My walkaway on a still life photography class was “No excuses photography.” And part of achieving that is perfect lighting – and I found DSLR Camera Remote from onOne software to be a great tool to speeding up strobe placement.
When shooting a still life in the studio with strobes, I was trying to get the back lighting perfect on the glass in the image at top. While I could’ve adjusted the light and ran and looked through the viewfinder (old school) or on the LCD screen of my Canon 5D Mark II, it would be a lot of running back and forth. I have been shooting several of my still lives with my camera tethered via USB to my laptop – but I almost yanked my camera to the ground once carrying my laptop around as a viewer.
Enter onOne Software DSLR Camera Remote – an iPhone remote DSLR control application. It is way cool.
It comes in two versions: regular and Pro. I bought the pro version for $19.99 and I am not sure what the differences are between the two – I had to shoot a homework assignment quickly and I didn’t have time to figure this out. There are two pieces to the product, the server that runs on your computer (my 15″ MacBook Pro in this case) and the iPhone app. Once you connect a supported camera via a USB cable to your computer and start the server, you connect the iPhone app to the server over the local 802.11 wireless network.
The iPhone app controls most (if not all) the functions of the camera remotely. In its basic mode you use it as a remote shutter control and the image taken appears on the iPhone screen in a couple seconds. You can zoom in on the image and check details. My assignment went much more quickly as I was able to adjust the backlight on the translucent plastic backdrop and fire the shutter toe see if the position was correct. All this without running back to the camera to check the light position.
It was like having an assistant (me) adjusting the equipment as I directed myself from the camera’s viewpoint. Brilliant.
If I wasn’t so rushed that night I would’ve noticed that DSLR Camera Remote supports LiveView Mode which (while a little jerky in updates) would’ve sped up my adjustments even more. The only irritating aspect of the software is when firing the camera remotely you can queue up a few exposures that take a long time to fire (given the lag of the software transferring the image to the iPhone). Maybe there is a workaround to this – but it is minor considering the coolness of the app. I suspect I will be using this much more in the future.