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Introduction To Tethered Photography

What is Tethered Photography?

Tethered photography is the process of shooting with your camera connected to your laptop or desktop via Firewire, USB or Wirelessly. It is mainly used for studio photography and other indoor shooting by advertising, fashion, product and architecture photographers.

tethered shooting, photography with dslr camera and laptop
Photo by: CoDiFi

To do tethered shooting you must first install the appropriate software on your computer / laptop running either Windows or Mac. Canon users can use the bundled software that came with the camera for tethered shooting, but Nikon users should buy it separately. There are many other softwares that could do it including Adobe Light room.

Once the appropriate software is installed, connect your camera to your computer via the supplied USB cable (better get a USB Extender - Belkin USB Extension Cable (10-Feet)) or via a wireless transmitter if your camera has this feature. Tethering wirelessly is expensive but helps avoid the problems created by trailing wires.

The simplest method is to plug one end of your USB camera cable into the USB slot on your computer and then the other end into the USB slot on your camera.

Depending upon the settings, images captured could either be saved directly on to the computer / laptop bypassing the cameras memory cards or could be saved in both. The software then displays the image in the laptop / computer screen.

Being able to see the image on the much larger and properly calibrated monitor has many advantages. You can easily see details you might have missed, how the lighting looks,  see distracting elements in your composition, correct depth of field and focusing errors, sensor dust, unwanted reflections or shadows etc.

Evaluate your picture, make changes, shoot another one, evaluate the result and keep doing this until you get it right. Tethered shooting thus helps get every fine detail right in camera and save a lot of time and effort while post processing.


Once you shoot tethered, and get accustomed to seeing everything so detailed, you're going to have a hard time going back to viewing your images on that tiny LCD screen in your camera.

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