A Must-Have Tool for the Professional Photographer

Today’s blog post comes from our own Jeff Locklear.  Jeff has been involved with some aspect of the photographic industry since 1976.  He opened a portrait studio in 1984, specializing in wedding photography. Since joining the PPA in 1989, he has received numerous local and state awards for his portrait and wedding photography. He has also been in the Kansas Top Ten Photographers ten years in a row. In 1994 he won first place in the prestigious Brides Choice wedding album competition.

Jeff has been a full time employee of H&H Color Lab since June of 2005 as a technical customer support specialist.  “My area of expertise is my 20 years of studio ownership. The fact that I’m still a working photographer lends credibility to the help and advise I can give to our customers at H&H.”

I asked him to name an item, other than camera body and lens, that he ALWAYS has in his camera bag.  Below is his response:

Okay here’s the one item I keep close to me & my camera gear at all times. The $5.00 H&H Zebra Card.

Zebra Card

Now this may sound like a blatant advertisement to sell you an H&H Color Lab Zebra Card but it’s not!

This card has multiple uses; I can use it for a grey reference to do a click balance in my raw file converter of choice. It can also be used to create a custom white balance while shooting & to evaluate exposure.

Where it has saved me is when I find myself without the most important photographic tool I own, my light meter.  When this happens, I can use the Zebra card to determine correct exposure.  Here is how it’s done:

  • First you’ll have to make an educated guess at the exposure for the scene you are trying to capture.
  • Use the card to create a custom white balance by taking a photograph of the Zebra card, being sure to fill the entire frame with the card.
  • View the image of the Zebra card on the cameras screen and check the histogram.
  • Depending on the placement of the three spikes, you can determine if you are under or over exposed and make the necessary corrections for proper exposure.

Zebra Card Histogram

The zebra card can also be used to calibrate your light meter to your camera.  On the H&H website is a pdf document to explain the steps.  You can purchase the zebra card on the supply order page of the website.

Check out CambridgeInColour for an excellent white balance photo tutorial.

H&H Color Lab

Popular Topics