Soon to be college photography student needing help.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by emmilyalyssa, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. emmilyalyssa macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2009
    I am starting photography in college the fall of 2010, I know it's a year away, but I want to get some information ahead of time so I can start saving money for a macbook.
    I am taking photography (as I said above) and I know basically nothing about macbooks. I have used them many times before, and am comfortable with using them. I just need help deciding which one I should get. It's mandatory that I get one so that's why I'm starting this early in saving and researching them.

    I'd say I need a fairly big memory capacity as I take a lot of photos and would need the space to save them plus any of my other work. I also need it to be easily portable because I haven't decided if I'm staying in residence or not yet. Regardless, I'd need to transport it from either my residence or my house, to school and back. I am looking at a 15" and if need be I can get another computer screen to hook up to it while I'm at home.

    Any input would be appreciated!!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    My advice would be to wait at least 6 months before you start thinking seriously about what you should get. Right now any research you do will be outdated by the time it comes to buy one.
  3. emmilyalyssa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2009
    I'm thinking about maybe getting it a little sooner than right before I go, I guess I should have added that.
    It's a big debate, I kind of want to get it now because my laptop just basically died on me so instead of paying to get it fixed I was going to just get the macbook now. That way I could also get used to some of the programs that I didn't use on them (like Quark).

    But thank you for the imput!
  4. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    First off, welcome to the forums :)

    As miles said, you'd be better off doing your research closer to the time of purchase, as the computer may have been updated by then.

    I suspect the only way you can know which computer is right for you is to go to an Apple store and compare the size of the 15" and the 13" MacBook Pros. Whichever notebook you decide to get, you can create a custom-to-order machine and put a 320GB or 500GB HDD inside.

    Also, keep an eye on the MacRumors Buyer's Guide. It keeps track of when the product has been updated, and keeps an average time between updates.
  5. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007

    Have you done any work in the field or have you used any of the pro apps (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture) etc. The reason I ask is that if you havn't you may want to talk to an advisor or a prof at the school your planning on going to and asking them what they would recommend. I would hope that even though you aren't yet enrolled your future teachers will be willing to talk to you, else I would be wary of going to the school.

    Oh yeah, who the heck uses Quark!!?? InDesign FTW!
  6. emmilyalyssa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2009
    I've used photoshop a little bit. I took a few communications classes in high school that was mandatory that we used photoshop (and indesign haha).
    I can definitely ask my proffs, I've already talked to the head of the arts department at this college and he was very helpful. Also my sister went to the same college and just graduated with honours so she's in good standings with all of her prof's and so i can easily get in contact with them through her.
    And my sister used Quark, she was in advertising in college and that's what they made them use. They expanded in other programs but mostly used Quark.
  7. flakes8 macrumors regular


    Sep 17, 2009
    New England
    I'm also into photography. I am going with the $1999.00 MBP so if I need to do some video down the road my MBP should be able to handle it. Also keep in mind of the timing of your purchase so you can qualify for a student discount if you don't already. Good Luck !!!! :apple:
  8. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    if you know nothing about macbooks why are you getting one? If you want to use Photoshop (it's 64-bit on Windows) and Lightroom is cross-platform, so it will work on a PC or mac. I'm not saying I'd get a Windows laptop, I'm saying don't rule them out or choose the mac because you feel you have to.

    I'm sure it's just mandatory that you get a computer. If they require a mac, that's pretty dumb, unless they are requiring Aperture to organize your photos (which would make no sense).
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You need a GOOD monitor. Yes the memory helps and a fast CPU is nice. Not the computer is useless for photography unless it has the screen you want.

    Also you are going to have to keep the bulk of your work some place other then the notebook. It WILL fill up and can not be you main archive. The best setup is to have a desktop conputer to hold the main archive library but you may not be able to do that. You will need some kind of external disk system, likely a RAID box.

    Next plan on buying a set of external hard drives to use as a rotatinf backup. You should have three and keep then in different place, different building. Fire and theft are two big causes of data loss

    After you have a good LC screen that is calibrated with a hardware colorimeter and some backup disks the rest is "just details"
  10. wacomme macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    Get a good monitor

    I agree with Chris. A good external monitor (calibrated) and lots for drive/backup is needed. The laptop itself is fine (portable and great for school), but a home monitor and external drive hookup is important. A Mac is great for photography, so get one when the time arrives.


  11. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Heres what I would recommend: (Speaking from a ton of experience)

    Grab a 15 inch if your living in cramped quarters. Its enough screen real estate to work with for a laptop but still fairly portable. You wont be doing anything color critical for a long time so Id hold off on an external monitor (unless you have room for it).

    For software, usually through university discounts lightroom can be had for $80 - $100. Buy photoshop only if you need it. As far as I see it if your serious about photography developing a good camera raw workflow is super important. Lightroom can do everything photoshop can as far as color correction and exposure control. Most students use photoshop as a crutch to fix mistakes in photos that they should have corrected before snapping the picture.

    I'm not saying dont get photoshop but I think lightroom would be the better way to go if you had to choose only one.

    With the rest of your money get a decent prime. Zooms are versitile when it comes to focal length but a fast prime, 1.8 or wider will give you much more creative options. Saving money for a basic studio lighting package wont hurt either.

    As for backup, Id suggest an external harddrive. Itll be the one of many you will buy when you get further into photography. *Looks at his 45TB worth of drives.*
  12. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    your school should have some recommended specifications somewhere. start with that.

    if you're expected to be able to do some photoediting away from a desk (i.e. on a laptop and on-the-go), a matte display will be the better option. either way, you will need an external monitor with an IPS panel.

    the bulk of your work should be stored externally, so budget for that (hard drives, dvds, whatever). the amount of space you need on your computer depends on how much stuff you keep on it and whether you'll install another OS.

    I would think that your school would cover your software needs, but check that as well.

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