10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Tripods


Natasha Desai tells you ten simple things you need to know about tripods, that can come in handy whether while choosing or using one.

Whether capturing the beautiful night sky or the ghostly trail of a car’s rear lights or little bits of pollen on a flower, a good tripod is a must. The sharpness that you need for photographs along with slower shutterspeeds can only be achieved when your camera is rock steady. With so many different kinds of tripods out there, and functions, it can seem a little a daunting. Keep a few things in mind while using your tripod and you will be taking your photography to the next level.

1 What is the Ideal Tripod Height?
The height of the tripod does not necessarily have to be the same as your height. The height should depend on what you are shooting as you will have to adjust the tripod accordingly. Also, ensure the collapsed length of the tripod is easy for you to carry.

2 What Is It Made Of?
There are carbon-fibre tripods which are super light but come at a hefty price. There are aluminium and magnesium alloy ones too, which are relatively inexpensive options. Whether you are willing to pay more for a lighter tripod depends on what you intend to use your tripod for.

3 How Much of Weight Can it Take
Each tripod has a weight rating. Make sure to check this before buying a tripod to ensure it can support your camera and lenses. The tripod should be able to support at least 1.5 times more weight than your camera and heaviest lens.

4 Using the Gravity Hook
The gravity hook that comes with some tripods is detachable. Make sure to use it when you know you are going to a windy area. Check how much weight the gravity hook can bear lest it breaks off.

5 The Coveted Four
Tall, sturdy, light and inexpensive. If you are trying to find all these virtues in one tripod, you will have to think again. If you want a tall, sturdy and light tripod, be prepared to pay the price. If you want a tall and light tripod for a low price, then it will not be very sturdy. Choose three features and be ready compromise on the fourth.

6 The Tripod Can Go All the Way Down
There are tripods that can be adjusted so that they go down to ground level. The best use for these tripod is for macro photography where you need the tripod to be at all kinds of heights.

7 Mounting Heavy Lenses
Using heavy lenses on a camera can spell disaster if the tripod is ill-equipped to handle it. In such cases, mount the tripod collar to the lens instead of mounting on the camera, as the camera cannot support the weight of the heavy lens and stay stable on the tripod.

8 The Right Direction
Ensure that one leg of the tripod points in the direction of the lens. This balances the weight of the tripod and also keeps you from tripping on a tripod leg that may get in the way of your feet.

9 A Reversible Head
Copying old documents or photos, for documentation is easy if you have a tripod with a reversible head. This allows for stability as well as a perfect reproduction of the object.

10 Places That Restrict Tripods
World Heritage Sites do not allow tripods to be used. Indian Heritage Monuments restrict tripods usage as it may scratch the floor. In some cases, even certain areas of the cities have restrictions. It is crucial to ensure you know the rules before shooting a stunning monument.

What Do You Do When You Do Not Have Your Tripod With You?

Rest your camera on a steady surface, like a ledge or maybe pile up a stack of books or even just place it on a table.

Make sure your elbows are resting firmly on a surface. Breathe in and shoot as you exhale. Holding your breath will only make you uncomfortable.

Shoot in RAW and use a high ISO. This will give you a little more leeway with your shutterspeeds. Shooting in RAW will ensure you can enhance your picture effectively in postprocessing.


Tags: long exposure, tripods, natasha desai, shooting techniques