A camera tripod is a must-have item for anyone who is serious about photography. Without a tripod you will have to put lots of effort into holding your camera still, and even then your pictures will likely turn out blurry. Plus, if you’re taking a series of photos, a tripod is simply a matter of convenience that helps you avoid standing in one position for hours trying to get that perfect photo. Find out how to buy the right tripod for you.
Choose your specifications
All modern tripods have a set of qualities that makes them ideal for different categories of buyers. Here are the features to look for if you want to buy a camera tripod.
- Stability. A tripod’s job is to stand still no matter how long the photoshoot takes and hold your camera in a secure manner. There is nothing worse than having to replace or repair your expensive camera due to a fallen tripod. Look for a tripod that is extremely steady and can hold the weight of your camera.
- Weight. Most photographers have to carry kilograms of equipment with them, which is why a stable but heavy tripod is not the perfect choice for you. However, ultra light tripods are often not stable enough and can only be used indoors
- Height. Look for the maximum and minimum height parameters in a tripod you’re considering buying – these features determine the range of photos you will be able to take using the tripod.
- Flexibility. The best kind of tripods will allow you to use a wide variety of angles. The key to the flexibility in a tripod is the way the head is attached to the rest of the device. Pan-and-tilt heads are affordable yet offer less flexibility, while ball-and-socket heads can be rather difficult to operate, but provide much more room for adjustment.
If you’re far from a professional photographer and just want to make the photography process easier, consider buying a monopod. Of course, it has a limited set of features compared to a high quality tripod, but if all you need is a little stability and a “helping hand” for shooting panoramas, portraits and auto portraits, an inexpensive monopod might be exactly what you need. Moreover, it’s super portable and can be carried around in your backpack.
Best tips for using a tripod
1. If your tripod has a center column, you can remove it to reduce the weight of the device and make it easier to be transported.
2. If you’re setting up your tripod on a soft surface like carpet or grass, use extra protection for stability – buy a set of add-on spikes for the ends of the tripod’s legs or use the ones that originally came with the device.
3. While shooting in windy weather, hang your camera bag containing photo equipment from the tripod. However, if the wind is too strong and the bag starts swinging, it can lead to more damage.
4. Use the widest position for the tripod’s legs whenever possible to increase the stability of your equipment.
5. Whenever possible, use the lowest tripod setting and adjust it for every photograph; the taller your tripod is set, the less stable it is.