Heading off to college is a stressful and fluid time. In truth, I don’t think anyone really knows what to expect. Buy cheap shelves, some sheets, some posters, and hope for the best. But, if you’re looking for a gift for your fav photographer heading off to college it can be difficult to cull down what is important enough to take up space in the very limited reality of a college dorm. My first roommate brought a full-sized grandfather clock that rang on the hour, every hour. (Yes. That got very old, very fast.)
What does a photographer require to prepare for the step of going off to college? More to the point, what are the best off to college gifts for photographers? Here are our top picks!
1. SOONSUN 3-in-1 Aluminum Telescoping Selfie Stick (Overall Winner)
Regardless if you are using a camera or a phone, a tripod is an essential tool for a photographer. This telescoping, transforming 3-in-1 monopod, tripod, and selfie stick gives any photographer plenty of options.
The range of selfie sticks is varied, but this ingenious little contraption ensures stable photos in any situation. With magnetic tripod legs that reduce down to a handheld monopod/selfie stick, and able to extend from 8.5 inches to 28 inches, this multifunctional tool is portable and powerful. It comes with a phone grip and ¼ screw adapter.
2. InstantFlex TL70 2.0
If your photographer prefers digital cameras but still enjoys the aesthetic of vintage, feast your eyes on this incredible, retro InstantFlex TLR. Before DSLRs there were TLRs (twin lens reflex).
Pretty much all photographers love vintage cameras, and sooner or later we all end up with a shelf full of them. The InstaFlex combines the vintage look with modern tech in an undeniably cool presentation, making it one of the coolest off to college gifts for photographers. Remember to pick up some film with it!
3. Criacr Selfie Ring Light
We all enjoy a good selfie, but lighting is essential and often overlooked. This ring light/lens delivers! It illuminates the subject’s eyes, with notoriously awesome catchlights, while diffusing the spread of light around the face instead of slamming the center with a blast of unforgiving, unnatural light from an iPhone flash. Speaking of which, the Criacr ring light offers three modes to balance light.
The tiny rig also comes with two additional lenses for phones, wide-angle and macro. With this compact set, any phone can deliver near studio lighting conditions. So, if your college photog is a selfie-taking addict this ring light and lens set are exactly what they need.
4. KiiPix Smartphone Picture Printer
I’ll be honest, this product intrigues me so much I might grab one myself, proving it’s not just one of the best off to college gifts for photographers, but for everyone!
We’re all used to the fun and ingenuity of the classic Polaroid camera and the newest generation, Fuji instax, of instant photo printing. Polaroid film offers a very unique style of photography. Most likely, the picture is going to be high contrast, low detail, and slightly unreliable colors.
To solve that problem, and work with modern technology, there are a number of portable mini printers able to sync with a smartphone and deliver a more crafted product within the Polaroid genre. But this little doohickey is one of a kind!
Relying on old-school tech, this wireless, battery-less, Bluetooth-less printer allows the photographer to create a photo on their phone and print to instax film using classic darkroom techniques – exposure to light. It is also able to fold flat, making it undeniably compact and portable.
5. LiyuanQ USB Photo Clip String Lights
Most likely your off-to-college photog is addicted to either Pinterest or Instagram, or both. These photo clip string lights guarantee the perfect selfie background while creating a personal museum of memories.
Printing photos is one thing; displaying photos is another. These remote-controlled fairy lights are designed to display photos in a creative, beautifully lit presentation. With 25 feet and eight different lighting modes, these photo clip lights emanate a warm, soft glow to create atmosphere as well as an eye-catching display.
6. Vintage Brownie Hawkeye Flash Camera Clock
In a new place, it’s the details that make it seem like home. (Like large, wooden, and extremely loud grandfather clocks, apparently.) And in the era of Apple watches, this vintage brownie camera clock is sure to stand out. It doesn’t have any fancy frills – no alarms, no wires, no phone compatibility, but what this little clock lacks in tech it makes up for in design.
Bonus: it’s handmade from a real brownie camera! Because, for real, all photographers love vintage cameras.
7. Camera Lens Vintage Rarity Throw Pillow Case
The best off to college gifts for photographers blend thoughtfulness and practicality. It’s simple but true, every college freshman has a bed. So when buying for a college-bound photography enthusiast, consider all the options. It doesn’t have to be tech to be important.
This vintage camera lens pillowcase, especially when used with the photo string lights and brownie camera clock, gives the college freshman the chance to express their identity and passion in a stylish and practical way. Heads up, though, it’s just the pillowcase – be sure to pick up the pillow when buying. (I’ve made that mistake before.)
8. Funny Photography Coffee Mug (Budget Winner)
We’ve all been there – it’s really hard to motivate yourself to get up for those 9 a.m. classes. This simple and snarky coffee mug makes those early morning classes a little easier to tolerate. The mug may be simple but it’s precisely the kind of thing a new college student would need, love, and use.
Finding the Perfect Off to College Gifts for Photographers
It can’t be said enough, these are the days you remember. The road ahead may be bumpy or smooth, but either way it’s definitely going to be an adventure. Kids going off to college will look back at these days. So when looking for off to college gifts for photographers, think about what items will craft the memories they are making. And since they will most definitely be taking photos, I can’t stress this enough, remember the lighting! (And, if you have a grandfather clock, please leave it at home.)