The Pros and Cons of Shooting Tethered

Shooting tethered can have a lot of benefits that can really add to your workflow whether you're in the studio or on location, but it's not without its drawbacks too. This great video examines the pros and cons of shooting tethered.

Coming to you from Hk Visuals, this helpful video discusses the pros and cons of shooting tethered. If you've not done this before, being tethered simply refers to having your camera hooked up to your computer while you're shooting, which allows you to instantly transfer the files the moment you take a shot. This can have a lot of benefits beyond simply saving you the time and hassle of shuttling memory cards back and forth between your computer and camera. For example, you can set your raw processing program to automatically apply adjustments to the photos as it ingests them, allowing you to get a better look at what the final product will look like as you're capturing it. Also, simply having a much larger screen than the back LCD of your camera allows you to more easily and precisely check things like lighting and focus. Check out the video above for more on the topic. 

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Tony Clark's picture

Outstanding images. I am not a fan of Lightroom but am of Capture One for both tethering and processing images. I find that there are times when Clients can spend too much time looking at single images and pick them apart. But, it can help the Stylists fine tune their part and be a great tool. This is why I often bring a large display onset so people don't congregate around the MBP. However, it can slow down the creative process so you have to make it appropriate to the individual project.

I also use Capture One, I love tethering and is a very powerful tool. The bigger screen is fantastic for crafting the lighting setup and checking focus.

Blake Aghili's picture

Tethering and tethering only with CaptureOne is so important to me that I did not buy a Fuji until they started supporting it. Then I got Fuji :)

Chad D's picture

love tethering
had this out from another post good timing :) but this shot was just over 15 years ago :)
notice the up to date ipod of the times hahahahahhaha

that is a gitzo table thing laptop is sitting on

the thing I love about it is you know when you get your final and no other culling etc..
get my 4 views and then start to edit

William Faucher's picture

I remember the first time I shot tethered, with a good calibrated display. Blew my mind. I always thought my shots were a bit soft or out of focus on the back of my camera's display. But shooting tethered brought out the best of my shots, and a quick grading of the shots taken gave an overall look of how the end result would be. Perfect for client work.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Back in the days of the Leaf DCB2, tethered was the only option. The portable drives were like Zip or the bigger Jaz drive, not integrated into cameras, but they came as new generations of digital backs were introduced to the market. Compact cards and the first generation of sd cards came soon after.
Tethered is perfect for many product shots, copy work and many more applications

Jonathan Castner's picture

Tethering is also good for client relations. If you can sit your Art Director or client rep down at your viewing station so that they can see the images as they come in then they can either give you necessary feedback to make the images more to their liking "Can you shift the camera a bit to the right and have Chloe bring her hand a bit higher up" or end up signing off on a shot so that you know that you can move to the next. This is often invaluable. This way after the shoot the client can't come back and say that they didn't like the shots for any reason. You will be able to say that the person in charge, AD or rep, saw all the frames and approved each set up.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yes, I have learned a big deal with clients that way. They understand and don't feel the photographer is hiding anything. Trust is everything in long term relationship.
I also shoot remotely and send previews to clients often hundred miles away for approval. Tethered allows me to do this quickly and allows me to make the necessary changes before breaking a set up for the next one. Clients like it because of the time saving on their end and they get it that too many changes affect their production cost.

Bill Wells's picture

Does anyone use a tablet? Either Samsung or iPad. If so how and how well does it work?

I have NOT shot tethered, but I have a laptop and all all the cables. But if a tablet works, that might be better.

Anyone use wireless?

Felix Wu's picture

At the moment you can set up Capture One to your laptop, then set up Capture Pilot to see images wirelessly. It’s really fast. When I was photographing food I could have laptop besides me and my iPad with the chief. Also you could set up for client to browse photos online as you shoot. Pretty sick!

But I hope one day Capture Pilot would support direct plug in. It will take a while for this to happen though as I think the main issue is iOS which is very closed and need serious file management.

Other tablets like surface can run full windows so can just run capture one.

Robby MacGillivray's picture

I enjoyed this article immensely - I tether through my desktop for coin macro shots - so impressed by these pure athletes/dancers - super images and muscle definition :)

I rarely need to send RAWs, as i dont need any color correction on location, so i shoot wirelessly to an ipad using Shuttersnitch. It's actually faster than shooting tethered to C1, and i find that clients like the interface much more than capture pilot because everyone is familiar with an ipad. And you have the freedom of no cables. Been shooting this way for years and love it.