It is no secret that a camera is the most important tool in a photographer’s work. Besides, these days, you have smartphones and tablets with great quality cameras, so even a professional camera is not necessary sometimes.
Having said that, modern photographers do more than just snap pictures. They also need to work on post-processing, and that requires a computer. Computers are also used for other parts of the job, such as networking and keeping up with the industry news.
In other words, working as a photographer without a computer sounds like a difficult or even impossible task. But that is not all. You also need a computer that fits your needs and picking one can be difficult if you do not have the necessary knowledge.
If you are in the market for a new computer as a photographer, use the information in this article.
Laptop vs. PC
The most important decision choosing a computer usually comes down to picking between a laptop and a desktop computer. The two have clear advantages and disadvantages.
Laptops are great if you want a light device that you can carry with you. For example, if you are often traveling to visit various locations to take photos, a laptop makes much more sense than a desktop computer because the former is more compact.
Prices for laptops tend to be cheaper as well, though you get worse hardware in the tradeoff, which we will discuss in a later section of the article.
You also need to keep a laptop charged, and unless there is an outlet available at all times, the odds are that the device will run out of battery life too fast for you to finish work.
Getting a PC means that you will need to create a static workspace. While carrying a PC around is possible, it is not convenient. What you get in exchange, though, is more powerful and reliable hardware. Moreover, some people find it more convenient to use a mouse and an external keyboard rather than a trackpad and a laptop’s keyboard.
Screen Size and Quality
Since you are going to be editing photos on a computer, it means looking at the screen a lot. As such, you want to get a screen that has the necessary resolution and quality.
There is a significant difference between working on a laptop with a small screen and using one that you usually get with a desktop computer. In fact, it is quite common to see dual monitor setups among PC users, particularly when they use the computer primarily for work.
On the other hand, you can also connect an external monitor to a laptop, though that seems like a hassle.
The bottom line is that photographers rely on a screen size a lot, so be sure to pick an option that makes sense and fits the necessary requirements.
An operating system is another consideration that you need to think of carefully. It is no secret that many people, regardless if they are photographers or not, go with MS Windows, an OS that is by far the most popular in the world.
For some, it is the sense of familiarity that they get with Windows. If they used prior versions of the OS, such as XP, 7, and so on, they feel more comfortable with the most recent Windows 10 or the upcoming Windows 11.
In addition, it might be that the photo editing software and other tools you use on a computer are only compatible with MS Windows, though such exclusivity is not as common nowadays.
Does the popularity of Windows leave no room for other operating systems? Not necessarily. If you want, you can try Linux or macOS. The latter, in particular, can be a good pick thanks to its exclusive photo editing tools that you might find quite useful.
Overall, though, if you want to avoid potential problems that could disrupt your workflow despite having great skills as a photographer, going with a familiar operating system probably makes the most sense.
Unless you are planning to use really high-end media editing software that consumes a lot of resources, computer hardware should not play that prominent of a role when you are choosing a computer.
A decent hard drive or solid-state drive for enough storage, reliable GPU and CPU, enough memory, and other aspects of hardware should be covered even if you are looking at cheaper laptops or PCs.
The last bit to cover is maintenance. The differences are not that significant between the two. One thing that probably stands out the most is cleaning the dust inside. It is much harder to take a laptop apart to clean it thoroughly as you risk damaging the hardware. Whereas taking a PC case apart should not prove as difficult.
As for other maintenance, such as keeping enough free space on the drive, decluttering the desktop, or managing background processes, you should follow established practices and should be good for the most part, especially if you do not use a computer for things unrelated to work that often.