Can You Ditch Your Laptop or Tablet for Your Cellphone When Shooting Live Events?

(photo by Rui Bandeira)

Professional photographers have needed tether their cameras to computers ever since the introduction of digital cameras.

After decades of studio shooting with film, photographers were now able to look at the images they shot instantly on a high-res monitor and make necessary lighting/makeup/wardrobe adjustments. Like anything technology related, it all started to get better and the bulky iMacs that were tethered to the cameras with physical cables were replaced with smaller laptops with wi-fi or Bluetooth and eventually tablets.

But what if you're shooting a concert or live event for a client and need to send them samples instantly? It's hard to do that unless you have an assistant following you with a tablet who's wrangling your gear. Or is it?

Photographer Rui Banderira shoots live concerts and edits and uploads images to his clients on the fly using only his Canon 5D Mark IV and his Huwei Mate 10 smartphone.

Modern smartphones are faster and smaller than laptops that came out five years ago, and it won't be long until it's the only device people use to do anything, whether it be edit pictures, write stories, watch movies, or text etc. Millions of people already use them every day to take, edit and post image on Instagram. Why not just use it to edit and post?

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(photo by Rui Bandeira)

Canon Camera Connect makes it super easy to use your phone as a remote trigger, time-lapse controller or photo uploader. Adobe makes Lightroom CC for your phone, why not use them together? Lightroom CC is going to be limited, but it can quickly process RAW images and get them out to your clients lickity split.

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(photo by Rui Bandeira)

You might be thinking why is any of this necessary? Why can't you just shoot the images and go home and edit them like it's always been done? Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in anymore. Everyone has a camera in their pocket, but not everyone cares how good those pictures actually are before they post them on social media, they just care that they're "first."

Sometimes the fans do take great pictures, but then who owns those images? The concert goer, or the artist? It's a tricky slope trying to navigate the emerging waters in a digital landscape. But it all comes down to control. If the artist or record company can get the best images of the bands out to the fans first, then they win.

So how does Rui do it? According to him:

"When I know I have to upload images at the start of the show, I try to ask for the festival logo, for the watermark. If necessary, I prepare the Logo to use it as easily as possible, and for this I create a PNG with the size of 2048px - the size with which the images are exported from LightroomCC - with the logo on one of the corners, so I do not have to manualy put the logo in its place, and I guarantee that it stays the same in all images.

I also try to combine the way the images will be sent. By email, Whatsapp or any other. Whatever it is, I prepare everything on the phone, with time, so that everything is ready to work in the quickest possible time. I also always carry a charged PowerBank, to ensure that I do not run out of battery power in my cell phone and I confirm that I have an Internet connection, either Data or WiFi from the Festival / Concert space."

This is a fun idea that can be used for multiple live events and not just concert photography. Rui is also using the Huwei Mate 10 which is now available in America, but only on GSM/LTE carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, and even though they're unlocked, they're currently not compatible with Verizon and Sprint.

Check out Rui's full blog post to see all the details on his set up, and be sure to visit his webpage for more useful tips and to see some of his amazing images.