Tethered Photography Basics

Tethered photography is a useful shooting strategy which has been utilized by many advertising, fashion and product photographers for years.  In the past, used primarily for studio work and high end commercial photo shoots, the process was cumbersome and expensive.

However, in recent years tethering technology has been become more reliable, portable, less expensive and easier to use,  Due to these factors, it’s only natural the uses have spread to many other areas of photography and is now enjoyed by countless professional & enthusiast photographers.

So what is tethered photography?  Tethered photography is the process of connecting your camera to your computer or tablet with either Firewire, USB or wirelessly.  The computer can be a desktop or laptop and in Windows or Mac format.  Once you create your image, it bypasses the camera and is saved directly on your computer hard drive in a folder you have designated.

The tethering software then displays the image and you can clearly see the results on a large computer screen.  How cool is that?

The 3” un-calibrated LCD on the back of your camera does not clearly provide the detailed information you or your client need to know, with certainty, you have the shot.  A laptop, computer display or tablet will provide you with this detailed information.

It’s always better to get the shot right in camera as opposed to spending the time later fixing it in Photoshop, right?  Tethering is just the tool to help you accomplish this.

You can now easily see distracting compositional elements, depth of field & focus issues, sensor dust as well as unwanted reflections or shadows.

The rest is simple.  Make the changes you need to achieve your objective, create another image and evaluate the results.

Check out our list of commonly used tethering software programs to help you get started.  And if you would like to delve into more in-depth discussions, tutorials and developments regarding tethered photography we invite you to join the conversation at TetherTalk.