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Creating a lightroom/photoshop workstation off the laptop


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Hey, guys. I am a amature photo enthusiast and I am planning to "step up" on my setup -- buy/create a workstation for photo editing -- with laptop at the heart of it. I understand that a laptop display does not render colors accurately -- I plan to use external displays. Reasonable? So before I dive in, I need advice on the overall layout of the workflow -- what catalogs/photos you keep where --- on the system or on the external drives.

So lets back up a bit. Here is what I am thinking..... These days, you can get a laptop with SSD drives, i7, tons of RAM, super graphics cards, etc. --- this is not an issue. You can also hook up a tablet to a laptop the same way you can hook it up to a desktop system. The benefit of a laptop is that, well, you can pick it up off the table and go watch a movie in a soft chair somewhere -- you dont need to be bound to your desk and chair.

So here are my questions:
1) I have read that its preferrable to have 2 monitors. I have not seen it in person, but I imagine that you would have floating palettes and tools on one screen, and the image you are working on on another display. Correct? So how do you do this with a laptop? Do you need a laptop with 2 physical display outputs -- like 2 HDMI ports? How does this work?
2) I have seen monitor calibration devices --- do you use it just once to calibrate your monitor and thats it? Or does your monitor need to be re-calibrated periodically? How often?
3) Is any monitor "calibratable"? Or just the expensive ones?
4) Can someone please share their catalog/images layout? What I mean is: how many disk drives do you have? Whats internal, whats external? Do you keep catalogs on one drive and images on another? Whats on a regular drive and whats on SSD dirve? Do you periodically archive a catalog and start a new one? Essentially, please explain what are the "pieces" involved?

Sorry, Its a lot of questions. Thank you very much


Hi and Welcome to PSG

First thing you need to consider is the version of Photoshop you have, scaling can be an issue on high DPI Displays take a look here
and here

Here's some info about setting up multiple monitors on a Laptop

Info on Monitor Calibration, I recalibrate my 2 monitors every 2 months but that's just my preference

I don't use Lightroom so won't be of much help with that.

Here's my setup
Although I'm on a PC

2 * 22 inch Dell Monitors
Intel i7 3770k processor
Nvidia GTX660 2GB Graphics Card
32 GB DDR3 memory
1 * 250 GB SSD for OS and Apps
1 * 120 GB SSD for PS Scratch Disk
1 * 1TB WD drive for Storage
1 * 3TB WD drive for backups
30 GB partition for the OS Pagefile
120 GB partition for OS images


Plus 4TB of external drives for backing up my backup :thumbsup:

P.S. depending what I'm doing I mainly have PS on one Monitor and use the other for Bridge or other software apps I may have opened
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