10 Useful & Interesting Tips for Tripod Users
- By: Luis Argerich
From the title this might seem to be a very silly article, everybody knows how to use a tripod. But maybe there is a trick or two that can help you improve your photos while using your tripod.
Here´s my compilation of useful tips:
1. Never extend the central column.
Extending the central column is the #1 way to make the tripod really unstable, so unless you really really need to do it use the tripod with the central column all the way down. Tall photographers will suffer with this tip. Life´s not easy. If the viewfinder is hard to use remember live-view can be used to compose, focus and adjust exposure.
2. Using the tripod in muddy soils or water.
If you use the tripod low in muddy soils or water make sure to extend at least a few inches from its lowest section. This avoids getting dirt, water or mud in the leg locks. That´s not good!
3. Using the tripod at the beach.
If you use your tripod at the beach make sure to rise it with clear water once you get back. This will remove sand from the locks and clean the salty water that can cause corrosion on the legs or other metal parts.
4. Using the tripod as ground level (no spread)
If you use your tripod at its lowest position, sometimes at ground level don´t extend all the sections. That makes the tripod wobbly and if you accidentally step into one of the legs it can break or bend. Yet another reason: With a wide angle lens a tripod leg can appear in your frame.
5. Aerial shots!
You can use your tripod for surprising aerial photos. Extend all the sections and the central column, put the camera in 10 seconds timer mode, pre-focus, pre-meter, pre-everything and raise the tripod from the legs at your waist level or higher if you are skilled (photo). The result will have a totally different perspective and will seem to be taken from a higher altitude.
6. Waiting for vibrations to end
If you use a long telephoto lens after adjusting settings and touching the camera wait a few seconds before triggering the shutter, this allows the tripod to absorb the vibrations and produce a steadier shot.
7. Adding Weight
If you need maximum stability under windy conditions add weight to the tripod hanging something like your backpack from the tripod hook.
8. Carrying the tripod
If you need to carry the tripod while hiking cross it across your shoulders behind your head. It will give you balance while walking and you can also rest your arms.
9. Medium Height (which section to extend)
If you plan to use lower than full height extend the top sections first. The lowest sections add more instability than the first sections but the difference is small. We just like to be picky don´t we?
10. Turn IS OFF
Some lenses work well from a tripod with Image Stabilization turned on but others need it off, err on the safe side and turn it always off when you use the lens on a tripod.
Photo by Agustin Llorens.