Using a tripod for photography is one of the most effective methods of getting great shots with your DSLR camera, even if you are a complete beginner.
Your shots become steadier, you have more opportunities to make the right adjustments, and you won’t have to worry about the images getting blurred because your hands shook.
However, even with all of the advantages of a tripod, there are still those who don’t know how to take full advantage of it. Not everyone knows when to use a tripod.
Benefits of Using a Tripod
There are a ton of benefits that come with using a tripod, which is why a lot of professional photographers use them.
It’s not just for taking pictures of yourself against a majestic background or to take group photos during weddings, though it’s good for those too.
In fact, tripods are also good for:
Taking photos in low light – Tripods are really good at allowing you to take photos of landscapes or environments, even in low light. This is because the camera does not move around as much when you are fiddling with the settings.
Long exposures – Long exposure shots can be difficult when you are doing it by hand because your limbs will inevitably shake. This is not a problem with a tripod since it can be as steady as needed.
Now blurs, crisp shots – If you have ever taken shots with your DSLR camera by simply holding it, there are probably many times that the image turned out blurred.
This is because crisp shots require a steady hand and as a beginner, yours are probably shaky. Using a tripod makes this less of a problem
Taking your time – When you are holding a DSLR camera with just your hands, you will likely already be aware of the fatigue that comes with it. Veteran photographers can do this longer than most, but that’s because they have gotten used to it.
Beginners, on the other hand, will likely find the exercise too tiring too fast. This is why hand shots are often quick and snappy. With a tripod, though, you can take all the time in the world to take that perfect shot.
Adjust as needed – Finally, adjusting your camera so that you can get the setting that you need for the shot that you want is easier when it is on top of a tripod.
As already mentioned, you can take your time with it. More than that, though, it will be less of a hassle to tinker with the ISO, shutter speed, framing, and more.
You have to take things like the amount of light, the angle, the environment, and the timing into consideration with some shots, after all. With a tripod, there is less of an issue making the most of the opportunities that you have.
How to Use a Tripod
Beginners may think that using a tripod is as simple as just setting it up, pulling the legs out, and then propping it up on the ground before screwing in the camera. While technically correct, this does not even begin to cover this tool’s full function.
This would be akin to using a chef’s knife to cut through bone. You are technically getting the job done, but not in the best way.
To truly use the tripod in the most effective manner, you might want to keep the following in mind:
Extend only as necessary – Just because your tripod can extend quite a bit, this does not mean that you should pull the legs to their limits. Judge the situation accordingly and extend only as necessary.
In fact, some shots require no leg extension, at all.
Facing the target – The leg of the tripod that is facing the direction of your shot should be aimed squarely at your subject.
This ensures maximum stability and crispness once you do take that picture. It’s just one of those things that add to the stability.
Vertically perpendicular – The center rod of your tripod should be completely vertical and perpendicular to the ground. You can usually tell that this is the case when you take a look at that level bubble indicator that comes with your tripod.
Tripod Collar – If you are using a longer lens, you need to have a tripod collar to prevent it from dropping forward. This gives you much better shots.
Turn off image stabilization – In any other instance, the image stabilization function would be a huge asset. It stabilizes your shots, after all.
However, this is not necessarily the case when you are using a tripod since the whole point of the tool is to provide you with more stability.
Keeping the image stabilization function would instead make the image shakier because it is trying to compensate for movements that are not there.
Timer – Just because you are using a tripod, this does not mean that the camera will not shake at all if you use the shutter button to take shots.
As such, it would be far better for you to use your time instead. The optimum amount of time to set would be two seconds since it gives your camera’s lens the chance to stabilize again after you use the shutter button.
Adjust ISO – If you have adequate light and you are not shooting at random in the dark, there is no reason to turn your ISO up.
It would be far better to keep it low so that the images you take will not be as distorted or grainy.
When to Use a Tripod
Now that you know how to use a tripod, it’s time to talk about when you should use one. Lugging a tripod everywhere you go is just impractical and inconvenient even though some innovative tripod carrier solutions have can reducedalleviate the pain and hassle significantly.
In this regard, the following scenarios should provide you with adequate ideas:
When shooting landscape or cityscape wide shots.
When shooting in low light.
When in need of a lot of waiting.
When taking multiple shots in rapid sequence.
When shooting moving targets.
These are just some of the many instances where a tripod would come in very handy. Do yourself a favor and do some homework on the location and environment where you are planning your next shoot. If you find yourself in any of the above scenarios, don’t forget to pack your tripod. It could be a game changer for your photographs.