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Enhance Your Workflow – Tethering for Food Photographers

By Christopher Kimball on December 12th 2013

LR_Screen_03Are you looking for a way to enhance your workflow and speed up production time when shooting food? One of the best things that I have done in the last couple of years is to use Adobe Lightroom for tethering for food photography. I really would not have guessed that the simple act of plugging the camera into the computer would make the process that much easier, but it has streamlined my workflow.

[REWIND: 7 Tips For an Efficient Lightroom Workflow]

Tethering allows me to quickly make adjustments at the camera and get instant feedback on the computer screen, has eliminated the long and tedious import process after shooting, and allows me to keyword the image as it is captured. If you have a client in the studio, most will appreciate being able to see what you are capturing as you work, too.

Tethering in Lightroom is very straightforward. The first thing you need in order to tether your camera to the computer is a Tethering Cable. Most cameras come with some sort of cable to connect the camera to the computer, but it will only be about three feet long and you will find it very frustrating over time. You can find cables all over the internet in various lengths, but I recommend a long one –in the 12 to 15 foot range. If you are going to shoot this way a lot, you will be glad that you got a longer cable. I use a 15-foot cable, and I would not go shorter, personally.

Plug the cable into your computer and then into the camera, turn on the camera and open Lightroom. From the library module, you will open the “File” menu in the menu bar and select “Tethered Capture”, then “Start Tethered Capture”, and when the box pops up, you can select all the options for the session. Adobe has given us options to name the file, add keywords, select where you want it saved, and set the Meta data template that you want to use.LR_Screen_01

LR_Screen_02Select “OK” and a black bar will pop up with information about the camera settings and what camera is connected to the software. That is all there is to it. Start shooting, and as you do, the images will start to appear on the screen. I will say that I find leaving Lightroom in loupe works the best for me, as the images are larger and I can see what the images look like as I capture them. It is easier to make adjustments on the fly this way, and I find that my keeper ratio increases.

If you have never tried tethering and you shoot in the studio a lot, give it a try. You might find that you really like it.

NOTE: Tethering isn’t hard to set up, but I have only done this with Lightroom. If you are using something else, you will have to refer to that software’s manual for details.

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Christopher is a commercial and stock photographer based in Cocoa Beach, Florida. He specializes in shooting food, commercial real estate, and editorial projects related to food, sports, and products. His work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and around the internet and his photography experience dates back some 30 years. Connect with Chris on social media or visit his website to see his work.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. David Jacobson

    This article was very helpful. Thanks for sharing it.

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