Shooting Tethered

On any shoot where I’m not just running and gunning, I tend to have my laptop setup for tethered capturing. Tethered capture is when you have your camera connected to your computer during a photo shoot and the files transfer directly onto the hard drive. Initially I thought this would be more of a hassle with cables and setting up a connection with the computer, but Lightroom 4 makes it easy.
Before I explain exactly how to go about tethered capture, I’ll explain some of the benefits:

-Instant image review, once a photograph is taken it is transferred directly to your computer where you can make all the same adjustments that would after transferring from a memory card.

-Better in-camera adjustments because of the larger screen size. Let’s face it, the LCD on the back of the camera is nice, but having a computer monitor is also nice.

-Two backups of files on-location. The photos save to the memory card and also copy through the tethered USB cable to your hard drive. When you leave the shoot you’ll already have redundancy for everything you shot while tethered. Sweet!

-Looks professional but it’s not that difficult to setup. Every time I have setup my laptop to do some tethered shooting there’s always someone who comments with something like, “Wow the picture is already on the computer?” and that alone alleviates a lot of stress. It relaxes me too because both the client and myself can see exactly what type of shots I’m getting right out of the camera.

Before I did this I either had to show my photos to the client from the back of the LCD which is hard to see for a lot of people or just convince the client that I got the shot I wanted. Both of those scenarios are iffy at best and if you have the option of shooting tethered into Lightroom I’d say go for it.

You can find USB cables to use with your camera HERE. Other than that setting up LR is very simple as long as you do things in the right order. I’ve found that if you turn on the camera while connected to the computer via USB and THEN start the capture it won’t transfer the files.

The best way to setup tethered shooting in LR4 is to

  1. Open LR on computer
  2. Make sure camera is OFF
  3. Connect USB cable + any extension cables to the camera and computer
  4. Go to LR
    • Go to File
    • Tethered Capture
    • Start Tethered Capture
    • Choose your file structure/naming structures/Hard Drive locations/keywords
  5. Now go turn the camera ON and you should be good to go! 


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