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Dream Tech: Network Your Macs


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BY Michelle Brady June 12, 2011 · Published by PhotoVideoEDU

What could possibly be better than a blazing Mac on which to work your technical wizardry? Two Macs, obviously. Get the step-by-step on networking your (or your client's) Macs to create a more stable, speedy, and spacious platform for your workflow.


Michelle Brady is a photographer and educator. While teaching and photographing, she spent several years as a digital tech and digital systems consultant, helping photographers set up their digital workflow. She currently owns and operates Catskills Workshops & Retreats.



What Great Techs Know

As a digital tech, you’re expected to be the technology expert on set. You’re not expected to know everything, but the best techs tend to follow the Boy Scout motto: "Be Prepared."

The best also have an arsenal of resources to turn to when their memories fail them, or when they encounter a new challenge. It’s typical to see savvy techs roaming the Internet to read technical stuff during downtime. Keeping up with the constantly changing technology is a must if they’re going to stay sharp.

One of a tech’s main responsibilities is to know as much about computer systems as possible— where to find the preferences, how to install programs, what to do when a system crashes, which updates are helpful, and which cause more problems than they solve. 

A Tool for Your Mental Tool Box

One tool to add to your mental tool box is how to network two Apple Macs. If you’re not already using two computers in your workflow, think about adding a second. Here’s why:

  • You can use it to store extra backups.
  • You can take the burden off the computer you’re using for capture and use the second computer as an editing, processing, and/or printing station.
  • Using two computers can help prevent crashes and speed up capture uploads.

There are several ways to network two machines. Here's the most basic way:

What You Need

  • Two Apple Mac computers
  • Ethernet, FireWire, or Thunderbolt cable (depending on the connectivity options offered by the computers). Don’t bother with wireless networking—it’s too slow. Creating a hard-wired connection will increase transfer times significantly.

How to Network Two Macs

Step 1:

Open "System Preferences" in the Apple menu of both Macs.

Step 2:

Select "Sharing." Once the dialog box appears, select the kind of sharing you would like the two computers to use. (For this demo choose “File Sharing.”)

Step 3:

Click on the "+" icon under "Shared Folders" and select the folders you want to share.

Step 4:

Create a new account that the second computer will use as the login account. Click on the "+" icon under "Users" and select “New Person.” Type in a user name and choose a password. Click “Create Account.” Select the new account and click "Select."

Step 5:

Highlight the accounts you want to be able to view shared folders, and designate privileges for each of the users. Select the user name you created in step 4 and choose "Read & Write."

Step 6:

Select "Options" and choose "Share files and folders using AFP." Click "Done."

Step 7:

On the second Mac (to which the shared files will be transferred) click on “Go” in the Finder menu and select “Network.”

Step 8:

Choose the computer you want to connect to and input the user name and password for it. Click "Connect" again.

Step 9:

Either click on the folder shared on the network and drag and drop it, or set up backup software like ChronoSync to execute the data transfer to the second computer.

Once the network is set up and the two computers are connected, create a folder on the second computer where you will collect all the transferred data. After the files are transferred, you can set up your selection, processing, and printing workflow.

When you’re done for the day and no longer need to be networked, make sure to go back into “Sharing” and turn off the file sharing.  Be a good little tech and remember to restore the computer’s settings and/or preferences to what they were when you started (unless you are told otherwise).

Read more from the Dream Tech series:

Dream Tech: Get Your Digital Tech On
The Way of the A-List Tech
The Well-Equipped Tech
The Essential Grip Kit
What's on Your Hard Drive?

Digital Capture Tech

Featured photographer: Michelle Brady

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