One of the most common questions I receive this time of year is advice on what type of camera, lens, or classes make a good gift for a friend or loved one. If that’s your question this year, you’ve come to the right place! I did a FAQ post a few years ago that answered those questions, but I’ll do a recap again. There are many options: great cameras, lenses, books, etc. My tips are condensed to make it easy for you, but not an exhaustive list of choices.
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel series (the Canon EOS Rebel T4i appears to be the newest in this series. T3i is next, etc.) Unless you’re immediately planning to purchase another lens, go ahead and just purchase a package that includes a kit lens so you have something to start with.
Photoshop: Photoshop Elements 11. Elements 11 is the latest released version and a great place for beginners to start. Unless you become pro, you probably won’t outgrow this program.
Learning Photoshop: Photoshop Elements 11 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby. This is a MUST in my opinion if you own or plan to own Elements. Just be sure to purchase the book that corresponds with your version of Elements.
Recommended Retailers: Amazon, Costco has on occasion carried this line of books in store.
General knowledge of camera and beginning shooting tips: The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby (volumes 1-4)
Beginner lenses: Canon 50mm 1.8 or 1.4. This is a fixed lens (no zoom), which means you move closer or farther away from your subject to “zoom”. Great everyday lens for home or shooting portraits of your kids. Two options are available depending on your budget.