Accessories every photographer should know and use
External hard drives are an essential component of your digital darkroom. They’re an easy-to-use, affordable solution for the continuously expanding photo library. High-capacity external drives also give you room to free up space on your computer’s drive for better performance and for frequent backups.
We recommend that every photographer have at least one external drive for keeping image duplicates. That way, if your primary drive fails, you won’t lose irreplaceable photos. With enough capacity, you’ll have room for your photo library and other backups, too. Many pros have a second portable drive for keeping their most important photos off-site, just in case something happens to the backups at home—something to consider even if you don’t make your living with photography.
The FreeAgent Go from Seagate offers up to 640 GB of capacity and includes software for automatically backing up data, synchronizing files and encrypting important files and folders. A convenient, optional desktop dock makes syncing between computers simple. The drive comes in capacities of up to 640 GB and weighs just 5.6 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $179 (640 GB).
For enhanced protection, Buffalo Technology’s MiniStation Metro Portable Hard Drive features BumperBody shock absorbers that surround the inside and rubberized protectors on the outside. For added convenience, the removable, integrated USB cable snaps to the chassis. An integrated hardware-encryption feature for automatically encrypting data can be optionally turned on. Capacities of up to 500 GB are available. Estimated Street Price: $132.
It might not be the most exciting part of photography, but a properly calibrated monitor is absolutely critical to ensure that you get the best and most consistent results when processing and printing your images. If your monitor isn’t calibrated, you may make changes to the color and exposure of your photos that actually degrade, rather than improve, their quality. Start with a calibrated monitor, and you can be sure that the adjustments you make are correct—and the results pleasing—before you save the file.
The Datacolor Spyder3Express is a monitor-calibration system that offers an intuitive user interface for easy use in a few simple steps. It’s compatible with Mac and Windows, and you can use it to calibrate every computer monitor in your home network. The color-correction tool automatically adjusts the color of your monitor in minutes. Estimated Street Price: $89.
The X-Rite ColorChecker Passport offers a complete hardware and software color-calibration solution for RAW workflow. The industry-setting, 24-patch color reference target includes new calibration software and three photographic targets—White Balance, Classic and Creative Enhancement—in a single, durable passport-sized protective case. The system helps you maintain color control from capture through edit. It works for JPEGs, too. Estimated Street Price: TBA.