While most photographers will concentrate on shooting the wedding they’ve been hired for, it can be beneficial to have a computer and other equipment on hand to back up your photos, squeeze in some editing and even make a quick slideshow that can be shown at the event. Aside from the obvious gear and equipment, such as DSLR cameras, lenses, flashes, the wedding photographer may also opt to bring additional equipment to help facilitate the job.
A photographer will use a notebook or laptop as an assistant, to help with on-the-fly editing of photographs that may be used in slideshows or presentations during the event, or as immediate backup for critical shots at the event (no one wants to lose a shot because a memory card failed!). A photographer may also want to use the network-attached laptop to transfer files away from the event for later editing, cutting down on the memory cards they have to carry and the organization of albums. Who wouldn’t want to have the luxury of unlimited storage space to create albums that contain pre-wedding, wedding, and post-wedding shots? A photographer may also want to transfer files to the DJs workstation so that he can incorporate slides into a presentation, or add the appropriate music to the photographer’s slideshow.
A notebook computer could be useful to a photographer to view and back up photos, connect to the Internet and maybe even squeeze in some editing during the event. A popular choice among photographers (as well as assistants who may be responsible for the backup procedure) is the Apple 15.4” MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display. The Retina display boasts an enormous 2880 x 1800 native resolution, which results in more than 5 million pixels. Since the LED-backlit screen is 15.4”, the pixel density is so high that you won’t be able to discern individual pixels. This allows you to see more of your high-resolution images onscreen with pixel-for-pixel accuracy.
The Retina display also reduces glare while maintaining accurate color reproduction. In fact, it has a 29 percent higher contrast ratio than a standard MacBook Pro display, resulting in deeper black levels and vibrant color. The screen also features in-plane switching (IPS) technology so you’ll have a wide 178-degree viewing angle, so colors don’t get washed out at different viewing angles. This comes in especially handy when you want to view your photos with other people, who may not have an optimal viewing angle when you're all gathered around the Retina display.
In order to support the large 2880 x 1800 native resolution, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display comes with a dedicated nVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 discrete memory. There’s also automatic graphics switching to the integrated Intel® HD Graphics 4000 for times you don’t need to use graphics-intensive programs, such as Photoshop or Final Cut Pro. This helps extend battery life as well.
High graphics don’t mean much if you don’t have the processing power to deal with them. Luckily, the Apple 15.4” MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display comes in 2.3 GHz, 2.4 GHz, 2.6 GHz, 2.7 GHz and 2.8 GHz variants of the quad-core Intel® Core™ i7 processor. With Intel® Core™ i7, you’ll experience fast multitasking as well as smooth transitions between applications. You can also choose between 8GB or 16GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L onboard RAM, which makes photo and video rendering quicker and more efficient. For hard drive storage space, you have the option of going with 128GB, 256GB or 768GB of flash storage. While these storage capacities may not be as large as a traditional mechanical hard drive, flash storage is considerably faster and loads your files more quickly.
For Internet access, you can opt to connect with a reliable wired 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet connection. However, most photographers will take advantage of the 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity so they can stay wireless and mobile. There’s also Bluetooth 4.0 technology, so you can connect wirelessly to Bluetooth-compliant peripherals, such as a wireless mouse or speakers. For input and output connectors, there are two Thunderbolt ports (which also double as Mini DisplayPorts), two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port for outputting video to an external display, such as a HDTV. There’s also a SDXC card slot for expanded memory. All MacBook Pro computers with Retina Display run the Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system, which gives you access to the plethora of apps in the Mac App Store.
If you’re more of a Windows person, a great alternative is the ASUS Zenbook UX51VZ-DH71 15.6” Notebook Computer with 8GB Google Nexus 7” Tablet Bundle. First, we’ll start with the computer. The ASUS Zenbook UX51VZ-DH71 has comparable specs to the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It has a quad-core 2.1 GHz Intel® Core™ i7-3612QM processor with 8GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and dual 128GB solid-state drives, for a total of 256GB. The 15.6” LED-backlit display features 1920 x 1080 native resolution, so you can view your photos and videos in Full HD. For Internet access, the Zenbook also uses 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet for a wired connection and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi for fast wireless Internet access. Bluetooth 4.0 technology is also supported. There are three USB 3.0 ports as well as one HDMI port, one mini-VGA port and even a DisplayPort. The Zenbook comes with the Windows 8 operating system installed.
Not only do you get a high-quality notebook computer in the Zenbook, but you also get a Google Nexus 7 8GB 7” Tablet included with the purchase. Its 7” IPS display features 1280 x 800 native resolution and is made with scratch-resistant Corning glass for durability. The Nexus 7 has a quad-core 1.2 GHz nVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and utilizes the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system for touch-enabled controls and a plethora of customizable options.
Since the computers mentioned above use flash storage or solid-state drives, it would be a good idea to get a reliable external hard drive to store all your raw photo and video files. The LaCie 1TB Rugged USB 3.0/Thunderbolt Series Portable External Hard Drive provides a great balance between durability and performance. With 1TB of storage space, you’ll be able to store your raw photo and video files without them taking up space on your notebook computer. It features both a USB 3.0 and a Thunderbolt port for high speed data transfer rates. The unit is bus powered so you don’t have to plug it into a wall socket. The hard drive enclosure is surrounded by a rugged orange bumper that cushions it from falls and impacts. There’s also AES 256-bit encryption, so unauthorized access is prohibited. The LaCie hard drive is both Windows and Mac compatible, but requires reformatting if you’re switching between the two.
The Buffalo 1TB MiniStation Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 Portable Drive is also a great external hard drive alternative. It offers 1TB of storage capacity, features both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces, is Mac and Windows compatible as well as bus powered. The Buffalo MiniStation also comes with included Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables, so you can start storing right out of the box.
While we would all like to abide by the honor system, and hate the idea of anybody walking off with someone else’s belongings at a joyous occasion such as a wedding, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Most notebook computers come with a lock slot designed for a Kensington Lock. Kensington locks vary, depending on whether your laptop computer is a notebook, Ultrabook™ or a netbook.
It anchors your laptop computer to a desk or any other structure and prevents someone from just picking up your computer and absconding with it. As a photographer at an event, you’ll most likely have to leave your gear unattended for long periods of time while you shoot, so the Kensington lock ensures that no one can take your computer, allowing you to focus entirely on your photography.
For more suggestions regarding on-location digital workflow tools and backup solutions, speak with a B&H sales professional in our New York SuperStore, on the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or online via Live Chat.