Best MacBook for photographers 2022

MacBook Pro 2021 Review
MacBook Pro 2021 Review (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

There are currently four MacBooks on the market, each offering a powerful Apple silicon chip. For photographers, each is terrific, although we suggest the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) for most. It's the most potent MacBook available and offers plenty of upgrades to make the base model even more powerful. Here's a look at all four models and why they are great.

Looking for something lightweight and ideal for taking to class? We also have the best MacBook for students summed up.

Best overall: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

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2021 Macbook Pro Back

2021 Macbook Pro Back (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Nothing better

Reasons to buy

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Latest and greatest
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M1 Pro or M1 Max, you decide
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16GB to 64GB of unified memory
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512GB to 8TB of storage
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A Liquid Retina XDR display

Reasons to avoid

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Most expensive model
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Heavy (4.7 pounds)

For the professional photographer, there's nothing better than the second-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021), which was significantly improved over the first version. Like the 14-inch MacBook Pro (mentioned below), this model offers an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC with up to 64GB of unified memory and 8TB of SSD storage. That's a lot of storage for your photos and videos. In addition, you can get up to a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU.

But there's much more. The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro features a 3456x2234 Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion technology for adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz. It's also packed with up to 21 hours of battery life between charges and comes with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera with an advanced image signal processor and computational video. The 16-inch MacBook Pro also offers up to 21 hours between charges — the best of any MacBook.

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook models (2021) also see the return of MagSafe, an HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot beside three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports. If you're looking for any negatives, understand this is the heaviest MacBook Pro in many years (4.7 pounds). It's also costly, even at the base level.

The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro gives you the most power and performance, though the price tag is high.

Best for mobility: 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

2021 MacBook Pro

2021 MacBook Pro (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Versatility at a lower price

Reasons to buy

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Portable
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Liquid Retina XDR display
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Same great features as the 16-inch model

Reasons to avoid

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Still expensive
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Poor battery life

This laptop is for you if you want mostly everything on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but with a smaller display. However, it offers the same internals as the larger model for a little less. Better still, it weighs much less, coming in at 3.5 pounds.

On the negative side, the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2022) only offers up to 17 hours between charges, less than the other four MacBooks.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is nearly identical to the 16-inch model except for the smaller display and price.

Best Pro budget: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)

MacBook Pro 2022

MacBook Pro 2022 (Image credit: iMore)

13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)

Affordable power

Reasons to buy

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Has Apple M2 SoC
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Touch Bar with Touch ID
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20-hour battery life
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Retina display

Reasons to avoid

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Older design
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Maxes out at 24GB RAM
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Only has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports
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Touch Bar isn't for everyone

In 2022, Apple surprised many by introducing a new 13-inch MacBook Pro. The move was strange because this model looks like the previous one, which was released in 2020. But, more importantly: this is now the only MacBook that didn't receive a design update.

Inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022), you'll find Apple's all-new M2 chip that offers an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, up to 24GB of unified memory, and up to 2TB of storage. In addition, you'll get up to 20 hours of battery life, which is vital for photographers on the go.

Are you looking for more? This is the only Mac that comes with Touch Bar with Touch ID.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro offers excellent battery life and beautiful internals. Unfortunately, its dated design might turn off some would-be buyers.

Best for student photographers: MacBook Air (2022)

M2 Macbook Air Open

M2 Macbook Air Open (Image credit: Gerald Lynch / iMore)

MacBook Air (2022)

The perfect Mac laptop for most people

Reasons to buy

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Most affordable MacBook
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Long-lasting battery life
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Multiple build options
+
Comes in four colors

Reasons to avoid

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Only two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports
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RAM caps out at 24GB
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Only one CPU option

The 2022 MacBook Air is our favorite MacBook overall because of its fresh design, light weight, and M2 chip. The Apple M2 on the MacBook Air offers an 8-core CPU, up to 10-core GPU, and up to 24GB of unified memory. When configuring your MacBook Air, you can select 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage, and either 8-core or 10-core GPU. CPU is 8-core, regardless of your confirmation.

It used to be that there were very few differences between the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. That's no longer the case, as the MacBook Air was significantly updated this time while the MacBook Pro was not. It offers a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display and a 1080p FaceTime HD camera for the first time. Plus, it comes with a MagSafe charging port — just like the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models before. The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) also comes in four colors: Space Gray, silver, Starlight, and Midnight.

The MacBook Air has the perfect balance of features and affordability with the new M1 SoC, Retina display, and great software.

The best for most is the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

The 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) is the best MacBook for professional photographers. It offers blazing-fast internals thanks to your choice of the M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC. Both have been optimized for performance and efficiency. The model also offers up to 8GB of storage and 64GB of unified memory.

Add in the fact that you get up to 21 hours of battery life and a sharp Liquid Retina XDR display, and you'll have everything you'll need. It's the best MacBook Pro model you can currently find on the market. However, it doesn't come cheap, which is something to keep in mind.

Once you've secured this MacBook, you'll want to get some of the best cases and screen protectors to keep it looking shiny and brand new!

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.