Photography is a fantastic pursuit, but there’s a big difference between having a passion for it, and becoming a professional photographer. For those looking to make the jump to being a pro photographer that gets paid money for the photos they take, it’s critical you have the right computer equipment alongside a good camera to ensure you can deliver great results.
So beyond the camera(s) you use, what else is essential to ensure your new business is the best it can be?
1. Good Photo Editing Software
Once you’ve taken a photo it can be expected you’ll need to do some work on it after. Even if you take a minimalist approach to editing of your images, as your business progresses it can be expected you’ll often need to do some minor retouching, such as removing red eye or lens flare.
The exact photo editing software you use is a matter of personal taste. Adobe’s Photoshop is industry standard, but it’s not the only one out there.
The exact amount of RAM you need can depend on a couple of factors, such as the size of the images you will be working on. As a guide, Adobe indicates a minimum of 2GB, with 8GB recommended.
This could be suitable, but it’s important to remember – especially if you’re just starting out -that overtime software can become more demanding, and there’s only limited space in computers for RAM.
So unlike Lego blocks that you can just pile on top of one another, if you need a major ram upgrade it often means your old hardware will have to be swapped out. That’s why it’s always good to buy as much RAM as you can afford, and in this case 16GB is a good starting size for long term value.
3. A Quality Monitor (And Ideally Two)
A large, quality monitor is an important tool for photo editing. It’s not impossible to make a edit on other devices, but a smaller device can make the process feel laborious. It also makes it harder to spot imperfections and other aspects you’d like to change, raising the risk a client will be unhappy with your final product.
That’s why buying one with good resolution is also important. It doesn’t need to be 4K, but it should display a crisp and clear image. Use your photographer’s eye to find a monitor that you feel you could edit effectively on.
As well as having one monitor, if your budget allows buying a second one can be a terrific investment. It makes it easy to compare before/after edits of images, alongside spreading out your workspace across two devices to make the whole process more productive and less painstaking.
4. Strong Wi-Fi Connection
Ideally you should be able to establish a connection and continue an image transfer from start to finish uninterrupted. Sometimes this may not be possible though, and whatever causes it – especially if you’re finding your connection drops out 10 times every hour – it can be maddening.
There is also the time factor, as the transfer of big data files like 500 huge images (or other visual media like 4K footage) is going to take far longer than downloading a few Microsoft Word documents or sending a small PDF via email.
If your transfer is continually interrupted, over time it can run the risk of disrupting your business as failed transfers delay your ability to start editing on time, and thus making the delivery of files to your client late. Alongside having a talk to your ISP provider about arranging a more stable connection, nifty gadgets like a wi-fi router can assist if you are working away with your camera and computer at a distance from your modem.
5. A Strong Backup Process
Once your file transfers are completed it is then essential to ensure you have a strong backup system in place. Every professional can have their own system, but as a general rule if you haven’t back up your files in 3 separate places in 3 separate ways? Then they are not really backed up!
A strong backup process may seem a bit excessive and time consuming now and then. Yet if you sustain a major fault on your main computer and it was the only place you backed up all your photos for the past 6 months? Suddenly you could be looking a absolutely massive problem for your business. Especially if you’ve been tasked to deliver photos for major events like wedding days that are simply impossible to restage.
Photographers have an advantage of having camera storage at the start of their backup process. So you can use an SD card to store your original images, just be sure to store it somewhere safely and use a new SD next time you shoot.
Alongside an SD card, using some cloud storage such as a Google Drive account, and a portable HD is a 3-pronged process that will ensure even if disaster strikes on one of your backups, you’ll have copies elsewhere.
6. A Quality Printer
Depending on your process there’s a number of ways in which you may choose to get photos developed. This may involve sending your finalised files off to a professional developer to get them printed for you, or perhaps just sending your master files over to clients for them to develop in their own time.
Yet it’s always good to have a quality printer on-hand. It allows you to preview exactly how images will look, as the variation between matte and gloss may seem like it won’t be a factor on the screen but once printed can deliver visible differences.
7. Ways to Protect Your Photographs
The rise of the online era has been fantastic in many ways for photographers. It has offered them an easy way to gain exposure locally and globally. Whether a young photographer dreams of landing some assignments with National Geographic, securing a gig with a newspaper in their hometown, or even starting their own business, the online world is a fantastic avenue to pursue your goals.
Yet there are also downsides to the online world. It’s easier than ever before for photographers to have their work used without their permission. Not only by websites who fail to properly credit the source, but even businesses who will resell your images without permission for their own profit.
That’s why taking some steps to protect your photographs is important – and even if you unfortunately won’t be able to stop one and all from copying your images – you can ensure it’s easy for others to know when they see them reused that they are actually your images.
Every photographer makes their own decision about what is ideal here. Some use conventional watermarks, others use a website address, and others may use a combination of both. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s visible and can clearly identify you, such as having your personal name or business name on the insert. That way whoever stole your image will have no way to dispute it’s clearly yours.
Picturing the Future of Your Photography Business
Alongside being big fans of photography ourselves, the HorizonTech team is always here to help you with any photography-related computer services you need. From RAM upgrades, to software recommendations, to installations of printers and more. Contact us via (03) 9555 6684 during AEDT business hour or anytime via email@example.com
Until next time, happy teching!
Paul & the HorizonTech Team