Recently, a lot of people have complained in internet forum about the last version of Lightroom (3.4.1 when I am writing this article) not working anymore in tethered mode with OS X Lion.

The tethered mode is really useful when you are doing a portrait photos session. It allows you (by connecting your camera to your computer using an USB cable) to directly transfer the photo from your camera to Lightroom. Then, you can directly see on your “big” computer screen (compared to the back LCD of your camera) the photo you have just taken. You can also apply modifications on your picture in Lightroom (like converting the picture in black and white, changing a curve or changing the white balance) and apply the same modification to all the pictures you will take after that.

A lot of words to only say that tethered mode is essential to a lot of photographers.

Reading all these alarming messages on internet forums about the tethered mode being broken, I had to test it myself. I had a portrait photos session planned so I had to be sure to be able to use the tethered mode.

Before using OS X Lion, everything was working perfectly. You had to start a tethered session, connect your camera to your computer with an USB cable then start your camera. Your camera was recognized and you were ready for a long photos session.

Apparently, Apple has changed the way they are handling USB connections in OS X Lion. They are shutting down the USB connection after a while when there is no activity on the USB port: Lightroom is not recognizing your camera anymore. I have also notices that you have to execute a lit of steps in a specific order.

Here is what you have to do:

  1. Connect your camera to your computer (I am using a Nikon D700 and I am not sure that it will work with another camera… I am also not sure it will work with YOUR Nikon D700)
  2. Start a tethered session in Lightroom
  3. Your camera is recognized and you can start to take photos.

If you are not taking photos for a long time, your camera could stop being recognized by Lightroom. Here is what you have to do:

  1. Stop your tethered session in Lightroom
  2. Turn off your camera
  3. Turn on your camera
  4. Start a new tethered session in Lightroom

It is frustrating to have to do all these steps, but apparently Adobe is working on a bug fix for the next Lightroom release.

During my last photos session, this happened only once during a two hours photos session. So, it was not a big pain.

I hope that this article will help you to use your camera (at least your Nikon D700) with Lightroom in tethered mode again. Tell me if you had any success!