Saturday 13 December 2008

Kent Photographer - shooting tethered

For further photography-related information check out my compendium of tips.

I have a very simple and portable studio set-up (collapsible background, reflectors, stands, softboxes and brollies - as shown above) that allows me to produce studio-style portraits (as shown below). I use only Canon Speedlites as light sources, rather than continuous lights, and so it can take a bit of tweaking to get the lighting right. Yes, my 580EX IIs do have a 'modelling light' facility (do not use around those prone to epilepsy!) but it's not as useful as being able to immediately see an image produced with the lighting set-up.

Rather than removing the memory card from the camera to transfer the image to your computer it's possible to 'shoot tethered' - with your camera physically connected to the computer by a USB cable - so that images can be displayed on your monitor immediately. The following instructions are for Canon users (the Canon-suite of software should have accompanied your camera on CD, but make sure you have the right version of the EOS Capture Utility for your camera - it's available for download from Canon) who own Adobe Lightroom (though I'm sure most photo-editing software packages have this facility).

First of all you need to specify a folder which EOS Capture will deliver the files to and which Adobe Lightroom will watch for new files to import. I have one called 'Live' on my desktop.

In Lightroom, go to File-Auto Import and Enable Auto Import. Then in Auto Import Settings specify the Watched Folder - the folder Desktop-Live in my case. You can also specify a 'Destination Folder' for Lightroom to permanently move the files to.

The following sequence of events occurs when I connect my Canon EOS 5D to my MacPro computer - it may differ depending on both your camera model and computer. Connect your camera to your computer using a long USB cable (I bought a 10-metre cable on eBay). When you switch the camera on this should open up the 'Camera Window' utility, which on detecting that a camera is connected rather than a card reader, then opens up the 'Camera Window DSLR' utility. Click on 'Start Remote Shooting' and then choose your specified folder to deliver the images to. EOS Capture (I have version then opens and should display the current settings of your camera.

Take a shot and about 10 seconds later you should see it appear in Lightroom. Much better than the LCD on the back of your camera for checking your lighting set-up.

NB You must have a memory card in your camera for this to work.

Check out more of my photography here: Kent portrait photographer

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