Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Photographer

Today I’ve got a guest post from Joe Ramirez, the man behind the camera for some of our best shots of Oaxaca and the Guelaguetza. I asked Joe to give me a list of items any photo person traveling needs to have in his photo-tool kit.

If you’re a photographer, think of this as a guide from experience. If you’re not, use this list as your Christmas buying guide to get something special for that photographer in your life.

Take it away Joe!

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Dave asked me to put together a short list of photo gear that everyone photographer should have when they travel. This isn’t about what camera or lens you should bring on your next trip to Mexico, Tahiti or even New York.

As a photographer, if you travel locally or internationally, you already have the cameras, gear and equipment that you swear by.  And I know you won’t leave home without all of those personal favorites.   

My list is something I have compiled from 25 years of photography and travel.

It’s from lessons learned, many times the hard way, along the way.  Think of this as more of a practical list. One that I hope will help you be better prepared the next time you take to the friendly skies.

So here it is. My 5 Essential Photo Gizmos I won’t travel without…from small to big.

Gaffers Tape… You’ll use it for hundreds of different applications, and not just photography related. It’s strong, cheap and indispensable. Most camera stores have gaffers tape and you can get it in different sizes to suit your needs. In a pinch, you could use duct tape but trust me, make the extra effort to get the gaffers tape. Just remember, put the tape in your checked luggage or risk losing it at security.

A Belkin Mini Power Strip with surge protector, light socket adapter and the famous orange 3 to 2 plug.


Power Bundle… This is my collection of “power gadgets” that I keep together for when I’m traveling. Here’s what it includes:

  • A mini power strip with several power and usb outlets. Many of the places I have been to have very few outlets. With this you can take 2 outlets and make it 4 or 5, and still charge your usb devices without monopolizing an entire outlet. The mini power strip is gold. You can find them in different sizes and configurations online. 
  • Several 3 to 2 prong power adapters for your equipment that use 3 prong plugs. This is especially true if you travel internationally, because many places still only have two prong outlets. They are inexpensive and good to have. Buy these at your local hardware store or when in country, go to the local market and get them there. 
  • An adapter that screws into a light socket, this will give you 2 extra outlets. Again, when power outlets are few, this can help. 
  • Lastly, an international power converter/transformer when you are in countries that use a power current different than where you came from.

***This is where the gaffers tape comes in handy! There have been times when I had to tape power-strips and plugs to the wall or create a “leash or strap” to hang my power cords. Sometimes you have to be creative to power and charge all your gear.

Platypod tripod plate with ball head… This is the newest addition to my list. A great tool for places you may go that do not allow or charge for traditional tripods, like Chichen Itza (they wanted to charge me $700 US dollars!).  Plus, it’s small enough to put in your everyday camera bag yet beefy enough to support a full size dSLR camera. Pick your favorite ballhead to use with the Platypod. 

Timbuk2 Messenger Bag with Tenba BYOB insert… The Tenba BYOB inserts fit into the Timbuk2 bags. Depending on the size of the insert, you can carry 1 or 2 lenses and the camera with lens attached, the Platypod, water, snacks and a light jacket for the afternoon rain shower. Most importantly, your combo won’t SCREAM I have expensive camera equipment. It’s perfect when you are wandering around shooting. I use the Classic Messenger paired with the BYOB 10.

My favorite. The Pelican Air 1535.

Pelican Air 1535 roller hard case… I used to use the ThinkTank International roller but a hard case has some advantages. In some airports, finding a seat can be difficult. With the Pelican, you never have problems finding a place to sit. The 2nd and most important reason is that it protects your camera gear. Who doesn’t want that? 

As a bonus, it will hold lots of gear and some essential clothing, in case your check-in bag gets lost. Worth the investment! 

There you have it!  A few holiday gift suggestions to help make sure you or your favorite photographer have some incredible and more enjoyable photo journeys in 2019. 

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