My POV on Tethering for Product Photography

Posted by: on Apr 15, 2021

My POV on Tethering for Product Photography

Product photography has been a rewarding experience for me in many ways. While I love the creative aspect of it, I also love that I have a workflow in place that makes achieving the images I need much easier than if I didn’t have this in place. This is not to say product photography is always easy; it has its challenges. 

This area of photography can be creative, but it can also be a challenging area of photography for photographers when they don’t have a good, efficient workflow in place. It can affect not only the image results from a photographer’s photo shoot but also their professional image. This is where tethered photography can help maintain quality control, help with troubleshooting images, provide a means for clients to provide their creative feedback and help boost your professional image. 

Shoot Tethered for Quality Control 

Tethered photography has allowed my creative team and me the ability to view my images on a larger screen as I capture them so we can more easily check for things such as focus, lighting, composition, and other details to make sure I’m getting the shot accurately. It has also helped me with the architecture of the image—especially when there are models involved. Our eye only has a certain amount of vision we can see through a viewfinder, so if I have multiple people in a shot, and there’s only so much I can see in a shot, that’s why I need to tether.

I need to be able to see all the different elements and see all the models laid out—especially when there are multiple models. I also need to understand where the light is hitting them for lighting and, to be honest, that’s where I have my assistant looking at every shot I’m taking, and if there’s a problem she’s tapping me on the shoulder saying, “Come look at this.” So basically, tethering allows me to have two sets of eyes on everything I’m doing because my eye can only be behind the camera. I need the other person there really keeping quality control, making sure I’m keeping on track with what I need. 

When I’m shooting tethered, I’m also better able to troubleshoot any problems with my images such as hot spots, reflections, and unwanted shadows. With something so tight like working in such a small space with products, there is no room for error. And that is where tethering really comes in because you really have to see things like, “Where’s that shadow? Why have I got two shadows here? Let’s correct that. No, I need the shadow to come this way … .” So you’re also kind of looking at how this is viewed by someone else. 

Tether to Help Capture the Vision 

Going into advertising shoots and even product photography, we always have a very planned structure. We have to have this look and feel; we have multiple-page mood boards on any particular shoot so I know this is my target, this is the look and feel I want to accomplish. Get that and I can relax and then we can experiment such as trying some artistic angles. Basically, get the standard done and then have fun. 

Sometimes experiments don’t go according to plan though. Tethering has helped me to see in the moment what is working and what is not during my photo shoots so I can make adjustments or go in a different direction, which has saved me a great deal of time in many instances.  

Tethered photography has also helped me by providing a means for my client to convey their feedback to me about whether I am capturing their vision of their product and brand while I’m shooting. When I’m feeding to the client, the client needs the final approval, so I need to hear the “oohs and aahs.” And when I’m hearing the “oohs and aahs” behind me in the background, I know I’m on point, and then I know they’re happy because they got what they wanted from the mood board. 

Make a Professional Impact with Tethering 

Photo Credit: Brooke Mason

I have found that tethering during a photo shoot when a client is present can make a big impact on that client’s experience working with me. There is an “ooh-aah’ factor about seeing the photos tethered and seeing them on a bigger screen even if you just bring in a monitor, such as a 27-inch monitor. It just looks really impressive backlit on your monitor. Your pictures look really beautiful, so I think there’s a Hollywood vibe that they get to see their work, or their products, or their images this big. 

Sometimes this happens for the first time with you, and sometimes clients have worked with other photographers who haven’t tethered and they’re like, “Oh my. What a difference it is working with you and seeing this because this is exciting.” And then they leave high at the end of the day because they’ve seen it all. When they just see the photos online, it doesn’t look the same as when I’m tethering in the moment so they have that memory. So it helps you. It helps your public profile as a photographer because they’re sharing with friends and tagging and storing what you’re doing and you look like the big hotshot of the day. 

Tethered photography not only helps boost my image quality, but it also helps boost my professional image as well. When you look the part and you have the gear and you look professional, that client will refer you. That client will use you again and refer you to other people. That client will push you out to social media, so there’s that element of just looking professional and being professional that’s going to help get your name out there. 

Networking is a way for people to get their work out there, about who they are and what they’re working on. I think it’s important for people to put behind-the-scenes looks on their social media. So don’t just post your work but include your workflow, such as your tethering aspect

Social media is about giving love and getting love back, so think about who you can tag. Who or what can you talk about? Talk about your experiences, and that’s going to get you more work because it’s going to get more people seeing you.  

Obviously having a good product will help—that goes without saying—as will having a website with a good product on it. It’s how to get a good product and how to be efficient about getting your work out there that paves the way for a successful product photography business.  

Discover Your Tethering Solution for Product Photography 

From quality control and troubleshooting assistance to bridging the feedback gap between you and your client and boosting your professional image, tethered shooting can benefit your product photography business in a variety of ways. To learn more ways tethered photography can take your product photography business to the next level, download our guide, The Product Photographer’s Guide to Tethering.