Howto: Import images into Lightroom from laptop to desktop computer while tethered shooting with Nikon

I was experimenting with tethered shooting in the studio and struggled with a few problems concerning my workflow. What I wanted to create was a situation in which I could shoot images in the studio, with my Nikon directly into the laptop, and automatically import these images on the fly into the desktop computer (iMac 24 inch) in the office as well. This would save me a lot of time importing and exporting images from camera to computer and it would allow me, and my costumers, to directly observe the images taken in the studio. Once finished with the photo shoot the images would be immediately available on the desktop computer in the office. How professional would that be!! No more dragging around with memory cards or trying to import images over the network and unnecessary waiting for the images to finally load in Lightroom!
But I encountered two major problems:

  1. To shoot tethered with a Nikon you need the expensive capture software from Nikon. Lightroom (2) is not able to import directly from the camera (Like Aperture does). And I think that Nikon should be ashamed not to deliver this software with the camera without extra costs like Canon does!
  2. How to get the images automatically over the LAN or WiFi network to the desktop computer after every image is taken? Lightroom does not import images over the network.

This is how I set things up:
First I downloaded the fantastic “Sofortbild”. Installed it and set it up to shoot tethered on the laptop. Now it’s possible to shoot tethered with my Nikons. I set up a folder called “tethered import” on the laptop and point Sofortbild to import the images to this folder.

Now all I have to do is: Import the images directly to the desktop computer as soon as they are recorded. It took me some time to figure this one out. I couldn’t find a folder synchronising program for the Mac that would do this. Then lightning struck me as I suddenly thought to give Automator a try. With Automator on the Mac you can make a folder action that copies files over the network.

Start up Automator on the desktop Mac and choose folder action from the popupmenu.

Click on “Choose folder” on the right side and point it over the network to the laptop folder called “tethered import” (Of course logging into the laptop with a password is necessary, Guest login will not work off course). After this drag the “Get folder content” from the Finder items on the left to the right of the Automator window and point it to the folder on the desktop computer where you want the images to appear. In my case that’s “Tethered import for Lightroom”. Save the Automator sript as “tethered import” and the folder action is ready.

One more step to make it all work. Start up Lightroom on the desktop Mac and under “File” choose Auto import – Auto import Settings. Point it to the “Tethered import for Lightroom” folder and after setting up other options (Like pointing it to where the images should be stored) click “OK”. Next go to: File – Auto Import – Enable Auto Import.

Go to the studio and start shooting!

Remarks: After the photo-shoot the labtop will be shut down or closed and connection to the desktop fails. This is not a problem. But if you want to re-establish the connection right click on the  “Tethered import for Lightroom” folder on the desktop Mac and choose “Folder Action configuration”. Here you can start and shut down the folder action. You can also try to first shut down the action and then switching it on again in case the folder action doesn’t start automatically.