The ability to shoot tethered is imperative for most professional photographers. Not only does it let you study your captured images on a big screen as soon as they’re taken, but it also allows for your client to give instant feedback. This opens up the collaboration aspect of your photo shoot. Thanks to evolving technology, apps let you easily shoot tethered on a smartphone or mobile device using just a tether cable. Some tethering options and remote shooting can be achieved wirelessly on cameras with built-in Wi-Fi like the Canon 6D, or popular mirrorless cameras. But this blog is for cameras without Wi-Fi.  Read on to learn how to shoot tethered with the Canon DSLR Controller app and an Android device.

Note that the apps and cables needed for tethered shooting will vary according to which camera brand and model you have, as well as what type of phone or device you are using. At the bottom, you’ll also find tethered shooting options for Nikon and Apple devices.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

What is tethering?

Tethered shooting lets you connect your camera to a computer so your captured images can be viewed on an attached screen as soon as they are taken. Sometimes, tethering also allows for remote shooting or controlling your camera through the connected computer. In particular, tethering is useful for studio or food photographers who want to zoom in and check every detail of a photo as they shoot. It’s also a valuable service to offer to clients as makes it easier to collaborate during a photo shoot.

Traditionally, photographers use a cable to connect their cameras to a laptop computer, but this is often means having to carry extra gear on a photo shoot. Fortunately, technology has evolved so that tethered shooting can now be conducted via a tablet or mobile device. This is a much more portable option.

5 Steps to Tethered Shooting with Canon DSLR Controller App

If you have a Canon camera without built-in Wi-Fi, DSLR Controller is the app for you. Available on for iOS and Android devices, this app was among the very first that allowed for full control over a Canon EOS DSLR from an Android device using either a USB cable or Wi-Fi connection. It remains among the most reputable and reliable Canon tethering apps on the market today. Be sure to check both camera and phone compatibility before buying.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

Canon DSLR Controller App Features

Although not a free app, Canon DSLR Controller packs in a ton of features to easily justify its $7.99 cost. With this app, you can control most camera settings (ie. change aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus point), capture a photo remotely, and review images and video as soon as they’ve been captured.

DSLR Controller App

What You Need

Of all the items on the list above, the one you’re probably least familiar with is the Micro USB OTG (On-The-Go) cable. Small and cheap, this handy cable allows you to attach to your mobile device almost any USB devices such as a mouse, keyboard, flash drive, or camera. With this cable, you could use a USB-powered mouse or keyboard and fully control your phone in lieu of touchscreen if you wanted to.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

Tethered Shooting Guide for Canon DSLR Controller

1) First, plug your Micro USB OTG cable into your mobile device, and connect the OTG cable to the USB 2.0 cable.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

2) Connect the other end of the USB 2.0 to your camera. The USB 2.0 plug should exist on pretty much every Canon DSLR. In the above photo, I’m connecting to my Canon 5D Mark III.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

3) On your Android tablet, open the DSLR Controller app that you installed earlier. This app is specific to Canon EOS DSLRs and Android devices, and both your camera and mobile device must be compatible.

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

4) Next, turn your camera on and fire up the DSLR Controller app. Follow the screen prompts and allow the app to access the camera, and violà! You’re pretty much done!

How to shoot tethered with Canon DSLR Controller app

5) Congrats! You can now shoot tethered on your mobile device!

Other Ways to Shoot Tethered

Canon DSLR Controller is specific to both Canon cameras and Android devices. If you’d rather do shoot tethered wirelessly, or have a Nikon camera or Apple device you do have some options, but they are pricey.

Camera-Specific Wi-Fi Apps

By now, many modern cameras come with built-in Wi-Fi and their own corresponding apps that will allow for remote and tethered shooting options. The Canon EOS 6D, for example, has built-in Wi-Fi and thus can achieve tethered shooting via Canon’s own EOS Remote or Canon Camera Connect. Thus, if your camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi, you likely already have a method of tethered shooting.

Add Wi-Fi to Any Camera

If your camera doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, you can add this feature by investing CamFinder or Case Air Wireless Tethering System. Both options are not cheap, but they are extremely flexible, allowing you to wirelessly tether and control your camera from any portable device. Compatible with most Canon, Nikon, iOS and Android devices.

Desktop Computer Apps

You can also shoot tethered using Adobe Lightroom and other similar desktop computer applications.

In Conclusion

Tethered shooting is an important practice for many photographers who wish to remote control their cameras and view images instantly on a larger screen during a photo shoot. The exact apps and methodology of tethered shooting depend largely on the devices you are using. Do you shoot tethered? If so, what tools and apps have you found useful? Let me know in the comments below.

How often do you shoot tethered?

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Canon tethered shooting


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