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Modern day photography requires a lot of computer know-how in order to work efficiently with high resolution digital files.

A simple laptop computer is not the ideal tool for efficient image processing with software such as Adobe Photoshop and large files from modern high resolution digital cameras.  Image processing is a very heavy duty task for a computer, and just any old computer isn't necessarily up to the task.

Here are a few tips about setting up your computer for optimised performance during image processing in Photoshop:

1.  Install the maximum possible amount of memory in your computer.  At least 4GB is recommended.

2.  Install a second hard disk drive.  Set up a 40GB partition at the start of that disk to be used as the Photoshop Scratch Disk.  Then divide the rest of the disk into suitably sized partitions for organising your image files.  Imagine that the whole disk is like a filing cabinet, and the partitions you define are like drawers in the cabinet.

3.  Set up the preferences in Photoshop so that the first partition on the second hard disk is the Scratch Disk.

4.  Buy the best possible LCD monitor for your computer.  I recommend high end Eizo LCD monitors.  I currently use a 24" Eizo ColorEdge 243W.  I paid HKD20,000 for it, and it's worth every cent.  Don't use a cheap LCD monitor.  You will never see the accurate colours in a photo on a cheap monitor, and accordingly, you'll get frustrated when you try to print your own photos because the print will never look like what you saw on the LCD screen.

5.  Install a third hard disk drive as the place to store backup copies of the photos that you stored on the second hard disk drive.

6.  Don't back up your photos onto cheap CD-R discs.  Only more expensive CD-R discs with a gold reflective layer can keep the files safe for long periods of time.  I have "normal" CD-R discs on which I stored JPEG files a few years ago, and today, many of the image files cannot be opened.  The data on the CD-R becomes corrupted over time.

7.  Don't use a normal computer mouse.  Long term use of a mouse puts you at risk of wrist injury.  I'm telling you this from personal experience.  I developed a very painful wrist from long term use of a normal mouse.  My troubles went away when I got rid of the mouse and started using a Logitec Marble Mouse trackball.  Now I can use my middle two fingers to just gently and easily roll the trackball around to quickly and accurately place the cursor anywhere in the screen.  No more "claw" syndrome in my right hand or wrist.  No more frustration with the cursor moving erratically when the mouse is moved over inconsistent desk surfaces.  In fact, no desk surface at all is required when you use a trackball!  Try one.  You'll see what I mean.


Copyright 2008 Craig Norris.  All rights reserved.

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