4 computer skills every photographer should know
I never knew much about computers until I made the switch to digital SLR when I worked at the newspaper.
Over the years, I’ve picked up quite a bit of knowledge as a result of circumstances.
I spent at least two years working out of a bureau and not the main office of the newspaper, so whenever there were technical issues, I had to figure it for myself.
The tech person was not always a phone call away. So I’ve compiled a short list of what every computer user should know.
Far too many ‘photographers’ today are buying an expensive camera, computer and software without some very important knowledge.
This basic knowledge can make a world of difference if you are having problems, even though this is written from a Mac users’s perspective, it applies to Windows users.
So every computer user should know:
What operating system their computer is running
Whether it’s Windows or Mac, you should be able to tell if it’s Windows 7, Windows 8, Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8)
On a Mac, this is where you look. Under the Finder, click on the Apple icon on the top left, choose About This Mac
So why is this knowledge about your operating system important?
If you buy software, you need to know if it will be compatible.
In fact you probably need to know this before buying or else you may have to pay even more to upgrade your operating system if your computer isn’t too old and not supported.
How to boot their computer from install disks
When your computer won’t start up, no matter what how many times you try, it’s time to dig put your operating systems’ install disks if your computer has an optical disc drive.
These days, on the Macs, there are no install discs by the way.
If your Mac is running Mountain Lion (10.8) or Lion (10.7), you have hold down the Apple or Cmd and the “r” button and push the power button.
More details are on Apple’s page on how to recover OS X.
How to backup & restore their computer
I’m sure you’ve heard of backing up like most people but you should wait till disaster strikes to see if your backup is any good or works.
In my case, I have a an exact clone of the internal hard drive so that if the start up hard drive crashes, all I need to do is physically remove the internal hard drive and swap out with the new one.
Other Mac users will probably have a Time Machine backup, so if they can start up their Macs, they should be able to restore from that backup.
How to update the firmware of their DSLR
Even though every DSLR released on the market is sold and tested to be working, their manufacturer’s occasionally issue firmware updates.
I have a Canon 5DMark II which I recently checked for its firmware version.
Then I compared it to the latest version available on Canon’s website.
Canon’s website suggests two ways to do this:
- connect your camera body via USB cable and use EOS Utility to do the firmware
- download the firmware on your computer, drag it onto a your memory card after you connect your memory card via card reader.
I prefer to use the second method. Before you do so, check the firmware of your camera body.
Before you attempt this, be sure you have a camera battery with a full charge.
Canon warns owners that during the firmware update, loss of power or pushing any of the buttons may cause damage to your camera.
Sounds scary but really it’s not a big deal if you just follow instructions.
The procedure is identical for a 5DMarkII.
Once the firmware is copied onto your memory card, you just have to be sure you have a battery that is fully charged.
Insert the memory card and navigate to your menu where the it shows your firmware and follow the prompts.
An important note: if your camera body is working fine, don’t mess with it.
But if you are finding that your camera has erratic issues like strange error messages, this may be the fix. Read the documentation that comes with the proposed firmware update. Good luck.
Peter Phun Photography
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