Do you know one of the most common factors that results in many photographers not being able to get the best out of their shots?
It’s because they don’t own a good tripod.
A good tripod enables you to eliminate camera shake, which is very essential when it comes to shots where light is very less.
For instance, let’s assume you are shooting a landscape shot during late evening and the light is really less.
People who shoot handheld only have one way of saving light, which is by increasing the ISO value. But that results in noise.
The only other way is to reduce the shutter speed, but when you are shooting handheld, you cannot do that too much, since it will amplify the shake and result in a blurry shot.
But photographers with a tripod can leave their ISO at 100 because they can let all the light enter the camera by reducing the shutter speed. Even if the required shutter speed is 30 seconds, it’s not a problem as the camera is fixed firmly on the tripod. Hence, they can get the cleanest looking shot without any noise.
A tripod also enables you to get around complex situations without having to resort to noise.
For instance look at the shot below:
Here I wanted to capture the birds along with the rest of the scene. If I did not have a tripod with me, I would have had to rely on one shot which was of a fast shutter speed to capture the birds. That would have led me to increase the ISO to compensate for the loss of light resulting in a lot of noise. But because I had a tripod I took a shot at ISO 100 and at a shutter speed of 30 seconds. This resulted in a completely clean image. Then I increased the shutter speed to 1/400 to capture the birds and took another shot at a higher ISO. Then in Photoshop, I superimposed both the images and from the high ISO image, I only kept the birds. The remaining scene was from the ISO 100 shot which was totally clean. So if I zoom into this image, you’ll see how sharp and clean it is:
If I was not able to use such a slow shutter speed, I would have had to rely on a noisy image. But thanks to the tripod, I could take two images with the same composition but different settings.
Another advantage of good tripods, as opposed to the very cheap ones is that they allow the legs of the tripod to extend sideways, which is very important when you have to shoot from a lower angle, like when capturing the foreground in a landscape shot. If you look at the shot above, you can see I’m shooting from a very low angle to get close to the foreground. If I did not have a tripod with me, I would have had to find some surface to keep the camera on and that’s not a very wise idea when there are a lot of wet things around you.
A sturdy tripod also ensures that you can shoot shots with extremely slow shutter speeds without having to worry about shake caused by wind and other factors. For example, in the shot below, the shutter speed I have used is 151 seconds:
It was extremely windy and without a good tripod, using such slow shutter speeds could have caused a shake. But having a good tripod enabled me to take this shot without any issue.
You can check out our recommended equipment and accessories page to see which tripods we recommend.
So do invest in a good tripod. As you go deeper into photography, you’ll realize that the most interesting types of photography cannot be done without a tripod.
About the Author
Hi there, I'm Kush Sharma, the founder of Creative Pad Media, an organization dedicated to simplifying photography and videography education.
We have over 40 online courses that cover various genres in photography & videography, catering to both beginners as well as professionals. These courses are available via Udemy.com. Our courses have been downloaded in over 170 countries.
I hope to see you inside a course very soon!