A tripod is used and needed to keep your camera still, your flashgun, or other equipment motionless.
When taking shots by holding the camera in your hand, it is impossible to keep it still – it will shake. Depending on your shutter speed, you will see results of not shooting with a tripod in your photos, especially if the shutter speed is low.
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Why do we need a tripod?
A digital camera tripod is not a must in every shooting situation, but it has to have it if you want the highest image performance your camera can offer.
The tripod is more comfortable with a remote controller, but most cameras have a self-timer setting. That means you can set it to shoot in 10 seconds – for example – so it will not shake at that moment. You don’t need to touch it.
I use a remote controller; it is much simple and is not expensive.
This is shooting an almost still large area. Almost still because you may have water or clouds, usually moving.
It is excellent to shoot landscapes without tripods, but think what a long exposure can give you: water and clouds start looking like veils, stars go looking like lines or spirals, traffic vehicle lights go in colorful lines and a subtle effect at night shoot.
All of this can not be archived without a stabilizing tool. The digital camera tripod is a perfect, not expensive, gear that can secure and elevate your camera as needed.
Extended exposure example with water:
Case with car traffic at night:
… and with stars:
In my opinion, for high visual performance when shooting architecture, a tripod is a must. In architecture, you will have many decorative details that will fail to be visible when zooming into the photos.
Shooting models, fashion photography
Taking your girlfriend or any other model, a charming portrait picture will not always require a tripod. As a fast example (not going into details in this post), take care your camera is set to 1/250 shutter speed with a 100 ISO and aperture adapted to the daytime or interior light, and it will be fine.
Or use the presented portrait setting of your camera, which should be fine for most brands.
Shooting fashion events like a presentation and a tripod are unnecessary and may not be possible. A crowd of photographers surrounds you, so there is no place to set anything. Shutter speed will have a significant role in dealing with that.
Shooting models in-studio or outdoors will require a tripod in some situations. If not for your camera, then primarily for lighting equipment – flash units.
Not a must, but it gives excellent results in many situations. The general idea is that your handshaking or tripod will be your choice, depending on the situation. If the subject is not moving, then a tripod will be helpful.
If you are in nature chasing insects, it will be fast and more productive to use your camera settings than to carry a tripod. Little funny bugs will not wait for you to set up your gear.
We mainly need a tripod to stabilize and elevate your equipment (camera, flash units). Keep it still after you finish with the process of setting up your gear before shooting. Great setup gets excellent results.
Types of tripods
There are several types of tripods, from the least expensive aluminum tubing to the more expensive professional tripods, which are sturdier and more robust.
Depending on your needs, and the equipment’s weight, you may want to have one or both types.
It does not mean that a professional photographer will only possess professional tripods, and an amateur will get only the cheap and not-so-solidly built ones.
It is about the equipment tripods have to deal with, so a professional photographer may have professional tripods for lighting equipment and a not-so-expensive one for the camera.
It is about the needs, not the kind of photographer you consider yourself.
You may need a tripod for your smartphone or a small compact camera, in which case a small tabletop tripod will do it.
If you need one for your DSLR or mirrorless camera, it will be OK as a travel tripod.
For heavy equipment, you’ll be doing better with studio tripods.
Writing about tripods, why, and if you need one is the general idea of today’s article. If you are happy enough with your results and just looking to take pictures for sweet memories and share them with friends and family, then maybe you do not need one.
If you want the best your camera can offer, you should go for it. I hope you enjoyed the article and found it helpful.
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