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The Dilemma of Tethering in Photoshoots: Preserving Confidence Over Perfection

As photographers, we strive to capture the essence of our clients, immortalizing moments that reflect their beauty, personality, and essence. Yet, behind the lens lies a delicate balance between technical precision and preserving the confidence of those we photograph. One tool that often finds itself at the center of this dichotomy is tethering during a photoshoot.

Tara Zirker black and white image folded arms wearing a suit
Erin Holmstead Photography

Tethering, the practice of connecting a camera to a computer or monitor to preview images in real-time, offers numerous benefits. It allows for immediate feedback on lighting, composition, and overall aesthetics, facilitating collaboration between photographer and subject. However, beneath its seemingly advantageous surface lies a potential pitfall – the inadvertent erosion of self-esteem.

In a world increasingly obsessed with perfection, the pressure to look flawless in every photograph is palpable. Tethering, while intended to enhance the quality of images, can inadvertently amplify this pressure. Clients may become hyper-aware of their appearance, fixating on perceived flaws or moments of vulnerability captured in real-time.

senior portrait wearing golf leatherman jacket girl with blonde hair
Erin Holmtstead Photography

Empower our clients

As photographers, our primary goal is to empower our clients, not exacerbate insecurities. We understand that behind every lens lies a human being, with insecurities and vulnerabilities of their own. The last thing we want is for a client to walk away from a session feeling more self-conscious or dissatisfied with their appearance.

Tethering can inadvertently capture moments that are less than flattering – a candid expression, a fleeting glance, or an unguarded moment. While these instances may be a natural part of the human experience, they have the potential to trigger feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy in our clients.

Organic flow

Moreover, the presence of tethering can disrupt the organic flow of a photoshoot, creating a sense of self-consciousness and inhibiting genuine expressions and emotions. Clients may feel pressured to perform or maintain a certain image, rather than authentically engaging with the moment.

As photographers, it is our responsibility to balance technical precision with empathy and compassion. We must recognize the inherent vulnerability of those we photograph and create an environment that fosters trust, authenticity, and self-acceptance.

While tethering can be a valuable tool in certain contexts, there are occasions where its drawbacks outweigh its benefits. In these instances, opting to forego tethering may be a deliberate choice to prioritize the emotional well-being and confidence of our clients over technical perfection.

Ultimately, our aim is not to capture flawless images, but rather to celebrate the unique beauty and authenticity of each individual. By approaching photography with sensitivity and mindfulness, we can create images that resonate on a deeper level – images that reflect not only external beauty but also inner strength, resilience, and joy.

Erin Holmstead Photography


So, the next time you find yourself grappling with the decision to tether or not to tether during a photoshoot, consider the impact it may have on your clients' confidence and self-perception. Choose empathy over perfection, and strive to create an environment where every individual feels seen, valued, and empowered. After all, the most stunning images are those that capture the beauty of the human spirit.


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