Using Watched and Hot Folders for Tethered Photography

Posted by: on Feb 3, 2015 | 15 Comments

A great feature of Adobe Lightroom is the ability to setup a “Watched Folder”. The idea is simple. Any new image added to this folder will automatically be imported into Lightroom. To set up a Watched Folder, simply go to File -> Auto Import -> Auto Import Setting. Check Enable Auto Import, and navigate to the folder you want watched.

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Note that in order for this to work, Lightroom needs to be open and running.

So why would you use this rather than Lightroom’s import dialog?

Here are a few reasons this feature is useful:

1. If you want to tether using Lightroom but your camera isn’t supported. There are many cameras that Lightroom doesn’t support that have their own software for pulling images real-time from the camera. For example, the Panasonic LUMIX GH-4 supports tethering with USB Tether for LUMIX. In these situations, just set your default image location in that software to the Watch Folder you set up in Lightroom. As you shoot, the software will pull the image from the camera, drop it in your watched folder, and Lightroom will auto import it into Lightroom.  You now have the ability to automatically apply white balance, presets, cropping and more to the images.

2. If you are using Case Air wireless tethering system you can tether wireless to Lightroom. In Case Air’s software, your going to set the folder to save images to the same location as your Watched Folder. As you shoot, Lightroom will auto import these photos.

3. You are ingesting a bunch of photos from multiple sources or cards. Once you computer sees your card, you can click to drag all the files to your Watched Folder, and then eject the card and move on to the next. The actual import process won’t slow you down, just the time it takes to copy the images over.

What if I use Capture One?

Capture One actually has the same feature, however it’s called a “Hot Folder.” For more information on how to set it up, check out our article here.

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15 thoughts on “Using Watched and Hot Folders for Tethered Photography”

  1. Malachi,

    Adobe Lightroom 6.3 or the latest CC is required to tether a Canon 5Ds. However, if you use the Canon EOS utility you can tether with that and use watched folders to import into Lightroom. However, you need Lightroom 6 or greater to be able to read RAW files from a 5Ds.

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