Mac Setup: The iMac Studio of a Photographer & Musician
This weeks featured reader setup comes to us from Iain S., who has a great Mac studio for his work in photography and music production. Let’s jump in and learn a bit more about this workstation:
What hardware composes your current Mac setup?
- iMac 27″ (2013 model) with 32GB RAM
- MacBook Pro 17” (2011 model) with 16GB RAM
- 19” Samsung Portrait monitor
- External USB Superdrive
- Apple iPad Keyboard Docking station (original portrait only stand
- Apple Wireless Keyboard
- Apple Magic Trackpad
- Apple Magic Mouse
- Tascam Us-144 mkII
- Zoom H2n Handy Recorder
- Fender Mustang mini
- Fender Mustang III Amplifier
- Fiio Andes DAC
- Sony Micro HiFi System
- Nikon D800 DSLR digital camera
- Hard disks too numerous to mention (I learned about backing up the hard way, more on that later)
What do you use your Apple gear for?
I work mainly on photography, landscapes being my thing. The large screen allows me the space to work at high resolution for larger prints.
As a predominantly live musician the ability to record ideas quickly and mix them down to send to other band members before rehearsals saves so much time explaining and trying ideas.
My job involves timetabling hours in the educational establishment where I work, and having the ability to have an Excel spreadsheet and a calendar open and visible at the same time very often saves what is left of my sanity.
Can you offer some insight into how the Mac and hardware gets used?
I switch from my two main interests Photography and music. The second monitor in portrait orientation is a great place to hold all the different menu bars, mail programmes, etc. If I’m working on photos the side monitor is ideal for Bridge, with Photoshop or Lightroom running on the main monitor. I guess if I start selling more photos I will buy a better monitoring system.
Having the iPad and second monitor is great when recording new song ideas, as the logic control surface allows quick mixing and smooth slider control. As my musical ideas are just notes for development with the full band, my monitoring set up is basic but enough to hear how the mix is working.
My trusty MacBook Pro is an in the field computer that allows me to do work on photographs on visits to more distant locations. It’s also an ideal way of recording vocals in a studio, rather than hiding in a sleeping bag at home because the family are screaming at each other in the background =] (kidding!)
What apps are must-haves? What are some of your essential apps?
Lightroom and Photoshop are a must have. I don’t get into the argument that manipulation is cheating. Having seen the Ansel Adams retrospective with different prints of the same photo. I think we all manipulate.
Logic and Adobe Audition are great ways of recording ideas or spicing up rehearsal recordings. Microsoft Excel and Word are necessary evils, and though I love Pages, the compatibility issues with word still bug me.
Do you have any tips or life hacks you want to share?
My only tips are, that if you have valuable recordings or photo libraries, back up, back up the back up, and back up the back up. I’ve lost too many photos in the past and now am maybe obsessive in the opposite direction.
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