Tips for Photographers Looking for the Right Computer

Photographers have different requirements for a computer than the average person or small business owner, says Shutterbug. They need lots of memory and processing power if they will be editing photos. They need large amounts of storage to save their photos, and an easy way to backup and archive files. Use this guide to make sure you have all of your needs covered before go online to shop for your next computer.

Female Photographer with a laptop

Which Operating System to Use?

Your two primary choices are Windows or Mac OS. The capabilities and applications for each have become so similar that it comes down to personal preference or the number of models available, says the Post Journal. Windows comes on several brands of laptops such as HP, Dell and Lenovo. The Mac OS runs exclusively on Apple computers. Because of this, there is a larger variation in prices for Windows PCs. There are few models of Apple computers and they tend to be more expensive.

Desktop or Laptop?

More photographers are selecting laptops because of their portability, says Post Journal. The capability of laptops is reaching that of desktops and you won’t sacrifice power or functionality by using a laptop. The ability to take a laptop to a photo shoot and work with it on the job is justification for many photographers.

Screen Size and Alternative Monitors

Laptop screen sizes range from 11 inches to 17 inches. The size of the screen directly affects the weight of the laptop. If you value a lightweight laptop on the road and do most of your heavy editing at home, you could buy a smaller laptop screen and keep a large monitor, 17 inches to 21 inches, at home for editing. If you do a lot of editing on the road, you may want to put up with the weight of the 17 inch laptop monitor.

Processing Power

Your computer needs to handle your graphics work. Graphics design and photo editing take more power than writing documents. You’ll spend a lot of time waiting on your computer if it’s not powerful enough. An underpowered computer may not even run your favorite editing application.

A review of laptops for photo editing by Extreme Tech shows that you’ll want a dual or quad core processor with as much memory as you can afford. Internal memory (RAM) of 8 GB to 16 GB is a good range for photo editing.

Disk Storage

Your laptop will probably come with 350 GB to 500 GB of storage which is sufficient for your work on the road. Portable external drives are generally inexpensive. These can give you 1 TB to 8 TB of storage, which means you can take many of your files with you.

Pick the fastest hard drive you can find. A 7,200 rpm drive will be more responsive that a 5,400 rpm drive. You’ll wait less time for your files to come up with a faster hard drive.

Backup of Your Files

Your photos are your most valuable asset and backing them up is critical. At home, have an external hard drive available that is used only for backups. Get into the routine of backing up your files at least once a week, more often when you are into heavy editing for a client. On the road, a portable hard drive is a good place to backup your files until your get home.

Another popular option is to use a cloud backup service to save your files. From home or on the road, you can backup your laptop to a cloud service. You also have access to your files in the cloud from anywhere. A rule of thumb is to make regular backups of files with which you are working. Files that you no longer touch can be backed up once and kept online until you need them.