You, USB, Eye-Fi and I!
I wanted to start off today’s post by letting you know what I have brewing:
A series of interviews with top-level pros in a variety of fields. They talk about their professions, how they got there, and what makes them successful. I’m chasing down several different pros for this, so it’s taking some time. When I have the first 3 ready, I’ll start to post them.
But today, I’m talking about shooting tethered: what it means, what you can do with it, and how it can make you more money.
Shooting “tethered” means that your camera is connected via USB cable to a computer. Images are downloaded as they are shot, and, from there, you can do whatever you want. The good news is that you can do this now. Your camera came with everything you need: camera software and a USB cable. If you’ve got a computer (preferably a laptop), you can do this on location. The bad news is that shooting tethered makes you stationary. You can use this for anything but wedding and event photography. For that you’d need….
This thing. It’s an SD card (or CF card, with an adapter) that holds 2g of images and connects to a wi fi network, allowing you to wirelessly transfer images over a wi fi network to a connected computer. That is amazing. You bring a laptop, a wi fi hub, and set up your own private network at your shooting location. As you are shooting, the card in your camera is feeding your images to a computer over the wi fi network. (Yes, it can work on a secure network.) For $99, this thing is a steal.
Update: Photojojo seems to be the only ones that offer the CF adapter, as far as I know. The adapter is $30.
Either way you go, it’s a huge value-add. Being able to let clients see images as they are being shot on a big, gorgeous screen is a great way to add value to your services. You are bringing a huge element of stability to the extremely speculative nature of creative photography. WYSIWIG photography!
But wait! There’s more! Let’s say you shoot weddings. If you can get an internet connection on site, you can upload images straight from your camera to your website. To brides, this means that friends and relatives who couldn’t come to the wedding can watch it live on your website. Heck, they can even order prints as it happens! You will be selling prints of images before the pixels dry.
Interactive Photography: Cover a gala fundraiser, bring an assistant. You shoot, and are downloading the images to your computer, and uploading them to your website, as before. But, you also hook up a projector and show a slideshow of live photographs. If you’re tethered, set up a “photo booth” (backdrop, light, camera, laptop), and if not, you can work the crowd. The slideshow makes the process interactive! People take funny pictures, which show up on the screen, which gets others to do it. It’s a big hit! Guests see images on the slideshow and can buy prints from your assistant, who processes the order over the website which prints and ships the image straight to the customer. Just keep your prices in ‘impulse buy’ territory.
So, there you go: shooting tethered or wireless, getting your images quickly to your computer can be a great way to make more, add value for your clients, and let people have a great time. So give it a shot!