Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shooting Tethered - A Few Things You Should Know

Good Morning Everybody,

CBTL2 logo First off, I’m still planning to announce our tour launch today, but we are in the final stages of polishing up a few last minute items and getting the site links up and running.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Stay turned – the news may still pop today.

We’ve got lots of good things to talk about today.  Let’s get right to it!

Quick Tip Wednesday: Shooting Tethered - A Few Things You Should Know

Hey gang, today I thought I would discuss a few things about Lightroom 3's new "shooting tethered" feature. There have been a few YouTube videos on the subject, but they are going on about the "shooting tethered" feature much the way a commercial studio would shoot. I'll post the YouTube links at the end of this post.

Capture Dialogue Anyway, I'm a portrait, wedding, on location shooter. How can I make tethered shooting work for me? As I said, lots of the videos show the camera on a tripod with the photographer using the on screen camera controls to fire the camera. That may be great for the in studio commercial shooter but, it just doesn't work for the photographer shooting portraits.

Cable cameraWe've got to go for the expression, follow the action, and make the exposure at that critical moment to get our best shot. As I make my shots, I want them to sail right on over to my computer so we can get instant gratification from the client.

Lightroom 3 let's you do just that. In fact Lightroom 3 makes the process almost effortless. Notice I said almost. Yes, tethered shooting in Lightroom 3 is about as easy as it gets, but there are still four things you need to keep in mind when your camera is wired to your computer.

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the videos and the rest of the story.

Let me give you my 4 top tethered shooting tips:

Active USB 1- When shooting tethered, you will most often if not always be working more than ten feet from your computer. More likely the distance will be 10-20 feet away. I like the longer cable run because it creates less of a possibility of yanking the connectors from the computer or camera - not a good thing.

The problem is that USB cables will not give you consistent data transfer over that distance. That means you've got to use USB Active extension cables. These cables boost or amplify the data signal from the camera to the computer. It really is necessary to use these cables and they will set you back a few bucks. I picked up two 16 foot USB Active Extension cables at for $34.99 each. They worked like a charm.  Here is the link to the cables I purchased right here. I love working with this company - great products and great customer service.

Twisted 2 - The weak link in this entire process are the cable connectors/connections over the distance of the cable run. For the cables themselves, to keep them from coming undone over the 35 foot run, just tape them together so they don't become dislidged. I actually knotted mine together on my last shoot, but I didn't think it was good for the cables because of their thickness. Use tape instead.

CAmera bent cableThe bigger thing to watch for is the connection into the camera. I have not been able to find a mini USB jack that does not stick out of the camera any less than two inches. To me it looks like an accident waiting to happen.  More than once I set my camera down right on the cable side of the camera. Fortunately nothing got damaged. It would be nice if somebody like would manufacture a mini USB cable that would fit much more flush with the side of the camera.

3 - Another thing you need to be concerned with is how fast you shoot your images. You've got to take your time when shooting otherwise the data connection will "choke" and will stop transferring your images. That has happened to me more than a time or two. If that does happen; you will need to go though the entire process of closing down Lightroom 3 and reconnecting the camera in order to get back up and running. It's more of an inconvenience than a problem.

Remember too, that the consistency of your data transfer is linked to file size of your image. The larger the file size, the slower the transfer. And the slower the transfer, the slower you must shoot to avoid the "data choke" issue. I was shooting my Canon 7D on mRAW and as long as I shoot at a moderate pace, no PJ shooting here, I had no problems.

4 - I recommend shooting with your regular import presets. That just saves time down the road in your post production. Le's say you had a hang up when shooting tethered as I mentioned above. Don't worry about it now. Just import from your flash card as you normally would into the directory you set for your tethered shoot telling Lightroom 3 to not import suspected duplicates.

That's about it folks. Shooting tethered is really easy with Lightroom 3 and even if you do get disconnected or the camera powers down, Lightroom 3 will not miss a beat getting you back up and running once the connections are back on line. Like I’ve said - way easy shooting with nearly immediate feed-back.

I hope the four tips I given you today give you a few insights as to how to make your next tethered shoot go off without a hitch. If you've got a few tips for our DPT readers, why not share them in the comment section following this post. Happy shooting everybody!

Additional Video Links:

Akel Studio: Lightroom 3 and Capture One 5 [link]

Yanik’s Photo School: Shooting Tethered In LR3 [link]

Lynda Podcast : LR3 Tether Dialogue [link] Tethered Shooting [link] Shooting Tethered Set Up [link]


Hey gang. that's it for me today, we still have a few loose ends to tie up with the tour right around the corner.

Also, I am concurrently working on another project for my buddy, Will Crocket's Friday Photo School which I will be presenting next Friday, August 6th.

Friday Photo School2

I’ll provide additional information to you as we get closer to the date. So for now, mark your calendars and plan to join in. As is usual, things are REALLY cookin' around here so I've got to get scooting. How about I see everybody tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday. Our topic, "How To Set Your Prices".

Hope to see you then, David


  1. sells usb cables with different angled ends. Just have to find the one that matches the orientation on your camera. I bought a 15 foot right hand angle mini usb for $30 last November and it works great.

  2. I have read on another blog about someone using this right angle adapter for the connection to help protect it.

  3. How do you find your mobility when using the USB cables? Do they get in the way?

    I've been quite tempted to get the EyeFi cards, as I'm sure that a 10+ foot USB cable between my laptop and camera is a recipe for disaster.

  4. David,

    Just tried using the Wacom Intuos 4 right handed cable and it worked like a charm. Sticks out about 5/8 of an inch. The right handed cable goes down so the left handed would obviously go up.

    What was really cool and geeky is I was tethering my camera with my MacBook Pro tethered to my Android to get online. Such cool to(y)ols we have.

  5. Good information for all David. I like how you state the difference between the active photographer on the move and the more controlled environment of a studio location.

    I'll pass on a location of a site with superb customer support and great cables (which you mentioned)at a more affordable price for those who are feeling the pinch these days.

  6. These kinds of HDMI cables tend to be HDCP compliant in addition to authorized to be able to Substantial Velocity HDMI specifications

    Stretching ones high-definition AV signs will not need to end up being a high priced exercise. Generally HDMI wires should be held to be able to only 5 metres to stop virtually any transmission loss or degradation.

  7. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)