Stumped by gifts for your photographically inclined BFF or just looking for some inexpensive ways to add to your own creative kit? Here are a few suggestions.
One of my veteran accessory suggestions is one or more Lensbaby adapters and add-on lenses; Lensbabies allow you to create some special effects or play with depth-of-field in a way that's more fun and satisfying for photographers than slapping on a post-processing filter. A new addition to this year's recommended list us Holga's Digital Lens kit, which lets generate Holga's trademark artifact-ridden photos from your high-quality dSLR, but once again in a way that's more fun for photographers than some of the dumber special effects filters.
If you're still shooting on a cramped, slow card, now's a good time to ramp up. If you shoot with a pro dSLR or high-resolution camera that generates really big files, maybe you can get someone to buy you one of SanDisk's really fast, high-capacity Extreme Pro cards. Even if you don't see any performance difference in-camera, the type of speed these cards offer (fast read/write times instead of minimum SD "class" standards, for instance) can make a big difference when uploading the photos to your computer via a card reader. If you don't need the speed, but instead want to add some wireless uploading or geotagging capabilities to your camera, Eye-Fi's line of cards also makes my annual list of accessory recommendations.
Another veteran recommendation I make every year is for a Wacom tablet, which is a great option for anyone who works with images rather than just uploading them as-is to Facebook. This year I'm adding Nomad Brush brushes as a suggestion for use with your favorite tablet. Pressure sensitivity isn't an option yet, but if you work with photos on a tablet, be it in Photoshop Touch or a great painting app like ArtRage, they add a nice dimension to working with photos on a tablet.
Everybody needs a little more stability in their lives, and Joby has always done that with flexibility and style, making it one of my most frequently recommended stocking-stuffer-type gifts. Another ingenious little product to toss in is the Tiltpod, a tiny stand for your point-and-shoot camera.