Lens hood. Sounds simple enough – but why did it make this list? Well – there are two primary reasons:
- Flare. A lens hood will simply help keep stray light from dancing across the front of that lens. Now – of course – there’s always the “hat trick” – but that requires you to hold your camera with only one hand…
- Lens protection. Now I can already hear the “pro-filter-for-protection” camp grumble – but I’m not really trying to stir that pot. I like a lens hood – especially when my camera is down by my side (hanging from the ultra-cool Blackrapid strap) – and when I pick it back up to shoot – I don’t really worry about smudges on the glass. Things typically just don’t find their way up a lens hood.
Now – if your lens didn’t come with a hood – you have a few options.
- Just order the manufacturer’s recommended lens hood from your favorite online megastore (or local hip camera store).
- Just order a third party lens hood from your favorite online megastore (or local hip camera store).
- And then there’s a rubber hood. Yep – you heard me correctly – spiffy inexpensive rubber hoods that screw into your filter threads. They just fold back when not in use. They’re also good for aquariums and zoos when you want to get your lens close to the exhibit glass.
Monitor Calibration. OK – quick poll – just a show a hands – how many folks reading this don’t have a color calibrated monitor on their primary photo pc or laptop?
Yeah – that’s a lot.
Monitor calibration is easy – and it’s relatively low cost. No need for the super-ultra calibration system. I only use a now out-dated Spyder 2. The Spyder 3 Express – as of the writing of this post – was under $100. Other folks may have a favorite brand – but this is the one I use.
Not only will monitor calibration help you make more accurate adjustments to your own photos – but it will help when you’re looking at other portfolios, too. And it should help with your printed work and reduce the number of surprises that you get from professional labs – or your own desktop printer.
SanDisk Extreme III memory card. Yeah – maybe this one’s a stretch – but when you really need it – the free Rescue Pro software could really pay off. It’s a few bucks more – but just one Extreme III card (or IV) will get you the CD. Now – I realize there’s other software out there to help with image recovery – but this one is easy to use and it comes with the card – something you were likely to buy anyway – think of it as a 2-for-1. And after you buy the one – then you can go back to your favorite card.
And a bonus tip – have a favorite hat. Currently I’m sporting a black-fading-to-brown Atlas Snowshoe ball cap. But I’ve been thinking of replacing it with a cap from a new company that I recently stumbled onto – the Clink Room – check ‘em out.
And if you have any other favorite low cost tips to add to the list – just leave ‘em in the comments below.