How to Know When it's Time to Upgrade Your Computer for your Photography Business

business tips Feb 07, 2023
best computer for photography business

When you decided to take the jump as a small business owner I bet you weren’t thinking “ohh I’m so excited to be my own I.T. department!”. We think this is a safe bet, because we weren’t thinking it either… yet here we are! 🙃 Today we are talking all about upgrading your computer! Investing in new gear can feel like a complicated relationship… upgrading gear to improve efficiency feels SO good! However, parting with our hard-earned dollars does not! How do we know when it’s the right time? How can you prepare for a big purchase like this? You might know the timing is right but still have no idea what to buy! Here are 3 things to consider when making the best decision for YOUR business! 

  1. Is your computer’s response time significantly slowing you down in your editing and workflows?

    Time is your most valuable resource, and it’s important to treat it that way. The time you spend waiting on your computer is time you could be spending on a different area of your business or even with your family! Not to mention, all the 3-7 second delays can add up to be a real mental weight! We’ve all been there and have seen the dreaded rainbow wheel! If you find yourself getting dizzy more often than not, it might be worth investing in an upgrade!
  2. When was the last time you upgraded your camera or software?
    Technology is constantly improving (ie changing) and this affects our computers greatly. Has Adobe recently released a significant upgrade? Did you purchase a new camera with much larger file sizes than you were previously editing with? Factors like these start to add up and can tip the scale when making an upgrade decision.

  3. Do the finances in your business allow for this purchase?
    Upgrading your gear is going to be a necessity at some point, and it’s important to plan with that fact in mind. We are big believers in only purchasing things you can afford - meaning, we choose to avoid taking out loans to finance our equipment. In order to do this, we recommend keeping a completely separate business savings account that has a set amount of money transferring each month. When the time comes for an upgrade or repair the money is there, ready for this exact purpose - yay!

We both upgraded our computers recently, because we were seeing significant lag time in editing images and videos. In addition to this, Katie upgraded her camera equipment and video sizes were much larger than she was previously editing with. In our personal experience upgrading your computer approximately every 4-5 years seems to be a pattern we are noticing. However, that might change as technology continues to move at record pace.  

When we knew the time was right, we did our research! We spoke to Apple advisors who were also photographers and videographers, so ask if they have a rep working that has experience with what your business does. They will be able to geek out on file sizes and RAM like nobody’s business! Making the decision can feel BIG as you look at those price tags, but we hope you’ll be able to approach the topic with more confidence next time it comes up in your business.

Curious what set up we both purchased? Here's the details!

This specific Mac Studio with the following configuration:
Apple M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
32GB unified memory / 512GB SSD storage

Studio Display
With tilt adjustable stand and standard glass

**Important to note:
To keep my computer in great shape and prevent it from getting bogged down, I don't store anything on my computer and solely work off SSDs. I specifically use these. Although I don't recommend it, if you do store on your computer, you'll likely want to upgrade to a higher internal storage than shown above.

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