I have been a tripod proponent for years. To me, it is an important part of my photographic equipment. In fact, I use a tripod 80% of the time. You may ask yourself, why?
Why Use a Tripod?
You want to make the best image possible. Right? As a photographer, this is your ultimate goal. But how do you achieve that goal?
Getting the best image in your camera means that you have to use every tool available to you. You have to have a good camera. You have to have quality lenses. And you have to have the ability to take a photograph and have the camera remain still as you photograph.
So let’s take inventory.
- You have a good camera. Check!
- You have a quality lens. Check!
- And you’re holding the camera in your hand securely in order to take your image Ohhh…holding your camera securely in your hands may be a problem.
I see it everywhere I go. People are trying to hand-hold a camera with a telephoto lens and hope to get a clear and vibrant image. Your natural body movement will prevent you from getting the clearest possible image. The only way you can get a really clear image is to lock your camera down on a tripod.
Don’t Believe Me?
Try this. Using a telephoto lens on your camera, take a picture of a building with lots of detail. Now put your camera on a tripod and take the same picture. Now in post processing, review the two images side by side. Enlarge the images so you can see detail. You will find that your photo taken using the tripod will have clearer detail than the hand-held photo.
When Should You Use a Tripod?
I use a tripod whenever it is physically possible to do so. I literally take it everywhere when I go shooting.
You may want to use a tripod in the following situations:
- When you shoot landscapes. The tripod will enable to take crisp images.
- A tripod is a must when you want to create a panorama.
- Use a tripod when you are shooting moving water in a low light situation so you can get a silky quality in the water.
- A tripod is a must when you are shooting with a slow shutter speed.
What About a Monopod?
A monopod is an adjustable pole that you mount your camera on. You can adjust the height of the pod to suit your shooting situation. It does not take up the space that a tripod does. A monopod works great if you are in a restricted space but want to have greater stability.
When Should You Use a Monopod?
Monopods come in very handy when you are shooting a sporting event or any event where there is a lot of movement and you’re trying to keep up and capture that movement. The monopod gives you a solid base from which to shoot.
What if I Can’t Use a Tripod or Monopod?
So by this time I think you can see the value of a tripod or monopod for various shooting situations. A tripod should be used just about any time you’re taking a picture.
But let’s be practical, there are times when you can’t use a tripod when you’re shooting. This is especially true when you are in a shooting situation where you’re taking candid photos of people. Or when your subject is moving around you.
If you find yourself in that situation, hand-holding the camera may be your only option. If you can, look for a tree or a fence that you can lean up against or put your camera on to steady the camera. You can also brace your body to minimize movement. Shooting at a higher shutter speed is another option.
As I mentioned earlier, your goal is to put the best image in your camera. If you use a tripod or monopod, you will give yourself the best chance to get that great photograph.