Every year we do a small blog post about what to get or give for the holidays.
Because we are based in the Netherlands we have two holidays to give presents, first Sinterklaas and later Christmas, so I’m always a bit earlier that the other sites with this blog post, although I saw that Scott Kelby also had his list ready, well many products are double (must be good products I guess :-)).

 

So here is my must have list for this December.

Kelby training
You really can’t get something better that this.
Think about getting loads of training, inspiration, tips, tricks etc. from the absolute best instructors in the business, and the way it’s presented is relaxed and cool, it’s like getting taught by friends. Think about learning from Joe McNally, Jeremy Cowart, Moose Peterson and the list goes on and on… and yes I’m also on there with 5 videos. And the best thing, it’s not only photography, it’s photoshop, lightroom, video, wordpress, 3D work etc. etc. Without a doubt this would be my number 1 gift for the holidays. Follow the link below and get yourself inspired.

Learn Photography Online with the Pros

 

 

Rogue Flashbenders
When you’re shooting small flash, you REALLY need to check out the flash benders.


I love them so much that I hardly use any other modifier anymore on my strobes, you can bend the light any way you want, from a better bounce card, to a soft box and even a snoot, all from the same device, and it takes up no space (or weight) in your camera bag And the fun thing is, they keep improving the flash bender, for example they now also have a small attachment that makes it into a soft box. Make sure to also check out the the gel kit set and the grid set.

NIK software
Really no need to introduce NIK of course, it’s the software that almost every pro I know uses, and loves. And the funny thing is, there is always a competition between plugins, some people love this one, some people love this one and hate that one, with NIK I actually never heard anyone not liking their plugins, for me it’s the plugin I always advise for people that start with fashion/glamour or beauty (and of course weddings). If you can’t buy the suite I would start with the awesome Color Efex 4 Pro, you get a load of options that if you want to try them all will probably keep you playing for the whole December month. I can’t live without Tonal Contrast and the vintage looks myself, but also the detail extractor is magic, and the …… yeah you get it :-) And if you want a really nice skin smoother…. well that’s also available in Color Efex 4 Pro.

If you’re more into HDR make sure to check out HDR Efex Pro, this plugin makes working with HDR as easy as counting from 1-3 exposures. It gives you some samples of different looks, you choose the best one and work from there, make HDR’s as easy as 1-2-3.

 

Snapseed
Also from NIK but this one is for the iPhone and iPad.
A great app to get some very nice results very quickly on your mobile device, and not only the simple stuff, you really have some cool options in Snapseed.

 

Red Giant Plastic Bullet
I already loved Plastic Bullet after Scott pointed me towards it in one of his blog posts, but a few weeks ago Red Giant also released the desktop version of it (mac) and I’m even more in love with it. It’s one of the best things you can get under $10.00, one piece of advise, know when to stop because before you know it you will keep saving images, because every next click seems to be even cooler than the one before. Get it from the app store.

Tethertools
I love to shoot tethered, but one problem when you shoot tethered is the fact that now a days the ports in the cameras break much more easier than a few years ago because the soldering process has changed. Make sure you get some “jerkstoppers”, it’s a small investment (<$20.00) and it will save you a lot of costs when your port of your camera breaks.
But that’s not all.
Look at the tether tables. It’s a whole system of clever designed accessories that all connect to the “home plate” where your laptop is safely secured with the secure strap. And best of all, it’s all very light and 100% modular, so if you don’t see the need for a drive bay, you can get that later (or not). Also tether tools keeps adding new items, and they really listen to what photographers in the field need and try to make new products to fit their needs.

 

OnOne software
Recently released their Suite 6.
A huge step forward from their previous plugin. For fashion shooters especially the perfect portrait part is very interesting, but if you want some more vintage or other unique looks also check out the rest of the suite, they have some very powerful tools which shaves off a lot of minutes from your workflow.

Elinchrom 1.50 Octa
We had to wait a LONG time for this one, but it was worth it.
An amazing new indirect soft box (although I think the name soft box really doesn’t fit the bill), great for lighting portraits and full body fashion shots. Personally I love the edge look I get from the 1.50. I already loved the 1.00 meter Deep Octa, but it was not perfect for lighting full body shots, and the 1.90 was too soft in many cases, the 1.50 is the perfect alternative. Since we got it in our studio it is one of the most used modifiers.

 

Elinchrom Maxilight/Maxispot
Want more output ?
Want more edge ?
Want more contrast ?
Than the Maxilight/Maxispot is the modifier for you.

Add the maxi light to your ranger/quadra and you will get a lot more light output, fighting the sun never was easier (and it saves a lot of battery power when you don’t need all the power), but the quality of light is also very nice, because of it’s bigger size you will get a very nicely focussed beam of light but not only that, the light has a lot of crispy qualities and punch. It’s a nicely priced modifier, so make sure to check it out, especially when you’re working outside a lot.

 

Honeycomb grids
Need a grid for something ?
make sure to visit http://www.honeycombgrids.com/ they have several grids that you normally can’t get (for example for the maxi light), and if they don’t have something, drop them a mail and they will probably try to make something.

 
Lowepro
Finding the perfect bag can be a drag :-)
For me personally I found it in the Stealth Explorers from Lowepro as the perfect walk around bag, and the X200 roller as perfect carry on “big bag”. And because it’s Lowepro you just know it are top quality bags that will serve you for many years to come.

 

Some shameless self promotion….
And of course our instructional DVDs which can be found on http://www.frankdoorhof.com/shop2 :-)