Back in 2007, during our Trip Around The World Trip, we belonged to the very small group of people traveling with a computer (at that time a Sony Vaio 13’’). Now it seems that this exception has turned into the rule…
If you are somehow serious about photography, then you need a computer to download your pictures regularly and to make first selections. Otherwise you get home with several thousands of pictures you have never seen (we made 45.000 during one year!). Sorting out such numbers is a very time-consuming, if not frustrating task.
We now use a 15’’ MacBook Pro with Retina Display to do everything that is linked to pictures & videos (Gilles) and a 13’’ MacBook Air to do the writing part (Heidi). At this point we will not start the discussion Mac versus PC, but yes, in our humble opinion: we will never use a PC again!
Yes, carrying two laptops is not what we call traveling light, but that way we can both spend evenings sorting out the pictures and reflecting the experiences of the day. Since both of us are using a Mac allows to travel with only one charger.
We organize and manage our pictures with Adobe Photoshop LightRoom (currently 5.6) and yes, slightly improve the better photos (white balance, contrast, crop…). But we do not modify or remove anything from our photos!
Now that Apple has abandoned Aperture and that Adobe has strongly reduced the prices for LightRoom (currently 79,9 €), we think that this is by far the best software to select, sort, manage and enhance your pictures. This is also the best and most simple RAW-Workflow on the market. If you do not know how to use Adobe Photoshop LightRoom, think about learning how to use it (check “How About A Photo Class?”)
- Single Database
LightRoom stores your pictures only once, no matter how many times you copy each one in various selections, for instance if you wish several types of output (one in low resolution for your website, and one in high resolution for printing). For each new catalog or each new editing of a picture (virtual copy), Lightroom only creates links to the original data and adds Layers or Filters, as does Photoshop.
Non-Destructive editing in Lightroom or Photoshop allows you to make changes to an image without overwriting the original image data (no matter what you do – crop, resize, enhance), which remains available in case you want to revert your changes. Because Non-Destructive editing doesn’t remove data from an image, the image quality doesn’t degrade when you make edits. You can perform nondestructive editing in Lightroom or Photoshop working with Adjustment Layers. Or Smart Filters.
RAW files are nothing else than the raw sensor data. They need to be further processed to become an actual picture. Lightroom offers one of the most efficient “RAW-Workflow”. This tool interprets and develops means RAW files into an image.
- Selecting pictures
With drag and drop, you can move each picture on your computer and put similar ones next to each other, and finally compare them (with one click). This tool is extremely helpful when selecting pictures that are very similar (like 20 photos of one sunset…).
- Managing pictures
No matter if you work with key words, markings (like stars or colors), selections of pictures, galleries, LightRoom enables you to manage your pictures extremely efficiently.
- Optimize your pictures
This does not have to be rocket sciences. Most of the time, a few clicks will immensely improve the final result (crop, white balance, contrasts…). In our opinion, when using Lightroom you very seldom need Photoshop… And it is much easier to use!
- Manage & optimize your videos
Lightroom not only allows you to manage your pictures, but also your videos. A new feature allows improving your videos, the very same way you improve your pictures…
True, LightRoom is quite a complex program and seems difficult to use in the beginning. You need to invest some time in order to learn how to select, manage and improve your photos. But it will save you a lot of time later, while on the road.
We travel with two 2.5’’ USB External Hard Drives with 2 TB capacity to storage our pictures. Those are very light, robust and much cheaper than the very large internal storages, especially considering that our Macs now work on SSD memory cards.