The true tools of the trade

Many photographers love to geek out about the best lens or the latest camera, but working photographers depend on less-glamorous tools to get the job done. Like lipstick in a woman's purse, I always carry these in my camera bag:

  X-Rite ColorChecker Passport.  Absolutely essential for ensuring correct and consistent color. You can't just wing it by eye nor with the camera's "Auto White Balance." 

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. Absolutely essential for ensuring correct and consistent color. You can't just wing it by eye nor with the camera's "Auto White Balance." 

  Reflector disk.  This is one of those foldable gizmos that opens up into a 3' reflector. With a double-sided removable cover, I get white, silver, black, and gold. Take the cover off and the disk becomes a translucent light softener.

Reflector disk. This is one of those foldable gizmos that opens up into a 3' reflector. With a double-sided removable cover, I get white, silver, black, and gold. Take the cover off and the disk becomes a translucent light softener.

  Gossen Luna-Star exposure meter.  Yes, it's ancient. Yes, it's less important now that digital cameras let you instantly review the shot. But it does read ambient and flash exposure, and it's really useful for setting up multiple lights. 

Gossen Luna-Star exposure meter. Yes, it's ancient. Yes, it's less important now that digital cameras let you instantly review the shot. But it does read ambient and flash exposure, and it's really useful for setting up multiple lights. 

  Rogue Strobe Gels.  These are colored gels that you place over your flash. Ever see a photo shot in nice warm afternoon sun that's been spoiled by the cold blue light from a strobe? Colored gels fix that problem. 

Rogue Strobe Gels. These are colored gels that you place over your flash. Ever see a photo shot in nice warm afternoon sun that's been spoiled by the cold blue light from a strobe? Colored gels fix that problem.