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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Use a Tripod | Weekly Photography Tips

This week's photo tip is about using a tripod.

The main purpose of a tripod is to hold your camera still so you can shoot at a slow shutter speed and still capture a clear image. It is also used often for self portraits on holidays in my house.
I don't often use a tripod because my subjects are moving and I don't have time to monkey with a tripod. However, there are certain circumstances where a tripod can be very handy.

You attach your camera to the tripod by screwing a little piece into the bottom of your camera. That piece then clips into the tripod. My tripod has lots of different adjustment options; ways it can swivel or pivot. There are also a couple of small levels - tubes of liquid with an air bubble in it - to help you know when your camera is sitting flat.
One time where using a tripod gives you a huge advantage is when you are shooting at a really slow shutter speed, like with fireworks. There's no way you can shoot at 1/2 of a second for your shutter speed and not have your own natural camera-shake show up in your photo. Your firework photos will be shaky and blurry and it's all your fault!
[The two photos on the left are half-held and the 2 on the right are using a tripod.] LKR_0503
One tip for using a tripod to take slow-shutter-speed photos is to use the self-timer option. This lets you press the shutter button to take the photo and then to get away from the camera/tripod before the actual photo is taken. This eliminates any shake that you pressing the shutter might introduce into your photo.

Tripods are also extremely helpful with self-portraits and group photos. Every holiday, my family sets up the tripod, gathers together in front of the fireplace and then I make sure everything looks good. I set the self-timer, press the shutter button and then run into my place in the lineup. If it weren't for a tripod, we wouldn't be able to have any group photos with all of us in it.

If you don't have access to an actual tripod, you can improvise and use the tops of tables, cars, tree stumps etc etc. The list goes on and on, but the principles are the same. You want a steady surface, and you want to eliminate your own shake. So use that self-timer and back away from the camera and tripod!

Happy Shooting!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these photography tips on how to use a Tripod! These tips will help me a lot in capturing images and videos.


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