Most photographers understand that having a good quality tripod can be very helpful when shooting photos and videos. Most experienced photographers understand how important a tripod can be but for many beginners just starting their photography journey, the reason may not be that apparent. In this post I am going to provide 5 reasons why using a tripod can really help one become a better photographer.
Reason 1: Great for Long Exposure Shots
Shutter speed on a camera is crucial to getting a good shot. Many times shots required shutter speeds that need to be longer than for most routine shots. If you need to shoot shutter speeds that are 1/60 of a second or longer they will definitely need a tripod. If you don't use a tripod you can pretty much count on getting some blurry shots due to the movement of the camera. If your camera has stabilization that may help but it will never be as helpful as using a good sturdy tripod. Some photographers feel that long exposure shots that are taken hand-held will be just fine. Many times that never works out. Without a tripod, a photographer will not be able to get a nice sharp image. If you don't believe me, try to take a long exposure shot like a waterfall and you can see how poorly the shot turns out. Setting up a tripod may be a little bit of a hassle and time consuming but using one will save you a lot of time and headaches when it comes to post-processing..
Reason 2: Shooting in Low Light Situations
Shooting in low light conditions can be a challenge and a real pain. You see an opportunity for a great photo but the light is horrible. That is where the understanding of the "Exposure Triangle" is important. The exposure triangle includes 3 elements that include the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. Anytime you configure any of the elements you can dramatically affect the quality of an image.
The problem is many times the light conditions are very hard to work with limited light. It would be great to use natural light when available, but sometimes that is not realistic or readily available for a shot. The conditions may be too dark. However, there are some steps you can make to increase the amount of light you need. You can widen the aperture, increase your ISO or you can lower the shutter speed. You want to stay away from decreasing your aperture because that will change the depth of field of your image. Increasing the ISO may not be a great idea since increasing the ISO setting too much can create too much noise in your image and none of us want noise in our images, right? So what can you do?
You can easily set the shutter speed as low as you can go. You just need to be aware of any movement when taking the shot. You will also need to be aware that adjusting the aperture and ISO may be needed. The use of a tripod can help reduce or eliminate any blur in the image. If you take the photo "handheld" you are pretty much guaranteed to get a blurry image, so use a tripod.
There are other situations where it is important to be knowledgeable about the use of the Exposure Triangle. One such situation includes shooting interior real estate photos of homes and property. My son, Jordan Younce, is a very talented real estate photographer that applies the principles of the Exposure Triangle on just about every interior home photo shoot he does. What is unique about Jordan’s images is the cleanliess and sharpness of his images. He gets such great results because he understand the importance of light. The results of his knowledge and understanding the importance of using a tripod, produces some amazing real estate images. I really enjoy looking at his real estate images. He inspires me to get better as a real estate photographer. I also learn a great deal from him. If you need a great real estate photographer checkout his website at Photography North Carolina.
Reason 3: Tripods Make Landscape Photography Much More Enjoyable
Anyone that knows me knows I love to shoot landscapes. I love to take a trip and look for new locations to shoot. I love photographing landscapes because shooting them challenges me to use my camera settings and get the shots I want. When I use my tripod ,I am aware I can explore my camera's features more effectively. I can test my aperture setting for various types of landscape shots. I can even use my camera's timer to make sure I have no shaking of the camera. The main thing I strive for is a wider depth of field and the image is in focus. A tripod helps with such issues.
Reason 4: Better Portrait Images and Video Production
Shooting a portrait can be a lot of fun. Most portraits that we see taken today are routinely shot handheld. That is fine, but if you want a nice photo of someone or even yourself you can't go wrong with a tripod. A tripod allows you to set your camera to the proper settings, set the timer, frame the shot, and then let the magic happen. You don't have to touch the camera for portraits when using a tripod. By the way, I love to use my timer too.
Now some people say you can use your camera or a selfie stick but that is not the same as a good sturdy tripod. I don't enjoy doing portraits with a cell phone even though it can be quicker and easier. I love to do my portraits with a nice DSLR camera and a great tripod. Not only does a tripod help produce a nicer image, but you can also look pretty cool as a photographer anytime you whip out a large tripod. Plus, using a tripod makes you look much more professional.
Reason 5: Helps You Get Better Night Sky Images
One particular type of photography you can do is night photography. Whether you want to photograph the Milky Way, the night stars, or even the moon, you need to use a tripod. Some of the best Milky Way shots I have ever seen were taken by a couple of friends of mine from Utah, Aaron and Brendon. They created Photog Adventures. The two friends travel all over the country to get photos of Milky-Way images and their images are amazing. How do they get great images? With the use of a tripod.
When I photographed my first moon image it was terrible. I did not understand what settings I needed and I definitely did not understand the Exposure Triangle. More importantly, I thought I could take a nice photo of the moon without a tripod. I was an idiot. I learned very quickly how important using a tripod was to shooting night photography. If you haven't done night photography before you may find it a challenge. To alleviate the stress, GET A TRIPOD.
Using a tripod is very important when it comes to getting nice challenging images. A tripod helps with long exposure shots, low lighting, landscape photography, portrait sessions, and even night sky shots. I find it interesting why so many photographers don't understand the importance of a good tripod. I have 5 tripods and find all of them can be used in a variety of situations when it comes to my photography.
My latest tripod is the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 which can be purchased at Amazon. I really enjoy the adjustment capabilities of the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB and it is a very sturdy tripod. It is a little heavy and one and I would not carry on a long hiking trip, but I can use on many other situations. I love all types of photography and knowing I can get better shots with the use of my trusty tripods. If you don’t have one, I suggest you get one. Using one can save you time, money, and can definitely help you get much better images.
Until next time!