Essentials to a complete setup? (advanced, pros, knowledgeable people?)

dcmoody23

TPF Noob!
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
316
Reaction score
0
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I'm wondering what it takes to have a good, complete setup from start to finish assuming that you already have a camera, lenses, CF card, and lighting.

I know that isn't totally clear, so what I mean is in terms of computer, editing software, and whatever else you have.. I'm currently thinking about getting:
- a refurbished Macbook pro
- photoshop CS5
- light room
- a harddrive
- a website (haven't done my research, but Smug Mug looks good to me)

Is this good? or should I get something else, or is there more I should be looking into?

EDIT: I don't have a budget, but I like keeping costs low as I can.
& I'm going to try and start establishing myself as a photographer (in progress) if that changes your recommendations to me.

Thanks in advance.
 
I would look into a software application called Viveza, from Nik Software, as a way to do easy, custom alterations and adjustments without the need to learn how to do more complicated operations in Photoshop. It would really allow you to adjust your photos better than either CS5 or Lightroom, without a lot of experience.

And a Macbook Pro? Sorry, but I do not think any laptop computer is a good editing platform.
 
How about an iMac? Is that my best bet? or should I look into some windows stuff too? Like an HP or a dell or something like that?
 
I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with my learned colleague here. Viveza is a great application (as indeed are all of the NiK plug-ins IMO) BUT I don't believe that it should be considered as a replacement for a more full-featured application such as Photoshop, and DEFINITELY not a for a robust RAW handler.

It's definitely the tool to use for a slew of basic editing, but there are many times when the power of a Lightroom/CS5-like application is essential.

I also believe that it's beneficial to at least understand the basics of how editing applications work.
 
LR3 or Aperture, CS5 or Elements if you want to keep cost down and are not doing much image manipulation.

No to laptops for editing. Without starting a Mac vs PC was, I dont think Apples are a must, but they are the cool and trendy thing to get. They do a great job, dont get me wrong, but if you decide to get one, get it because you need it. I run LR3, CS5 and all that on my Windows 7 machine just fine

A web presence is a must. That can be in many different ways and depends on how you want to market yourself and how comitted to updates you are. Twitter, blog, wordpress, facebook fan page, personal web page, smugmug,... all are great tools but its how you use the ones you chose that matter.

No point doing twitter if you dont use it or having a blog that you update once a year, ya know?

If you are asking because you want to turn pro, then seriously consider (if you havent already) the knowledge you need to run a business. Keeping books, marketing plan, business plan,...more important imo than Mac vs PC.

You can also read up on social marketing to get an idea of how to market yourself using social media
 
Viveza is an add-on to Photoshop...you will want to own Photoshop AND Viveza. You would do the majority of your RAW file editing in Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom, but for the fine-tuning and finalizing of specific photos, you would use Viveza to do things that might take you two years to learn how to do using Photoshop's masking and quick masking efforts; the folks at Nik Software invented some things that Adobe has only been able to approximate, due to intellectual property issues. But definitely, you will want/need a full version of Photoshop and or Lightroom, plus Viveza.

As for the iMac...I am not sure what the screens are like on the current iMac models...I use the Apple Cinema Display as my monitor, and run it off of a tower computer...some people really dislike the super-glossy screens for editing, and I would tend to agree that the really glossy screens don not look quite right to me...
 
If you must have an apple, avoid laptops, go with a mac mini that has the most RAM available. Get a good monitor, tool for calibration, CS5 , and eventually some external drives. This would also make for a tidy and clean setup that isnt all cluttered. Get those extrenal drives that sit up likes books on a shelf.
 
.....I'm going to try and start establishing myself as a photographer (in progress) if that changes your recommendations to me......
Then bigtwinky offers some valuable advice.

I would add that even if you wind up just an avid amateur, you need to approach understanding and implimenting a sound, Digital Asset Management (DAM) plan.

A good DAM plan will:
  • aid productivity
  • add value to your image catalog
  • enhance the longevity of your work
  • and will make it easier for you to move and/or change the format of all your files, because your chosen storage media, OS, or file format have become obsolete.
Fortunately, there is a good single source that can help guide you:

Amazon.com: The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers (9780596523572): Peter Krogh: Books
 
The word "Mac" in does not match any kind of setup with the word "Pro" in it. But that's besides the point.

Depends the kind of shooting you wanna do, but I'd say a few flash units with wireless triggers, powerful lights, background cloth with a stand, PS5 / onone tools, latop and a business card.
 
Thanks for the replies guys. I apologize, i don't mean to begin a war here over Mac vs. Windows, but it just seems to me like the world is in the midst of a switchover (slight exaggeration), and I just wanted to see who would put their $.02 in. It seems to me like everyone who is serious has a mac these days, but clearly I'm wrong about that. It'll be a long term investment, and it'll definitely be a desktop after reading from this.
As for myself: I have plans, and none of them have to do with being a professional photographer.. It's just something I love to do.. I was an avid artist looking to add some spice to my portfolio when I bought my camera, but now I've decided against spending the time on a portfolio and look to just do photography on the side, as an amateur, throughout my life... Now that you've heard my life story (my apologies) you'll understand that I don't need the cream of the crop everything from A-Z, but rather to pick and choose my strong points in terms of the essentials. I want to be able to sell my work and produce great stuff.. I just want something that I can use to enhance my work, and get a monitor that's calibrated, fast, and can hold having a few photo editors on it..
 
Get Lightroom 3. It will cover most of your editing needs. And I would get a laptop and a monitor (calibrated of course).
 
Viveza is an add-on to Photoshop...you will want to own Photoshop AND Viveza. You would do the majority of your RAW file editing in Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom, but for the fine-tuning and finalizing of specific photos, you would use Viveza to do things that might take you two years to learn how to do using Photoshop's masking and quick masking efforts; the folks at Nik Software invented some things that Adobe has only been able to approximate, due to intellectual property issues. But definitely, you will want/need a full version of Photoshop and or Lightroom, plus Viveza.

I use LR3 and do not use Photoshop at this time. Although I will say I have some images where I could use Photoshop to move some stuff around, like wires, tree branches, etc...

However I do use NIK products. They are intuitive and easy to learn - but may take some time to master. One of the nice features of NIK products (and LR3) is that there are no layers to worry about as you BEGIN your learning process.
Once I have learned more of the software I have, I will then start my learning with Photoshop. One thing at time, it is very easy to become overwhelmed. ;)
 
Viveza is an add-on to Photoshop...you will want to own Photoshop AND Viveza. You would do the majority of your RAW file editing in Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom, but for the fine-tuning and finalizing of specific photos, you would use Viveza to do things that might take you two years to learn how to do using Photoshop's masking and quick masking efforts; the folks at Nik Software invented some things that Adobe has only been able to approximate, due to intellectual property issues. But definitely, you will want/need a full version of Photoshop and or Lightroom, plus Viveza.

As for the iMac...I am not sure what the screens are like on the current iMac models...I use the Apple Cinema Display as my monitor, and run it off of a tower computer...some people really dislike the super-glossy screens for editing, and I would tend to agree that the really glossy screens don not look quite right to me...



I am using iMac for all of my editing, and the screen hasn't been a problem... The resolution is great, and the screen is big enough that I can see any flaws that require attention. P.S. I'm jealous of your big cinema display... I was saving up for a Mac Pro, and got impatient... hahahaha no regrets though, I still have a fine piece of equipment that suits all of my needs more than enough.
 
Get a good monitor, tool for calibration, .

:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

I use a Dell tower (XPS 8100) running an i7 -860, but I think your choice of apple vs. PC is immaterial. Just get the fastest you can afford with plenty of RAM (I have 8 GB). Laptops work well (I have a Dell Latitude), BUT you should not expect to use the on-board monitor. Plan on getting a good monitor to go with either your tower or laptop. You will get a lot more computer for your money in a tower than in a laptop. Remember that you are going to want to backup your files and need at least one outboard disk drive in addition to the onboard HD. Many will suggest you keep multiple copies in multiple locations (not a bad idea).

The best monitors for image editing are IPS panels, but they are more expensive than your typical TN panel. My Dell 2209WA is about the least expensive IPS panel out there and costs ~$300. I calibrate it with a Spyder3

I use LR3 and CS5, but you can do a lot with LR3 alone. I would recommend learning that first and getting CS5 if you find you are outgrowing the editing capibilities of LR3.

I would strongly recommend checking Dell's factory outlet website. They don't publicize it, but you can get great deals on scratch/dent or refurb computers and monitors (I got mine for about $750). Just type "outlet store" in the search box on dell.com.
 
Last edited:
Get a good monitor, tool for calibration, .

:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

I use a Dell tower (XPS 8100) running an i7 -860, but I think your choice of apple vs. PC is immaterial. Just get the fastest you can afford with plenty of RAM (I have 8 GB). Laptops work well (I have a Dell Latitude), BUT you should not expect to use the on-board monitor. Plan on getting a good monitor to go with either your tower or laptop. You will get a lot more computer for your money in a tower than in a laptop. Remember that you are going to want to backup your files and need at least one outboard disk drive in addition to the onboard HD. Many will suggest you keep multiple copies in multiple locations (not a bad idea).

The best monitors for image editing are IPS panels, but they are more expensive than your typical TN panel. My Dell 2209WA is about the least expensive IPS panel out there and costs ~$300. I calibrate it with a Spyder3

I use LR3 and CS5, but you can do a lot with LR3 alone. I would recommend learning that first and getting CS5 if you find you are outgrowing the editing capibilities of LR3.

I would strongly recommend checking Dell's factory outlet website. They don't publicize it, but you can get great deals on scratch/dent or refurb computers and monitors (I got mine for about $750). Just type "outlet store" in the search box on dell.com.

I was actually looking at Dell's website just recently, and I'm like 99% sure that they actually do have a tab for the outlet store now, although I haven't looked yet.. HP has a few products that I really like -- How can I calibrate it if I buy one? I think at this point that I'm going to either wait a while OR spend about $1200-$1500 on a computer, with your help here :p, and probably light room, and a heavy look into the NIK software.. Photoshop will most likely wait, although if I buy it as a senior in high school (which I am currently) I get it for just $200.. I don't know. lots of thinking, lots of planning is coming my way.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Back
Top