Quick Tip: Tether Your Camera to the Cloud


When it comes to live news reporting, getting photos from your camera to your end client instantly can be a big advantage. In this tutorial, I combine Dropbox with a live shooting application to instantly send my photos to my client.

How This Helps

A real life example of this would be a recent job that I completed for a client. Samsung recently announced their new mobile phone (the S3). I was sent to the launch of the event on behalf of client who lives overseas.

I had my Canon 7D hooked up to my macbook. Every photo I then shot was instant saved to my computer and then uploaded to the cloud. At this point, the editor of the website was able to download my photos and upload them straight onto the website. Effectively reporting the event seconds after they had announced the phone. Like everything in the news industry, being first off the line is very important.

Starting Out

Last year I wrote a tutorial teaching canon users how to use your Laptop as Monitor and Control for Your Canon DSLR. Today we take that tutorial one step further and combine it with cloud computing.

In this tutorial, I am going to be using EOS Utility provided free with all Canon cameras. However if you use any other brand, don't worry, there are many other pieces of software which allow you to tether your camera to your computer including Adobe Lightroom, Sofortbild (free, but mac only) and Aperture.

Cloud Computing

Whereas three years ago, I might of had to write a whole article to explain cloud computing, I think most of us understand the concept nowadays. You can upload a file to the cloud and instantly be able to access that file from any other computer across the world. No need to keep emailing photos across.

In this tutorial, I am going to be using the popular cloud computer service of Dropbox. Dropbox is free to use for the first 2GB of space, you can then take a monthly subscription for larger amounts of storage.

Dropbox nowadays has the lowest amount of free storage available. However, because it works so well cross platform, it's perfect for my needs. However if you were shooting a large event and would need more storage for free I would recommend other services including Google Drive, SugarSync and Skydrive.

Shooting to the Cloud

Step 1:

Install and set up Dropbox onto your computer. The process is really easy and only takes a few minutes, if you already have an account set up just enter your details.

Once you have installed Dropbox, setup a new folder with your event name inside of the Dropbox folder.

Step 2:

Plug in your camera to your laptop. Open up your chosen imaging software and tether your camera like you regularly would.

If like myself you are using EOS Utility, simply open up the software and select Remote Shooting. Do not go into the live shooting modes. These will lock your camera and you will have to change your settings and shoot using your laptop.

Step 3:

Now instead of saving your photos to your regular location, change the directory so that they are saving in your newly set up Dropbox event folder.

Within EOS Utility, you simply click the folder underneath the camera settings and select then change your destination folder to point to your Dropbox location.

Step 4:

Double check you have got an internet connection on your laptop. If shooting a live event, I would recommend purchasing a 3G dongle so you don't have to rely on the internet of the location you are shooting at.

Now, you can get shooting! Your images should now save to the computer and be automatically transferred to the cloud, ready for another user to access them and download them.

Using Your iPad Instead

At the current time, Canon (or Apple) doesn't make it easy to connect your camera and iPad up for live shooting. After some research, I found out it was possible to do, but highly annoying and also expensive.

First you would need to purchase a wireless SD card such as the EyeFi ($90). If like myself your camera uses compact flash you would then need to purchase a SD-CF adapter ($15) and then the iPad app Shuttersnitch ($15).

However because you have to connect your EyeFi card as a wireless device you cannot then set up a second wireless device to then send the photos via the cloud. Which would mean you would have to then disconnect your camera and then upload the photos after the event.

Alternatively you could upload your images to your iPad at the end of the event and then upload to Dropbox. However, this would still be a lot slower than using a laptop.

So as much as I love my iPad, in this case, I going to be leaving it at home and sticking to using my laptop as it makes it a smooth one step process.

Its a very simple process, but one that can help provide your clients with a better service, thus giving them a better reason to hire you over other photographers.

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