Don't install “El Capitan” today! I am not saying this because I am the PC guy on the podcast, or because I hate Mac. I am saying that if your business DEPENDS upon your Mac, and if you are a photographer how could it not, you should wait. Specifically, if you use the recently released Office for Mac 2016 apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote), you should wait.
But It's New and Shiny!
Don't get me wrong. I am the guy who has to update EVERYTHING as soon as it is out. I can't help myself. If there is something new, I have to get it. Especially when it is free. I am excited about several of the features that Apple is adding to the Mac OS with El Capitan. For example, the improvement to the Notes application is something I think I will like a lot. Even more important, Metal for Mac may eventually prove to be important for photographers as soon as Adobe leverages it for Lightroom and Photoshop (let's hope they don't mess that up like they did graphics processor support).
But I am pleading with you to consider this objectively, while trying to convince myself of this too. Your Mac is not your iPhone. Your phone may play a pretty crucial role in your small business as a significant productivity tool, but if you had to go a couple of days without it or had to wipe it out and start over because of some update gone bad it likely wouldn't amount to a lot more than an inconvenience. That is not the case if your Mac is the computer you use for your photo editing.
Crucial To Your Business
Is there really anything more important to your business than your computer? If you were without your computer for a few days, how much would it cost your business? I am betting you nearly break out into a cold sweat just thinking about it. That's why we talk about the computer and the software we use on them a lot on this website and in the podcasts. It is absolutely vital to the success of a modern photographer.
With something that important to your business, you simply can't play around with it. If you are following my updates here at improvephotography.com and on the Improve Photography website you have heard me say that I DO NOT recommend photographers who use Windows PCs for their photo editing recommend to Windows 10. It isn't because Windows 10 is bad (I like it a lot and think it is going to prove to be very good), but there are enough bumps with those who have gone ahead with the upgrade to Windows 10 I just don't think that is something a photographer can afford to take on right now. My advice is no different for Mac.
I am not suggesting that if you can't stand not pushing the button in the App Store and updating to El Capitan you will immediately see all kinds of problems. What I am suggesting is this is one place I think you really need to exercise some caution and just wait for the early settlers to take the arrows as they forge ahead in the brave new world. To some extent that has already happened in fact, and the user forums where early adopting geeks can't wait to try things before they are even fully released and they are saying the new (and vastly improved) Office for Mac 2016 applications have been very unstable under the GM (“gold master”) build of Apple's new “El Capitan” release of OS X.
I can hear what your thinking. So I am supposed to delay my upgrade to the shiny new thing because of Microsoft applications? You probably don't even use the Microsoft applications because Google Docs or the Apple iWork suite meets your photography business needs, so why should you care if the Microsoft Office 2016 suite is crashing all over the place on El Capitan? You may not. It may work out just fine. But why take the risk of upgrading and discovering there is a show-stopping problem with Lightroom or Photoshop? If the newly developed Office 2016 apps that were also released just this week are having issues, my guess is there is a good chance other applications are going to have some issues.
OK, So When?
I don't know when it will be safe to trust the update exactly. These things are never predictable. With Photoshop and Lightroom we have to get Apple and Adobe to work together to get through any bumps in the road, and while that partnership seems to be a pretty good one, the partnership with Microsoft isn't too bad these days either (Microsoft was up on the stage at the last Apple event) and there are clearly issues there to work through.
The best I can tell you is stay tuned here on the website and to the podcast. I will be one of those early settlers taking an arrow and trying things out. I am sure other hosts on the podcast will be as well. No reason for you to be going ahead with it until we can tell you it is safe to do so.
One last piece of advice, don't do this the night before a major photo shoot, or the day before you promised to deliver a shoot to a client. If you are booked up solid and busy, wait until you are through it. Even if we give the all clear, it just doesn't make sense to take on something like this when you need your computer to get your work done. Wait for a slow weekend when you can have some time without pressure to do that upgrade.
About the Author
Jeff Harmon is a hobbyist photographer in Utah who is an Information Security Architect by day. You can follow him on Instgram at instagram.com/harmonjeff, or on Twitter @harmonjeff.