In these modern times, creative professionals have at their disposable a near endless amount of tools. From the gear they create on, such as a laptop or a camera, to the social networking sites they share on, it’s now more important than ever to cut through all the clamor and find out what tools truly works best. For today’s post, we went straight to four reliable sources, three professional photographers – Navid Baraty, Christopher Boffoli, and Carli Davidson – as well one digital artist, Archan Nair, and we asked them which tools they just couldn’t live without. While some of these items may not surprise you, each of them will make you think twice about your own creative workflow.
1. Adobe Creative Cloud
For today’s artists, designers and photographers, the software that comes with Adobe Creative Suite 6, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, tops their list as the must-have tool. Last year, Adobe announced its Creative Cloud, a simple monthly membership that lets you access the entire collection of CS6 tools without having to actually buy them. The subscription service lets you use staples like Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom as well as ones you may have never tried like Adobe Edge and Muse. Why jump onto the Creative Cloud? Membership provides access to Adobe’s new features and exclusive updates, so you don’t have to wait till the next product release to try them out. Subscriptions also come with 20GB of storage space, which allows you to easily access, from virtually anywhere, the presets you’ve created in Photoshop, Illustrator or Lightroom.
Digital artist Archan Nair states, “CS6 is really amazing, the entire package is fantastic, really” while professional photographer Carli Davidson says specifically about Adobe Photoshop, “I’ve used it to create effects and styles that would never have been possible in camera.”
Price: $49.99 a month or $29.99 a month for existing CS customers
2. Canon EOS Mark III
While shelling out $3,500 for the latest full-frame DSLR may seem a bit excessive, there’s only one camera that holds the top spot in Pop Photo’s Camera of the Year 2012. The newly designed 22.3 megapixel Canon EOS 5D Mark III offers a standard ISO range of 25,600 that’s expandable to 102,800. It captures HD video that’s on par with professional movie cameras and if you’re interested in shooting high dynamic range photos (or HDRs), the Mark III has the ability to merge three images at different exposures to create a final image with a broad range of shadow and detail. Still not sold? When we asked professional photographer Christopher Boffoli why he listed the Mark III as one of his most useful tools, he told us this, “It’s a major leap forward especially in terms of metering, autofocus and low light performance.”
3. Dell XPS Duo 12 Ultrabook™
The Dell XPS Duo 12 Ultrabook™ is the perfect blend between a laptop and a tablet. For creatives who need to toggle between two devices, whether it’s to show their latest work or to actually work on them, this Ultrabook is for you. Artists can run the standard Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator, and the 12.5-inch touchscreen display swivels thanks to its flexible flip-hinge design. For those artists and photographers who travel for business, this Ultrabook acts like a global office, letting you do practically everything you would do on a normal laptop without having to carry all that weight around. This well-crafted Ultrabook runs the new Window 8 operating system and, with its touch sensitive screen, you’ll easily accomplish whatever you set out to do – whether it’s for work or for play.
4. Apple iPhone 5
Photographer Christopher Boffoli calls the iPhone his “all-in-one device” while Carli Davidson likens it to a “digital Swiss Army knife.” Not only do these modern-day photographers use their iPhone to quickly snap photos on the scene, they also turn to their iPhone to do everything from book a plane ticket to navigate their way around a new city. The iPhone has also become the must-have device for creative professionals who travel overseas, giving them instant access to their friends, family and fans through a wide variety of social means.
Price: $199 (for qualified customers only)
5. Drobo 5D
Modern creatives -like photographers, videographers, graphic designers – need a reliable data storage system that will hold all of their digital files. Enter Drobo, a California-based company that creates external storage devices for computers. One of its latest products is the Drobo 5D, a storage array designed specifically to meet the needs of today’s modern media professionals. With a max capacity of 20 Terabytes or 16 TB of protected storage, you can store the equivalent of 32 million photographs, 4 million songs, 1 million HD movies, or 48 hours of uncompressed HD video. Now that’s a lot of data! The storage device has two high-speed interfaces, Thunderbolt and USB 3.0, which means you can use the drives with your existing computer, Mac or PC, as well as for future systems that support the Thunderbolt standard.
6. Eye-Fi Pro X2 SD Card
In this day and age, photographers need to quickly send important photographs from their DSLR camera directly to an iPhone, tablet or computer, that’s why the Eye-Fi Pro X2 SD card is now a must-have tool. Since it’s wi-fi enabled, full resolution photos and videos can be streamed, all without any cables. It can also wirelessly transfer photos to over 25 social sites like Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. As a memory card, it can hold up to 8,000 photos or approximately six hours of video. This Eye-Fi has been referred to as the bottomless memory card because you can keep taking photos by automatically backing them up. Love Instagram but want to shoot a photo on your DSLR? Transferring that photo is now a snap thanks to the latest Eye-Fi.
7. Behance, Online Portfolio
To show off your latest photo or art project, there’s no better place to display your work than Behance. Recently bought by Adobe, Behance is a beautiful place to visually showcase everything from graphic design and illustrations to photography and web design. With its recent acquisition, Behance’s features will only get better. It costs nothing to participate and there is no limit on the number of images you can upload. “I love Behance and use it quite a bit,” says photographer Navid Baraty. “I’ve had some great exposure by having my work on there, and it’s an amazing way to find work for inspiration.”
Top image courtesy of Navid Baraty.
Which of these tools do you find useful in your creative life?
See all posts from Alice Yoo.
Alice Yoo is the founder and editor in chief of My Modern Metropolis, a place where trendspotters and art enthusiasts come to connect over creative ideas. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor’s in Economics, Alice received her MBA, worked in advertising for MTV and then started My Modern Met in 2008. With over 3.2 million page views per month, My Modern Met is one of the leading art and culture destinations on the web.