Photographing Models - What Mac do I need?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by j088, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. j088 macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2009
    Hi, I'm wondering what type of mac I need to buy to help me be more productive at work. I'm a semi-pro photographer who is starting to do a lot of work with nude models and I'm wondering which mac would be best for working with very high quality pictures (and video!). Since these will be nude photos (and videos!) I will be taking and working with, I don't to sacrifice any image (or video!) quality. Portability is also important since I will be shooting the nudes on the beaches and also in the studios. Please point me in the right direction as far as which model and specs I want to buy.

  2. kornyboy macrumors 68000

    Sep 27, 2004
    Knoxville, TN (USA)
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    If you need portable, go with a MacBook Pro and max out the RAM. The extra RAM will help with the video editing pluse if you are using photoshop or some other professional photo editing software you will appreciate the extra speed that you get in general with a MacBook Pro.
  3. tufaw macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2008
    If portability is important I don't really see how you have much of a choice, a MacBook Pro is probably what you're looking for. You will still need external storage though, and it probably won't be fast enough for serious video work (such as transcoding). Add a Mac Pro that you keep in the studio? :)

    Perhaps if you posted some samples we could better help assess your needs. ;)
  4. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008

    I do photography a bit. There's a good site called - come on over!

    Here's some of my stuff:

    But anyway, one criteria is volume. Maybe like
    ≤400 shots per day, is a Mac Mini,
    400 to 800 shots per day, is the highest spec Mac Mini to the lowest Mac Pro,
    Processing for multiple photographers >800 per day, you'll want a high spec Mac Pro,​
    or something like that.

    But your workflow also matters a lot too and will influence the above to some degree. There's just too many different workflows to mock profile as I did above. There's also too many apps to guess which one you use now and which you'll be using next month. Gosh, there's:
    And there's probably a few I'm forgetting too. But I've studied and tested all of these plus Bridge/ACR/PS, for speed, feature set, and output quality. Which app you use can affect both your workflow and your choice of hardware. For example some apps just keep a parameter list of your changes, apply those to a generated preview, and then when you're all done apply them to all of the RAW images you edited, in a batch process. Well multiple cores shine for batch processing so 8 is good! :D Where the Mac Mini with only two will take 4 times as long. If you're processing all 200 or even more 8 cores could be 30min. while the mini's 2 cores would want nearly two hours.

    Here your camera and your abilities matter a lot as well. If you know your lighting, framing, and camera controls well and own top quality glass with a FF sensor you probably will not be batch editing the entire set and all you'll be doing is sorting for the creamy shots and then hand editing those. In this later case a Mac Mini is just fine.

    Whatever your style from above you will be wanting to purchase your own monitors! If not immediately then eventually! And while some of the iMac/Cinima monitors are good they are not top quality photo editing monitors. You will probably want (need!?!) dual monitors too. Matched is better than two dissimilar models. The new Mac Mini has dual displays so that's good. I listened that some of the options for the Mac Pro do not support dual displays - which I think is nuts but whatever - so check that.

    I would also get a dual monitor stand! Oh my goodness what a difference mine have made! Very handy! I have two 24" panels mounted on something like this but there's many different kinds to choose from - bottom line being you'll need/want one that can support your monitors and not want to tip when you grab and yank one of your displays into a comfortable position.

    I think some people are under the impression that if you're using a camera with a high megapixel sensor like the D3x, the 24mp Canon or a 54mp MF digital back then you need a stronger processor in your computer but I think this is false. Six to sixty megapixels, the images will handle about the same on a given processor. You will need more memory for the larger images though! 4GB to 6GB is probably fine if you're only opening one or two images at a time. But if you're in the habit of opening 8 to 12 images of 54MP or 24MP at a time 4GB is not enough and 6 is pretty iffy. If it's a new Mac Pro octad you're getting then you'll want 3 matched modules in each of the two ram trays. With 2GB DIMMS three up each side that's a sweet 12GB. You'll not soon be wanting for more, speed will be maximized (because it's 3x3), and price if you shop around should be under $400. You can give me your old DIMMs if you want ;) but unless they too are 2GB and part of your planned 3x3 set then you won't be needing them. And the 12GB will keep you feeling all warm and fuzzy all the way up through 8 or 10 of PhaseOne P65+'s 60+ megapixel images and probably beyond.

    The new PhotoShop in CS4 profiles a bit differently too in case you're not aware. It limits the number of image windows (or tabs) you can have open at any given time based on your video card's RAM amount. With this in mind you'll want the one with the most RAM more so than the one that benchmarks 5% faster (or whatever) if you come to such a choice. PS is as I'm sure you know, a must in any photog's tool box so this is a needed consideration.

    Hope that helps.

    Feel free to ask anything you're not sure about.
  5. j088 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2009
    Thanks guys for the responses (especially Tesselator, great info there!). So I'm leaning towards getting one of the new mac pros for my work studio (please suggest specs) and a high end macbook pro for on loaction shots. My next question is should I get the 15" macbook pro 2.93 and order some extra batteries since the 17" model can't have the battery removed? I will be shooting tethered so battery life will be an issue.

    Thanks for all of your help so far.

  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I'd get the 2.53 GHz 15" MBP unless money really isn't a huge issue.

    I think RAM is more important than the slightly faster processor, but I guess if you can afford the fastest processor and max out the RAM at 6 GB, then go ahead. Faster is always better. ;)

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