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Best Gifts For Portrait Photographers

In this photography buying guide we delve into ideas to help you choose the best gifts for portrait photographers, with options to suit virtually any budget. Discover recommendations for desirable photography accessories and lighting equipment which suit different styles of portraiture, and even the best lenses, any of which would make an excellent present.

Additionally, we share inspirational links and video tutorials to encourage photographers who are interested in learning this popular genre. Whether you're searching for a Christmas gift, birthday present for a friend who loves photography, or a thoughtful token of appreciation, this guide has you covered, with perfect gift ideas for the portrait photographer in your life.

Best gifts for portrait photographers (on any budget)

Quick links

Different types of portrait photography

Portrait taken with Nikon lens

When choosing the ideal gift it’s worth considering the recipient's preference in portrait photography. For example, studio portrait photographers may desire different gifts compared to street photographers. Being mindful of their style of photography ensures a thoughtful and well-received present.

If you’re unsure of their preferences, a photography store gift voucher is a quick and versatile solution, enabling your recipient to choose whatever they like. Keep an eye out for our special offers too, which provide the opportunity to snag excellent deals across a wide range of photography gear.

Back to understanding the various types of portraits to help us get an idea for what they might like:

  • Traditional Portraits are studio-based, using controlled lighting and backdrops.
  • Lifestyle Portraits capture natural moments outside the studio, like a family in a flower-filled field.
  • Environmental Portraits integrate the subject with their surroundings, like a chef in their kitchen.
  • Candid, documentary, and street portraits are unposed, capturing authentic moments.
  • Glamour and boudoir photography stages portraits to highlight beauty, often featuring lingerie or nudity.

Each style caters to different preferences, offering a diverse range of portrait options for photographers and their subjects.

Studio portrait taken by Hannah Couzens

Studio Portrait courtesy of Hannah Couzens

Best buys under £50 for portrait photographers

Gifts in this price range make perfect Christmas stocking fillers or generous presents for birthdays and special occasions. Options range from photo frames and albums to flash and camera accessories, catering to a variety of preferences.

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Photo frames
From classic 6x4 to large poster sizes, a photo or picture frame is an excellent gift for anyone, including a portrait photographer who may want to display their own work. We’ve got frames in different materials such as wood, glass and silver, which come in single and multi-aperture options. Three different sized firm favourites include:
From £5
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Photography gift voucher
Let your recipient choose something they really want with a gift voucher starting from just £10. This versatile and very welcome option lets them put the voucher towards something they need to help elevate their craft.
From £10
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Expoimaging Rogue FlashBender V3 LARGE Reflector
Light modifiers are an excellent option for photographers who shoot with virtually any flashgun.
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ZEISS Lens Cleaning Kit
ZEISS doesn’t just make lenses, and this cleaning kit features in all of our best of buying guides as it includes everything your photographer needs to keep those lenses spill and span!
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Manfrotto Reflector 75cm Silver/White
A collapsible light reflector achieves lots of light modification with very little effort and almost any type of portrait photographer will benefit from having one in their kit bag.
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SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SD Card
This high-capacity SD memory card from leading brand SanDisk is a must-have for portrait photographers. The card provides ample capacity for capturing amazing shots, but it's essential to check if the recipient's camera supports SD cards.
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Spare camera battery
If you do know the recipients camera model you can pick them up a spare battery, which is a true blessing for photographers working in any field. Most batteries cost around £50-£70, making them a practical and much-needed gift, albeit slightly over budget.
From £25
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Happy portrait!

What every portrait photographer would love for under £200

With a healthy budget of up to £200 you can buy a wonderful gift that will be both practical and desirable for portraiture. Remember to select ideas tailored to the specific type of portraits your recipient captures.

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Camera flash
While professional flash units can be pricey, there are great options under £200 for every camera brand, providing very welcome lighting gifts for portrait photographers. Make sure that you verify the photographer's camera model and opt for a compatible brand.
From £35
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Studio backgrounds
A studio background or paper roll makes a great addition for any studio photographer. Perhaps you could replenish their stock of everyday papers like the Colorama Paper Background 2.72m X 11m Arctic White LL CO165, or go for something more unique such as the EzyFrame Vintage Background Cover 2 X 2.3m.
From £20
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Lighting stand
Another useful idea for either studio or location photographers is a light stand that supports modifiers and other studio equipment. While these can be tricky to choose, if they shoot on-location you can’t go wrong with a Manfrotto 5001B Nano Photo Stand, and for studios you could opt for the Manfrotto 1004BAC Photo Master Stand.
From £30
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Photo printer
Why not give a gift that keeps on giving with an A4 photo printer they can use for printing and proofing, such as the Epson Expression Photo XP-8700 A4 Printer. This particular model utilises inks which last up to 300 years in a photo album, as well as doubling as a scanner and copier!
From £50
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Digital photo frame
Whether for their own pleasure, or to draw in new photography clients, a digital photo frame is a brilliant way to show off anyone’s portfolio. Our favourite larger model is the Aura Carver 10.1-Inch Digital Photo Frame Sea Salt, which comes in nicely under budget at £149.
From £150
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Gifts over £200 budget

If you have a budget exceeding £200, this category offers exciting possibilities for any fortunate photographer. Depending on their preferred style of shooting, one of these gifts could become a cherished tool used throughout their entire portrait-making journey.

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Rotolight AEOS 2 Explorer Kit
This is Rotolight’s more powerful LED lighting kit, which is at home in the studio as it is on location. Along with full control over brightness and colour, the photographer can create award winning special effects to take their photo and video work to new heights.
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Wacom Cintiq Pro 16
A drawing and touch tablet from our range of graphics tablets offers an improved and far more natural editing workflow, which will come as a revelation for newcomers to editing with a tablet.
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Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Printer
Perhaps the ultimate larger format photo printer, offering a range of media options and an advanced 12-ink system for beautiful, colour accurate prints that serves as a client printer for photographers who sell their images.
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Best lenses for portrait photography

We think that the ultimate gift for a portrait photographer is a new appropriate lens for the style of portraits they love to make. Lenses are the best way to expand a photography passion, thanks to the ability to enjoy composing images with a new focal width. When buying a lens as a present (lucky recipient) we recommend thinking about which type of portrait they most enjoy making. Of course there is an overlap between styles, so for the best all round lens choose a telephoto zoom or standard 50mm lens. Zooms will allow most flexibility and prime (fixed length) lenses are typically the best quality. A final consideration is the brighter the aperture, the better for isolating the subject. This means more expensive and heavier lenses are typically the brightest, for example an f/1.2 or f/1.4 is bright whereas an f/4 is not quite as bright. The models listed here range from £100 to £3000.

Wide angle lenses are best for:

  • Environmental portraits
  • Street portraits
  • Documentary / candid portraits

Standard prime lenses are best for:

  • Street portraits
  • Classic portraits in the studio
  • Documentary / candid portraits
  • General portraits

Telephoto lenses are best for

  • Classic portraits
  • Lifestyle portraits

Below is a table with links to some of the best lenses for portraits from various focal lengths and for all of the major camera brands, including excellent third party lens manufacturers.

Lens brand

Wide Angle

Standard prime


Canon DSLR (EF)

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM

Canon mirrorless (RF)

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 macro

Canon RF 50mm lens f/1.2 L USM

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Sony E

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens

Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS


FUJINON XF 27mm f/2.8

Fujifilm XF 35mm f1.4

Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS


Leica Summilux TL 35mm F/1.4 ASPH Lens 

Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm

 Leica APO-Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm

Nikon DSLR (F)

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G

Nikon mirrorless (Z)

Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S

Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8

Panasonic Lumix (full frame)

Panasonic S Pro 24-70mm f2.8 L-Mount

Panasonic Lumix 50mm F/1.4 S Pro L mount

Panasonic Lumix S 85mm


Sigma 35mm Art lens Canon EF mount

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens L Mount

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Sony E


Zeiss Touit 32mm F/1.8 Planar T* Lens Sony E

Zeiss Milvus 50mm F/1.4 Distagon T* ZE Canon EF

Zeiss Batis 85mm lens in Sony E-mount

The very pinnacle of portrait lenses from each brand. We recently added a new post which may be of interest here; why use a 35mm lens.

Much like car manufacturers camera and lens companies produce extremely low run lenses which are designed to demonstrate their technical expertise. These handful of exquisite lenses are the very pinnacle of technology available to the lucky few.

Video tutorials and portrait tips

Just for learning fun here are a couple of portrait photography tips videos from our very own Gareth Evans.

35mm vs 85mm Lenses. Which one is best for portraits?

Shooting Portraits with a Telephoto Lens (70 200mm)

Further reading and inspiration

For advice on any gifts for the photographer in your life please do contact our helpful staff and they will be able to work with you within your budget to find the perfect gift.

This is part of a series of buying guides with ideas for the best gifts for nature and bird photographers and best equipment buys for working from home as well as our buying guide with Photography Gifts For The Whole Family to suit a range of budgets and the latest edition: Ultimate Best Buys For Street Photography.

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By Nick Dautlich on 06/12/2023

Trade in your old equipment

Fast and easy trade in service ensures your old gear is collected efficiently and you are paid quickly! It's very simple to trade in your unwanted photography gear. Just head over to our dedicated Sell or Part Exchange page, fill out the details, and we'll get back to you with an offer for your old gear. Take the cash, or put it towards the cost of your new gear. It's up to you! Find out more