Computer Configuration for Digital Photography

Do you have the right computer configuration for digital photography?

If you're wondering if you have the right computer configuration for digital photography, look no further.

Basic Computer Configuration for Digital Photography

Figuring out what kind of computer you need to work with digital photography can be confusing. Below you will find information on the types of programs you might want to use as well as the technical capabilities your computer will need to run them.

In you just want to get your pictures off of your digital camera, you will need a minimal amount of computing power. There are a few things you will want to check before plugging your camera into your machine:

  • Does your camera require special software to download its photos? Does your computer meet the minimum requirements for the software?
  • Do you have the proper cable to plug your camera into your computer? Most cameras these days require a cable that has standard USB on one end and Mini USB on the other, but it may differ from model to model. Note: USB is backwards compatible, so you should be able to plug a USB camera into a USB2 port (and vice-versa).
  • Is your camera built to play nice with your operating system? While almost all cameras will work with almost all computer platforms, occasionally you'll run into compatibility problems that will require some patience and tech-savvy to rectify. When shopping for a camera, check ahead of time to make sure the model you want will work with your OS.

Tutorials for Importing

Here is more information about importing your photos using the most common methods:

  • MacWorld has posted a tutorial on how to import your photos using iPhoto in Mac OS X.
  • This short tutorial will show you two different ways to import photos, including how to use ImageCapture to pull photos off your camera in Mac OS X.
  • Here is a tutorial from Microsoft that shows you how to pull the photos off your camera on a Windows computer.

Card Readers

If you are unable to plug your camera directly into your computer, you may still be able to purchase a separate card reader that can read the memory card without it being in the camera. A card reader is a small device that plugs into the USB port of your computer, which you then slide your memory card into. You then access it like an additional drive.

Printing Directly

Did you know that you can print your photos straight from your camera, without using a computer at all? Some digital cameras and photo printers are designed to use PictBridge technology, which lets them talk directly to each other and bypass the computer altogether. Check these links for more information:

Are You a Basic User?

If you have basic computer skills, there are a few great applications you can use to edit your photos.

iPhoto

iPhoto is a Mac OS X program designed to let you organize and edit your photos. It is easy to use and probably came included with your Mac, if you have one. The minimum requirements to run iPhoto 09 are:

  • Processor: Intel, PowerPC G5 or G4 (867MHz or faster)
  • Memory: 512MB is required, but 1GB is recommended. You will need more if you plan on editing large files - consider 2GB or more.
  • Disk space: you will need minimum 4GB available on your hard drive, but in order to store your photos, you might want to have at least a 100GB drive.
  • Operating system: Mac OS X 10.5 or above

Picasa

Picasa is a free photo editing program available for Windows computers. Produced by Google, Picasa is a very robust program that does not require a lot of computing power to run. You will need at least:

  • Processor: 300 MHz Pentium or faster
  • Memory: 256MB of ram is the minimum requirement, but you will want to have at least 1GB if you are editing huge photos.
  • Disk space: 150MB of space for the application itself, and then another good chunk of space for your photos. Consider getting at least a 100GB hard drive if you love to take pictures.
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, or Linux

Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements is a great photo editor for intermediate users. This is a good segue between basic apps like iPhoto and the more advanced editors such as Photoshop.

  • For Windows:
    • Processor: 1.3GHz or faster
    • Memory: 512MB (1GB recommended)
    • Disk space: 1.5GB of hard drive space, plus more to store photos
    • Operating system: Windows XP or Vista
  • For Mac:
    • Processor: Intel or PowerPC G4 or G5
    • Memory: 512MB (1GB recommended)
    • Disk space: 1GB of hard drive space, plus more to store photos
    • Operating system: Mac OS X 10.4 or above

Are You a Power User?

If your computer skills are advanced, you may want a more serious photo editor. Here's what you'll need to run with the big boys.

Photoshop

Photoshop CS4 is the biggest, baddest photo editor out there. If you master Photoshop, you'll be able to find a job as a graphic designer. Here's what you'll need to make this powerhouse run on your computer.

  • For PC:
    • Processor: 1.8GHz or faster
    • Memory: 1GB bare minimum. It is highly recommended that you get at least 2GB if you plan on editing even remotely large files.
    • Disk space: 2GB of free space, and then plenty of space for editing files. Definitely consider getting a 200GB drive or larger if you're serious about using Photoshop to its fullest potential.
    • Operating system: Windows XP or Vista
  • For Mac:
    • Processor: Intel or G5
    • Memory: 1GB bare minimum. It is highly recommended that you get at least 2GB if you plan on editing even remotely large files.
    • Disk space: 2GB of free space, and then lots of room for Photoshop files. You should really consider getting a 200GB drive or larger if you're serious about using this program.
    • Operating system: OS X 10.4 or later
Computer Configuration for Digital Photography