Studio Portraits: Tethered Shooting

I had the opportunity to shoot some corporate portraits this week in a temporary conference room studio.  My setup is pretty simple — 4 Alien Bees strobe heads: key, fill, background light, and a hair light from behind the background.  Canon 5dMkII with a 70-200 f2.8 lens.

Since it was a static setup I thought I would try tethering the Canon to a MacBook Pro so the clients could see the results immediately.  I used the Canon EOS Utilities software for remote shooting and it worked great.

First, it helped with the set up because you can take test shots without writing to your CF card or disk.  There’s an integrated histogram to help with exposure settings.  You get a nice big image to evaluate.  And you can change the camera settings remotely from within the software, including ISO, speed, aperture.  The only things you can’t change are the physical zoom and framing of course.

During shooting it helps with the large image to monitor shots.  The clients can then check the images and select the best ones, or we can talk about trying different poses.

Finally, and best of all, you can set it to write both to the CF card and your hard drive, so you get instant redundancy for safe backups.

I only wish there was a more portable version of this.  Lee Morgan of showed a way to wirelessly monitor photos instantly on an iPad a while back, but it’s just for monitoring, not controlling the camera.  I wouldn’t mind a wired connection if it added controls, but I don’t think it’s possible with Apple’s connector.

There is promising beta software called DSLR Controller available for Android tablets as reported by Petapixel last year.

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