8 reasons for using a tripod

Taking your first steps in photography can be a daunting experience, particularly with a heavy piece of unfamiliar and expensive technology in your hands. A little help can go a long way. Here are eight reasons why you should use a tripod.

1. Produce clear, blur free images

A common reason for an unclear image is camera shake. Hand holding a DSLR with a low shutter speed can cause camera shake no matter what focal length setting you use. The rule of matching focal length with the shutter speed (e.g. 50mm 1/50th sec) goes a long way to prevent this when using hand held. But this is not always possible, particularly when working on images requiring long exposure. Use a tripod and this won't be an issue.

2. Make a scene

'Making' a photograph is usually associated with starting from nothing. A photograph starts with the raw materials of the world already in place. We use our photographers' eye to isolate what's important to include in our image and what isn't. Tripods help in this process as they allow you to step back and ask yourself if you are organising the elements in the best way possible.

3. Stick to your spot

When shooting, you can always review your image on the back of the camera and try and re-create it. But when you hand hold it's very hard to return to the exact same composition. Why is this important? Perhaps you need to include objects at the edge of the frame and you're waiting for the light to change. With a tripod you cut out this problem. Removing problems tends to lead to better pictures.

4. Create light at night

You can use the same composition but create different exposures. This allows you to play with artificial lighting options, including 'painting with light' at night.


5. Handle new tech with ease

You wouldn't learn to use a laptop by putting it around your neck, so why this box of tricks instead? A slight exaggeration, but you see the point! While you’re getting familiar with a camera it's important to set it at a comfortable height. Then you can adjust settings without fighting the position of the camera itself.

6. Choose larger formats

Photography is more than DSLR. Using a tripod allows you to play with longer exposure times and greater depth of field for pinhole, medium and large format cameras. These cameras are often heavy, unwieldy metal boxes built to withstand the rigours of professional use. To unlock their full potential you need a tripod.

7. Better working relations

When your camera is on a tripod you can step out from behind it and talk to your subject on more equal terms. The theory is you remove a barrier and this can help to achieve more natural shots.

8. Remove any barriers

Concentration, inner reflection, awareness of light and environment affects our image and how we capture it. These things are all more freely accessible when we remove the metaphorical ball and chain from around our necks.

Has using a tripod made a difference to an image you’ve captured? Tell us about it.

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Written by: Daniel J Norwood

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