Shooting Tethered With Adobe Lightroom 5
June 10, 2013
16 comment

One of the popular posts I did for Lightroom 4 described how to set up Lightroom to shoot tethered from your camera. I wanted to do a quick update to that post to show how tethering works in Lightroom 5.

Spoiler Alert: It’s the same.

For this tutorial, I’m using LR5 running on a MacBook Pro with a 15 foot USB cable connecting the laptop to my Nikon D7000.

To start a tethering session, under File select Tethered Capture > Start Tethered Capture…

Lightroom Fanatic - Start Tethered Capture

Lightroom Fanatic – Start Tethered Capture

The Tethered Capture Settings dialog will appear, where you can specify the name of the session, the template to use for the incoming file names, the location to store the images, and what metadata and keywords to use.

Lightroom Fanatic - Tethered Capture Settings

Lightroom Fanatic – Tethered Capture Settings

Once your settings are ready, click OK to proceed.

At this point, Lightroom should put you in the Library module, and you should see the heads up display (HUD) for the tethered session. Your camera model should show up on the left. If you have multiple connected cameras, you can toggle through them using the arrows by the camera model titles.

Lightroom Fanatic - Tethering HUD

Lightroom Fanatic – Tethering HUD

If everything is connected but the Lightroom HUD says “No Camera Detected”, it’s possible that you need to adjust a setting on your camera. Camera manufacturers very, but some require a bit of configuration to tell the camera what role the USB plays when a device is connected to it. Consult your camera manual if you have any questions.

On the HUD, you can set the default develop settings to apply to the incoming images. Between the Tethered Settings dialog and this option on the HUD, you get many of the same options that you would importing from a memory card. By placing the Develop Settings here, it makes it easy to adjust between presets during the shoot to test out different looks.

Now, you shoot. You can either use the shutter release on your camera or, if your camera supports it, the big gray button on the HUD. I’ve actually used that when my camera was on a tripod and stationary, so it’s a nice option to have.

Lightroom Fanatic - Tethering Session

Lightroom Fanatic – Tethering Session

I’m sure there is camera variety here, too, but when shooting tethered on the Nikon, the images get sent across the USB to the computer. They do not get stored on SD card and, therefore, there is no preview on the back of the camera. When you shoot tethered, the computer becomes your LCD, so that is something to keep in mind if you have a really long USB cable and the computer display isn’t in view.

When you’re done with your session, you can stop the tethering session by navigating to Tethered Capture > Stop Tethered Capture. You can also click the little X on the top right of the HUD.

Lightroom Fanatic - Stop Tethered Capture

Lightroom Fanatic – Stop Tethered Capture

That’s it! The images will be in your library, ready for you to process!

Lightroom Fanatic - After The Tethering Session

 Check out our video tutorial here!

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There are 16 comments

  • Milton Gray says:

    David – Thanks for the clear demonstration of setting up a tethered capture.
    I have been using it in LR4 but since going to LR5 I have been having troubles with frequent camera disconnects. It requires me to restart tethering about every 5-10 minutes (which is very disruptive).Adobe has been of no help and I wonder if you have had this trouble.
    Canon 5D Mark11–MacBookPro–canon cable
    Thanks, Milton

  • Scottie says:

    I have been using tethered capture first with LR4 and then with LR5, shooting with a Nikon D7000 and a D90. All worked well until one day it stopped detecting either camera. I’m pretty sure that the cable is good because the laptops (I’ve tried tethering with two separate laptops) give me a device detected sound. Any ideas?

    • dave says:

      Hi, Scottie.

      Definitely try another cable, especially if it’s doing it with both cameras. If there is a problem with the cable, it might be in a state where the computer knows something is plugged in but a break along the line might be preventing the actual transfer of data between the camera and the computer.

      Anything else change when it stopped working? Did you upgrade your firmware on your cameras or anything? I don’t think the D7000 cares but the D90 might have that setting where you need to tell the camera that you’re connecting for tethering instead of for file transfer. If you’re using Windows, do you know if you did a Windows update recently?

      Let me know how it goes and I’ll try to think of other options.


    • dave says:

      One other note… It sounds like the Nikon SDK for tethering has some opportunities for improvement and that there have been some problems with some cameras. I personally haven’t had any problems with the D7000, though, in that area. So try the cable, see if that helps. A fallback approach would be to use the Nikon tethering software, and then have Lightroom watch the folder. Might be a workaround.

  • […] th heck wouldn't you use Lightroom for tethering? Here is a nice overview on how it works on a Mac – PC will be similar.› See More: control my […]

  • D.A.Wagner says:

    This is the Adobe fix that works on MAC and PC that corrects the No Camera Detected or the frequent disconnects that happen with LR5.

    It worked for me. D800, ds1 MKIII both are working now.


  • Matti Auer says:

    I have tested LR5 (Windows 64-bit version) with both Canon D800 and my friend Nikon D5200. My Canon stops connection all the time, but Nikon working fine allways. I think that Canon has serious problems with 3rd party devices.

    • dave says:

      Hi, Matti. Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I’ve seen some other reports for other cameras. One of the problems is that Adobe is at the mercy of the camera manufacturers with what they expose in their API, so there is that layer in between that they need to deal with. That said, never hurts to try another cable or to make sure the camera itself is at the most recent version.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Don kruse says:

    I am able to shoot tethered with my nikon D7100 in LR 5.5 but after first image appears all others don’t appear unless I go to filmstrip view select photo and then it appears. So, the problem is the photos don’t automatically appear after first one. Is there a setting to change that will show image after I shoot each one.

    • dave says:

      In the tethered session, you should be able to go to File > Tethered Capture > Auto Advance Selection and make sure that’s checked. See if that works.

  • Bee says:

    Hi there!! Great article… I’ve just started using Tethered Capture in Lightroom 4.4… So strange… It is showing my Canon 5D Mark III detected, but when I shoot, none of the images come up, just remains a folder showing (0) images inside it… I don’t get any indication whatsoever that it is actually capturing images.. The folder I’ve set it to is completely empty… Checked my camera… It’s set to shoot in RAW, all good there… If anybody has any idea why this is happening, please kindly let me know… Really appreciate it…. 🙂 Thanks in advance!

    • dave says:

      On the Nikon cameras, there is a setting on the camera itself that says whether the USB is connecting to a computer or something else. I know, at least back in the day, that it had to be set to the PC setting in order for the tethering to work. I’m not sure if that is still the case or if it’s applicable to the Canon, but might be worth checking.

  • william lee says:

    For some reason everything is working (camera detected and controls working) but the only problem is that when I take a picture it shows up on my camera screen and says on card detected and doesn’t transfer to where its suppose to go in my lightroom library…frustrated especially since I know its worked previously. The only reason I’m changing back to sad tethering through lightroom is because canon has not upgraded their software for yosemite on mac. Thanks in advance for any help concerning this issue.

    • dave says:

      Hi, William. Lightroom uses the APIs provided by the camera manufacturers to be able to do the tethering, so its certainly possible if there is something wrong with the Canon software on Yosemite that it might impact Lightroom. Make sure you have all the OS updates and latest Lightroom and see if that makes a difference.