Last updated on July 19th, 2023
In today’s age of digital photography, the process doesn’t end after the shutter button is clicked.
There are matters like digital image filing management, cropping, editing, converting RAW photos, and creating backups to take care of. And all these require a laptop that is powerful and fast enough.
And regarding image-editing software, Photographers need the best laptops for Lightroom and Photoshop to take advantage of their tools.
A photographer will also need to consider factors like color accuracy and screen resolution.
Even storage space and battery become a priority when you need to process large RAW files and 4K videos while on the move.
We’ve reviewed the top laptops for Lightroom and Photoshop while weeding out the worst. These image-editing laptops start at affordable prices. However, the best does come at a premium.
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Related: Best Cloud Storage for Photos
Best Laptops for Lightroom & Photoshop |Photo-Editing Buying Guide
The operating system refers to the platform your laptop will run, using which you will be carrying out your daily tasks. There are two major OS options you can choose from:
We are all familiar with Windows — the most commonly used system for almost every home and office computer.
The most significant advantage is that it is built-in even in cheaper laptops, which means you have more options available. And because it is so commonly used, almost every photography program is designed specifically for Windows.
The only downside is that Windows comes pre-loaded with some redundant apps and bloatware, and without frequent cleaning, it has the tendency to slow down.
Exclusively made for Apple computers, macOS is a bit more refined and fast when compared to Windows. It’s also more secure, making it less susceptible to viruses and bloatware.
However, because macOS is tightly wound around Apple products, it comes with a learning curve if you haven’t used them before and a significant price tag.
This one is purely dependent on your personal preference. You can get a conventional ‘clamshell’ laptop with just a screen and a keyboard, or you can upgrade to a 2-in-1 design where the keyboard can be bent over or detached for a ‘tablet’ mode. Unless you really need a hybrid touchscreen model, a clamshell laptop at a similar price will offer more features.
You would want to find a perfect balance between a large display and portability. A laptop with a screen size of 11 or 12 inches is good if you need to travel light and work on trains or flights, but a 14 or 15-inch screen is better to view photos.
Next, you should consider the display type and resolution. Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080p is the bare minimum, although you can try to stretch for 2560 x 1600 or even 4K. Also, look out for an sRGB color rating of 100%, at least 400 nits of brightness, and Delta E < 1 color accuracy.
CPU and GPU
CPU refers to the ‘central processing unit’ of a computer. As the name suggests, it is pretty vital. For editing photos occasionally, an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor or the AMD Ryzen 5 is good enough, offering an outstanding balance between power and price.
An Intel i7, i9, or AMD Ryzen 7 would be advisable for gamers and photo editors who work with large files. Remember that the more powerful the processor, the higher the price and the lower the battery life.
All laptops have a built-in ‘graphics processing unit’ already. But an independent graphics card is essential for editing RAW photos and videos. Most laptops with a ‘dedicated’ GPU use an NVIDIA graphic card — like the GeForce RTX — or an AMD Radeon.
While the CPU and GPU do their work, they need to store their data somewhere. And this ‘memory’ space is called RAM. To run multiple applications simultaneously or edit high-resolution photos, you should choose a laptop with at least 8GB (16GB best value, 32GB optimal) of RAM, preferably with ‘DDR4’ next to it. Anything below is suitable only for web browsing and watching movies.
Photos take up a lot of space, especially RAW files. So, a storage space of at least 1TB is a must. Try to get one with a ‘solid-state drive’ or SSD. These types of hard drives are faster and lighter, although a bit more expensive.
If that isn’t possible, get an external hard drive or cloud storage. Make sure you set some money aside for getting a subscription to a cloud storage service.
Best Photo-Editing Laptops for Photographers
1. MacBook Pro 16.2″ 2023
Best Overall Laptop for Lightroom and Photoshop Editing
- SUPERCHARGED BY M2 PRO OR M2 MAX — Take on demanding projects with the M2 Pro or M2 Max chip. M2 Pro has 12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores, and up to 32GB unified memory. M2 Max has 12 CPU cores, up to 38…
An alternate choice for portability and travel photography: MacBook Pro 14″
For professional photographers, having a reliable laptop is a must. It needs to be fast, powerful, and capable of handling massive files smoothly.
There are many options, but the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro stands out with its impressive specs and features.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro boasts an impressive 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. It also has 16GB unified memory and up to 96GB, as well as 512GB SSD storage, upgradable to 8TB. These specs make it possible to edit large RAW files smoothly and efficiently.
With a 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display², the MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro has one of the best displays in the market.
The display has a resolution of 3072×1920 pixels, which means you can see every detail of your images. It also supports the P3 color gamut, which means you can see colors more accurately.
Thunderbolt 4 Ports and More
The MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro has three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, a headphone jack, and a new MagSafe 3 port.
These ports make it possible to connect external hard drives, monitors, and other peripherals simultaneously, making editing workflow more efficient.
Fast Photoshop Filters and 3D Editing
With its impressive 19-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine, Photoshop filters are processed quickly, making editing a breeze.
Additionally, the MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro can also manage 3D editing in Adobe Premiere Pro, which means you can create stunning motion graphics and visual effects faster.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro has a massive 100Wh battery that provides up to 11 hours of battery life, so you can edit your photos and videos without worrying about running out of battery. It also charges quickly, thanks to the 96W USB-C power adapter.
The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro is the perfect laptop for professional photographers who need a reliable, fast, and efficient editing machine. With its impressive specs, high-quality display, Thunderbolt 4 ports, fast Photoshop filters, 3D editing capabilities, and long-lasting battery, it has everything you need to edit your photos and videos smoothly and efficiently.
If you are a professional photographer looking for the best laptop for Lightroom and Photoshop, the MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Pro is the way to go.
- Excellent performance
- Large display with highly accurate colors
- Excellent battery life that will last the whole day
- SD card reader
- HDMI port for external display
- Not suitable for people who often travel, due to its weight
2. Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″
Best Lightroom and Photoshop Laptop for Artists
- The most powerful Surface Laptop. Quad-core powered 11th Gen Intel Core H Series processors handle your most complex workloads.Control method:touch
Whether you’re retouching photographs or editing using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, the tools you use are critical to your success.
With the many available options, knowing which is the most efficient and effective for editing is challenging.
Undoubtedly, the Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″ is a game-changer for photographers and artists looking for a device that provides high performance and flexibility in one.
Intel Core i7 and Dedicated RTX 3050 Ti GPU
One of the major highlights of the Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″ is its Intel Core i7 processor, which delivers exceptional speed and handling for photo editing applications.
Moreover, with a dedicated RTX 3050 Ti GPU, the laptop provides efficient and fast graphics rendering, producing crisp visuals that are perfect for editing photographs and creating digital art.
32GB RAM and 1TB SSD Storage
The Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″ boasts a massive 32GB RAM that provides a smooth workflow for editing and multitasking with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Additionally, 1TB SSD storage ensures that you don’t run out of space, allowing you to store many photographs and digital artwork without compromising the laptop’s performance.
PixelSense Flow Touch Display with True-to-life Color and Contrast
The Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″ also features a stunning 14.4” PixelSense Flow touch display that’s ideal for visual editing. With a resolution of 2400×1600, you’ll enjoy uniform, true-to-life color, and contrast, which is essential when editing photographs.
Furthermore, the large display size provides ample space to work with multiple applications simultaneously or have more extensive previews of your work as you edit.
Windows 11 Home
Another aspect that makes this laptop the best device for photographers and artists is its operating system. The device comes with the latest Windows 11 Home, designed to provide a sleek and modern interface for an efficient workflow.
With Windows 11, the device can quickly optimize the performance of Lightroom and Photoshop, making it ideal for demanding photo editing tasks.
The Studio 14.4″ is a creative tool that matches the MacBook Pro in most respects. The 14.4″ touch display is great, and when paired with the Surface stylus, the setup becomes excellent for brushing in Lightroom, graphic art in Photoshop, and vectors in Illustrator.
- Great performance, especially from the model with the NVIDIA GPU
- Stylish design with a tablet mode
- Windows apps and the stylus make editing and creating documents and presentations easy
- Poor battery life
3. MacBook Air 15.3″ 2023
Best Budget Laptop for Lightroom and Photoshop
- IMPRESSIVELY BIG, IMPOSSIBLY THIN — The 15-inch MacBook Air makes room for more of what you love with a spacious Liquid Retina display. The durable 100 percent recycled aluminum enclosure is strikingly thin and light.
Finding a budget-friendly laptop that meets your requirements can be challenging. That’s where the MacBook Air 15.3″ comes in.
Powerful M2 Chip
The MacBook Air 15.3″ is supercharged by the M2 chip, which can easily handle most Photoshop tasks. Whether you’re retouching portraits or editing landscapes, the M2 chip ensures your laptop runs smoothly.
Moreover, the M2 chip has improved on the already fantastic speed of the MacBook series, making multitasking a breeze.
Large Liquid Retina Display with True Tone
The MacBook Air 15.3″ boasts a 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone technology. The True Tone technology automatically adjusts your screen’s color temperature based on the ambient light, ensuring that your images always appear accurate.
Additionally, the large screen size allows you to see your images in excellent detail, making it easier to address issues with your photos.
RAM and Storage
The MacBook Air 15.3″ comes with 8GB of RAM, which is upgradable to 24GB. 16GB is recommended.
While 8GB might not sound like much, it’s enough for most photo editing tasks, and upgrading the RAM is relatively straightforward.
Moreover, the laptop comes with a solid-state drive (SSD) that ranges from 256GB up to 2TB, with 512GB being the recommended minimum.
Having an SSD ensures that your laptop can efficiently access your files, even when they have multiple layers and are significant.
One of the best things about the MacBook Air 15.3″ is its portability. Weighing just 3.3 pounds, this laptop can easily fit into your backpack or handbag, making it perfect for photographers on the go.
Additionally, its battery can last up to 18 hours, allowing you to edit your photos even when there’s no power source around.
When you’re a professional photographer, having a reliable laptop is integral to your work. The MacBook Air 15.3″, with its powerful M2 chip, large Liquid Retina display with True Tone, upgradeable RAM, SSD, and portability, is an excellent choice for photographers on a budget.
- Affordable laptop for Lightroom and Photoshop
- The M2 processor alone matches most Intel + NVIDIA setups of Windows laptops
- Great build quality
- Long-lasting battery
- No SD card slot
4. Asus ProArt Studiobook Pro 16″
For demanding users who are more concerned with functionality than design, the Asus Studiobook 16″ is a no-frills choice.
The 16-inch OLED HDR display with 4K resolution is beautiful, and the 16:10 aspect ratio makes it feel more immersive and vibrant than the MacBook. It’s fully certified with a Delta E accuracy of less than 1 and 100% DCI-P3 color accuracy.
The most expensive version comes with an Intel Xeon CPU and an Nvidia RTX A5000 GPU, with a RAM of 64GB DDR4. You also get a 4TB SSD, 2 USB-C ports, 2 USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader.
Unless you really need all this juice, you can even step down to a mid-level model with Intel i7, RTX 3060 GPU, 32 GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. It’ll handle any photographer’s image-editing app’s workload and save you some money.
The Studiobook 16’s keypad also has a special dial, designed to be used with Adobe apps like Photoshop. Pressing and rotating the dial brings up various options like brightness control, brush options, layers, zoom, etc. And if you change applications, the functions offered by the dial change too.
- One of the best laptop displays ever
- Asus dial provides useful shortcuts across many applications
- Top of the line Intel processor and A5000 GPU gives great performance, including during heavy gaming
- Not very sleek or portable
- The body design is not unique or stylish
5. Surface Book 3 13.5″
Another convertible laptop, the Surface Book’s display, is detachable, essentially making it a tablet with a separate keyboard.
The 13.5-inch screen is nice and compact, offering a resolution of 3000 x 2000 and Microsoft’s own PixelSense display for accurate colors. If you want more real estate, you may consider the 15-inch version.
You can choose between i5 and i7 here. With the i5, you only get an integrated Intel Iris Plus GPU, while the i7 comes along with a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650. The RAM options are 8, 16, or 32GB DDR4. Although i5 is good enough for average users, photographers and content creators will want to stick with the i7 setup.
You can consider the Surface Book 3 as a toned-down and portable version of the Surface Studio, with a much better all-day battery life. But you can still take advantage of the stylus and use the laptop for photo-editing software like Capture One.
- Detaching the keyboard gives you a complete tablet
- Great battery life
- The i7 processor with Nvidia GPU is a good combination for photo and video editing
- Screen hinge feels wobbly and insecure for using it on the lap.
- Features feel outdated at this price point
6. HP Spectre 360 16″
If you want both a large screen and the versatility of a tablet, the convertible HP Spectre 360 is a good choice. The base model has a screen resolution of 3072 x 1920, an Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage.
If you edit many videos or want a casual gaming experience, this can be bumped up to an OLED screen, an added Nvidia RTX graphics card, and a 1TB SSD.
The 16-inch screen is excellent, with rounded corners, a very narrow bezel, and 100% sRGB supported. The laptop also has an HP Display Control app that allows you to apply color profiles and optimize colors for photo editing and printing. And once you flip it back for ‘tablet’ mode, it becomes an excellent screen for Netflix.
If you do not plan on often carrying around your laptop, the Spectre 360 is a good alternative to the Asus StudioBook for photographers.
- Large, detailed 16-inch touchscreen
- The high-end version boasts of excellent i7 and Nvidia RTX processors
- Body design is great, and feels very durable
- The 16-inch screen drains battery quite quickly
- Not really portable
7. Dell XPS 15 9510
The Dell XPS 15 9510 is a winning combination of laptop portability and power for photography, with a 15.6-inch, 16:10 screen that has almost no bezel. The laptop comes in various competent configurations: an i7 or i9, with an option to choose between 16, 32, or 64GB RAM and 1 or 2TB of storage.
And the common Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU makes this laptop gaming ready, too, although there may be an occasional stutter.
These details aside, the XPS 15 also offers an OLED touchscreen display option. Its 3.5K resolution is sharp, and the colors will pop when editing photos and watching movies.
Needless to say, Dell has hit the mark perfectly in the category of ‘large ultraportable’ laptops. And if you like to travel or are often mobile, this is one of the best laptops for photo editing.
- 15-inch screen with almost no bezel
- The i9 version with 32GB RAM and Nvidia GPU makes for a smooth experience
- Very compact considering the powerful internals and size
- OLED screen reduces battery life
Choosing the best photo-editing laptop is complicated, with new models coming out every month with complex features.
But when you know that your primary purpose is going to be photo and video editing and content creation, you can prioritize a few specs like display and color quality, graphics card, RAM, and storage.
For most photographers, a mid-range model like the MacBook Air or Surface Book 3 will be more than sufficient. However, if you need a workhorse that can regularly handle RAW files and videos, you may want to consider laptops like the MacBook Pro 16″ or Dell XPS 15.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which laptop is best for photo editing?
The 2023 MacBook Pro 16″ is the best laptop for photo editing. It is equipped with a powerful 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, up to 64GB of RAM, and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics card. This makes it suitable for intensive photo editing tasks such as HDR photography or 3D rendering. It also has the highest color accuracy out of any laptop on the market, making it perfect for photographers who need accurate color representation in their work. Additionally, this laptop comes with 4 USB-C ports, allowing you to easily connect to external storage solutions and peripherals such as monitors and printers. Its bright 16″ Retina Display also allows you to view your photos in crystal clear detail.
The MacBook Pro 16″ is an excellent choice for professional photographers looking for a reliable laptop that can handle intensive photo editing tasks.
What is an affordable laptop for photo editing?
A 15-inch Dell Inspiron is an affordable laptop for photo editing. It has a full HD display, 8th Generation Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB Hard Drive. With its decent processor and 8GB of RAM, it can easily handle photo-editing tasks such as cropping and retouching. The Dell Inspiron also comes with preloaded software that includes Adobe Photoshop Elements for quick editing on the go. Plus, the large 1TB hard drive offers plenty of space to store your photos and edited files. All in all, this laptop is an ideal choice for budget-conscious photographers looking to edit their work on the go.
If you want a laptop with more power and storage capacity, another great option is the HP Envy x360 15z touchscreen laptop. It has a 15.6-inch FHD display, 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD hard drive, and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card with 2GB RAM for faster performance when editing complex images. All of these features make this laptop an excellent choice for photographers who needs more power and storage capacity than the Dell Inspiron provides.
No matter what your budget is, there are many great laptops out there that can meet your photo-editing needs without breaking the bank. Just make sure to consider how much processing power and storage capacity you need so you can find the right laptop that fits your needs and budget. With the right laptop in hand, you’ll be able to take your photos to the next level.
What laptop do most photographers use?
Most professional photographers usually use a Macbook Air or Pro. The Macbook Air offers good portability and a relatively thin design, while the Macbook Pro offers more storage, faster processing power, a larger screen size, and other features that may be useful for photographers.
Both of these laptops offer great battery life and excellent image quality. In addition to this, they come with a range of software options designed specifically for photo editing. Other popular laptops for photography include Dell’s XPS and Precision lines, as well as ASUS’s ZenBook models. These are all top-of-the-line laptops that provide excellent performance in terms of both hardware and software. They also have microSD card slots which means you can easily add extra memory cards for added storage space. No matter what laptop you choose for your photography needs, make sure to research your options and ensure that it meets all of your needs. Ultimately, you want a laptop that offers the speed, reliability, and features that you need to create stunning photos.
What laptops work best with Photoshop?
When looking for a laptop that works best with Photoshop, you should prioritize laptops with high-performance processors and graphics cards. A laptop with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor will provide the power needed to run Photoshop without any lag time. Additionally, a dedicated graphics card will provide better performance when working in 3D or manipulating large files. Some of the most popular laptops for running Photoshop are the Apple MacBook Pro, Dell XPS 15, ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model, and Microsoft Surface Book 2. All of these laptops feature powerful hardware that can handle most tasks that come up in Adobe Photoshop.
Be sure to check out reviews from other users who have experience with the specific model that you’re considering, as some laptop brands may have better performance with Photoshop than others. Additionally, make sure that the laptop has enough RAM and storage to meet your needs – if you plan to work with large files or edit multiple images at once, more RAM may be necessary. Finally, consider the size of the display when shopping for a laptop – larger displays can provide more space to work on projects and make editing easier.
No matter which laptop you choose, it’s important to take into consideration everything from processor speed to display size in order to ensure that your machine is powerful enough to work with Photoshop. With these considerations in mind, you should be able to find a great laptop for running Adobe Photoshop without any problem.
What to look for when buying a laptop for photo editing?
When you’re buying a laptop for photo editing, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, make sure you get a machine with considerable power and performance — a good processor, high RAM capacity, large storage space, and powerful graphics capabilities. At the very least, an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor should be enough to handle most image-editing needs.
For RAM capacity, 8GB is recommended as the minimum, but 16GB is ideal if you want to use more demanding software like Photoshop or Lightroom. For storage space, aim for at least 512GB of SSD (solid-state drive) space—which will be faster than traditional hard drives. And finally, for graphics processing capabilities, look for dedicated graphics cards like the NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 560.
In addition to power and performance, you should also consider other factors such as the laptop’s form factor, portability, and battery life. A larger 15-inch laptop with a full HD display is ideal for photo editing since it will give you more space to work with. If you want something that’s more portable, there are plenty of thin-and-light laptops available with 14-inch displays or smaller. And finally, look for laptops with long battery life to minimize downtime when you’re out and about.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to find a great laptop for your photo editing needs.
What is the best laptop for storing photos?
If you’re looking for the best photo storage laptop, the MacBook Pro 16-inch laptop is the winner. With its 12-core CPU, 38-Core GPU, 32GB Unified Memory, and up to 8TB SSD Storage, the MacBook Pro gives you enough storage space for all your photo needs. The 16-core Neural Engine provides powerful AI processing capabilities, allowing you to work faster with improved accuracy and precision. And for an immersive viewing experience, the laptop’s 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display offers sharp visuals and vivid colors. Whether editing photos or watching a movie, the MacBook Pro will give you a fantastic experience. Plus, you can take this laptop anywhere with its long battery life and fast charging capabilities.