This article was written by Dave Cross for the Better When You Tether series of articles by professional photographers who experience the benefits of shooting tethered in various shooting environments.
“Tethering the camera was a vital function for the photo booth to work as seamlessly as it did.” – Dave Cross
Whether I’m shooting on a green screen (using PhotoKey software) or on my white cyc wall, I use this tethered setup. I rely on the instant feedback I get from my laptop in Bridge or Lightroom, and in PhotoKey where it does the green screen extraction automatically. Often I’ll hook my laptop to a 47 inch monitor on wheels so that the clients (or students) can see a larger image without crowding around my laptop. I’ve even connected my laptop to a projector to show in a workshop a live demonstration of a photo shoot – very easy to achieve with this tethered set up.
Background of the shoot
We setup a green screen photo booth as part of a video series I was filming for Westcott, to promote their lighting and green screen software. In part we did this as a “proof of concept” that you really could use green screen for a photo booth, thanks to the software the does 99% of the work for you. In the video we setup the green screen, lighting and tethered the camera in order to have a self-contained photo booth – from capture to output.
How tethering made this possible?
Tethering the camera was a vital function for the photo booth to work as seamlessly as it did. The software called PhotoKey Pro has a function called a watched folder, so that as soon as images appear in that folder they are automatically imported onto a chosen background and extracted from the green screen. Without tethering we would have had to walk the images over and manually import them, which not only would have been more effort, but also would have taken so long that part of the excitement of the photo booth might have been lost. With our tethered setup we took a shot and by the time the subject walked from the green screen background over to the computer, their image was already printing. As an interesting aside, the volunteer “actors” in the video were all photographers who were pretending to be wedding guests. When they walked over and saw how quickly our tethered setup worked, they didn’t have to pretend that they were amazed – they were all shocked and how easily and quickly it worked.
Camera & Computer Setup:
- Acratech Ultimate Ballhead
- Kirk L Plate
- TetherPro USB 2.0 Cable & Extender
- JerkStopper Camera Support
- JerkStopper USB Computer Support
- MacBook Pro 15″
- Aero MacBook 15″ Table
- Aero SecureStrap
Green Screen & Lighting Setup:
- Westcott 9×20 Green Screen
- Westcott Skylux LED Lights
- Profoto Compact Pro
- Westcott 54×72 Shallow Softbox
For 25 years, Dave Cross has been helping photographers and creative professionals get the most out of their Adobe software. Since 1987, Dave has taught Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to thousands of users around the world. He has a Bachelor of Education, is an Adobe Certified Instructor in Photoshop CS6 and is a Certified Technical Trainer. Dave has taught for Adobe, at Photoshop World, the Texas School of Photography, the Santa Fe Workshops, Imaging USA and at numerous corporate locations. Dave has written many articles and several books, co-hosted Photoshop User TV and has appeared in many DVDs and online courses for Kelby Training, creativeLIVE and udemy.com. He runs Dave Cross Workshops in his own photo studio and workshop space in Tampa, FL.
Over the last 13 years, Dave has taught Photoshop in every state in the United States, throughout Canada and in Europe, consistently earning rave reviews. Dave is well-known for his engaging style, his humor and his ability to make complex topics easy to understand. In 2009 Dave was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.