This has been the year of making my workflows better, and one of the improvements that I wanted to make was increasing the efficiency of creating product shots for TheFilmCameraShop. My theory was that using Capture One's excellent tethered capability would speed things up. And now that I've done it, I was right.
Tethering involves connecting a supported camera via USB cable directly to a computer running Capture One Pro. Once the connection is made, the camera will appear in the Capture Tab where you have a myriad of options and controls.
You can either control the camera from the application, or (as I do) shoot with the camera using its shutter button and instantly view the image on the computer screen. The advantage of this is you're looking at a large, detailed rendering where you can inspect every detail on the fly (and quickly) before moving on to the next shot. There are no surprises with tethered photography.
One of the features that really helps speed up this workflow is the "Copy from Last" setting in the "Next Capture Adjustments." It works like this: You take the first shot, then apply a few tweaks like cropping and exposure. The application remembers those adjustments and applies them automatically to the next image. It's fantastic.
The speed of the shoot really picks up at this point. Take a picture, adjustments applied, review it, take the next picture.
I've set up my shooting bay next to the worktable with my iMac. It's super convenient. My capture camera is a Nikon D700 with a modified focusing screen that gives me a micro prism collar and matte surface. This makes it easy to manually focus the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL IIS Aspherical lens. (BTW: the Voigtlander is a great lens for this task. It has a CPU chip for the Nikon, focuses as close as 1:4, and has beautiful image quality.) If I need more resolution than the 12MP from the D700 (which I rarely do), then I can switch to the Nikon D610 which has 24MP. But that feels like overkill for catalog product shots.
Capture One Pro tethers out of the box with most Nikons and Canons, and selected Sonys and Fujifilm cameras. Unfortunately, there isn't tethered support for Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds. Too bad, because my EM-1 Mark II with the 30mm macro would be a great capture device for this workflow as well.
Aside from that disappointment, what I really like about this system is that when I'm done with the shoot, I'm done. I've totally eliminated the post production step. I simply output my selects, upload them to TheFilmCameraShop, and I'm finished. I've just improved my efficiency for creating new catalog pages.
One final note: Product photography isn't the most glamorous activity when you're a street photographer at heart. But I have to say, using the classic Nikon D700 with an upgraded SLR-style focusing screen and the beautiful Ulton 40mm lens that's as smooth as butter to operate, has made this otherwise mundane task quite enjoyable. Switching to tethered with Capture One Pro was the icing on the cake.
Learn Capture One Pro Quickly
If you're new to Capture One Pro, you may want to check out my latest online class, Capture One Pro 20 Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning, or, if you're a lynda.com subscriber, you can watch it there as well. It will get you up and running in no time at all.
If you don't have Capture One Pro yet, you can download the 30-day free trial (Mac/Win). No credit card is required, and it's a fully functioning version.
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