Every year, we ask dads from our community to share their top Father’s Day gift ideas. This year, the responses varied widely, from inexpensive film cameras to design books to some of our best backpacks and messenger bags. See what our seven photographer-dads picked—and why—below.
See 2017’s guide, featuring Tim Coulson, Max Wanger, Jay Cassario, Adrian C. Murray, and Joel Barhammand. And 2016’s guide, featuring Benj Haisch, Daniel C. White, Christian Cannon, and Mark Weinberg.
Scott Bakken | @scottcbakken
A coffee subscription: One of my favourite things to do is drink coffee. I know it seems simple but its an experience I love when working, editing, relaxing and of course always having a good conversation. You can sign up for many coffee subscriptions and have coffee delivered to your door on a weekly basis. Coffee makes me feel like I am on my time and taking it easy. It’s a sign that I am doing the things that I love.
A family road trip: One thing I want for Father’s Day is more time with my family. Life can get in the fast lane especially when you own your own business and you can end up working more than you would like. Recently our family took a true vacation where we slept in late, ate lots of food and took our time doing the things we loved. I want more of these moments on my life.
The ONA Clifton backpack: I recently got the Leather Clifton and it is a great bag for hanging in the city or those quick adventures where you only need the basics. It’s light and the all leather bag adds to the look that is great for city or mountain. The Clifton is functional but also fashionable. I love feeling good about what I am wearing and the Clifton looks amazing.
Patrick Kolts | @patrickkolts
18mm Moment Lens: I use this lens all the time. It’s great for scouting real jobs and grabbing quick location shots to come back to. It’s so sharp and very well designed in how it clips onto the phone case. I also take a lot of photos and videos around our house with it.
Bull Dog Beard Balm: I got this as a gift recently and it’s the only thing I’ve ever put in my beard but it’s been great. It kinda makes it a little less wild and itchy! Plus it adds to the health of your skin.
Brick+Mortar Mountain Candle: This is literally the best candle in the world. Almost every morning we have one burning in the house and it makes editing photos a little more bearable because it smells so incredible. Its all of my favorite smells from being on location in one place. Anytime i’ve given one of these candles as a gift people become obsessed! He also has a really great candle refill program where you can send back in the glass jar and he’ll refill it at a discounted price!
Best Made Steadfast Enamel Cups: I love these cups. They feel really special. I think they make killer gifts whether you drink out of them or put pens and pencils in them.
The ALMS Tool Roll: I have a motorcycle and this is the best tool roll I have ever seen. I want to buy more and find other uses for them because they are made so well!
The ONA Big Sur Backpack: It’s like a magic bag because i have no idea how I can fit all my camera gear in there plus a laptop and still have it look so compact! It’s a great bag to work out of and it just looks better with age.
Jose Tutiven | @tutes
Evodesk Pro: I’ve always felt more productive keeping my body moving during my work flow. Having a standing desk keeps me active and more focused while looking at my monitor. Not to mention there’s health benefits to it. Definitely worth the investment.
Pintrill pins: This could be silly, but I geek out over pins. They can be a representation of your current state of mood, words of expression and even supporting a personal cause/movement. I guess you can say it’s almost a collective hobby.
G-Drive Thunderbolt 3: Now that I’ve been moving into more video work, no one creates a greater need for media storage than a videographer. I’ve only been using G-Technology hard-drives thus far and been very satisfied with the reliability and speed, I’m sticking to what works.
The ONA Camps Bay backpack: I bought my first Camps Bay backpack in 2015, and still using it. It’s been the perfect fit for my type of work. It holds just enough of my equipment for a day’s work in either photography or videography assignments. One of the benefits of this bag is when traveling, I use it to pack all my important camera gear as a carry-on bag. It never leaves my side and keeps me worry-free.
Juan Martinez | Founder of @beersandcameras
Seiko Automatic Watch: I think most dads that grew-up in the 80’s or earlier wore watches. Seiko is Japan’s premier manufacturer that amazingly does things 100% in-house. Value is insane. I wore a Seiko SARB017 when my son was born; I find that watches are a great way to memorialize important moments in time.
Canon Canonet QL17 G-III: Shoot film and slow it way down. Film is many things to different people, but for me it’s a passion. Although I lust for my Leica camera bodies, the M6 and M7 being the best rangefinder film bodies, you dont need to spend thousands to have fun with film photography. The Canon Canonet is the perfect entry into rangefinders and more importantly; film photography for under $100.
A chance to sleep-in!: Nothing is more refreshing than getting the sleep one needs. As a papa of 3; an eight year old, 2 year old and a 1 month old, I value sleep almost more than I ever imagined. Best part, its absolutely free.
The ONA Bowery: Perfect size for any mirrorless and film set-up. The Bowery is not so large that I end-up carrying more lenses than I need and enough space for lenses that I do; leaving me feeling confident that with a little ingenuity I can take-on any shooting challenge. Impeccably made and tre’ stylish, the Bowery has become my favorite messenger style camera bag meeting all my needs.
Bryan Mochizuki | ONA Marketing & Partnerships | @moecheezookey
Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden: Since our daughter was born, we’ve had a lot more vegetables in our house—to purée for her and to keep us away from the Shake Shack. McFadden’s approach to vegetables has been a revelation; it’s the rare cookbook you can use every night. McFadden highlights a handful of vegetables for each season—how to prep, what to pair with, and then how to make them sublime. As a result, I can put something on the table most nights that is simple, quick, healthy, and makes my wife smile.
T-Shirts from Online Ceramics and Mollusk Surf Shop: These two California companies are neoclassicists in the art of t-shirts. Largely free of logos, Mollusk’s offerings feature hand-drawn surf iconography, while Online Ceramics riffs on the Grateful Dead, DIY concert posters, and drug store bumper stickers. As a gift, they are the polar opposite of a nice new tie, and will make your dad feel young and also potentially very dated.
A solid used 35mm film camera:Every device we own is full of pictures of our daughter, but we almost take it for granted at this point; something cute happens, and it’s in The Cloud, via 10 photos, two videos, and a Boomerang. I have been meaning to get an old 35mm and load it with T-Max 400, to take out every few days and develop a couple times a year. I learned to shoot from my dad on his manual focus Olympus, and I’d love to teach my daughter some day with a camera I can hand down to her.
Roberta Flack’s “First Take” on vinyl: Or whatever is on your Dad’s “desert island” playlist. But aren’t many ten-minute spans of music quite as nice as “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”
The ONA x Zio & Sons “Hudson” backpack: We spent over a year getting this bag right, with our partners at Zio & Sons. Every detail and feature is rooted in the how Anthony at Zio & Sons—the definition of “creative dynamo”—actually works, travels, and shoots (typically all at once). It’s a great bag for dads who take their camera and laptop most places, but need space for the rest of life too.
Sam Ciurdar | @samciurdar
Palladium Boots: I have two pair, that’s how much I like them! They are my favorite looking boots I have that look great in an urban setting and double up as great hiking boots. Let’s put it this way, during the fall and winter – I pretty much live in them!
Bose QCII: These are a must for any dad who travels, or even a dad who has to work at his desk and need to eliminate as much outside distraction as possible. I don’t get on an airplane without my pair – and honestly, sometimes I don’t even listen to music. I turn the headphones on to eliminate the outside noise when I want to take a nap, and it works wonderfully. Then of course, when I want to watch a movie – the sound quality is second to none. Simply the best on the market in my opinion!
A portable charger: Really, the brand doesn’t matter as much so long as you get something with more mAh. I live off of power banks. When I travel I have at least 4 in my bag. They are perfect for keeping your mobile devices charged, but can even help charge your camera so long as your camera can plug straight in. I honestly can’t function without the use of these power banks, they have gotten me out of so many jams!
ONA messenger bags: I have them in all sizes depending on my needs. The smallest one is mainly used by my wife, but the Prince Street is my go to for a quick day trip when I don’t need my laptop. If I bring my laptop I rely heavily on the Union Street. All bags are great for camera gear and super easy to navigate while trying to get your shots. I’m not saying this because this is being posted on the ONA blog, I sincerely mean this – ONA camera messenger bags are the best I’ve ever owned or seen. Hands down. I’m also a sucker for leather, so they are pretty darn beautiful to look at also!
Brett Donar | @brettdonar
A creative weekend (or weekdays) away: According to my Enneagram number, it’s important for me to make sure I take time for silence and solitude to help get myself my out of my own head and allow my creativity to flow more freely. So, a weekend or a few days away with nothing but maybe some music, a notebook, a couple good books and somewhere inspiring would really help make this a reality.
I’ve had to learn that sometimes to be the best, most present father and husband I can be, I have to be able to take care of myself. I would of felt super selfish for wanting something like this in past. I share that because I wish I would taken that advice earlier.
Reebok Work Plus Sneakers: I’ve been on a big white sneaker kick lately and have fallen sucker for the retro sportswear fad happening. These are super comfy, super classic, and super white.
Design books: I am sucker for some nice books. Currently on my list are: Speculate Everything, Start Me Up!, White, Dieter Rams: As Little Design As Possible, A.P.C. Transmission, Experimental Jet Set State + Counter Statement
The ONA Union Street (Smoke): I’ve had this bag for over 6 years now and it’s still going strong. It looks amazing with age and everyone loves it. It’s practical, small enough to not be cumbersome yet large enough to fit all the gear I need for most situations. Just checked and I’ve actually had it for a little over 7 years!