Why I hate shooting tethered
12/08/08 20:29 Filed in: Opinion
Just so we're on the same page, shooting tethered is the practice of connecting a digital camera to your computer system and establishing utility links between the computer and camera.
This is pretty easy to do, since today's digital cameras are as much computing devices as they are light tight optical boxes. You camera is very much a peripheral of your computer system, so being able to control it from the desktop shouldn't be surprising.
My own experience with tethered shooting comes out of two projects, one a copy job that tethering the computer made a bit easier and the other was a commercial project that proved to be an appalling distraction.
It's one thing, I've found, to confirm that an inanimate object has been recorded correctly and quite another to work in a situation that creates a maddening dynamic that invites input from everyone in the room. This group think distracts attention from what I like to think of as the magic zone, the space that I work to create in an environment of light and human focus to draw the best from a subject.
I don't have too many pretensions of art when it comes to my photography. I work hard at it and try to make every photo a bit better than the ones that I've done before. If I happen to make something that's considered artistic, or at the very least attractive along the way, then great.
But what I do believe, is that once I have a brief and a subject, I'm in control and the idea of somebody looking at a screen and hollering "wait, wait" for some nitpicking reason isn't particularly alluring to me.
I do review my work with clients in studio and sometimes on location. I'll occasionally zoom in using the preview LCD on a particularly good expression or pose and show the subject what they look like on the back of the camera. That's sometimes a pivotal part of building trust and confidence in a session. On most studio shoots, I try to review a full take with clients before they leave to get a sense of what they like.
I really like PhotoMechanic for this. The software generates previews of 2GB folder of RAW files fast, which is what you need when a client is looking over your shoulder.
I know that some clients really prefer to work this way with photographers, viewing the shoot as it progresses, but at some level, it just feels like a lack of trust and I'm used to working with film and the occasional Polaroid as the sum total of pre-development confirmation.
After three decades of working in this business, it just feels like a step backward in the process of photography and while there are environments in which shooting tethered represents a great advance on the axis of Polaroids and prayer, my working methods aren't usually enhanced by bit for bit border inspection.