amount, so don’t be shy about splurging for the true shutterbugs in your life. They won’t be disappointed.
Need more gift-giving inspiration? Check out Photography Gift Ideas That Will Level Up Anyone’s Photos.