Tether Tools: Q & A with Lauren Kapinos

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Shooting tethered is growing in popularity for a number of reasons, so we thought we’d go right to the source to find out why! Tether Tools‘ Lauren Kapinos was good enough to give us the full deets on why shooting tethered just makes sense!

For those not in the know, could you explain what tethered shooting means?

Tethered photography is the process of connecting your digital camera to a computer or other monitor so you can see your images on a larger screen while you are shooting. The connection between a camera and computer or monitor is typically achieved with a USB, Firewire, CAT or HDMI cable, depending on your camera and computer. You also can wirelessly tether your digital camera to a computer, iOS device or tablet via a wireless transmitter. Recent technology advancements have increased tethering options and now your screen device can be a desktop or laptop (PC or Mac) and an iOS device (iPad, iPod, etc) or other tablet. In all scenarios, photo data bypasses the camera and a file saves directly to a folder that you’ve set up on the computer, tablet or external hard drive. The tethering software you use displays your image on the computer screen, where the photograph can be seen in greater detail.
There are many software applications that enable tethering to computer including Lightroom, Aperture, CaptureOne, Nikon Camera Control Pro 2, CameraRC, Canon EOS Utility and more. And there are a few devices on the market that enable wireless tethering including CamRanger, iUSBPort, Eye-Fi and built-in or add-on transmitters supplied directly by camera manufacturers.

What are the advantages to shooting tethered?

There are a many benefits to shooting tethered; some of the most common reasons to tether include:

Watching Your Work: Art directors and clients love the ability to see your images mid-shoot on a larger screen and having a workstation that allows them access to images is paramount for keeping the camera and your workspace free from distraction.

Improving Communication on Shoots: Shooting tethered increases on-set communication between photographer, assistant, stylist, makeup artist and subject. When everyone can see what’s being captured, they can all work toward the desired image in a cohesive manner. You can also instantaneously share images with clients (on-site or in remote locations) which creates better client/photographer relations and helps foster a collaborative and constructive feedback process.

Refining Your Skills: Shooting tethered helps you learn and incorporate what you’re learning so that you become a better photographer faster. By seeing the images captured while you are shooting, photographers gain a better understanding of camera settings because you can immediately see exactly what is being captured vs. deciphering captures during the post-production process. Being able to adjust and re-shoot immediately helps you make better on-the-spot decisions. Tethering enables you to evaluate and then tweak your settings, lighting and composition to improve your work mid-shoot rather than waiting to incorporate what you’ve learned into the next shoot.

Improving Your Composition: Tethering allows you to easily spot any distracting elements, refine your focus and depth of field, and address any exposure issues, unwanted reflections and shadows that you may not notice through the lens.

Controlling Camera Settings: Tethering capture programs like Canon EOS Utility and Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 let you control camera functions, exposure mode, ISO, image quality, and more directly from your computer.

Increasing Your Workflow Efficiency: When you shoot tethered, you’re sending data directly to your computer drive instead of a small CF or SD card, which are likely transferred during or after the shoot for post-production or client sharing. Shooting direct means a faster, more efficient shoot for you and your workflow. Send images directly from your camera to your client via email (or to their iPhone or iPad) before they even leave the shoot. Your client will appreciate the quick service.

Tether Tools Product Overview from Douglas Sonders on Vimeo.

Is this something that can be done on-site as well as in-studio?

Yes, tethered photography can be done anywhere. Before the convenience of laptops and tablets, tethering was considered a cumbersome process, however by integrating lightweight laptops, iPads and even SmartPhones, tethering on location is now incredibly easy, regardless of what device you are sending images. The Tether Table Aero was actually conceived after shooting and assisting on location with heavy gear, computers and tables. After lugging gear around for a year, I developed the Tether Table Aero System to meet my own shooting needs and lighten my load. I wanted gear mounting solutions that were sturdy and versatile enough for everyday use in the studio, but lightweight and portable enough to take on location with me. Now all Tether Tools gear is designed for both in-studio and on-location use and helps photographers, filmmakers and even audio and music professionals integrate the technology devices needed to tether and improve the creative process.

Who benefits most (what sorts of photography) from tethered shooting?

Photography that benefits from tethering include : Architecture, Landscape, Fashion, Product, Food, Advertising, Portrait, Commercial, Wildlife/Nature, Time lapse, and Remote Trigger,

And remember, the photographer isn’t the only person on the shoot who benefits. Tethering also really helps: assistants, art directors/clients, educators/workshop instructors, and students.

What is your most popular seller right now? Why do you think that is?

The most popular items tend to be the most critical and useful devices. Top sellers include our JerkStopper Cable Management Device Kits. While the benefits are vast, one of the common challenges to shooting tethered is that the cable connecting the camera to the laptop may get tripped over, or with active photographers and assistants, there is a chance the cable may be disconnected from the camera. The JerkStopper Camera Support device creates an anchor by attaching a cable clamp to the camera strap loop, therefore removing any stress and strain from the camera port itself. This handy device not only saves the time of restarting a tethered session if the cable comes out…but even more importantly, it helps reduce damage to both the cable and the port if the cable should bend or break due to movement.

The Tether Table Aero Master in Black is the most popular table. At 22X16”, the table gives a photographer or filmmaker a good work surface, providing enough room for both the laptop and an external mouse – or laptop and enough space to put a DSLR down on the table between shots.

The Wallee iPad Case and Connect Lite Bracket is also an in-demand combination. Designed to mount the iPad on a tripod, the bracket has a ¼”-20 receptor on both the back and top side and enables many different configurations for mounting the iPad – on a tripod, on our RockSolid Articulating Arm and MiniClamp. The Connect Lite bracket also integrates beautifully with BlackRapid straps to create a TabStrap for wearing the iPad or Tablet. The combination uses an integrated Hitch Ring that can be used by current BlackRapid Strap users to extend the usefulness of their strap.

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