The 5 Best Software for Tethered Photography

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Digital Photography, Product Reviews, Tethered Photography

photographer using tethering softwarePhoto Credit: Ryan Walsh

As nice as it is to have a little screen on your digital camera in order to see your shots, if you are going to pursue real studio photography it is advisable that you take things a step further and enter the realm of tethered photography.¬†Along with your tethered photography kit, you’ll need a software program to facilitate the process from camera to computer. With tether software your camera is connected to your computer allowing you to examine your shots in full screen mode, which makes for better editing and a smoother review process with your client. Here’s some commonly used software for tethered photography that can make finding the right shot that much easier.

tethered photography essentials kit

Adobe Lightroom 4

Lightroom 4 Adobe products are widely used, and known by almost everyone, even those who don’t consider themselves artists or photographers. There’s a product suitable for nearly any type of imaging, and when it comes to tethering, the best software is Lightroom 4. But even on its own Lightroom 4 is quite handy; you can set unlimited checkpoints to see different versions of your photos as you take them, and hook up to an additional monitor that will make it easy to review several different photos at one time. The integration with Photoshop is also very smooth. Lightroom 4 also allows for watermarks, web and social media tagging and more. Photo sorting can be done either manually, by face recognition, or by location when used with a GPS capable camera. It also offers convenient compatibility with many Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Lightroom 4 is available either on its own or as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud that includes, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and more. Adobe offers a free trial of the software, so you can explore its features yourself before committing to it as the tethered software for your studio photography.

Capture One Pro 7

Capture One Pro 7 Capture One Pro 7 is a tethered photography program from Phase One, that tethers photos directly into an application. You can instantly view photos on the screen in either a Macintosh system or through a web browser. The web version of Capture Pilot is available not only through a PC or Mac, but can also be used with mobile applications, so it can be used with tablets and even Smartphones without the use of a USB cord,  for an untethered, tethered experience. When the DSLR camera supports it, Capture One Pro 7 has Live View, which means things such as lighting and focus can be tweaked in real time.

Aperture 3

Aperture 3 Aperture 3 offers a wide range of support and features for home or studio photography and is used with the Macintosh operating system. In addition to its functions for tethered photography, it integrates with iPhoto to help ease with photo storage and management. Images manipulated through Aperture 3 are stored on the computer, rather than the camera. While Aperture 3 is a useful tool, it is not universal, so you should always check for compatibility with your camera before making use of the software.

Breeze Systems

Breeze Systems The tethered software from Breeze Systems has the benefit of working on both Windows and Macintosh platforms, however it primarily works with Canon and Nikon cameras. If you do own a compatible camera, Breeze can be a very good choice for your tethered photos. In addition to a full screen view, Breeze offers a flashing highlight display to manage overexposed areas and a grid overlay that will correct alignment issues. Display images can also be sharpened to allow for the most accurate previews. The photos themselves can be taken either from the camera or from the computer, and the images can be auto tagged for easy identification and automatically downloaded into various photo editing programs for a more seamless chromakey shoot, or any other editing process you may want to do later on.

Tether Software Included w/ Camera

While all these tethering programs have some excellent features, and will surely make any photography shoot much easier, there is always the chance that incompatibility could arise with some cameras. With tethering become increasingly popular, many newer cameras simply come with some sort of custom tethered software included.

tech table kitPhoto Credit: Ryan Walsh

Although manufacturer included programs might not have all the bells and whistles of some of the more advanced software programs, it can be a good place to start as you are getting used to the process. It also has the bonus of already existing with your camera, so there is no additional expense. What you choose ultimately will depend on your experience and what type of photographer you hope to be. As long as you keep that in mind, and make sure your camera and computer are compatible with whatever you choose, you should see a marked improvement to your photography.

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in tethered photography? Check out our line of tethered photography equipment, including tether tables, tethering accessories, and tethered photography kits!

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Comments (2)

  • Erik Kerstenbeck



    Great article – shooting in studio tethered is the way to go – helps both Photographer and the Model to make better choices


  • Jenny


    I use Lightroom 3.3, I haven’t converted to LR4 yet but it is definitely the way to go! I use photoshop CS3 as well (the highest version my dinosaur computer will support) but once you use lightroom and get accustomed to it, you will never need or want anything else! being able to sync similar images and apply the same editing to all then tweak them as you like speeds up my workflow and is something no other software I’ve tried can touch. the custom brush tool is SO much better and easier and more editable than using masks in CS3. It rocks my socks and I recommend it to anyone, whether you’re a pro or an amateur or a hobbyist, or even just a mamarazzi.


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