Gifts for Vloggers & YouTubers
Vlogging gear is great for gifting, because it's something that the recipient will almost definitely use but often feels guilty about spending money on themselves.
I've tried to include a variety of options in this guide: ideas for new vloggers to ideas for the vlogger that has everything, price options from "I'm a broke student who wants to get my friend something cool" to "This is a very special gift for my significant other," and everything in between. There are also some non-traditional and DIY gifts at the end of this post.
The full guide is below, but here are some quick links to get your started. Our top 10 best gifts for vloggers are:
- Canon EOS Rebel T6 ($349)
- Rode Video Mic Pro Rycote Lyre w/Wind Coat ($220)
- Neweer Ring Light Kit ($142)
- Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible ($55)
- Canon EF 50mm Lens ($125)
- Pelican 1600 Case with Foam ($160)
- Neweer 43" Reflector Set ($20)
- Kiora Photo Memory Card Storage Case ($9)
- VidCon 2019 Ticket ($150+)
- Gift Card to Improve Their Vlog Backdrop ($20+)
Before we jump into the guide, there are a few things you need to know:
- Price=Quality (Mostly): With camera gear, more expensive usually means better. This means that if the recipient already has a piece of gear that they use all the time that didn't cost a lot, you can get them a more expensive version of the same thing and dramatically increase the quality of it (and their happiness). This is especially true when you upgrade a <$50 item to a version that is >$100. (If you want to upgrade somebody's items that cost >$500, you should probably ask them first. At that point, they usually have opinions and favorite brands.)
- You Don't Need to Buy Gear: Gear is only one component of a vlogging setup. Lots of times, the best gifts are more creative: a Home Depot gift card so they can deck out their vlogging space, a fun trip idea for travel vloggers, a set of these $0.99 clamps that are more useful than you'd ever imagine, cleaning out a corner of your house for a dedicated vlogging space, etc. These types of gifts also work really well when your favorite vlogging friend is particular about their camera gear, and you're worried about getting something they won't like or already have.
- Brands: If you're going to buy somebody gear, you should try to figure out what they already have, and get a sense of what brands they use. A useful ruse is to text them and say that you have a family member who is getting into vlogging and ask them what brands they use. Vloggers love nerding out about gear. :-)
These items are what I consider to be vlogging essentials. If your vlogger is new and is lacking one of these items, a gift from this category will make their lives easier and their videos dramatically better.
Most vloggers will already have a camera, so you may want to skip this category. However, if they're just using their iPhone, a dedicated camera can make a big difference. Here are three of my favorites:
- Canon EOS Rebel T6 ($349) - The Canon Rebel is a great starter DSLR. (It's what we started with!) The video quality is good, and it has a nice balance of manual controls (lenses, parts, aperture) with pretty easy automatic settings, too. It's a very popular camera, so there are a ton of guides on how to use it (on YouTube and around the web.) Later on, if your vlogger decides to upgrade to a higher-end Canon camera (like the 80D or 1DX Mark ii), they'll be able to use the same lenses.
- Canon 80D ($999) - This is a really versatile, workhorse DSLR that can grow with the vlogger. They can change out and upgrade lenses over time. If your vlogger is meticulous about their setup and aesthetic and/or has a good understanding of photography, go for a DSLR.
- Sony RX100 ($1199) - This camera is compact and great for vloggers on the go. It has wonderful automatic settings, so it's a great option for vloggers who want to make great videos but not worry so much about lenses and lighting and getting all the manual settings correct.
You can also find basic DSLRs at big box stores like Target and Best Buy. When you buy the camera, whoever is selling it is going to try to upsell you on expensive kits that include a bunch of gear you don't need (like a flash for photography). All you really need is the body and a lens (which you can buy separately). Extra memory cards and batteries are nice-to-haves but not necessary. The vast majority of camera bundles are designed for photography and not video, so it's usually better to buy the body of the camera only and get other add-ons separetely.
If budget is an issue, don't be afraid of buying used. Photographers frequently upgrade their gear and sell their old cameras off. You can safely go 1 or 2 models back (like a T5 instead of a T6 Rebel) to save money without compromising quality.
If you want to read more about cameras and what features to look for, check out our guide to the best vlogging cameras.
There's an adage in filmmaking that you can keep watching a video that looks bad, but you can't keep listening to a video that sounds bad. Audio is a huge component of vlogging, and a good microphone makes a huge difference.
With microphones, the main thing you need to know is that you can't really go wrong with a Rode mic. The other big thing to know is that you want your microphone as close to the person speaking as possible. For most closeup vlogging shots, a shotgun mic works great. For filming someone from a distance, like an interview, a lav mic can be helpful (though expensive).
- Shotgun Mic: This is the standard vlogging mic style, and is good for most vlogging scenarios. If money's not an issue, the Video Mic Pro Rycote Lyre w/Wind Coat ($220) is a great option. If you're on a budget, go for the VideoMic Go ($60).
- Lav Mic: The RodeLink FM Wireless Filmmaker System ($329) is worth the money. If you go this route, these little stickies ($20) are a lifesaver, because they allow you to attach the mic to the subject's skin instead of their clothing.
- Phone Mic: The mics I linked to above are best for cameras. If your vlogger is shooting on a smartphone, pick one of Rode's mobile mics.
If your vlogger doesn't have a special vlogging light, get them the Neweer Ring Light Kit ($142). It is hands-down my favorite light and a complete game-changer if a vlogger is currently working with household lights. This is also one of the few instances that I totally recommend getting the full bundle/kit. This light adapts well to most situations (it gets really bright and dims nicely) and makes everyone look good. (If you want to save money, the $105 version of this kit is also great.)
If you vlogger currently has some lights already, they probably still want more lights. However, at that point, it's a good idea to ask which specific items they want/need.
Your vlogger probably wants a new lens, but you may need to check in with them first about which lens they need. Keep in mind that lenses are specific to cameras, so you'll need to get a lens that fits their camera make and model. If you need ideas, we like to keep the Canon "Nifty Fifty" and a nice 70-200mm zoom lens handy. If you're on a budget, Rokinon makes good quality lenses that aren't too expensive. (Make sure to get the Cine lenses, which are designed for video.)
The final essential vlogging item is a tripod. We have a guide to the best ones, which is worth a read. Here's what we recommend:
- Tripods can get expensive, but you basically can't go wrong with the Joby Gorillapod ($55). It's great for vlogging on-the-go and small and awkward spaces.
- If your vlogger is more serious about filmmaking, get them a Manfrotto Fluid Head Tripod ($349). Video tripods have different heads than photo tripods, so if your vlogger likes to pan and tilt while they shoot (aka move the camera), they need a fluid-head tripod.
- Finally, any tripod is better than no tripod. You can get them as cheap as $15 on Amazon. Just note that if you go cheap, you're in danger of the tripod tipping over, so a sandbag can be a nice add-on.
OTHER GEAR AND IDEAS
Once your vlogger has the essentials above, it starts to get harder to shop for them. Here are some more ideas and inspiration:
Vlogging gear is expensive and worth protecting. Here are some of our favorite brands and ideas:
- Pelican Case ($100+): Pelican is the industry standard brand for protecting gear. I like giving it as a gift, because it often makes the vloggers feel more professional. You can't really go wrong here, because the cases can protect cameras, lights, microphones, and more. Pick a price, size, and the features you think they'll use most (like wheels!)
- Lowepro Backpack ($80+): Lowepro makes wonderful camera backpacks. They're well made and have lots of "OMG, I can't believe I ever lived without this" features. We have a couple of these at our house. For the most part, I prefer the smaller backpacks, because they're less bulky (and less obviously camera backpacks), but the big version is nice for transporting our drone.
- Collapsible Wagon ($70): If your vlogger ever has to transport gear to and from their car to shoot, a wagon or cart is a lifesaver. I like the collapsible kind with big wheels. It's also a great gift to give, because you don't have to stress over which camera brand they have or whether or not they already have one (they probably don't.)
- Storage Shelves ($50+): Metal storage shelves are great for storing light stands and gear. Some advice based on our own past mistakes: metal is better than plastic, and the sturdier, the better.
- Lockable Cabinet: If you're vlogger has roommates or is worried about somebody breaking in, a cabinet with a lock can help protect their camera and gear from theft.
Small Gifts and Stocking Stuffers
I'm ordering these by price (from low to high), but they're all equally wonderful:
- Memory Card Storage Case ($8): Memory cards hold that sweet, sweet footage that cannot be reshot. Protect them with a nice memory card storage case. (If you can, try to figure out what kind of storage card their camera uses and get a case that fits their specific cards.)
- Alligator Clamps ($10): Get at least a 4-pack of these. They're nice for hanging lights, clipping backdrops, hanging up curtains to block light, and a thousand of other small tasks.
- Reflector Set ($20): A reflector set is another one of those small-but-mighty gifts that really come in handy for dealing with difficult lighting situations. No need to spend a lot, because this $20 set has everything you need.
- Memory Cards ($30+): Different cameras use different memory cards, so you'll need to know what kind of camera they have. Once you know that, you can't go wrong. There's basically no such thing as too much storage.
- Zoom Recorder ($99+): A Zoom recorder is great for recording audio. They start at $99 for the H1 and go up in price from there. They're a compact but powerful gift for a vlogger.
Editing is really hard on computers. At some point, their computer is going to crash. At that point, they will be very grateful to have an external hard drive ($100+) as backup. We love our Western Digital hard drive. (Get the biggest one you can afford, because you'll use up space faster than you think.)
If your vlogger is just getting into editing, you could consider an Adobe Premiere subscription and this Classroom in a Book training guide. (Bonus if they're a student or early in their career, Premiere is a great skill to have for creative careers.)
Other computer gear, like a nice chair, ergonomic keyboard, comfy mouse, or upgraded desk can make great gifts, since editing means that they're going to spend a lot of hours at their computers. If you're feeling super generous, you could always upgrade their computer.
Construction & Home Gear
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes non-camera gear is the best type of gift to give. Think about the location where they typically vlog. A gift certificate to a local home goods store (like Home Depot or Ikea) would let them upgrade their vlogging space. You could also offer your time to help build furniture or paint. For a lot of vloggers just starting out, it can be really helpful to carve out some space just for vlogging (in a garage or dining room or corner of the bedroom), so their gear can stay set up full-time.
If they're on camera, you could also consider a gift card to Sephora or their favorite clothing store.
Education & Experience
If budget isn't an issue, consider a ticket to VidCon, VidSummit, or another YouTube convention. You could also look for filmmaking classes in your area. If your significant other is just getting into vlogging, sometimes saying "I am going to dedicate this day each week to letting you vlog" (and take care of chores on that night) is a wonderful gift.
Any amazing gift ideas that I missed? Let us know on twitter @TheVlogNerd.