Importance of Tethering While Shooting
The program that I use for my tethering is Capture One. And if you get a Sony camera, there is actually, it's kinda cool, because they have a free version of Capture One that's specifically made for Sony, and it's free. I believe on the a7R II when I purchased it, and it's been a while, when I opened the box, and the manuals that nobody ever reads, there's a little pamphlet in there, a little page that basically has the link for you to go and download the software for free. So I'm not using the free version, I'm actually using the full Pro version, and if I'm not mistaken, I believe that you can actually upgrade the free version that you get with the Sony camera, you could actually upgrade it to the full-blown version and you get a discount, which is kinda cool, so that you could use the same version that I'm gonna show you here. But shooting tethered with Capture One is pretty awesome. If you click on the little camera icon, once your camera is connected, and I'll turn it on here, and...
this is something that I always have to do, whenever I'm about to start shooting and I want to make sure that my tether is working, I always walk over to Capture One and I'll open up this tab and I'll make sure that I can see the camera settings in this little window, because if I don't see the camera settings, that means either a, my wired connection is disconnected, b, my camera's not turned on, or c, is just some other craziness that's happening. So you wanna make sure that this information, your camera make and model is there, your actual settings are showing there, and you can actually change your camera settings from Capture One, so it's kinda nice if you are a product photographer, I did a tutorial recently where I was photographing food, and so it was great, because I had this little camera on a tripod and you could go into Live View, so this is pretty wacky. I wasn't planning on demoing this, but it's pretty awesome, so now I have to do it. This is the Live View feed on my actual desktop. So I could go, and let's say I was doing product shots of this battery grip here, which is painfully out of focus. And it's not gonna get in focus, but let's just pretend. Or maybe we'll do the floor. If I was going to want to take photos, I could have this on a tripod and I can control everything off of this. So I can change the exposure, usually what I would want to do is to have a second monitor where I can have this Live View window inside of its own monitor and then I could have my controls here, and I'm just gonna do this here so you guys can see, if I push the button on the screen, it makes the camera take the photo. So I could basically control everything from Capture One. Now, for portraits, is this something you can use? Probably not, 'cause you really don't want to have this on a tripod and taking photos of people from the software, but it is very powerful. And if you happen to be on kind of a more professional shoot where you actually have hair and make-up and assistants and you have what they call a digital tech, that basically all they do is they'll sit at the computer and as your images are coming through, they basically will check them to make sure that they're coming in focus, that the colors are right, so all the things that I do when I'm shooting on my own, where I basically take a picture and walk back over here to evaluate it, there's a person that would do that for you on a big shoot, that they would basically take your photo and zoom in and okay, everything looks good, or if they need to change the exposure, if you remember we took that first shot and, let me go back to those, see if I can find it. We took our first shot and it was really bright. And I can't find the image right now, but if you took a shot, I think it was this one, where the exposure was super bright, and this was just a test shot, they can actually go from the software and they could change this from f9 to f10, f11, just like I would on my camera, to make my job even easier. I literally don't have to think about it. They could just say, Oh, Miguel, your exposure is a little bit bright. Don't even worry about putting down the light setting, we'll just go ahead from here and we'll change that. Same thing if you're tethered and you're shooting products, you're able to do that and have that window with Live View. So it's a really, really powerful program to be able to do your tethered shooting. If you go into your little histogram-looking icon here, it's the exposure tab, and you can actually see your histogram, you can change your white balance if you need to. And then let's say if you selected certain settings, right? Like you have your white balance set the way you want it, your exposure, which I'll open up here, so your contrast, brightness, let's say I adjust the images to look a certain way, and then every shot that comes after that, I want them to have those settings, I could basically do that within Capture One, where now every shot that comes in automatically has all of these levels changed and customized exactly for whatever look it is that I'm trying to get. I just really wanna impress upon you that even if you're shooting outdoors, this is not a very heavy set-up. I mean, literally, I'm not gonna pick it up 'cause this is, you know, kinda tied down here, but you could literally take your laptop with a tether cable and your camera, have it sitting down on your camera bag, and you could be on location, tethered, and taking shots and evaluating and checking to see how the shots look, so that before you go home, or before you go back to your studio, you can ensure that you have everything the way you want it. There's distractions in the background, you can catch it much better looking at a big nice screen compared to looking at it on the back of a LCD. So tethering is very, very crucial, I would say that my learning curve was cut dramatically because of the fact that I tethered every single time that I would shoot. Now, to give you a little bit of a heads-up, so if you're photographing people, whether it's models, subjects, whatever the case might be, I used to have a living room studio, right? And I had my computer tethered to my TV. So what would end up happening is, we have backdrops just like we had here and we had a big screen TV that the model or the subject could look at. And what they would end up doing is, they would pose and you would take a shot, and they would immediately look at the TV and then look at me, and take another shot, they'd look at the TV. And so I got to the point where I was like, okay, you can't look at the TV, 'cause it's breaking up my flow. I need you to stay engaged with me, keep looking at me, and sure enough, they'd do it for three or four shots, and they would go back and look at the TV and look back at me. And so what I started to realize was when it comes to the tethering, save yourself the time. Sometimes, I don't even let the people know that I'm shooting tethered, because then they want to see their photos. Every single time you take a shot, they're like, oh, let's go walk over and let's see how this is coming out. And so it's good for you as the photographer to be able to evaluate how the shoots are coming out, but you don't necessarily want your subjects to be doing that, to keep looking at the shots. Now, I've worked on commercial sets where I have a lot of people that are involved in the shoot, where you have people that are handling wardrobe and make-up and hair. And if you're not shooting tethered, these people are basically standing right behind you every time, wanting to see the photos. These tether cables, you can get them to where they run super long, and what I like to do is take this whole tethered station and have it way far away from me, so that that way, I can shoot and it could be me and the subject or subjects and we could talk and laugh and connect to try to get good shots and then everybody else could be on the computer far far away from me so that they're not kind of messing up my vibe and the flow of the photo shoot. So again, all of the controls, everything that you would want to use, and we're gonna talk about this a lot more in-depth as far as what I actually do to the photographs once we get to the retouching portion of the class, but I just really want to make sure that if you are shooting and you are not shooting tethered today, it's very inexpensive, get that USB cable and start shooting tethered, 'cause it's gonna save you a lot of time. Any questions on the tethering?
What peripherals do you recommend for tethered shooting? What kind of things would you start with in terms of a stand, connection, laptop, or--
Is there anything that you recommend?
So you need Capture One. That's a must.
And what about, sorry, what about Lightroom?
Lightroom, good question. So you can tether with Lightroom. Specifically, with Sony cameras, you're gonna want to use Capture One because the tether with Lightroom is not the same as what it is with Capture One. They use, I believe it's called a hot folder, so basically what it does is it's not really tethered. You have to use another program in order for the camera to communicate with the computer, it's called Sony Remote Control. So you have to have the Remote Control software open and Lightroom, and basically all those pictures get dumped into a folder, Lightroom is looking at that folder, and whatever pictures get dumped into it, it displays in Lightroom. So it's kind of a weird tethering situation. It doesn't tether directly. With Capture One, the tether is direct. So that's how you get the Live View and you get all of that powerful stuff. Outside of the software, you need a good tether cable. Tether Tools is pretty much the best in the biz when it comes to tethering accessories. So you want to get yourself a tether cable, and if you notice, this one is orange. I had a black tether cable, and I could tell you that this is probably the most genius thing ever, to have an orange cable, because when you're actually on set, a couple of different things, this is the only orange cable I have, so I know this is my tether cable, so if I leave the house, I know I have my tether cable with me 'cause it's the only orange cable in my bag, so I know that it's with me. The other thing is that it's easy for people to see. So this is gonna be on the ground, people are walking around, if it's black and you have dark floors, sometimes they don't see it, they get tripped up, they take down your laptop and your camera and you're crying. If it's an orange cable, they usually see it, they'll step over it. So the cable's important. In the case of the a7R II, so the a7R II comes with this little plastic piece that basically clamps the cable so that this doesn't pull out. Without this, that USB cable would basically just drop off from the camera. So a7R II has this. If you get a7 II or a6300 or a6000, basically any other model that's not this, doesn't come with this plastic piece, so what I did was I purchased from Tether Tools, and I don't think this is actually made for the camera, this is supposed to be for, at least from the picture on the bag that it comes in, it actually connects to the laptop to keep the cable from pulling out from the laptop, but I actually use it on the camera, and it's just a little plastic loop that really quickly clamps on, and so this basically will hook up to where you have your camera strap and you could put your USB cable through this, and it basically does that same thing, where the cable doesn't pull out from the camera. So both of these things are made by Tether Tools, the cable and this little adapter, and highly, highly recommend it. This is must-have studio accessories to keep your sanity, 'cause it's very annoying when you start shooting, you're like okay, we're gonna shoot, I'm ready, and you take your camera like this and the USB cable just goes ploop. It ruins the vibe. Just like that doctor analogy I told you, looking confident, you're like yeah, I'm ready to go. You will look like a fool, and the person will look at you and be like, oh dear.