Fstoppers Answers - What Is Your Work Station Set Up?

Fstoppers Answers - What Is Your Work Station Set Up?

Each week, we have a segment called "Fstoppers Answers" where we invite our community to ask our writers a question pertaining to the industry or their workflow. Last week, you asked "Does Not Having The Latest Gear Make You Feel Less Adequate?" and this week, we want to see your workstations for editing photos and video footage.

Ben SassoStaff Writer | Wedding Photographer My work station consists of my necessities:
24-inch IMac
A picture of my awesome wife
Three Moleskine journals (all for different projects)
Headphones (for watching Netflix while I edit)
A stack of some of my favorite books
Usually a cat walking across my keyboard


David BickleyStaff Writer | Fitness Photographer David-Bickley-DeskMy setup has changed a bit in the past few weeks as I've had to add a desktop PC while testing out conceptual applications with the Oculus Rift. Normally there is one iMac with dual monitors, a laptop transferring shots from the day and an open area for sketching or working up ideas in another medium. The microphone is used for voiceover and tutorial videos...and Donkey Kong keeps it all from misbehaving.


Jaron SchneiderFeatures Editor | Commercial Photographer Jaron-DeskI recently moved to a pretty small apartment in San Francisco, meaning I had to forgo the dedicated room I had as an office/studio in my last place (which seems like quite a luxury now). What that really comes down to is the simple fact that I had to slim down. I moved all my photography/video gear into my studio in Soma (downtown) and now use a mix of my iMac and Macbook Pro for editing purposes. The Macbook comes with me to the studio where I have a spare monitor set up, while I keep the iMac for most of my deep-dive editing when I plan to stay seated for long periods of time. Also, I have a sweet clock and I made that lamp.


Noam GalaiStaff Writer | Commercial Photographer Noam-DeskMy workstation set up is far from being nice looking or 'by the book' type of station. Because I live in a tiny New York studio apartment, I had to find a way to create the most functional and comfortable work station for myself, so I placed all my equipment (laptop, screen, hard drives, card readers etc) in one corner of the desk. Nothing fancy, but I find it very comfortable - and I don't need much more than that. As you can see, I placed the 2 screens on top of each other instead of the traditional way of side-by-side. I did it because I feel it makes much more sense. It's much easier and much less annoying to move your head up and down in slight movements, than move it side-to-side like it's a tennis game. The screen on top is a little bigger, but because it's few cm back, they both seem to be the same size (when using the computer, not in the photo). My apartment is not an office, and I dont meet any clients here - so it's not about the look and feel, it's just about pure usability.


Zach SuttonAssociate Editor | Headshot Photographer Zach-Sutton-DeskMy workstation consists of a custom built PC named Vera, with 32GB of RAM, 4GB of GPU, and an Intel i7 3770K processor. I built it a while back as a work computer with video processing in mind. I don't do much of it yet, but I decided it was best to plan ahead for when I start making the transition into more video work. I also work with two Asus 27" IPS monitors, calibrated with a Spyder 4 Pro calibration system. All cluttered, messy and in dire need of a cleaning.


Patrick HallCo-Founder | Wedding Photographer My setup has been the same for nearly 6 years. 2 Dell 24" monitors to help split up webpages, editing, desktop projects. I prefer PC because Macs always seem to want to make decisions for me and I prefer being in charge of my software/hardware if I choose. Dell Alienware with as fast of a processor and RAM as I can afford, and with video the NVIDIA Graphics cards are CRUCIAL for Mercury Playback editing. SSDs obviously and at the moment a Drobo to back everything up (will be leaving this slow system soon).

As always, if you have a question you'd like to ask, feel free to do so in the comments below. And feel free to show off your workstations as well.

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

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Patrick, if not Drobo, what backup systems are you looking at? I need to make a decision soon, and there are too many options… Thanks

The Synology ones are great.

I'm not really sure yet. I've heard good things about Synology. I think I might be building a custom network that works like Drobo but faster. I have the ESATA Drobo but it moves so slowly. Furthermore, I've had my entire system hang I think because it's loading as eSATA instead of something like USB3. Anyone have any suggestions?

I was at Drobo in Norcal for a preview of their new systems a few months ago... They're a LOT faster, now. The Mini is now under $300 on Amazon (way better than the ridiculous $650 they were trying to get for it). But if you want speed...I got a deal on a Promise R4 system. Whatever your space needs, the appropriate system from Promise will be FAST. Thunderbolt, 4 drives (in mine)....I have 16TB with 12TB of useable space. It's a VERY nice backup I can also use for live work when I need to (never an issue). You can use them just fine with a PC or Mac...

I don't know where it stands but I got an Asustor 204TE 2 days ago. its the most full featured thing I could get at that price and it will even serve my portfolio on Wordpress. Take a look at their series, serious power behind the new comer

I personally use Drobo and haven't had a problem. It's fast enough to edit video, photos, and run LR5 through. I'm using a USB 3.0 connection, that does help a lot.

However, I do hear a lot of praise about Synology. I timelapse buddy of mine uses them as a NAS.

In either case, buy the fastest recommended drives and use the fastest connection you have.

Guys, I have to tell you how refreshing it is to see your messy, cable-laden, papers-strewn-everywhere desks. I get so tired of seeing wedding photographers posting behind-the-scenes posts of their office, and everything is white and clean and barren of any sign that there is work being done there. Seriously, thank you - this was refreshing!

Hahaha, Happy to have not cleaned it then :-)

My desk is so messy. My wacom table is buried under papers and cables. And my printer's tray where the paper exits is blocked by more papers, blank dvds, and cereal bowl. It's actually an embarrassment.

My file structure for photos however would make a German proud. It's the total opposite of my desk.

I feel your pain, I just had to dig my way to the keyboard to write this post.

I have a:

3.5 GHz Intel i7 quad core system that I built myself
16 GB of fast DRAM
3 24 inch IPS monitors run off two nvidea cards
7 TB of HDD
1 240 GB SSD used for the boot drive
10 inch drawing tablet

i7 3770k 3.5 GHZ
MITX ASUS z77 mobo
16gb Mushkin 1866MHZ RAM
256gb SSD
4 TB's collectively of HDDS
EVGA GTX 670 2gb GDDR5
and a sexy Bitfenix Prodigy to case it all up!

Some generic 24 inch monitor used as my main screen, and a 19 inch Dell used vertically for webpages, and vertical pictures and such.

It's an incredibly fast system, and a joy to work with, I feel blessed to have a system this powerful, and only being 14 :)

Cheers everyone!

Jaron, my desk looks exactly like yours! Even the MacBook Pro of the same size, on the same side of the main screen and a desk lamp on the other side :D

Great minds Julia, great minds! ;)

Indeed! :)

I know now what I've been missing. I need a plant on my desk. A palm tree! :D

MacBook Pro + La-Z-Boy Couch :/ No mouse, no tablet.. but I have an end table overflowing with backup drives :)



here is look at what I work with :P the twisted monitors helps a lot :P

I think the twisted monitor is a bit too tall. I'm searching for an old 1280 x 1024 monitor to use like this. I just think it would be more to my eye level and easier to see.

Nice. Just posted a shot of my work station in my airstream. Big change going from a desk to being mobile traveling all over the country. the screen is wired through the Airstream's walls to my big tower that runs mac. instagram.com/BrianBraun work station here -> http://instagram.com/p/hNEBhqFzJM/

i7 processor, 32 cores, 48gigs of ddr3 ram

How is it possible to have 32 cores with i7 processors?

Sorry Theodoros, Too much multitasking. 32 gigs of ram. 12 cores. 2 - 512gb ssd's.

No pics but here's mine:

Win7 Pro 64 bit
ASRock X79 Extreme6/GB LGA2011 motherboard
Intel i7-3820 processor
32 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 RAM
Crucial M4 128 GB SSD (for OS)
14 TB of WD HD storage
(2) Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24" monitors
XFX Radeon HD 6670 2 GB video card
Fractal Design Define XL case

i7 Mac Mini with 16Gb RAM, 120Gb SSD + 1Tb HDD + a Dell 27' calibrated monitor. 3x2TB External HDDs on my table, a ShuttlePro V2 to the left og my keyboard for culling and a Wacom tablet for editing on the right. Soundbar under the screen. Thats it I think.

Love seeing all these Asus/Windows machines out there! I rock a G74 with 16 gigs of Ram...works very well for me!

Dual monitor as well. I have 24' Samsung + 23' LG Monitor / TV. Dose anyone have an ultra wide screen, like 2560 x 1080 ? They look much more comfortable to use with windows 7 / 8 screen dividing solution.

But, Noam, it's good exercise to have to keep turning your head from left to right!