JJ Casas

San Francisco-based portrait & commercial photographer & 

creative director. 

Sharing my thoughts as a photographer, cinematographer, marketer, and copywriter.

JCasas Photography | The Blog

© 2024 JJ Jumoc-Casas

30 December 2022

Bridging the gap between my laptop and desktop

I work on my Macbook Pro on the go and then on my iMac at my home office. The best part? Anything created on my laptop is already there on my desktop (and vice versa).

How? The Cloud.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Well ok, not that one in particular but I do use a variety of cloud services & apps. And yes, working off the cloud isn’t anything new but this is just my personal workflow.

While I am describing my workflow as a photographer/cinematographer, I still think there’s some tips here that you can adopt. And no, I’m not sponsored by any of these companies mentioned; I’m just a paying customer who has honed in on what works.

I saved 3 game-changing productivity tips at the end. If you’re excited for it already, just scroll down :)

The heart of my seamless file organization between two computers is Dropbox.


I don’t store my photo or video files here as I’d have too much per project so it’s stored on a shuttle drive. You can read my photo/video workflow can be read here. Almost everything else though is stored here. For example, a client’s Adobe Premiere Project project file along with its assets like graphics and music are stored in Dropbox so I can just open the project and continue working on either computer. All revisions and ultimately the final file is stored too on Dropbox.

When the project is done, I back up all the files locally to a drive and then use Dropbox’s Selective Sync to remove the project folder from my computer. So now it’s backed up locally and on the cloud.

Just as important, settings for my productivity apps like 1Password, Alfred, and Bettertouch Tool are stored here. I even have a folder called Restore in which I have all the tools and plugins I use in my most frequently used apps. So if I did ever need to get a new computer or work off someone else’s, all my apps/settings are at my fingertips which can be downloaded easily from Dropbox.

Dedicated “Restore” folder in Dropbox with my most frequently used apps/plugins which I can download to any computer.


Because I work with many files, a more robust file browser in which its search capability is far better than Apple’s Finder is Path Finder.

(It’s so good that it’s my default file browser. ̶U̶n̶f̶o̶r̶t̶u̶n̶a̶t̶e̶l̶y̶,̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶A̶i̶r̶d̶r̶o̶p̶ ̶i̶t̶e̶m̶s̶ ̶s̶o̶ ̶I̶ ̶s̶t̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶F̶i̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶s̶e̶n̶d̶/̶r̶e̶c̶e̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶f̶i̶l̶e̶s̶ ̶v̶i̶a̶ ̶A̶i̶r̶d̶r̶o̶p̶.

Edit: just found out that you can add that capability by adding this plugin).


Quip is my primary choice of creating documents.

More specifically, it’s my choice for creating documents that are meant for others to collaborate on and/or for my production clients. My best one-sentence explainer: “If Google Drive and Slack had a baby, this is it.” It can do documents, spreadsheets and even presentations while being able to direct message collaborators. Not as robust as Google Drive’s offerings but again, it’s my primary choice of creating documents. Major bonus: the iOS app for phone and iPad is superior.

And speaking of Google Drive, I rarely use it because I don’t like the design of it (both the file browser and interface). However, I do know that almost everyone has Gmail so using it is a no brainer for the majority of people.

Apple Pages + iCloud + Adobe Sign = client
treatments and contracts

This is simple and straightforward: I create treatments and contracts in Pages which are saved in Apple iCloud. While I can save these documents in Dropbox, using Pages app on any computer (and phone) makes it seamless. If the contract needs to be signed, I prep it in Adobe Acrobat and then send it via Adobe Sign (you can also add the sign-in fields in Adobe Sign — I’ve always hated it when I’ve received a digital document but I can’t sign it. I’d have to print it, sign it and then scan it. SMH)

Organized since 2012. :flex:

I’m actually favoring Apple Notes over Evernote lately.


I’m a big Evernote user. I use it for important scanned documents for my business organized in yearly notebooks. This includes scans of client payments, contracts, notices, etc. I also use it personally when we did a home remodel organizing all expenses.

But I also don’t like paying to gain access on more than 2 devices.

So here’s where Apple Notes come in. I’ve been using iOS13 beta for a while now and simply LOVE it. All my notes are on all my devices. You can create folders (and share those folders with people) so you can be organized to your hearts content. Currently, my most used folder is Recipes where I like to copy and paste recipes after finding them online or scan in pages from Bon Appétit or Cook’s Illustrated. The scanning ability has gotten better and I also love how robust search is now. The only downsize is if you’re planning on sharing these notes with anyone, the other person has to have an iOS device too. Yes I’m aware of Google Keep but I haven’t had a chance to use it.

And finally, here are those 3 tips: If you use screenshots and/or download files frequently, this is a game changer:

  1. Change the format from PNG to JPG — JPGs are smaller to send/upload and not all platform support PNGs
  2. Change the location of the screenshots to a folder in Dropbox called Screenshots so it’s synced in both computers
  3. Change the location of the downloads folder (settings in Chrome/Safari/etc) to a folder in Dropbox called Downloads so it’s synced in both computers


To change screenshot format [Mac]:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Copy and paste inside quotes: “defaults write com.apple.screencapture type JPG”
  3. Press enter — now all screenshots are JPG


To change location of screenshots to another folder [Mac]:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Copy and paste: “defaults write com.apple.screencapture location “ [note the space after quotation]
  3. Drag the folder you want/created from Finder into the space after “…location” in Terminal
  4. Press enter — now your screenshots are now stored in this folder

The bonus of having one centralized folder for screenshots and downloads is that because the files in these folders are typically temporary, you delete them one you delete it in both/all places.


And that’s it!

I hope seeing how I’ve used cloud services/apps can help optimize your workflow when working between two computers.

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