Have you ever seen one of those TV shows that have a guy or girl doing high tech computer work? If they’re not using some sort of holographic heads up display, then they are usually seen tapping furiously on their keyboard.
So if you too want to get into the zone and speed up your workflow. The best keyboards for photo editing let you type away, using shortcuts and commands too, to finish your photo job.
I wish I could use a holographic heads up display with an intuitive interface for all of my post processing work. Until that day comes, I will have to use a keyboard, mouse or tablet, and a graphic interface on the monitor.
Not all keyboards are created equal. Especially when considering what type of program is being used. The best keyboards for photo editing give photographers options of use and convenience that can be adapted to the specifics of your own workflow.
How to speed up your editing workflow with a keyboard
Using a mouse or tablet is certainly a fine method of interfacing with program controls and functions. Another way of using post processing programs is to use keyboard controls for accessing program actions.
Sometimes, it’s faster to use a keyboard than to drag and click menus and controls of a graphics heavy program. If time in your workflow is a major consideration, then using keyboard controls can be a preferred method to use your program.
Before the program controls got more intuitive, photographically speaking, it wasn’t unusual to keep a little cardboard cutout with keyboard shortcuts mounted to our keyboard.
A lot has changed in the 20 or 30 years that photographic image manipulation programs have been in regular use. Learning the keyboard shortcuts for current programs can have major benefits for the speed and effectiveness of your workflow.
Adobe Photoshop is one of the most used post processing programs. Here are some helpful hints about keyboard shortcuts for PS and a handy video.
How I found the Best keyboards for photo editing
- Whenever a photographer has to spend literally hours at the computer on a project, being at the desk in an office chair can get to be a drag. I have a really slim profile comfy chair (somewhat cushiony, reclines a bit) that I use for marathon editing sessions. Having no wires to trip me up or restrict my movement is a real plus for comfort.
- When doing those marathon editing sessions, the lights are often turned down so that the color adjusted monitor is easier to see. Since the room is darkened, if the keys light up, it’s a little more convenient to use. I like the backlit keys as opposed to fully illuminated. It’s a little more subtle and unobtrusive and won’t cause you to wait for your eyes to adjust from keyboard to screen.
- A few keyboards have specialty keys, often called hot keys. Hot keys need to be placed in a way that doesn’t interfere with regular keys. Some keyboards will also have a number pad, which is very convenient for a variety of operations. The size of certain keys can vary. Shift, enter, and direction keys being a little bit larger is often very helpful.
- Compatibility. If you use Mac, Windows, or Linux, you need to need to make sure the keyboard you’re eyeing will work with your computer. Most are compatible across multiple operating systems, but it’s good to check compatibility.
- Size and Weight. If you are going to use the keyboard in any location other than on a desk or work table, the physical dimensions may make one keyboard more desirable than another.
Top 5 Best Keyboards For Photo Editing + Reviews!
1. Logitech Craft Advanced Wireless Keyboard Review
Craft from Logitech is a nice keyboard for any Mac or Windows computer, and it has a very special hot key control that works very well for a variety of creative programs. It’s pretty pricey for a keyboard, but it is rugged and extremely capable.
It’s wireless up to 10 meters, which doesn’t really mean you should use it 30 feet away from the computer. Unless you have a 150” monitor. The wireless connection is strong and can be connected either with a dongle or low energy Bluetooth.
Keys are backlit and the illumination is smart. Keys will light up when your hand gets near the keyboard and automatically adjusts for ambient light conditions.
The battery is a built in rechargeable that can be charged up by connecting to the computer with a USB cable. With moderate use, a typical charge can last up to a week or more. If used for one of those sessions, you should probably plug it in right after to be sure it’s ready for your next use.
Layout of the keys is fairly standard. QWERTY, of course, and a 10 key number pad. Hot keys are positioned between the letters and the 10 key. The directional arrow keys are a little larger than the letter and number keys, and so are the shift and enter keys.
What really sets this keyboard apart is the specially designed craft wheel or knob. It can be assigned for various functions with several programs.
Examples of its use are adjusting brightness in Adobe Photoshop CC, changing stroke weight in Adobe Illustrator CC, enlarging text in Microsoft PowerPoint, or creating charts in Microsoft Excel.
Combined with a compatible Logitech mouse, this keyboard can speed up your workflow and the specialized Craft hot key knob can inspire creativity when working in image manipulation programs.
2. CORSAIR K70 RGB MK.2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review
Designed specifically for hardcore gamers, this heavy duty keyboard is usable for a wide variety of applications including photographic programs. Usable on Windows and Mac OS.
Attaches to the computer via a USB cable, and it also has a pass through USB for adding other controls like a mouse, rollerball, or tablet. Yes, it not wireless, but the main reason for this keyboard is that it is very heavy duty.
The frame or cradle of the keyboard is manufactured out of aluminum and the keys are virtually unbreakable plastic. Layout is the standard QWERTY with a 10 key on the side, hot keys and directional arrows in between.
It has the capability of preprogramming certain control functions and has 8MB of memory to retain your special settings. You can also change out keys very easily, and change the top of the keys to different textures for truly eyes free typing.
Keys are backlit for easy use in any ambient light conditions. It also has a detachable padded wrist rest for extra comfort during those long post processing sessions.
It costs as much as a full featured wireless keyboard, which could surprise anyone not used to the rigors of gaming. The main reason why it’s an expensive keyboard is that it is extremely heavy duty.
You could use it as a cricket bat, it’s so tough. Don’t do that, you won’t take any wickets, I was just searching for a good metaphor to describe how incredibly rugged this keyboard is.
3. Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard Review
A good wireless keyboard with what would probably be considered by many people a very reasonable price, this keyboard has the regular functions you need for most popular programs.
Usable for Windows, Chrome, Android, iPhone, or Mac. So, it can be linked to a wide variety of computers as well as tablets and smartphones.
This is a smaller keyboard because it doesn’t have any hot keys between the letters and the number pad. The directional arrows are pretty small, stuffed under the enter button on the QWERTY side. Conveniently placed, but not as convenient to use due to size.
You don’t need to change or even charge batteries with this keyboard. The built in long life battery has an expected use life of two years. This estimate is based on expected use of two million keystrokes a year in a typical office environment.
Once it goes dead, I guess you just throw it away or recycle it somehow. Some office supply and electronic brick and mortar stores have free recycle bins. You don’t get anything for turning something in, but you also don’t mess up the environment by dumping heavy metal contaminants into the landfill.
It has a nifty shelf for holding a tablet or smartphone. The shelf doesn’t interfere with computer usage or using on your lap. There is no illumination of any kind and key use is virtually silent.
4. Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad Review
A full size wireless keyboard with number pad and extended keys, this Magic keyboard works only on Apple products.
At first glance, it seems a little pricey for a keyboard that doesn’t have any special features. However, it is the official wireless keyboard endorsed by Apple, so, like most things Apple, it is a little bit pricier simply for that reason.
On closer examination, this keyboard has some excellent features that makes it a very useful tool for photographers using Apple computer products.
This keyboard, though full size, is very lightweight and low profile. Key stroke pressure is very light and each press of a key is completely obvious. So, though little pressure is needed, you won’t be unknowingly pressing keys by accident.
There is no illumination and it recharges by plugging it in to the computer. For any Mac user, it is one of the best keyboards for photo editing.
5. Anker Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard Review
Scarcely more than the price of a simple replacement camera strap, this is an excellent tool for photographers wanting a very lightweight wireless keyboard for photo editing.
What makes this one of the best keyboards for photo editing is the long life of each battery charge. Based on 2 hours of use per day, the keyboard battery charge is estimated at 6 months.
That’s right! Six months between charges. Of course, if you use a keyboard as often and as long as most photographers I know, then you will be recharging sooner.
The keyboard is a standard QWERTY layout with no separate number pad and no programmable hot keys.
For basic use or to get a wireless keyboard for Windows or Apple computers at an extremely low price, this small, light tool is one of the best keyboards for photo editing.