Find the Best Laptop For Photo Editing

Whether you are a professional photographer or just an amateur that loves getting each and every one of your shots “picture perfect”, finding the best laptop for photo editing is mission critical – but isn’t quite as easy as it probably could or should be.

Just want a quick overview of the best laptops? Click here to find the best one in a second!

There are a couple of reasons this is true.

For starters, the overwhelming majority of “professional” photography operations don’t use laptops to handle their photo editing in the first place. They used gigantic desktops with superpowered processors, incredible graphics cards, and more memory than anyone would know what to do with – the kinds of machines that effortlessly cost at least $5000 and sometimes a lot more than that.

On the other hand, most solo photographers or amateurs simply aren’t going to be looking for that kind of dedicated system, but instead the best laptop for photo editing that also allows them to play their favorite games, jump on social media, handle they are email, and update their website.

Most people are looking for a more multipurpose type of machine then dedicated professional photography operations, and hopefully that’s exactly what we’re going to be able to help you get your hands on. If you’d rather game on your laptop, check out this review: Best Gaming Laptops

This quick guide is dedicated to breaking down the best laptops for photography, the best laptops for graphic design, and the best laptops to help you pull off the kind of photo editing tasks that you’re looking to handle on a regular basis.

Not only are we going to point you in the right direction as far as what to look for in the best laptop for photo editing is concerned, but were also going to break down three of the top contenders to help you get an idea of the best options out there.

Shall we dive right in?


Let’s get right to it!

The important things to look for in a new laptop for photo editing

As mentioned above, there are going to be a bunch of different things that you’ll want to look into when you are looking for a new laptop to handle your photography, but there are about five things that are the absolute MOST important features you need to really zero in on.

They are:

  • Screen size and resolution
  • Graphics card technology
  • Onboard storage and expandable storage
  • The processor
  • The memory
  • More features at: Best Monitor For Photo Editing

You really need to make sure that your new laptop is “flush” in all five categories, or you’re going to have a much more difficult time editing your photos and you would have otherwise.

Thankfully, the best laptops for photography aren’t anywhere near as expensive as they used to be in the past, and it’s really not all that hard to find a relatively inexpensive laptop that fills out all five categories we broke down above.

Let’s get a little bit more in depth into these categories before we jump into three of the best laptops for photographers on the market today.

Screen size and resolution

It’s going to be absolutely impossible to edit photos effortlessly on a laptop that has a screen size any smaller than about 13 inches – but ideally you’re going to want to look for a screen that is in the neighborhood of 15 inches.

13 inch screens – high resolution screens, anyway – aren’t going to be all that bad but 15 inches really hits that sweet spot between real estate on the screen itself and maximum portability. If you’re able to get an ultrahigh definition screen or a retina screen, something with sky high resolution numbers, you’re definitely going to be in a better position and will find it effortless to edit your photos on-the-fly.

Of course, the odds are pretty good that you’ll want to get your hands on a secondary monitor (one in the neighborhood of 27 inches or so) to edit your photographs on when you’re home. Some of the best gaming monitors make for some of the best photo editing monitors – So check out some of the inside information we have on them right here!

Graphics card technology

You really have two different options when you’re looking to buy the best laptop for photography when it comes to graphics cards – integrated graphics cards that are built right into the processor itself (usually available from Intel or AMD) or a dedicated graphics card and a discrete graphics card like those from Nvidia and AMD.

A discrete graphics card is always going to be the better option – but it’s going to be more expensive and cause a little bit more heat. Still, it’s well worth the extra cost.

Storage space

Your new laptop for photography absolutely MUST come with the biggest solid-state hard drive available as its onboard storage option. We are talking about 5 GB to one full terabyte – as a photographer and you’re going to need the space AND the speed.

You’ll also want to look into external storage solutions in the 1 to 4 TB neighborhood, and those that connect using Thunderbolt or Lightning ports are going to be the best of the bunch.

Your processor

New processors are absolutely incredible, in that they offer a tremendous amount of speed, a ridiculous amount of power, and a lot of utility in a ridiculously small footprint without consuming a bunch of power or generating a lot of heat.

The faster your processor, the faster you’re going to be able to handle edits – especially if you’re batching your edits on the fly. Intel makes the best processors on the block, though AMD chips aren’t all that bad and only a little bit slower (not to mention much cheaper).

Your memory

Anything less than 8 GB of RAM is going to be almost useless for you – but anything over 16 GB of RAM is going to be almost as useless.

Most computers today, and especially high-end laptops designed specifically for photo editing, just aren’t all that memory hungry – though they are going to require a pretty decent amount for effortless operation. Shoot for 8 GB of RAM at least, but realized that paying for anything over 16 GB of RAM is going to be close to flushing money right down the toilet.

Modern machines just don’t use that much RAM quite yet.

Now that we’ve knocked all of that out of the park, how about diving into the best laptops for photographers on the market right now?

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display

best laptop for photo editing

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Apple has always been a company dedicated to making sure that the creative industry has the kinds of tools they need to get the job done, and for years and years the MacBook Pro has been the “fan favorite” of professional photographers, graphic designers, and creative professionals all over the world.

The new 15 inch MacBook Pro is lightning fast, has a stunning high-definition retina display, and packs in up to 16 GB of RAM with a solid-state hard drive to give you all of the speed and storage you need.

Combine that with the stunning aesthetics that Apple products always have, and you’re talking about something special here!


  • Blazingly fast
  • Gorgeous Retina high-definition display
  • Top-notch construction and build quality


  • The most expensive of the bunch
  • Hardware isn’t quite as top-notch as other (cheaper) options
  • Some aren’t crazy about the Apple operating system

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Dell XPS 15

best laptop for graphic design

Check out price and availability here!



Dell is making a major comeback in the world of technology these days, ever since Michael Dell bought back his company.

The new Dell XPS 15 is absolutely gorgeous (not only in the industrial design, but also as far as the 15.6 inch Q HD+ screen is concerned), but also ridiculously fast using the latest Intel Core processors.

You’ll be able to completely customize this Dell laptop just like every other Dell that’s ever been produced, giving you the opportunity to really fine tune this machine to create the best laptop for graphic design or photography on the market today.


  • Customization options are off the charts
  • Leverages advanced Intel Core brand processing power
  • Won’t threaten to break your bank account


  • Some have complained about overheating
  • Doesn’t have the same premium feel Apple or Microsoft products do
  • Some are still concerned about Dell long term durability

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3



best laptop for photography

Check out price and availability here!



Microsoft absolutely kicked the door in and took over the place when they released the first Microsoft Surface, and the new Pro line of Microsoft products is even better than that.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (and the brand-new Microsoft Surface Pro 4/Book) rival Apple when it comes to industrial design as far as fit, finish, and overall polish is concerned, with internals that are the best on the block.

You’ll be taking advantage of the newest Intel Core processors (i3, i5, i7 processors), advanced solid-state hard drive technology, onboard RAM, and Windows 10 – the most advanced operating system Microsoft has ever rolled out and certainly the most impressive.

This just might be the very best laptop for photo editing, and may even be the best laptop on the planet today!


  • Designed specifically to integrate with Windows 10
  • Converts effortlessly from a laptop to a tablet and then back again
  • Maybe the most powerful laptop available right now


  • Definitely not the least expensive option available
  • The screen size is a little bit small
  • Using the built-in pen technology takes a bit of time to get used to

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