Use A Tripod!

Using a tripod is essential when taking photos - and not just for night shots. To get ultra crisp and sharp pictures, your camera cannot move at all when the shutter is open. In some circumstances, even the tiny movements your hand makes are enough to make a slightly blurry image. The best way to ensure your camera does not move is to use a tripod or other camera stand.

On sunny days or when you use a really fast shutter speed, simply holding the camera in your hand will still produce a sharp image. But there's another reason for using a tripod on these occasions as well. Erecting the tripod causes you to SLOW DOWN and think a little more about the shot you're about to take. Because you're concentrating more, you'll have a better chance of composing your image correctly and ending up with a super shot.

Types of Camera Stands

Tripod. This is a three legged stand that attaches to the mount on your camera. This is the most common type of mount to hold your camera steady, and allows you to move your hands away from the camera completely and still have it steady in position.

Monopod. A variation on the tripod, this stand only has one leg. Attach the monopod to your camera, stand it on the ground and use your hands to ensure the camera and stand don't fall over. This helps because the monopod stops the camera moving up and down, and provides a rest for your hands so camera shake is reduced. For a bit of extra stability, lean yourself, or your camera against another sturdy object like a light pole.

Chainpod. An ingenious design consisting of a length of chain (or string) with a loop on one end large enough to place your foot into. The other end is attached to your camera. To use a Chainpod, place your foot through the loop and pull your camera up so the chain is tight while taking your photo. The tension in the chain will reduce camera shake just like a monopod. The great advantage of a chainpod is you can crunch it up and place it in your pocket!

Dolly. This is a tripod with wheels (and brakes!). A dolly allows you to move your tripod around easily without needing to lift your camera, but it's not so useful outdoors when the ground is uneven. There are dolly attachments available for regular tripods.

Car Window Mount. This gadget allows you to mount your camera to your car window to take photos of wildlife while still sitting in the car.

A Rock! Yes, you can use any ledge as a tripod when you need a sharp picture but don't have a tripod handy. You can also use a small bean bag to steady your camera and lens if your camera doesn't stand upright by itself.

Which should I purchase?

If you're just starting out, I recommend purchasing a standard tripod with telescoping legs that stands full length (5-6 feet). Make sure you get a sturdy (preferably all aluminum) model. Pick the heaviest model you can carry around with you.

Lightweight models are available, as are mini-tripods - Perfect for portability, but they don't have the stability of the larger models.

Using a Tripod

Most of the time, you just setup your tripod, place your camera on top and shoot! There are a few subtleties to using a tripod that can help enormously.

- The longer the legs of the tripod, the less steady the tripod becomes. Extend your tripod legs only enough to enable you to get your camera into the correct position.

- Sometimes the act of depressing the shutter causes movement in the camera. To minimize this, use your other hand and press down on the top of the camera directly above the tripod mount. This will help to further reduce movement.

- You're most likely to need your tripod when your camera is fully zoomed in. When fully zoomed in, any small shake is likely to show on the image.

Other Tripod Secrets

- Try to find a tripod with a built in level. The level will help ensure your landscape shots are completely straight and save needing to rotate the image slightly in your computer to get a level horizon.

- Specialized lenses are available that can compensate for camera shake. They are called "Image Stabilizers" or "Vibration Reduction lenses". They can be rather expensive, so I recommend sticking with a tripod.

- Try to get a tripod with a quick release mount. This will enable you to quickly remove the camera from your tripod should you need to take a quick 'candid' shot.

David Peterson has a great love of photography and has created a series of free tips at http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/ to help digital photography users everywhere take better photos.

In The News:

Portrait of a photographer  The New Indian Express
Landscape photography gear tips  PhotoReview.com.au
Behind the Lens: The madding crowd  Australian Photography
Exploring mental health through photography  British Journal of Photography
Pool Party Image  National Geographic

Sepia Toned Prints from Your Colour or Black and White Photos ? 5 Minute Digital Fix

Quite often I will have clients bring in old photographs... Read More

Market Your Photography Business

Setting up your own photography business it easy, you don't... Read More

Bracketing and How To Use Tt Correctly...

What Is... Exposure BracketingExposure bracketing is a simple technique professional... Read More

Proper Handling and Storage of Paper Photos

Youv'e taken that perfect photo in the perfect light at... Read More

Photography - Things to Consider Before Buying a Camera

Before you are able to take the kind of photos... Read More

Start a Photography Business from Home

Anyone with the right camera equipment, and the necessary skills... Read More

Crooked Horizons in Your Photos? ? Here is a Five Minute Digital Fix

Remember the good old photography days?Film camera in hand, you... Read More

Choosing The Right Digital Camera

Let's get something straight right out of the box. If... Read More

African Safari Photography Best Five Destinations

Good wildlife safari photography is not only about composition and... Read More

How a Digital Camera Works

The digital camera is not something of a magic box... Read More

Weddings, From a Photographers Point of View

Your wedding day is without a doubt one of the... Read More

Light Meter Readings for Film and Digital

Reflected Light Readings for Film and Digital ImagesIn order to... Read More

Start Up a Nude Photography Business

There are major obstacles to overcome to get into nude... Read More

Hyperfocal Focusing: What Is It And Why Should You Use It?

When should you use hyperfocal focusing? Well, sometimes when shooting... Read More

Diffusion & Softening of Digital Photography Images

Like many people who've made the switch from film cameras... Read More

Black and White is Beautiful

Think about Laurel and Hardy for a moment, or Charlie... Read More

Understanding Digital Photography

Most serious photographers and all professionals use a Single Lens... Read More

Transfer The Digital Camera Images To Your Computer

There are a few very important tasks associated with using... Read More

Selecting Good Stock Photography in the Age of Digital

The business of stock photography has drastically changed over the... Read More

Using Film Speed Effectively

So you have this great new camera. Now you're standing... Read More

How Can I Preserve My Lifetime of Memories in Photographs?

Like most folks you have probably have organized and sorted... Read More

Photographing Kids

Kids grow up so quickly and while we are often... Read More

To Camcorder Enthusiasts: What Does Reality TV Really Mean? - Great News for the Camcorder User!

Reality TV is experiencing an upsurge in popularity and its... Read More

The Advantages of Underwater Camera Housing

You will need an underwater camera housing to keep your... Read More

The Arizona Desert Museum

The vast beauty and richness of the desert can be... Read More