Green Christmas: A Photographer's Wishlist

by - Sunday, December 13, 2015

My friend Jenny is an incredible photographer, artist, and mom, and she has combined her talents and started her own business- Jenny Bickel Photography. She primarily takes pictures of newborns, and her meticulous, thoughtful, and sweet personality really lends itself to that work.

from Jenny Bickel Photography's facebook page- follow her!
Come on! That picture is gorgeous. She also took our belly pictures when we were pregnant, so I can vouch for her talent, but seeing her job from the perspective of a friend instead of a client makes me appreciate just how much gear is needed to do the job well. Starting a small business can be expensive, and we all know good photography equipment is especially pricy, so I think the things she points to would make excellent gifts for her or any baby photographer. When you think about it, buying a cute prop or baby hat for her makes WAY more sense than a normal momma, because she will get multiple uses out of it! I bought my newborn an adorable Christmas hat he wore all of three times? Not very impressive, but give that same hat to her and it could get years of use! So eco-friendly to give Jenny presents!

Jenny sent me links for things she would like for Christmas or that might contribute to her business. She knows what's up, so I didn't add too much of my own thoughts until the end.

1. Photo Props- Jenny likes this vintage wooden bucket on, but it is made in China, so I wondered if we could find something similar that was made here in the US or (even better) was vintage so she could reuse it! Jenny pointed me to this sweet and feminine ice cream maker that might make a perfect prop. The color is great.

 This bucket looks a little fresh for her taste, but it wouldn't be too hard to paint it and then sand a little of that paint off to give it a vintage look. I also really enjoy that they specify not to leave your baby alone in this bucket. I personally LOVE these buckets from the Old Grainery. I think they are pretty and textured just enough, could be dressed up lots of ways, and seem pretty legit (is this a store that only sells grainery stuff?). Not sure it works for Jenny's purposes, but they are cool.

from Mr and Mrs and Co
This driftwood bowl from Mr and Mrs and Co looks beautiful and has that same rustic feel as the bucket, and you can see it really works for newborns and older children.

from amazon

For us amateur photographers (but pro babymakers), there are some really cute photo props by Maple Landmark that will work perfectly for those weekly or monthly pictures you'll be taking. At least, they will work until baby hits 8 or 9 months are realize they would make awesome toys. But before that, lovely and not so heavy handed as some of those tie stickers and the like.

from roseandruffles
2, Backdrops- Jenny pointed me to a number of newborn backdrops good for those lush backgrounds for baby teeniness. First up, Rose and Ruffles. This small online shop sells fabrics and props out of Big Cartel. I can't find for sure where they are made.

from Ababa Baby Props
The one on the bottom is my favorite picture ever. Do you remember the good old days when people put their newborns on felt rafts and put them out in ponds?  When we were young, we let babies sleep on their bellies while out on the morning swims, and they survived (that is false, they didn't). I do not understand how that picture happened, or why anyone would want it to. On the other hand, the Ababa Baby Props felt has really great texture with lots of interest and softness (and buoyancy?), so I can see why Jenny would want it for her pictures. Let's all just hope she isn't going into Newborn Nautical shoots. You can also get felt at the Felt Haus, but their pictures aren't as funny/ horrifying.

Jenny also pointed me to modern rag quilts which look like a mix of background and prop? They are very sweet and pretty though (not to mention pretty affordable compared to some of this stuff), either way.

3. Baby Hats and Accessories- Jenny was also looking for cute accessories and hats for all the fresh bubs that she photographs. She pointed me to these adorable hats from Pooks and Lulu.

from Caramel Crowns
If you want a more regal option, these little lace crowns from Caramel Crowns are super cute. They could make for pretty weird rhetoric about who your baby is, or it could remind you of Max or the Paper Bag Princess (my fave).

Of course there are 1000's of options on Etsy for this. I think the website was founded on a sea of baby hats. I am not complaining; I cannot resist a baby hat. For example this button hat. This tassle is a force if nature (I love it). As is this big poof from Custom Baby Props (see? so many choices- they have their own stores).  Of course, I love anything with ears like this hat from karenisa.

4. Banners- I love a good banner, and I also really like when Jenny works them into her pictures. This rag banner from Modern Rag Quilts that she directed me to is absolutely adorable and I can see it fitting with her photo style so well. I should say, Jenny gave me the most specific directions of anyone I got a Christmas list from, which fits her. She is methodical and precise in her creativity, which makes her awesome at her job. It's good to think about what kind of creative person you are dealing with (I differ from her in that no one has ever described my style as clean or precise in my life), because you want to buy something they love! In other words, I haven't added as many thoughts here, because if Jenny tells me the exact color and style she wants, I tend to just believe her. Girl knows what she wants.

Just to Add

So most of us aren't becoming (professional) baby photographers, so you may not have one on your shopping list this year, but lots of us have cameras! Here are a few gift ideas for the photographer (budding or established) in your life.

Camera Bags- Of course a photographer needs a good bag to carry their gear in, and the pros
probably already have something they love. Then, there is the rest of us. If you are shopping for someone who (like me) uses their camera bag as their regular purse, Etsy has you covered x 1000. So many options you are sure to find in their style.
from Oliday- I love the color of this one!
My favorites are from Oliday- they are clean and not too foofy or masculine or complicated, so anyone can carry it, but they still look chic so it could look nice with everyday wear. And they are relatively affordable compared to a lot of their counterparts (better to buy one awesome bag that lasts two years than a bunch of cheap ones that only last a few months- so much less waste), but they still would probably be a gift from multiple people. Qamay Bags sells similar looking bags out of tougher material, so they are more expensive but might suit your giftee better. Copper River Bags sells camera bags that look like future generations could still be using them, but they are made of leather, which is not everyone's cup of tea. These camera/ laptop purses from Kailochic use vegan leather, so no harm done! '

Want something a little more casual? Janine King Designs has a wide varety of canvas bags, many of which would be perfect. Watermelon Wishes sells a cute, smaller camera bag. Medium Control sells camera bags that look like canvas backpacks.

from martilena

If you want to keep it even simpler, you can buy them a camera insert for the bag they already carry. I like this bright orange one from Martilena, because a dark purse interior is the Devil's playground (seriously, why does it ever happen? Do people love not being able to find their keys?). Chelsea Bags has colorful options as well.

Real professionals use things that are tough and durable like these Domke Bags. Porta Brace also carries a bunch of very hardcore storage, including waterproof pieces. These would make pretty massive Christmas gifts. Kawi Planet sells crossbody bags that are 100% biodegradable, so it might work for the avid hiker or outdoorsy photographer in your life, and it won't crowd a landfill somewhere.

from couch guitar straps

Camera Straps- I love a good camera strap, and anyone who has a camera could use one! My Pick: Couch Guitar Straps sells camera straps made from recycled seatbelts- I love it! They also have a pretty wide variety of styles, including more masculine ones and ones with really pretty embroidery. I also like the thinner design from The Sweet Strap out of North Conway, New Hampshire.

from RSVP Handcrafted
If you are looking for something in leather, RSVP Handcrafted in Virginia has tons of choices with personalization and different colors. All of them look great, and they would last a long, long time. If you want something more minimal, Exsect (out of Marfa, Texas, so you can't get more minimal than that) makes thin leather straps. If you want a vegan but masculine/sporty option, Gently Used Goods makes camera straps out of retired climbing rope! I love stores like these.

from The Vintage Clothespin
For the girly girl, I like these ones that double as scarves from the Vintage Clothespin and Maddie Michael. Bebe K Studio also sells really feminine, but rustic straps.  For an especially sentimental photographer (as if there is any other kind), you could go with these personalized straps from grethelvanepps3. So freaking cool. I also love these ones from the Uncommon Crafter with superheroes on them! I think these straps from Pear Tree Stitching in Ohio are a little more understated and pretty.  You can also find ones made of eco-friendly hemp at Feedback Straps.

Need something more flexible for while you are out shooting? Luma Labs makes a badass sling strap. Perfect for professionals, especially ones who may need to whip out their camera quickly to catch the action (so not newborn photographers).

from Traveler Leather
If you are more excited about a good grip than a strap, J B Camera Designs has tons of beautiful wood options. Traveler Leather makes about the cutest cases ever for small cameras like a goPro.

So only like a million options here. Hope you find a good one for the person you love!

from Giftability
Editing Day Goodies- Did you know photographers spend WAY more time editing pictures than taking them? My dad says a great photographer is really a great editor, and he isn't wrong. I love these editing day mugs from Giftability and the Scribble Studio, which seem like a fun treat for the kind of person who would really appreciate it! ' If you want to gift something for the computer itself, check out these laptop cases from Blackbox Case. They are hipster cool out the wazoo.

Gift Ceritificates for a Photographer- Whether a professional or an amateur, the photographer you love might not spend much time in front of the camera. A perfect gift this time of year might be a gift certificate toward a session for their family. You are supporting a local creative person and helping create a gift they will treasure a long time. If you have any new parents on your list, buying their baby/ family a session with someone like Jenny would make a perfect gift!

Shutter Buddies- Have someone you love with a camera and a baby? One of these shutter buddies look ridiculous, but they might actually be a big help! I cannot vouch for that, but you never know.

Alright, only a few more lists until Christmas! Hope you are all having a happy shopping season, and if you still need inspiration, check out my Big List of Shopping Lists!

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