If you’re still wondering what to get mom for Mother’s Day, well, you better act fast. Sure, you could buy her flowers and take her out for a meal, but why not add something special, in the form of photography? Perhaps a printer that lets her print photos, right after she takes one. Or, accessories that help her shoot better photos. Whether your mom is a fan of photography or she is a photographer herself, here are some last-minute Mother’s Day photography gift ideas. If you can’t get her something in time, just send her a raincheck — she will still love you anyway.
Based on Zink technology, the Ivy is Canon’s first mobile instant photo printer ($130). The compact device makes 2 x 3 color prints from a smartphone camera roll (via Canon’s Mini Printer App for iOS and Android). Besides being able to share photo prints with friends and family on the spot, mom can use it to print stickers for her scrapbooking. And because there’s no liquid ink to replace, all you need to do is recharge it and purchase new Zink paper ($10-$25). The Ivy comes in rose gold, mint green, or gray colors. Our other favorite instant photo printers include Lifeprint and Fujifilm Instax SP-3.
Personal digital displays are ubiquitous, but what about one that lets you control for another family member? The Loop ($249) is ideal for elderly parents and grandparents. Essentially, you can “send” photos from your phone remotely to a Loop, which then pops up on the display for the Loop user to view. The device is useful for sharing photos with those who aren’t particularly tech savvy, but what makes the Loop unique from other Wi-Fi-enabled displays is that it supports video chat, and you can set “channels” that correspond to online services, such as Facebook photo albums, YouTube channels, and Dropbox folders. Users simply turn a knob (like a retro TV) to change channels.
Give the gift of nostalgia with Polaroid’s OneStep 2 instant camera. The company returned to its retro roots with a digital-analog successor to the original OneStep, which uses a lithium-ion battery that recharges over USB, but prints onto Polaroid instant film. For moms who grew up with Polaroid cameras, the OneStep 2 should bring back fond memories. Another similar camera we like is the Instax SQ10 from Fujifilm.
Ona is known for its stylish leather camera bags. The Palma ($329) is handcrafted, and has room for a camera and two lenses, depending on their size. It also functions as a regular bag for those non-photography days. For something less expensive and more colorful, we like the Mirrorless Camera Bag from Timbuk2.
There are lots of good camera straps but Joby has one that’s made with female photographers in mind. The UltraFit Sling Strap for Women ($50) is designed to conform to a woman’s body than the standard version, when it’s draped to the side. When you’re ready to shoot, it easily slides into position.
If mom is a big-time smartphone photographer, get her an add-on lens system from Olloclip. The newest version, for iPhone X, lets you attach a lens over any of the phone’s three cameras, giving a creative field of view — macro, wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, or telephoto. The Connect X clips on onto the phone effortlessly, for easy attachment and removal. Olloclip also makes versions for the iPhone 8 and iPhone SE. For higher-end optics, we like those from Moment.
If you fancy yourself a photographer, why not give mom an exclusive print of one your images? But we’re not suggesting emailing her a JPEG. Put it onto something nice — aluminum, glass, wood, canvas, or even metal. We really like the work put out by WhiteWall, and its products start at as low as $7. Products are printed and made in Germany, and can be shipped to a U.S. address in as quick as a week.
If you’re truly against the clock, how about a virtual Mother’s Day card through Facebook? Chances are, you and mom are connected on the social network. According to the company, more people posted Mother’s Day conversations in 2017 than any other topic. For 2018, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Messenger Kids will have several Mother’s Day-related features, including greeting cards, stickers, and frames — all using your phone’s camera. To use, just log into Facebook or Messenger and look for the special features. If you feel a virtual card or message isn’t enough, the Facebook Marketplace will also have Mother’s Day-specific gifts you can quickly buy and pick up while on your way to mom’s.
Aura is an elegant digital photo frame with a high-resolution display that makes photos pop. Changing a photo is as easy swiping over it with a hand gesture. It has a light sensor to measure lighting in a room, and sets the screen brightness to match. With the Aura app for iOS and Android, it’s easy to upload photos to the frame from your phone. Best yet, you and other family members can send photos remotely to the frame you gift mom — whether it’s pictures of the kids or the latest travel destination — and there’s no complicated setup. The Aura comes in different colors, but we highly recommend the Sea Glass version ($299). Created in partnership with the Charity: Water foundation, Aura will donate $60 for every frame sold, which goes toward funding water projects in communities in need. Mom would be proud.