Tethering is essentially connecting your camera to a computer or laptop for instant viewing of your images as you are taking them. There are several reasons why you would want to do this — here are three of the big ones.
1. Shorten the sales cycle
Allow me to explain the scenario prior to tethering. Usually in a portrait session of a business professional, I’ll take 50-100 images of a subject. I’ll go home, cull the images that are not worthy of consideration, mildly edit those images (color, lens profile and exposure correct in Lightroom), load them to a gallery and email said gallery to the customer. Then, I’ll wait. I’m waiting for their selection(s).
Sometimes their response is immediate, sometimes it takes weeks and occasionally, I never hear from them at all. Bottom line is, I may be waiting 1-2 weeks for a response and incremental sales opportunities.
Everything changes when I tether. Gratification is instant! I have the opportunity to go over the images with the client immediately. 90% of the time, they will make their decision at the studio. I don’t have the cull the images, I don’t have to send the client a gallery and most importantly, I don’t have to wait to make the sale!
2. Increase sales
If you’re anything like me, you’re in the photography business to make a living. Sales and cash flow are the life blood of any business. Tethering creates an in-person sales opportunity which is a much more active way to sell. Ask any photographer who’s done in-person sales and how much more revenue and sales they generate from these sessions.
Before tethering, the norm was waiting two weeks or longer to make a sale — that model does not help the bottom line or increase cash flow. Tethering changes everything!
With tethering, I have the opportunity to go over the images before the client leaves the studio. He or she will often select 2-3 images. My pricing model only includes one finished image with the sitting fee, additional images are incremental sales opportunities. When I tether and go over the images with a client at the end of a session, more than 70% of the time, they will select more than one image … This gives me the opportunity to potentially double or triple my sales with every session!
3. Increased customer satisfaction and the “coolness” factor
My tethering setup is done through my MacBook Pro, Lightroom and Apple TV beamed to a big-screen TV in the lobby of my studio. As I’m taking photos of a subject, often times their friends, colleagues and family are there with them.
When images appear on the big screen, there’s simply nothing cooler than the instant feedback that’s gained from a tethered session! The “oohs” and “aahs” are audible and encouraging. The sounds of friends and family admiring images of the subject will give him or her an increased sense of confidence and self assuredness that can be difficult for a photographer to convey. There’s simply nothing more powerful than third-party validation!
What’s more is most people who go to a photography studio are often wowed by the perception of the “latest and greatest” technology being employed by YOUR studio. There’s something “cool” about the whole tethering experience!
My tethering setup
How do I tether? I will run an Area51 or Tether Tools cable from my Canon EOS R directly into my Apple MacBook Pro laptop. I’ll use the tethering session in Lightroom and I’ll connect my Apple TV to the laptop to the 50-inch TV in the lobby wirelessly.
Then, as I’m taking the images, they’ll appear instantaneously on the big screen for everyone in the studio to see. Oohs and aahs ensue and the overall experience is overwhelmingly positive!
Should you tether? Well, ultimately, that’s up to you. But as someone who used to NOT tether, I can tell you when I do tether, my sales increase, my customer satisfaction goes way up and my bottom line grows as a result.
What are your experiences with tethering? Share in the comments below!