Shooting Tethered with Lightroom 3 Beta-2

You might have heard that one of the really big upgrades to the latest beta version of Lightroom is the ability to shoot tethered.  This is a huge development for anyone that likes to shoot directly into Lightroom.  Previously if someone wanted to perform the same function they would have to use a separate piece of software to communicate with the camera.  Most pleased will be Windows users who’s only option before now was to use Nikon’s Camera Control Pro.  A pricey product to be sure.

( WARNING: This feature does not work with every camera.  Most newer, mid-level and up, model DSLRs (Canon and Nikon) will work but I’m not sure about other manufacturers.)

So here’s the basics of using the new tethered feature.  First, attach your camera to the computer via USB and turn it on and then go to the File menu and select Tethered Capture > Start Tethered Capture.

The next thing you will see is the Setup dialog box.  Inside the box, you can set things like the shooting session name, a naming template including a number scheme, a destination, and keywords and metadata.

Once you press the OK button the camera control bar will pop up. The camera control bar won’t let you modify any of the camera settings, but it does give you a full readout of your shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance.  There is however a large button on the right side of the bar that will let you trip the camera directly from Lightroom.

Once you start shooting, your images will start appearing in your library.  You could just leave it at that, but here’s a little trick that my buddy Scott Kelby showed off last week in his Lightroom Killer Tips class.  when you shoot your first image, put a white balance card in the image.  When it shows up in the Library, switch over the the Develop module and then grab the white balance eyedropper in the Basic panel and click on the white balance card in the image.

Now before you shoot your next image, click the Develop Settings drop-down on the Camera Control bar and select Same as Previous.

Now every time you take a picture, the white balance will be automatically adjusted to the previously adjusted white balance settings.  Just make sure that you re-adjust your white balance if your lighting changes.

Here’s a shot right out of the camera after adjusting white balance using the image above.

That’s right baby, DirectTv and Coke Zero.  That’s just how I roll!

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  • Robin Kaspar

    You forgot to mention that this doesn’t work with all cameras. I can’t use it with my 40D.

  • Brian Reyman

    @Robin – As of my reading of this, it has a warning about not being available with all cameras…

    It is, however, supposed to work with the Canon 40D – I have one and it works for me…


    • jeff

      Actually I changed the post after the reminder from Robin. Thanks Robin for the heads up on this. One thing that everyone having problems should do is check the USB settings in their camera menu. Sometimes the USB is set to act like a storage drive and therefore the program will not see it as a camera. I’ll see if I can’t dig up a little more on this later. Also remember that this is beta software so if your camera won’t connect, you might want to send a bug report to Adobe so they can investigate it.

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  • Megan

    Can’t get this to work with a 1ds m iii, keeps trying to “import images”? And there are no images, and card is formatted. Anyone have any problems like this?

    • jeff

      Megan, try changing the USB settings in the camera and also removing the card. After all, you are shooting directly into the computer so the card isn’t necessary

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  • Richard

    Worked with my Canon 450D with LR3 on my MacBook. Initially it did try to import existing images( as I would expect) but i just cancelled the import and kicked off the tethering. Had to re-start the tether if the camera went to sleep or I did a battery change.

    Just need to backup the images and import them in to my LR2 library now so I don’t lose anything.

  • Kim

    Hi there – which cord do I use? I have a Canon 50D.

    Of course, ase uszh’ – I feel like a jack-holio.

    I am just not getting it.

    Can someone help?

    And another bone head question – why does someone want to shoot tethered?

    Thanks my fine peeps,


    Anyone wanna share/help? Thanks guys.

  • Kim

    I reread again, and it says USB.

    So, I will check it out again. I never import from the camera, I always use my Sandisk 4/1 card reader.

    But, again, whats the benefits to running tethered.

    Thanks again guys!


  • Kim

    It works. THANKS JEFF!!

  • Ted

    Your camera must be set to an other comm protocol.
    Normally your camera is in USB mode (MASS STORAGE).

    For my Nikon D300 i did the following
    In order to work with LR3B2 you must set your camera to MTP/PTP -mode.

    Try this, I am 100% sure it works

    • Jacques


      Thanks ! I set up my Nikon D300 like you said (Setup Menu – USB – MTP/PTP) and it worked with the final version of LR3 as well !

    • Adrian

      Thank you!

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  • Morgan Jackson

    Hi Jeff, love your blog, just thought I’d mention a piece of free-ware that allows Nikon users to shoot tethered fairly well. It’s called Camera Control 4.1 (Google knows where it is) and all you need to do is have Lightroom watch the folder you import and have LR autoimport from there. Simple and effective! Of course it’ll be moot with the final release of LR3 probably, but for anyone on a budget between now and then, I’d check it out!

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  • Mike K

    When I am trying to do this with my 5D MKI, my camera says ‘busy’. I have tried switching the communication to PC connect, but then lightroom does not see my camera. Any suggestions? thanks!

    • jeff

      I’m not sure what the issue is Mike but you might want to check out the forums for the Beta to see if anyone else had this issue. More importantly, someone might have found a solution.

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  • robert

    You need to turn the “communication” setting on your 5D is set to “PC Connect” or you will get the BUSY message forever.

  • Freddy

    Hi, I have a Rebel T2i and the tether menu shows the camera’s model but no other setting and trying to shoot from the tether shutter or the camera shutter button doesn’t work (in the camera viewfinder I get the “busy” message). I looked around the camera’s menu for an usb mode but with no luck at all. Any idea?


    • snapshot

      Hey Freddy! I had the same problem but I just figured it out tonight.
      Update your Lightroom 3 to version 3.5 and updated your camera raw to 6.5

      Good Luck

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  • Lambert

    Can’t get my Nikon D200 going tethered… neither on both USB settings, with or without memory card…
    Using no Betaversion !

    Any idea ?

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  • Ray

    The D200 is one of the cameras not supported in Windows.

    As Morgan Jackson stated above, try Camera Control 4.1 (Google knows where it is)

    I use it with Bridge but you can use it with Lightroom, it’s free and it works pretty damn good, use the USB cable you got with the camera. I have tried longer cables but without success.


  • tethering

    hi there

    can you tell me if one needs a specific usb cable
    my nikon d200 is noticed by my macbook
    but when i want to use it in lightroom (tethered)
    then lt says “no camera detected”

    am i doing something wrong
    or is it the cable?

    • jo

      Ihave just had the same with my D200 and itkeeps coming up as ‘no camera detected’? Can someone please help?

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  • Erwin

    D200, same problem over here;
    Lightroom detects my D200 to import,
    Tethered will show “No camera detected”

    I’m not sure if I’m using the original cable, it’s about 1m long.

    Any ideas?
    Thx for this post!


    • jeff

      There’s a document on an Adobe website that said that the D200 is NOT supported in the Windows version of Lightroom. Here’s the link to the page.

  • Jaime

    Ahhh, after an hour this is how I got the Ligghtroom 3 tethered to work on a MAC 10.6.6 for D200

    Remove CF Card
    Set USB on D200 to PTP
    I had it on JPEG so don’t know if RAW will work.
    Turn D200 off
    Plug in your USB cord into MAC & D200
    Start tether capture from the LR 3 menu
    Turn D200 and there you have it.

    Good luck

  • Jethro

    where do i plug this cord into my kodak disc camera. i wanna be fancy too.

  • Lisa

    My Canon 5D says Busy when I try and tether, and I cant take photos
    Any suggestions??


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  • An

    Hi Lisa,

    The Canon EOS-5D works on Window XP with 32 bits not Window 7 with 64 bits.

    If I can help, just send me an email.

    I am using ATG AK1 Un-Tethered Systems to shoot wirelessly to pc for years.

    This is a great product that work so good that many sites & forums have flagged or spammed and deleted it because Adobe Lightroom, Canon WFT and Nikon Wt are not needed.


  • Bill

    Anyone know if Adobe plans to support the Nikon D200 in tethering with windows 7?

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