Here’s the final shot you see me making in the BTS shot below.

Back on Monday, I did a post about Segmenting when you’re shooting tethering into Lightroom Classic, and I get a lot of questions about my tethering set-up gear, so I thought I’d revisit the set-up of my rig here today.

Here’s a list of the accessories:

The Cable:
The long orange cable is the essential thing you need to connect your DSLR to your computer (and into Lightroom). It’s from a company called Tethertools, and their entire company is dedicated to making stuff for tethering (so, with the exception of the tripod and ballhead and lights, all of which I mention shortly, all the tethering gear itself is from Tethertools (btw: great company, great people behind it, great products, and awesome customer service – I totally dig them!). Anyway, the cables come in different lengths and different connectors to fit your particular make and model of camera (USB 2.0, USB 3, USB-C, Micro-B, Mini-B, etc.). The bright orange color is to help you see the cable in a dark studio environment so you don’t trip on it. Prices vary based on the length and type of ends chosen but figure around $32 to $55.

The Bar:
It’s all sitting on a tripod (in this case, it’s a heavy-duty Really Right Stuff tripod I believe), and the crossbar attached to it is the ‘Rock Solid Tripod Cross Bar’ from Tethertools (it holds a laptop table on the right, and my Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ballhead on the left, which gives me a place to put my camera between frames, while I’m tweaking the lights, or looking at the images in Lightroom). It’s $129.95 at B&H Photo.

The Laptop stand (and safety strap):
It’s called the Tethertools ‘Aero Table’. NOTE: If you get this Aero Table, I would strongly (in the strongest most strongly of strong terms) suggest that you get the optional SecureStrap that keeps your Laptop from sliding off the table, which is most likely to happen when you and a friend/assistant pick up the rig to move it). It has saved me countless times. Get the strap. It’s a must. It’s optional, but shouldn’t be. It’s strap time. Strap it on.  The Aero Table is $195 for a 15″ MacBookPro, and the SecureStrap is around $18 (btw: all the prices shown are what they’re selling for today at B&H Photo).

External Hard Drive Holder:
The little box under the right the side (seen more clearly in the shot above, taken from another shoot that same day), which is currently holding the “brick” for my Apple charging cable, usually is holding an external hard drive (that’s what it’s really designed for). That little external drive holder is called the ‘Aero XDC‘ and they make ones that hold one drive or two drives. Super handy because if you don’t have one, then your hard drive is just kinda sitting there leaning against your computer, waiting to fall off during the shoot (said from experience). Around $54.

Rolling Base For Your Tripod
The accessory to this system that I have deeply fallen in love with is their Rock Solid Tripod Roller, (seen above) which lets you easily roll the entire rig around, rather than having two people pick it up and carefully move it around the studio, which I often have to do a dozen or so times during a shoot. This way, your tripod sits right in special mounts on the roller, and it just glides around. Much safer, faster, and you don’t need a 2nd person to wheel it around (nor do you have to worry about your laptop falling off when it’s just gliding across the floor, much like Belle in Beauty and the Beast. But I digress). It’s around $79. Can’t recommend it enough.

Not Seen, But Felt…
You can’t see it in my behind-the-scenes photo, but it’s super awesome is their optional Aero Cup Holder accessory, which slides under the Aero Table and you slide-it-out when you need it. It can hold a water bottle, coffee cup, but it’s also awesome for holding your phone during the shoot, or extra batteries, or whatever you need handy during the shoot. It’s $29.95. Totally worth it.

If you want to learn more about the lighting I use for these types of shots…

…along the retouching that goes with it, I put a trailer below for a class I created on KelbyOne on doing Beauty Headshots. It’s part of my ‘Lighting Recipes‘ series, and here’s a direct link to the course — you should totally watch it this weekend.

Hope you have a great weekend, stay safe, keep washing those hands; stay the heck away from…well…everybody and we might get through this in one piece. Here’s wishing you good health. 🙂

-Scott

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6 comments

  1. Andreas 3 April, 2020 at 14:38 Reply

    Because of the TetherTools prices and the tripping over problem I am using wireless solutions for more than a decade.
    Currently I use the Toshiba/Kioxia FlashAir W-04 SD card. The card works in all of my cameras without any reconfigurations on the card and on my studio computer.
    The transfer times of small JPEGs (500KB-1MB) are between 1-3 seconds (shutter to display). I dont transfer RAWs wireless. All my cameras are set to RAW+small JPEG.

  2. Brian Robinson 3 April, 2020 at 13:09 Reply

    Most of their products are extremely overpriced. It would make more since for photographers to not support them. More people would buy their products if they were half the price they currently are.

    • Scott Kelby 4 April, 2020 at 09:14 Reply

      Brian, I think more people would by ANY product if the company cut the price in half (though I don’t think selling product is a problem for Tethertools – they’re quite a successful company). I look at it this way – they’re allowed to charge whatever they want for their products. If people think the price is reasonable, they’ll buy it. If they think the price is too high, they won’t – just what we all do each day when we consider any product. I don’t think photographers should not support them because you don’t like their prices, any more than saying we shouldn’t support BMW and stop buying their cars because you think they charge too much. If their products are too expensive for you, then you can choose an alternative, just like you do with every product you consider. Lastly, I didn’t tell anyone that they should buy their products. This post wasn’t sponsored or paid for by them. I was just sharing my own set-up, and these are the tools I use when I shoot tethered.

  3. Jon Busby 3 April, 2020 at 04:20 Reply

    Thanks Scott

    As a studio portrait photographer may I make a few comments.

    I used TetherTool cables and tbh apart from a funky colour they were no better than a n other usb cables, except they are a five times the price of the standard USB cables. I appreciate the orange cables make us look like ‘cool dudes’ but there is a price to pay to be cool.

    I did a speed test and the TT is about 1-2 seconds quicker than a cheap USB, bearing in mind that what mostly drives speed is not the cable but the processing speed of the computer.

    Also I found the TetherTool dropped out of my camera on a regular basis (even with the expensive jack – more kerching to TT). This was especially true when the camera is hand held rather than being on a tripod.

    Bizarrely I found myself tripping over the more visible orange cable far more often than the cheaper black one that you can pick up for a few £’s on Amazon.

    Personally I think the route of shoot > LR Classic > Collection Adobe Creative Cloud sync is really clunky. Why Adobe don’t have tether in LR CC or even better directly into say an iPad Pro is a shame.

    Ok that may sound a bit negative but don’t fall for the marketing. I have tested them all and TetherTools, in my opinion, are just not worth the extra charge.

    Stay safe

    Jon

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