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Mastering Tethered Photography: A Portrait Photographer's Essential Guide

As a portrait photographer, my journey began in the fast-paced world of sports photography. I cut my teeth working for Cache Valley Daily, capturing the raw intensity of athletes in the heat of competition. That experience eventually led me to the hallowed grounds of Utah State University, where I honed my craft shooting sports for the Aggies. These formative years in sports photography provided me with a unique skill set and perspective that now define my approach to portrait photography. In this blog post, I'll share how my sports photography background has enriched my career as a portrait photographer and how mastering tethered photography has become a game-changer in my creative process.

picture of a women kneeling down holding a DSLR and a tablet looking at images

The Transition from Sports to Portraits

Moving from the dynamic realm of sports photography to the nuanced world of portraiture was a significant shift. However, the lessons I learned while freezing the action on the field have had a lasting impact on my portrait work. I discovered that capturing the perfect moment, whether it's an athlete's triumphant leap or a subject's genuine smile, demands patience, precision, and a deep understanding of timing.

The Role of Tethered Photography

One tool that has become indispensable in my portrait photography journey is tethered shooting. But what exactly is tethering? It's the process of connecting your camera to a computer, allowing images to be instantly transferred to your device in addition to the camera's memory card. This real-time feedback is a game-changer for portrait sessions.

Benefits of Tethering in Portraiture

In the world of portrait photography, tethered shooting offers numerous advantages. It provides an instant preview of each image, enabling clients to mark or flag their favorite shots. This streamlines the post-processing workflow significantly, as I can focus on editing the selected images, saving time and effort. Tethering also enables clients to view the images on a larger screen, facilitating detailed quality checks.

Tethering Setup for Portrait Photography

Here's a quick guide to setting up tethered photography for your portrait sessions:

  1. Connect your DSLR to your laptop with a USB cable.

  2. Turn the camera on.

  3. In software like Lightroom, navigate to File > Tethered Capture > Start Tethered Capture.

  4. Customize settings as needed, such as specifying photo names and metadata.

  5. Begin your tethered shoot, with images appearing on your laptop as you take them.

Embracing Tethering in Portrait Photography

Tethering has become an integral part of my portrait photography workflow. The ability to review and edit images on the spot, collaborate effectively with clients, and maintain a backup of all shots ensures a smooth and professional experience. If you haven't tried tethering yet, I strongly recommend it. The transition from sports to portraits has been an exciting journey, and tethered photography has been a critical element of my success.

Mountain Crest Soccer player Summer Sofonia shooting a goal


As I've evolved from my sports photography roots to become a prominent Utah portrait photographer, the lessons and techniques I've gathered along the way have been invaluable. Tethered photography has played a significant role in enhancing my workflow and client satisfaction. Whether you're just starting your photography journey or looking for ways to improve your portrait work, consider exploring the power of tethering. In this ever-evolving field, it's essential to adapt and refine your techniques to achieve the best results, and tethered photography is a fantastic tool to help you do just that. So, plug in and give it a try to take your portrait photography to the next level!


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