Tis' the Season to think about and agonize over the perfect gift(s) for your favorite shutterbug. To help you make wise and affordable decisions I have decided to compile a list of items that every photographer (amateur or pro) shouldn't be without.
Gary Fong Inverted Frosted Cloud Diffusion Lightsphere - Universal Mount - $49.95 B&H Photo http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/526348-REG/Gary_Fong_LSU_CLOUD_Lightsphere_Universal_Inverted.html By now you've probably seen photographers running around with one of these large plastic "cup" looking things on their speedlight (the technical name for a "Flash" or "Strobe") and wondered, "What is that thing?" It's the most brilliant idea for plastic and cameras in the history of plastic and cameras; it's a "dome diffusion" device that takes the normally harsh and specular (a term for light that creates hard - sharp shadows) light from your speedlight/flash and turns it into soft, glorious light for portraits or in other situations where you want to throw a bunch of light at a subject or subjects without creating a bunch of bright highlights or shadows. I love the Gary Fong Lightsphere and this frosted inverted model is the best yet in my opinion.
Pelican 1200 Case with Foam - Black - $41.49 B&H Photo http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/40631-REG/Pelican_1200_000_110_1200_Case_with_Foam.html You just can't go wrong with a Pelican Case! The 1200 series models are small and lightweight but feature the O-ring water protection/air tight protection of the larger cases. Perfect for storing light meters or telephoto lens reflex sights or remote shutter systems - or as you can see in the photo above - all three! I use Pelican Cases to protect all of my gear and they've never let me down... never broken... never failed to cradle and insulate my gear.
Ruggard Commando 36 DSLR Shoulder Bag - $34.95 B&H Photo http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/981165-REG/ruggard_psb_136b_commando_36_dslr_shoulder.html "For quick discrete interventions" - Sorry - any chance I get to quote Jean Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg - I can't resist... Having options for any type of situation as an avid enthusiast or pro is always a best policy. I always know what I'm going to need before a shoot. I plan ahead. If I'm doing a straight-forward shoot that only requires one lens I'll grab a small, compact, lightweight camera bag for the job. I have a Ruggard Commando for the occasion. I can fit two bodies (main and backup) batteries, a speedlight and a single lens - or two lenses if I'm not using the speedlight - in this bag. Add memory cards and a bulb blower and I'm good to go! If I don't have to carry a big case with several lenses - I don't. And as the name suggests, Ruggard is sturdy, well-made and yet affordable gear.