Working as a photo editor can be a rewarding job. Editing pictures is a fun and therapeutic way to use your artistic skills. However, this line of work isn’t as easy as most people think. Many aspects go into developing the skills to edit photos at a professional level.
One of the essential aspects to photo editing is your laptop. Photo editors need laptops that complement their skills with a high level of performance. When looking for suitable laptops, it’s easy to get distracted when evaluating which features are most critical. How do you decide between technical specs like CPU, GPU, and RAM?
If you need some guidance, check out these five important laptop features for photo editing:
1. CPU Specs
Photo editing programs work by manipulating images at the pixel level. Adjusting colour balance, removing backgrounds, and layering elements are routine parts of photo editing. However, all these tasks force your laptop to use a lot of resources.
The CPU in your laptop acts as a control center that regulates how many programs are active simultaneously. Photo editing software runs multiple tasks in the background to execute your edits, which will slow down most laptops. Many designers also have reference images, internet browsers, and other programs open to assist with their work. The more you multitask, the more CPU power you need in your laptop.
CPUs with multiple cores are better equipped to help your laptop maintain smooth operation with numerous programs running. For editing photos, look for a six-core processor. Quad-core CPUs offer good performance for the price, but the difference is noticeable when you upgrade. For those with the budget, you are better off with a six-core processor in the long term.
2. GPU Specs
Your GPU is responsible for improving how your laptop interacts with the screen. If you have a 4K display for professional work, a high-powered GPU will make it easy to see precise visual details while editing. Designers that run a setup with multiple displays will also benefit from a GPU with virtual RAM to reduce input lag and improve performance.
If you’re looking to invest in a mid-range laptop for photo editing, you won’t have to worry about the GPU as much. Since images are static, the GPU isn’t put to full use when compared to video editing. However, for designers with professional needs, the extra investment in a powerful GPU is worthwhile. Consider the quality of your laptop display to decide if you want to invest more in a GPU.
The display is every designer’s portal for interacting with their work. With a high-quality screen, you can ensure your vision remains accurate across all devices. As a designer, the worst thing you can do is invest in a laptop with a limited colour range and subpar resolution. These factors cause disappointment when you print your images or see what they look like on another device.
If you’re on a budget, it’s worth prioritizing colour range over resolution. Laptops with IPS panels or Pantone Validation will increase the colour accuracy of your work, helping you feel more confident in the final product. When it comes to resolution, go as high as you can afford. Laptops like the ASUS Vivobook 15 with an IPS panel and 1920 x 1080 resolution will do a stellar job.
Random Access Memory helps your laptop handle more tasks at the same time. Simply opening most photo editing programs uses at least 1GB of RAM before you even start working in the program. Once you start adding your images to the program and making changes, this usage can easily quadruple to 4GB. If your photo editing process involves multiple layers and rendering files, then you’ll appreciate having more RAM to work with.
Photo editors with basic needs can get away with 8GB of RAM, but professionals will want laptops starting at the 16GB level. The ROG Flow X13 from ASUS is an excellent laptop with 16GB of RAM and a quality IPS display to get the most out of your photo editing software. The ROG Flow X13 uses the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti GPU, which allows for increased graphic performance.
Ergonomics is one of the more underrated features to look for in a laptop as a graphic designer. Most designers put in long hours, which causes neck and wrist strain. Laptops like the ASUS Zenbook come with the ErgoLift hinge, which allows you to angle your keyboard to a comfortable position. Not only does this reduce strain on your wrists, but it also allows for increased cooling of your internal components.
Another feature to consider is getting as large of a screen as you can afford. Laptops with bigger screens make it easier for you to maintain an ergonomic position while working.