Nikon Tethered Shooting with Lightroom 3

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: March 30, 2011

Category: General

I’m in the middle of writing a post about last Sunday’s ‘tester’ for the new workshop but before I put it online I just wanted to mention about a super cool piece of software that has put an end to my ‘tethering’ woes; let me explain…

In the studio I’m always shooting tethered to my Apple Macbook Pro running Adobe Lightroom 3 for the obvious benefits of seeing images appear on a larger screen as I work through them. Now I know I’m not the only one experiencing this, but the tethering facility built into Lightroom 3 I find to be a little on the temperamental side and from time to time causes me no end of hassle by refusing to bring in files.

I thought at first it may be that Lightroom doesn’t like it when I turn off my camera at times during a shoot whilst it’s connected but I’ve had issues without doing this too. Anyway, regardless of that one thing I know for sure is that I need to be able to rely on my kit 100% to do it’s job as we all do; especially when with a client.

However, it looks like my tethering woes are over thanks to a piece of software called SOFORTBILD. Exclusively for Mac users shooting Nikon this free piece of software works exceptionally well with Lightroom and what’s more it’s incredibly easy to set up once you’ve downloaded and installed it. (Note: If you’re a Windows user shooting Nikon go to to download the Nikon tethering scripts for Windows and use that instead)

In a nutshell, the tethering side of things is all dealt with by SOFORTBILD, so as you’re shooting, the images are put into a folder of your choice on your Mac. Lightroom can then ‘watch’ this folder so that when it sees image files appearing in it as you’re shooting, they are automatically put into a catalogue and appear on screen.

3 Simple Steps

Step 1:
From within Sofortbild, go to PREFERENCES and choose a location or set up a new folder where you want the ‘captured’ images to go during the tethering process..

For my own ‘tethering’ workflow I’ve created a folder on my desktop called ‘TETHERED’ which is where images will appear at point of capture…

Step 2:
From within Lightroom, go to the FILE menu at the top of your screen and choose AUTO IMPORT and then AUTO IMPORT SETTINGS. Once here all you need to do is to tell Lightroom where the ‘tethered’ images will appear and ensure that you place a tick in the ENABLE AUTO IMPORT box…

And that’s all there is to it. Once you gone through these 2 simple steps connect you camera, start shooting and from that point on you’ll see your images appearing as you shoot. Naturally there is a slight delay before each picture appears but that’s all it is…a slight delay.

My own preference is to view the images in Lightroom as they appear so I simply minimise the window containing Sofortbild, but another good thing about Sofortbild is that you can see all your camera settings on screen, and what’s more they’re ‘real time’ so if you make any adjustments you’ll see that change appear on the display…

This method of tethering into Lightroom rather than using Lightroom’s own built in system worked flawlessly during last Sunday’s Workshop ‘tester’ and has continued to perform without problem since, so I’m definitely sold on it; even more so as it’s free 🙂

Now, it may be that you’re a Nikon user tethering into Lighroom and are experiencing no problems at all, and if that is the case then fantastic. However if like me you have had a few issues then this is definitely a great solution.

Enjoy 🙂

Download SOFORTBILD for free at this [Link]

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  1. Brian Worley

    For Canon users the EOS Utility software that came free with your camera allows tethered shooting in to a folder like the Sofortbild described above. Once it’s in the ‘tethered’ folder the the same Lightroom trick for auto import works too.

    EOS Utility is available for both pc and mac and updates to the latest version are freely available from Canon.

    • Glyn

      Brian, you’re a star! Thanks for posting that 🙂

  2. Paul Hodgson

    Hi Glyn, Brian makes a great point. Buy a Canon and the tethering software comes free but us Nikon peeps have the privilege of paying for the software! But there’s an alternative that works and is also free though don’t know if it’s for PC users only.

    I’ve used it for years now when required and whilst it doesn’t have the fancy user interface the point is it works.

    • Glyn

      @Paul…Top man, thanks for the link. The more stuff like this that gets shared the better.


  3. David Kelly

    At least that’s one small advantage us Canon users have over Nikon, from the info Brian’s supplied 😉

    • Glyn

      @David…Absolutely. Wish Nikon would think about including the software too; shame 🙁

  4. toby snelgrove

    Many thanks … same problem … now another problem … for some reason “develop” mode makes automatic adjustments to my image once they appear. If underexposed, they push it up to whatever it needs. I do not what this. I want it to come in as shot so I can make my adjustmens myself.
    Any ideas?

  5. Kevin Kubota

    Great find! Thanks for sharing that tip, we experience the same issues on occasion and it’s frustrating.

    • Glyn

      Hey Kevin…Thanks for stopping by and commenting; great to ‘hear’ the post helped.
      Regards, Glyn



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