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Tethered Shooting or wired photography allows images to be transferred from the camera to the computer or tablet in a matter of seconds. The camera can be adjusted and triggered from there using software. In the past, Tethered Shooting was mainly used by professional studio photographers. As the technology became cheaper and easier to use, it became popular in hobby photography.
Advantages of Tethered Shooting
Tethered Shooting is mainly used for people photography or product shootings. It simplifies the workflow and saves a lot of time. The photos are sent to the computer right after they are taken, where they can be conveniently viewed by several people in large format. Immediately after the first shoot, important parameters such as lighting, colour values or sharpness can be checked directly on the monitor.
The model can also judge how they look on the picture and can make adjustments if necessary. Important camera settings can be adjusted on the computer using software. These include, for example, the aperture, white balance, ISO sensitivity, and shutter speed. Ultimately, the photographer is only responsible for the focus and the image section.
Moreover, the photo session does not have to be interrupted in order to load the images onto the PC, as image files can be saved on the computer using tethering. With this automatic data backup, one is no longer dependent on a storage medium.
Equipment for Tethered Shooting
Most modern digital SLRs and some compact cameras today are capable of tethering. The cheapest way to transfer data is a sufficiently long USB cable. Conventional USB cables are available up to a length of five metres and usually provide sufficient freedom of movement for a shooting.
Some providers specialised in tethering, such as Tether Tools, offer special cables in signal colours so that you don’t accidentally stumble over them. A so-called JerkStopper, a cable holder developed for Tethered Shooting, also prevents the USB cable from being accidentally torn out of the camera socket by external pulling force.
Most modern digital and SLR cameras are equipped with WLAN today. Canon cameras, for example, can be connected to a smartphone or tablet via the free Canon Camera Connect app. In the meantime, most WLAN-enabled cameras have their own apps that allow photos to be transferred and the camera to be controlled via a tablet, for example.
If you want to retrofit older models with WLAN, a so-called CamRanger with the corresponding app is suitable. The CamRanger creates its own WLAN network that connects the camera to the computer. However, the CamRanger is only available for Canon and Nikon cameras and at a price starting at CHF 400 it is more suitable for professional photographers.
For tethered shootings it is best to use a mobile table to place your laptop on.
Tethering software is essential for the transmission and storage of photos as well as for camera control. Nowadays, there is a whole range of easy-to-use tethering software available. Among the most popular options are Capture One, Canon EOS Utility and Adobe Lightroom. Before deciding on the software, it is important to check whether it is compatible with your camera. For example, Adobe Lightroom only works in conjunction with Canon and Nikon cameras. Usually, tethering software is supplied with a modern camera.
Workflow for a Tethered Shooting
Photographing with tethering requires only a few steps. The camera and computer are connected via the USB cable or WLAN. It is important to specify a storage location in advance so that the images can be located later. If you take photos with a memory card, please note that Canon cameras automatically create the image files on the memory card, but Nikon cameras do not. Once the shutter release button is pressed, the images are transferred to the PC or Tablet in just a few seconds. The camera settings can be adjusted intuitively in the menu bar next to the image.
Although Tethered Shooting may look complicated, it is easy to work with. All you need is a camera, a USB cable or WLAN connection, and a laptop with tethering software. The comparatively large screen size lets you immediately evaluate images in detail.