“Photography is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
― Alfred Stieglitz

A film is the product of hard work, dedication and passion of a team of several talented people. Without these professionals and their skills, you can’t make a great film. Yet the only names we remember are those of the stars and the director. Others we hear only during Oscars.

Cinematographers have to live with such anonymity. In spite of being one of the most important aspects of a film, cinematography doesn’t get the praise it deserves.

Photographers have it a little easier. They can take an elusive photograph and leave the meaning for the audience to interpret. People look for creativity in photographs. Look at them long enough and they’ll find something worth talking about.

Cinematographers don’t have that long. With 1/24th of a second of each frame it’s hard to show off. And Showing off isn’t part of the job. Do it too much and you risk breaking the fourth wall. To do their job right, cinematographers have to fade in the background. Work on the subconscious.

Although, without them and the visual storytelling tools they bring to enhance the storytelling, a film can’t reach it’s potential.

This post is dedicated to the silent heroes that are changing history and influencing millions without them noticing it. To Cinematographers.


Master Shots Books

Not everyone who sets out to become a filmmaker knows the technical aspects. They might not know enough about the choice of lenses and shots possible and suitable for a particular scene. It’s the cinematographer’s job then to guide the director. To show them the possibilities. To save the film from mediocrity.

This book is an amazing collection of practical and extremely useful camera techniques for different scenes. Things that separate unskilled armatures from pros.

This will also make a great gift for filmmakers.


Canon 5d Mark III DSLR

A favorite of independent filmmakers all over the world. The DSLR revolution made filmmaking accessible to all.

While this is not a original or creative idea for a gift, it is a good one. For a budding cinematographer or filmmaker who wants to hone his craft, Canon 5D Mark iii is the perfect tool. Overall it’s the best camera in a budget for video production. And unless you buy them an professional film camera such as an Alexa Arri or RED, this is probably the best you can do for a new cinematographer.

Today, DSLRs are the most popular cameras to shoot videos. They have huge sensors which work great in low light.

Aren’t the best gifts those who make your career?


Gorillapod Tripod

Professionals of any craft love their tools, and they love to own a variety of them. Like a kid who wants to keep adding new toys to her collection.

And although, I don’t recommend gifting professional equipment to professionals (Most are very specific about their choice of tools.) There are some exceptions. Things like this tripod are not primary gear but might come in handy in some situations, so they’re good have around in case you need them.

They’ll like it. Who doesn’t like cool new toys?


Cinematographer Wire Sculpture

A wire sculpture of a cinematographer is a cool gift to give to a one. They’ll love it. The only people who wouldn’t want a little sculpture of the craftsmen of their profession are may be pathologist. They see enough dead bodies at work. And even they might get a kick out of it.

It’s the things like these that any artist or creative person wants to decorate their homes with.

Also, it represents their love for their craft.


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As I said about Cinematographers and their love for variety of equipment. They can’t have enough of them. Yet sometimes it’s not the variety that is needed. Like an artists who can always benefit from having more paint and canvas to spare. Cinematographers can’t have too many Go Pros.

Two Go Pro cameras are better than one and three are better than two. The more they have the more creative and efficient they can be. Especially in car chase scene. You can stick ‘em in different places for a variety of camera angles.

When in doubt, gift them a Go Pro. They’ll like it.


Cinematographer Style DVD

What could be more valuable, as far as learning go, and we must constantly learn and hone our skills all our lives, than watching over 100 interviews of the masters of the craft? Watching the legends and stars share their insights.

People like Vittorio Storaro, Roger Deakins, Gordon Willis and many more share their wisdom.

The advice from them could change someone’s career. May be even help them find a breakthrough, or develop their style.

Gift this to a cinematographer and let them know you care about their dreams. No better gift than that.


Drone Camera

Innovation is how the world moves forward in time. The moment we get comfortable with the existing way of things, a muse dies somewhere.

It’s easy to think that drone cameras are unnecessary to make a film and you can do without them, but that prevents you from the possibilities of visual storytelling techniques you could apply to tell a story better.

This is may be the most impressive gift you can gift a cinematographer or a filmmaker. After all it’s like a hi tech toy.


Camera Patent Poster

The home that we live in should reflect our personality. It should be in harmony with the soul. Without that the home doesn’t feel like home.

An artist will decorate his home with beautiful works of art that express his dreams and inspirations, a musician will fill the walls with posters of his idols.

This Camera patent poster will appeal to anyone who makes a living with his camera. It represents the moment, the begining, of the craft.

It takes your imagination back to the moment when dreams and ideas took form. When the magic happened.


Hollywood Movie Studio Desk Lamp

Like our homes, desks reflect on our personalities. A messy desk, for instance, implies creativity. Some of the most creative minds on this planet had the messiest desks. Einstein for example.

Although, looking at the perpetual messiness of my desk, you’d think I was the most creative person on Earth.

Anyway, you can tell a lot about a person from his belongings. His/her taste, style, and character is reflected in them. You’ll see movie related stuff in a filmmaker’s home. A cinematographer or photographer will have camera themed items. It is just their love for their craft.

They’ll love this gift. It’ll suit their desk.


Cinematography T-Shirt

What better way to show off your love for your craft than to wear it on your chest like printed badge of honor.

It’s perfect for aspiring as well as professional cinematographers and filmmakers.

If you love something with passion and dedication, you shouldn’t be shy to declare it to the mortals.

Why should you?

For cinematographers, this is perfect. A fun gift they’ll adore.

Make sure you pick the right size.


Mini Cinema Lightbox

This will make a nice gift for anyone who loves films, filmmakers, film buffs, cinematographers will all love this present.

The best part of this is you can arrange the letters to make any words. You rent a film, you can display it for fun. Like your own home cinema. Especially fun when you’re inviting friends to watch a film together.

You can even use it to display special moments in your life. Such as someone’s birthday, anniversary, etc. Be creative.


1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Book

As a lover of films, I’m always asking people to suggest me good films to watch. The hunger for more films never ends. The problem is, not all films are worth the time.

Thankfully, someone wrote this book. While there is no way to rank films for quality, this is mostly a matter of opinion, the author has done enough research to make sure that the films on this list deserve to be there.

Anyway, filmmakers are naturally passionate about films. Watching them and making them. Usually it’s a great film that makes us aspire to be a filmmaker.

I can’t imagine a real filmmaker who doesn’t love this book as a gift. They’ll be grateful to you for this present.


Cinematography: Theory and Practice Book

A substantial part of a director’s job is to work with the director of photography to make use of the visual storytelling techniques to tell a story the best way possible.

Without a good understanding of cinematography techniques, a filmmaker cannot reach his potential. Visual storytelling techniques help affect the audience’s emotions. Texture, mood, color, balance all play part in how we perceive a scene.

This book has everything you need to know about cinematography techniques. Useful for any filmmaker. Which makes it a great gift. Knowledge is precious.


Camera Lens Mug

Variety of lenses and their application is the core of cinematography.

Professionals love to collect and experiment with various lenses to get a specific effect.

Which is why any cinematographer or photographer will love this present.

Also, it looks cool.

And it’s a much better option than those mugs out there with lame things written on them.


Cinema Style Personalised Letter Board

This is one of those universal gifts that everyone likes. Some more than others. You can gift it to anyone and it’ll not fail to impress.

It’s creative, charming, useful and attractive. A perfect original gift idea. It will look great on the wall of a film lover’s living room. I’m going to gift it to my favorite people.

Personalized gifts are amazing. Don’t you just love them?

This will be a nice present for anyone in the film industry.


Cinema Lens Kit

When it comes to cinematography, one of the most important decisions the cinematographer has to make is the choice of lens for a particular shot.

A variety in lenses allows creative visual style and experimentation. Choice of lens makes a subtle yet important difference in visual storytelling.

The professional cinema lens kit is what a professional needs to create memorable scenes. You can rent these when filming but owning them will help practice different techniques. Practice makes perfect, right?

This is perfect for a student trying to hone his skills.


Art History for Filmmakers: The Art of Visual Storytelling

The late legendary filmmaker of the films like 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict, wrote this book about making films. And it’s a must read for anyone who wants to learn the craft.

What I really like about this book is that, without getting too technical, it takes you through every aspect of filmmaking you need to know. From directing actors, cinematography to editing. A filmmaker must have a strong understanding of these to effectively work with the professionals and get the best results.

Lumet wrote the book in a casual, entertaining style with anecdotes and more, which makes it an enjoyable read.

It will make a fine gift for a aspiring director, and even for a more experienced one who keeps an open mind for learning.


Conversations with Cinematographers Book

A few centuries ago the apprenticeship system was invented . It was the perfect way for craftsmen to get helping hands and passing on their knowledge. Apprentices stayed and learned from the master for about seven years, learning, imitating, and honing their crafts.

After years of that they’d develop their own style and become masters themselves and were free to go their own way.

Today, the principals of the apprenticeship system are rarely used but they’re still effective as they were then.

Thanks to the internet you have unlimited resources and possibilities. The competition has also grown.

Don’t let your friends have a disadvantage. Give them this book filled with advice and tips from the masters.

They’ll love this book.