How Much RAM Do I Need for Photo Editing

Are you just too tired of your computer getting frozen every now and then or do you find it just impossible to edit your photos on a system that is too slow? If so, the root cause of the problem could be inadequate RAM. And this leads to the big question, “How much RAM do I need for photo editing?”

Trust me, I have been in that situation. Your all expensive cameras, lenses, and top-notch photography can go in vain when your system doesn’t allow fast editing and gets hanged after every step you take. The worst part is when your system stops responding, starts lagging, and ends up in a form of an editor crash – I swear! That is so much annoying.

However, to every problem – there is a solution.

But let me clarify – it’s not just about RAM. Even though inadequate RAM may be one of the reasons behind all this, there could be other factors at play as well.

How Much RAM Do I Need for Photo Editing?

Generally speaking, there are two main photo editing software (among 10 most essential graphic design tools) for that include:

  • Adobe Photoshop and
  • Adobe Lightroom
How Much RAM Do I Need for Photo Editing

While starting these apps (Photoshop and Lightroom) your system needs at least 4 GB RAM. However, I must mention that 4 GB is barely enough for starting these apps and your system needs more memory while rendering these apps. In all likelihood, 8-10 GB RAM is what you need to have for rendering to go on smoothly.

At this point, I should mention here that Windows have their own resources also and they also need memory to run in the background. Besides this, there must be other applications also running on your system, requiring more memory.

Thus, it is best to have at least 16 GB RAM so that your system can run these apps (Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom) without any lagging.

Below 16 GB, you are going to face a hard time as an editor.

Now you know how much RAM does a clutter-less photo editing process requires; let’s shed light on the other factors that make a difference in the editing speed.

Other Factors Affecting Photo Editing Progress:

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You first need to see how much amount of RAM does your system allows. You can check it on the motherboard or find it on the documentation of the computer.

My laptop supports 16 GB and allows 2 slots so I brought two same modules of 8 GB.

During this phase, I was a newbie and editing pictures became super easy for me.

Other Factors Affecting Photo Editing Progress

Speed of RAM:

The speed of RAM contributes to the efficiency of the RAM. For beginners, I’ll explain. The speed of RAM is the ability of RAM to read data each second – the higher the speed, the better the efficiency.

The minimum core speed required for a trouble-free photo editing process using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom is 3.8Hz.

Computer and Processor Bandwith:

Getting an efficient RAM with good speed isn’t enough. Aligning your RAM speed with the bandwidth of the processor is also of great importance. If both of them fail to sync, it will affect the performance adversely.

Also, I did a huge mistake by installing modules from another computer manufacturer. I realized this caused interference in the speed. Hence, I recommend readers not to repeat my mistake.

Graphics Card:

The presence of a graphic card is another very important factor that affects the editing progress. I suggest you go for at least 2 GB VRAM. I have seen a noticeable difference with and without graphics cards. It very nicely renders the image, making it appear very smooth.

Why Do You Need Efficient RAM?

I have seen many people not being able to meet deadlines because of their system being super slow. Also, with a speedy computer system, you will feel extremely confident while working.

Otherwise, your attention and concentration will get disturbed and you will end up spending valuable time fixing things related to your computer.

Why Do You Need Efficient RAM

When I started using Adobe AfterEffects, I felt like the speed of my system was somewhat slower. It was only after I increased the RAM of my system that Adobe After Effects started working properly. I must mention here that software like Adobe AfterEffects consumes a lot of memory and it is important that your system’s RAM is large enough to ensure smooth working of such software.

However, I do not mean to say that it’s ONLY the RAM that makes you a good photo editor. Your unique vision to see and analyze things and capture them into pixels plays a key role too.

Both, a good system and your unique vision are equally important.


There is nothing as such “perfect”.

You make things perfect according to your needs and budget. If you are just a beginner who is starting out and new to photo editing, I would suggest you go for at least 16 GB RAM. Meanwhile, if you are pro and require more software to work on, you can choose accordingly.

Usually, the higher the better. Most graphic designers need a whole lot of memory to ensure they can work properly and also save their creative designs safely.