5 Reasons Why You Need a Tripod

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Part of becoming a professional photographer is realizing what gear you need for the kind of images you want to produce. A tripod is an essential part to any photographer’s collection – whether your goal is to stabilize an image or to keep your composition where you want it.

Your tripod lets you create so many beautiful Instead of going over the specific benefits of a tripod, I want to give you some visuals and answer the question – what kind of images can I produce if I have a tripod?

Long Exposures
Long exposures – whether they be at night or during the daytime with ND filters – benefit greatly from a tripod, and can’t really be done without one. Slowing down your shutter speed means that any kind of movement you make with your camera – even the act of pressing down your shutter button – can shake it enough to blur any stationary objects in your composition.

reid state park

Reid State Park V by Christopher O’Donnell

HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photos
When you’re trying to capture those fantastic HDR images – also known as tone mapping or exposure blending – you need to make sure that all your photos are uniform in composition. Any difference in your autobracketed images and you’ll completely throw off the merging process.

landscape

Lanzada | Galicia – España by Paulo Brandão, on Flickr

Star Trails
Star trails have a whole set of special techniques to follow, but are generally done by using one of the following two methods – by taking one very long exposure, or by blending many shorter exposures. Either way, you’ll definitely need a tripod to capture star trails or any kind of night image.

tripod star trailsStar Trails over Heart Lake by stillwellmike

Time Lapse Videos
You’ve probably seen the fantastic time lapse videos on Vimeo and other websites, but some of you may not know that a tripod – or at least some kind of sturdy mounting – is crucial in capturing these. Being able to crunch several hours of photos into a minute-long clip provides a surreal view of what it’s like to see life in fast forward.

The Arctic Light from TSO Photography.

The video below shows how you can combine both time lapse and star trails during the same photo shoot. The photographer here took many images and stacked them together to create a star trail image, and then used those same photos to make a time lapse video. Make sure to watch until the end where the photographer shows the stair trail photo she created from the video frames.

Polaris Timelapse & Startrails from Martina Cross on Vimeo.

Panoramics
While you could capture a panoramic handheld as a last resort, it’s much more accurate with a tripod. Slight mistakes made with handheld photos that wouldn’t make a difference for a regular image can have a great impact on your panoramic. For example, if you miscalculate and don’t overlap your images so there’s enough information to stitch your photos together, you can ruin a pano – this is especially a concern with longer focal lengths as even the slightest movement can greatly change your composition.

mackerel cove

Mackerel Cove III by Christopher O’Donnell

Having a tripod can greatly open up the world of photography to you, allowing you to capture all kinds of images and truly get the most out of your camera. A DSLR has many benefits when compared to their point-and-shoot counterparts, so it’s time to get the most out of your advanced gear and start creating unique, powerful images with the help of your tripod.

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  1. Carbon Fiber Tripod

    Great Information..

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