Did you know that you can improve your workflow and the quality of your photos by shooting tethered? Thanks to a few products from Tether Tools that I have used for a time shooting tethered has completely changed my workflow. If you are not familiar with tethering, let me explain it in short. Shooting tethered is when you connect your camera to your laptop. That way you can see the photos you are taking directly on the screen of your computer instead of only relying on the live view of your camera.
I’m not a big fan of having too much of equipment around me when shooting. But IF the tools can help me streamline my workflow and especially improve my photos, then there is no question about it. In this article I’ll explain what shooting tethered means, how it can benefit you and share my experience of three products from Tether Tools that I have received to review.
Shooting tethered – benefits
Have you spent hours on a shooting just to later be disappointed that there were some things you could have improved? Removed or changed the position of some subjects in the scene? Small details you didn’t see in the Live View of your camera but that you later discovered in your laptop and regret you didn’t see it before to fix it? There are many things we can regret after a shooting. But why wasting our time when there is a possibility to see your photos straight after you have captured them directly on your computer? Welcome to the world of tethering!
Thanks to a USB-cable you can connect your camera to your computer. Depending on the software you are using, you can see the scene live in your computer or the photo that you capture just right after. This way you can “proof” and make necessary adjustments to your scene right away.
If you are shooting for a client, then shooting tethered is no longer a choice, it’s a must!
Not only because if your client is along with you on the shoot wants to see the results, but also for your safety to make sure your images are sharp, the composition is right, the details in the scene etc.
When shooting tethered you would want tools of high quality that you can trust . Tether Tools is a company with a history from 2008 when they created their first product, the Tether Table Aero. Since then they have enlarged their product family and now has practically everything to facilitate shooting for photographers and filmmakers.
Tether Tools has many different products for tethering. They have everything from cables to tables, you can create your workstation by selecting the tools you need. These products can be ordered from Color Confidence and other UK retailers.
For a basic setup, I would recommend a USB–cable (to connect your camera with your laptop), a jerk stopper (to make sure your cable is in place) and a table (practical to have your computer as close to the shooting as possible). Those are also the products I will review in the article.
Tether Tools USB-cable
The tool nr 1 for tethering is a USB cable! The USB cable will be used to connect your camera to your laptop. When choosing the cable there are two things you need to have in mind. First, check the USB-port of your camera AND your computer, and make sure to order the right cable. Second, how long cable to you want? USB-cables comes in many different lengths. A thumb rule is to estimate the distance between your laptop and where you usually keep your camera when shooting. If you also do overhead shots quite far up above your scene, I would suggest the longer cable the better. I’m using the 4,6x m which suits my needs perfectly. It gives me the freedom to move around with the camera and is neither too short or too long.
Can you use a normal USB cable? That’s a question that often comes up when discussing tethering shooting and the short answer is yes! But there are differences between the USB cable from Tether Tools that is adapted for tethering and a normal USB cable. The USB cables from Tether Tools are robust thanks to the fact that they ate shielded and plated protecting the cable from interventions of external signals, moreover, they use the latest technology ensuring fast and reliable transfers. And they are also reversible meaning it doesn’t matter what side that is up or down when you plug it in.
Tether Tools Jerk Stopper
Once you have a USB cable you will quickly understand that a jerk stopper is extremely useful. Accidents CAN happen, if you, for example, would step on the cable that is connected to your camera it might damage the USB port in your camera. To avoid unexpected accidents a jerk stopper is a must-have. It ensures that the cable stays safe in the USB-port.
Tether Table Aero
Once you have your camera connected to your laptop you would want to keep your laptop not very far from the scene. The optimal would be a separate table. Before using the table from Tether Tools I was using the table where I had created the food scene which was not very practical.
Flexibility is the key to a successful and optimized workstation when shooting. With the table from Tether Tools, that you can attach on a light stand, tripod or a C-stand, you can place your laptop wherever you need to have full control over your shooting.
The platform is very stable, can hold up to 13,5 kg and is made of T6 Aerospace Alumimium for a lightweight platform. Yet it is very strong and it is in non-reflective black colour and a textured surface keeping your laptop safe on its place. Tether Tools table comes in three different sizes, I have the standard, but it comes in two other sizes as well, Master (bigger) and Traveler (smaller). Moreover, Tether Tools offer an endless of accessories that you can use with this table. Included with this table is the LAJO-4 ProBracket so you can easily attach it to the stand of your choice (tripod, C-stand or light stand).
Conclusion – Tether Tools products
Since I’m working with these products from Tether Tools my workspace is much more organized. My laptop finally has its place on the Tether Table Aero platform, that I can easily move around in my setting. This way I can always keep it near my camera so I can see what I’m shooting and how the images turn out. I no longer need to use the live view of my camera. And I can see all the details on the screen of my laptop instead.
The USB-cable comes in black or orange and I’m happy I chose the orange as its very easy to see. I try to avoid having cables around as it is easy to trip on them but with the striking orange it is easy to see. And to be on the safe side, the jerk stopper keeps the cables in place in the camera and the laptop. The length of the cable suits me very well. Especially since I do lots of flat lay photography. When I attach my camera to a tripod with a horizontal arm it’s impossible to use the live view of the camera so tethering is extremely useful in particular those situations. I can perfectly have an overview of the scene in my laptop thanks to the tethering. The cables exists in different lengths and I believe the one I have, 4,6 meters suits my needs perfectly. A longer would have not been needed, this length is useful when I do the flat lays and a shorter one would have been a bit limiting.
Shooting tethered definitely has a positive impact on my shooting workflow. No matter if I’m shooting in my studio or at a clients place I gain not only time but I also more control over the scene I’m capturing. I’m very satisfied with the products I’m using from Tether Tools, the Tether Table Aero is slim, lightweight and yet very strong, the USB-C cable very reliable and the Jerk Stopper is a small tool with the power of preventing a big accident. If you want to start shooting tethered I can totally recommend these products.