Getting Started with Tethering...

Shooting tethered is the decision to shoot directly from your camera to your laptop. This allows you to see your photos on a larger screen and with much greater detail than the back of your camera, giving you time to make changes while you’re still on set. You can check focus, overlay type, put photos in a layout, and even start processing them.

You’ll need only a few things to get started:

1. The Software

Before you start planning your shoot, you’ll need some sort of software to view the photos as they come in. Capture One and Lightroom both of tethering capabilities. Each program has their own benefits. I personally prefer working with Capture One for its advanced color correction and editing capabilities. However, Lightroom has the added benefit of tethering straight into your catalog. It may be beneficial to try both programs and see which works best with your shooting and processing style. Both offer free trials and can be bought on a subscription-based service to keep the program up to date.

2. A Cable

You’ll need a way to get the photos from your camera body to your computer. Different cameras require different cables for tethering. I really like TetherPro high visibility cables by TetherTools. The orange color of the cables makes it really easy to see on set and differentiate from all the other cables on the ground.

3. A Table or Flat Surface

You’ll want some place to keep your computer or laptop safe during the shoot. With a long enough cable, you can set up on a rolling cart or table for easy mobility. Make sure whatever you choose is sturdy and safe. You’ll be connected to the computer like a dog on a leash, so you don’t want to start dragging the computer off the surface by accident.

4. A Tripod

Think about how important consistency is for your shoot as well. If you’re looking for the same angle or composition in a series of photos, you’ll want to keep your camera on a tripod. This will be especially helpful wth still life. By tethering, you can make small changes as you go pretty easily, so you’ll want to eliminate other variables as much as you can (or need to). It can be helpful with fashion and models, too, especially if you’re doing something more product or catalog oriented. However, I find it easier to shoot anything more editorially fashion-based without a tripod.

And that’s it! Get familiar with your new tools and software before heading on location or to the studio to make things as seamless as you can. Know how to snap a photo from the program, how to make exposure adjustments, setting white balance, and any other specifics for the shoot.

Get out there and create.

-KS