Today’s Question: Which computer do you use in the field? And is it mainly to download and get a quick look at your images or do you do any initial adjustments in Lightroom or Photoshop as well?
Tim’s Quick Answer: When traveling I use a 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop (https://timgrey.me/macbookpro18), both for image download, review, and initial editing, as well as all the other work I need to keep up with along the way. In fact, about ten years or so ago, I switched to using a laptop as my exclusive computer, doing away with my desktop computer.
More Detail: My needs are probably not representative of most photographers, but I do think they are similar to what many photographers might need at least when they are traveling for photography.
I bring a laptop with me on virtually every trip, not because I necessarily need it for managing or processing my photos, but because I need additional utility along the way. For example, even on extended trips I still produce new video content for GreyLearning, continue publishing the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, and more.
While I do need the additional power of a computer for tasks beyond my photography, I still also prefer having a laptop for my photography workflow when on the road. I simply find I prefer the additional features available with a laptop as compared to something like a tablet or portable storage device.
Part of my reasoning for traveling with a laptop is that it enables me to maintain my normal photographic workflow no matter where I am. I travel with a laptop and external hard drives, so I can work with new and old photos along the way. I use Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (https://timgrey.me/creativecloud) as the foundation of my workflow. With my Lightroom catalog stored on the internal hard drive of my laptop, I’m able to work with my photos from virtually anywhere.
While traveling I download my photos into my Lightroom catalog, copying the image files to an external hard drive (and to a backup drive). I then at the very least identify favorite photos along the way, and optimize and share the photos I consider to be my best.
There are obviously other potential solutions, such as to use the cloud-based Lightroom CC to work from a mobile device such as an iPad. But my preference is to travel with a laptop so I have greater utility while traveling.