Whether you’re shopping for a photography novice, budding pro or someone in-between, a camera always makes a great gift. Unlike so many other things, a camera is the gift that truly keeps giving—giving people a means to explore their creativity, express themselves and capture life moments, big and small. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, holiday, wedding or graduation, you don’t have to be a tech genius to pick the perfect gift. We’ll look at eight typical photography personalities and levels, and help you choose the right camera for the shutterbug in your life.
For casual clickers
For many, photography is reserved for special occasions like birthday parties, reunions or holidays. If that sounds like you, or the person you’re shopping for, stick to the basics and select an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera. Don’t worry about megapixels, since they’ll mostly view photos on a computer or occasionally make small prints.
For kids & teenagers
Give kids a chance to document their glory days. Disposable cameras are a good start for little ones, but a point-and-shoot camera with image stabilization will help teens take better shots. While they’re getting the hang of things, a waterproof camera will also give you peace of mind—and give rise to some fun photo ops.
For the action adventurer
Adventurous sport athletes need a camera that is durable and resistant to situations that involve snow and water. Whether she’s an avid surfer, snowboarder or just loves mountain biking—an action camera will get her heart racing even more than those adrenaline-fueled adventures. These cameras are easy to mount on helmets or boards and will make the adventurer in your life excited to share all her daredevil feats with you.
For the social (media) butterfly
Whether he’s famous for scrapbooking or just loves all things retro, instant film cameras will make him feel like he’s making an artistic special memory with every snap. Instant film cameras are great for weddings, parties and sharing with friends and family. Pick up extra packs of film to ensure that everyone can head home with a hard copy of a sweet memory.
For the hobbyist
Know someone who likes to dabble with snapshots or street photography? She’ll probably love most any digital camera, but a point-and-shoot or low-end digital SLR camera that records HD video will give her more to tinker with.
For the college student
Your high-school graduate will have plenty of new life experiences to document. A mid-range point-and-shoot camera he can store in his backpack or pocket while walking around campus will do nicely. Also consider models with built-in wireless, which encourages frequent photo sharing with family members back home, especially handy since many colleges offer free Wi-Fi across campus.
For the serious traveler
She’s racked up more airline miles than the rest of your family combined and always has a slideshow of photos to show off at family dinners. The traveler in your life needs a small, high-power, inconspicuous camera that can shoot luscious landscapes and low-light portraits while not weighing her bags down at the airport. Get her a powerful mirrorless camera with DSLR features in a smaller, lightweight body and you might soon see her shots on the cover of NatGeo.
For the photo buff
Every family has someone with a magic touch—that person who makes taking good pictures look so easy! Reward his special talents with a top-notch digital SLR, complete with HD 1080p video recording capabilities so he can also try his hand at being the next Steven Spielberg. Digital SLRs are perfect for the aspiring pro, giving him more manual control and the option to add on interchangeable lenses.