Ever shoot tethered or maybe what is shooting tethered?

Shooting tethered is a term used to describe hooking the camera directly to a computer using a fire wire or USB cable. You can control the camera from the desktop and get a large preview in seconds. Some camera companies supply the software when you buy the camera (Canon) and for others (Nikon) you need to buy additional software. It’s a pretty simple process but after looking at your camera manual you may need a small amount of help from the usual online resources.

There are lots of places you can get help finding the correct cable but I want to help you in a different way—talk about some of the different ways you can benefit from hooking your camera into your computer.

One of the most common uses for shooting tethered is studio photography. Food and still life photography is vastly improved by using the larger monitor to really see every inch of the scene. The 3-inch LCD on the back of the camera is nice but it can’t compete to looking at your image on a 20-inch color managed display seconds after clicking the shutter.

I like working this way if I’m shooting a portrait for a corporate client. If you are shooting the CEO of Widgets.com nobody wants to wait while you are downloading a card. Shooting tethered, the person who hired me can watch as the pictures hit the laptop screen. Normally, after shooting for a few minutes I look over at my “handler” who is all smiles and I know things are going well.

When I get a new tool, like a lens or a camera with new capacities I like to really give it a workout. When the box of loaner gear arrived from Nikon I wanted to try out their Live View function in a unique way. Live view lets the DSLR cameras operate more like their point and shoot cousins. What the camera sees is displayed onto the LCD on the back of the camera. I combined Live View with shooting tethered to get a dramatic photograph from 15 feet in the air with me “looking “ at the image from the ground via my portable.

Check out my “American Diner” photograph and the video that tells how I did it.


One of my favorite photo from 2009. Nikon D3 and the 14-24 zoom lens. I made the image at F5.6 at 1/40th of a second ( iso 200) but might have shot at a slower speed but the wind was really moving the camera and I was afraid of too much movement.

American City Diner from Scott Robinson on Vimeo.

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