Lightroom Tethered Capture Live View

Posted : admin On 1/29/2022

Mornin’ everybody. I get a steady stream of questions about tethering into Lightroom (that’s where you connect your camera directly to your computer and when you shoot, your images appear really large on screen, instead of seeing them on the tiny 3″ monitor on the back of your camera). So this morning, I thought I’d quickly go through seven things you’ll probably want to know. Here goes:

  1. Not every camera can tether to Lightroom
    Here’s a list from Adobe of the cameras it supports for tethering. It’s pretty much Canon and Nikon cameras, with a few Leica camera models (the tethering in Lightroom requires camera manufacturers to provide Adobe with support for tethering to their cameras, so it’s not something Adobe can just decide to do on their own without their support).
  2. You can “super shrink” or hide the Tether bar (the heads up display)
    If you hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click on the little “x” in the top right corner of the bar, it will shrink the bar down to just a shutter button (yes, you can fire your camera’s shutter with that button). If you want to hide the bar altogether (but keep the tethering still active), press Command-T (PC: Ctrl-T).
  3. That Table that holds my laptop is from
    I always get asked where I got that table. There’s a company called Tethertools that does nothing but create accessories for people who tether, like the table. They also make an optional little slot under the table for holding an external hard drive; and (my favorite) a nicely designed pop-out drink holder (it’s handier than you’d think).
  4. How to recover from a stall
    At some point, without warning, your tethering will just stop. It’s not your fault, but you will have to know how to recover from a “stall.” First, make sure you camera is awake. If it goes to sleep to protect the battery life of the camera, it puts tethering to sleep, too. If waking it doesn’t work — turn the camera on/off. If that doesn’t work, turn off Lightroom’s tethering (choose Stop Tethered Capture from the File menu), and then turn it back on in the same place. Lastly, unplug and replug the USB cable from your camera and your laptop. One of those will usually do the trick and get you back up and running. BTW: my wife is a pilot and takes great umbrage with my use of the phrase “recovering from a stall” for tethering. Just sayin’.
  5. Canon cameras write a copy to the memory card in the camera. Nikon’s don’t.
    It’s just the way they’re set up by the manufacturer — it’s not Adobe showing a preference. On my 5D Mark III it writes to the compact flash card in the camera and I dig that because it gives me an automatic backup as I shoot, which is nice. NOTE: if you have trouble tethering to Nikon — try popping the card out of the camera.
  6. You might already have the cable you need to tether
    Nearly all cameras ship with the exact cable you need to tether — it’s simply a USB cable with a mini USB on one end (that connects to the mini-USB port on your camera) and a regular USB on the other to plug into your computer. So, go look in the box your camera came in (it’s in your closet) to see if you kept it (you probably did). If you didn’t, you can buy a USB cable online — just ask for one with a mini USB on one end, and a regular USB on the other. The one I use (the long orange cable seen above), is from tethertools. It’s orange so you can see it easier in a dark studio.
  7. Once tethered, you can do live client proofing to an iPad
    You can hand your client an iPad and have them see images from your shoot live on the iPad as you’re shooting (btw: clients super love this!). Not only that — they can see the shoot live on the Web, even if they’re not there (or, if they are there, they can share the shoot with a colleague or friend off site. I have a short video that explains the entire process below.

STEP THREE: Inside of Lightroom, to turn tethering on, go under the File menu, under Tethered Capture, and choose ‘Start Tethered Capture’ as shown here. STEP FOUR: That brings up the ‘Tethered Capture Settings” window (shown above). At the top, you can name your session (totally optional). Live View in Capture One allows you to see through your tethered camera directly on your monitor. Control camera settings, focus and capture directly from your computer without having to touch your camera. The ultimate tool for still-life photographers. Not every camera can tether to Lightroom. Here’s a list from Adobe of the cameras it supports for.

Hope you find that helpful, and hope it inspires you to give tethering a try. Once you do, you can’t imagine not tethering (yes, it’s that good!).


How To Tethered Capture In Lightroom


I recently wrote up some tethering instructions for the students in my studio photography class. I shoot tethered in the studio all the time, so for me it's second nature. But for my students, it can all be a little confusing, especially if you haven't tested all the different variations of software you need and know the limitations of each combination.
So I wrote up a cheat sheet for the most common setup we use in class. I thought I'd share it here in case it helps others.
Setup: For the Canon 5D Mark 2 or Mark 3 camera tethered to an Apple Mac OSX computer. WITH live view shooting support. If you don't need live view support on the computer, then there is an easier setup (described below).
Description: There are two common ways to tether the 5D2 or 5D3, one way is a bit more complex but allows you to use Live View on the computer. This method is useful for still life shooting because you can compose the scene and adjust the camera position while viewing on a large computer screen (instead of through the viewfinder or using the small screen on the back of the camera).
Concept: The general concept is to copy the files from the camera to the computer, viewing the photos immediately. In this setup we use Canon's EOS Utility to do the copying, and Adobe Lightroom to do the viewing.
Required Software: Canon EOS Utility and a viewing program, like Adobe Lightroom. Canon EOS Utility is used to copy the files from the camera to the computer whilst one is shooting. It also allows the Live View functionality on the computer. Adobe Lightroom is necessary to view the images in an organized way. One thing about Lightroom is that your images need to be imported into the Lightroom 'catalog' for viewing. I'll explain this further below.
Pre-Requisites: Lightroom needs to be installed and the Auto Import feature needs to be enabled. The Auto Import feature 'imports' images into the Lightroom 'catalog' for viewing. This feature basically keeps an eye on a single (empty) folder. When it detects a new image in that folder, it will move it to a target folder that you specify. On my computer, I have an empty folder called 'To Autoimport' and another folder called 'Autoimported.' I set Lightroom to watch the 'To Autoimport' folder, and if any files show up, it will move them to the 'Autoimported' folder and simultaneously import the files into the Lightroom catalog.
The idea here is to set the camera to immediately copy the files that are being shot to the 'To Autoimport' folder. Then Lightroom sees the files and moves them into the current Lightroom catalog (the 'Autoimported' folder) so that you can view them while you shoot.
Since we are using EOS Utility to do the real-time copying, we need to set that up to put the files from the camera into the 'To Autoimport' folder. There is an option called 'Destination Folder' in EOS Utility where you can specify the folder. Depending on the version of EOS Utility there are some other options you may want to set also, like the ability to save on the camera's card as well as the computer, and to sync the live view functionality between the camera and computer (so that when you press the live view button on the camera, the computer shows the live view display also).
Shooting with Live View: If you want to use Live View on the computer, switch to the EOS Utility software and (after you choose the 'Camera settings/Remote shooting' option), click on the Live View button (in EOS Utility). If you have the software set to synchronize live view display with the camera, then you can also press the live view button the camera to enter live view mode on the computer. You may resize the screen to make the Live View image larger. (This is a benefit to using a Canon system, as the Nikon software Capture NX2 does not allow a large live view screen. Please fix this, Nikon!)Lightroom tethered capture live view
Shooting without Live View:Lightroom Tethered Capture Live View Once you have the software set up correctly, when you are ready to shoot, run the EOS Utility program and choose the 'Camera settings/Remote shooting' option to ready the software for shooting. Then open Lightroom to the 'Autoimported' folder. As you shoot, the images should appear in Lightroom.
Alternative method to shoot without Live View: If you use a program like Lightroom, and you don't need live view on the computer at all, you can shoot directly into Lightroom (thus eliminating the need to use EOS Utility). Just initiate Lightroom for tethered capture, it should recognize your camera, then shoot away.Lightroom tethered capture live view software

Lightroom Tethered Capture Live View Youtube

1. In Live View, you see a black screen instead of your subject: Ensure that, under Live View settings, the Exposure Simulation mode is OFF.

Lightroom Tethered Capture Live View Video

2. The camera won't fire, or the strobe won't fire: Check that the Silent Shooting option is set to OFF.
3. EOS Utility won't work correctly: EOS Utility has a lot of versions, you need to ensure that the version you have works with your camera. For instance, older versions won't work with the new Canon 5D Mark 3. Or some versions are buggy and will crash when used with the 5D Mark 3.
4. Lightroom won't display the images: Updated versions of Lightroom 3 will process 5D Mark 2 files correctly, but you need an updated version of Lightroom 4 for 5D Mark 3 files. Check that the Lightroom version is appropriate for your camera.View
Other Variations for Tethered Capture:

How To Set Up Tethered Capture In Lightroom

There are many other combinations for tethered shooting. If you are working with a Nikon system and you want live view functionality on the computer, you will need to purchase a copy of Nikon's Capture NX2 software. This software is akin to Canon's EOS Utility.
Of course you can also shoot tethered in Capture One Pro. This is the preferred way (and as far as I know, the only way) of capturing if you make on-the-fly adjustments to your image and need the settings retained for the next capture (like crop settings, for instance). I have heard that the newest version of Capture One Pro (version 7) has live view support for some DSLRs. But I have not had a chance to work with it yet, so I'm not sure which cameras it supports. And I cannot seem to find a list of Live View supported cameras anywhere.

Lightroom Tethered Capture Live View Download

And of course if you shoot Hasselblad, you're likely shooting tethered into Phocus. Likewise Capture One Pro if you're shooting a Phase One or Leaf back, or you're shooting at high speed as with fashion or lifestyle photography.
Good luck! I hope this guide can help you sort out your tethered capture needs.