Camera accessories are almost as necessary as the cameras themselves, and they can make great gifts for photographers of any skill level. In this slideshow, you'll find all our favorite add-ons for the photographer in your life this holiday season.
If you know someone who wants to get creative with a dSLR -- using the camera, and not in a filtery kind of way -- Lensbaby's special-effects lenses are a fun way to do it. The Spark is the cheapest of the line and makes a great gift for anyone with a Canon or Nikon body.
I haven't had a chance to write it up yet, but this ingeniously designed strap is fast becoming a favorite. It tucks the camera neatly under or behind your arm when you're not shooting and quickly extends when you pull it out, plus it has an intelligent connector with a handle for screwing into the tripod mount. It does gets a bit clunky around the attachment point so the camera can't really sit flat, but it's a great choice for use on ILC-size cameras.
Big enough to comfortably tote a 13-inch laptop or tablet in as well as a camera body, lens, and flash, this well-designed bag should please most photographers who like the messenger-style bags. Plus, it comes in a bunch of appealing colors.
For photo manipulation, a tablet is an essential tool, and this is the premiere choice. Because it's a bit pricey for amateurs, it makes a great treat as a gift. If you don't want to spend quite so much, it comes in smaller sizes, or you can opt for one of Wacom's cheaper consumer-oriented Bamboo series.
For frequent photographers of kids and pets, consider the Look Lock System from Tether Tools. The device is designed to securely hold a smartphone that's up to 3 inches wide directly over the lens or off to the side.
Just put something on the screen to get your subject's attention and fire away. If the phone has a front-facing camera, you can turn that on and let your subjects see themselves while you shoot and record a point-of-view video. Or, use it as a small teleprompter for dSLR videos.
Available in 11-inch (pictured) and 7-inch models, the sturdy but lightweight aluminum articulating arm attaches via a cold-shoe mount and can be adjusted quickly with just one knob.
A great little sling for when you want to travel light, the Informant has enough room for one camera body with a medium lens attached and up to three additional lenses (depending on size, of course).
The fully padded interior is lined with bright blue anti-scratch tricot with movable internal walls that protects and makes your gear easy to spot. Extra pockets inside and out give you room to stash essentials like spare batteries and memory cards.
The ballistic nylon shell can handle some rough treatment and minor splashes, but for full-on downpours, a rain cover is included. Straps on the bottom give you a place to attach a small tripod or monopod.
And if you regularly travel with a tablet or 11-inch laptop, there's an internal compartment for holding one of those, too.
If this one's still too big for your needs, there is a smaller version that fits one camera body with a medium lens and two additional lenses, but it will hold only smaller tablets, and there are no tripod straps.
For those who like to push the limits of their iPad's video capabilities, there's the Padcaster. This case allows you to mount an iPad on a tripod, monopod, or other support. The outside of the sturdy aluminum frame is lined with 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes for attaching lights, an external mic, or other camera gear.
If digital SLR video is more your thing, the flexible urethane insert can be removed and the frame used as a dSLR cage. Just attach your camera in the middle and surround it with your favorite accessories.
Also, you can get the Padcaster with the Lenscaster, an add-on bracket with a 72mm threaded mount for attaching lenses. A 72mm-to-58mm adapter is included, too, as well as a cold-shoe adapter.