7 Reasons Why You Should Use a Tripod

November 25, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 35 Comments | |
7 Reasons Why You Should Use a Tripod Image

Is a Tripod a Necessity?



To help you capture the ideal shot in all different circumstances. A tripod only takes seconds to erect and adjust, yet it can support your camera in the perfect position for however long you wish, helping you to take great images.

But when would I need it?

Whenever - a steady camera is a necessity for all types of photography so in any situation they will be useful.

Here are some examples of when you will need one.

1. When taking night time shots and sunsets

Natural lighting is reduced and so to get more light into the lens, the camera will adjust exposure and shutter speed when set to the Night setting. However, with a slower shutter speed, there is the risk of camera shake which results in unwanted blurring. A tripod will reduce camera movement and improves picture quality, helping you take the perfect sunrise or sunset.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use a Tripod

2. When you need to be flexible

Tripods don’t just hold cameras, they can hold camcorders and also serve as a light stand that holds flash units, slaves, and reflectors. Using a tripod when using a camcorder will dramatically help picture quality as it will allow you to pan smoothly making your movies lookmuch more professional.

3. When you are taking close up shots

Taking photos of small objects close-up can require a lot of skill, and minor movements will be crucial to a perfect image. Using a tripod will noticeably reduce unwanted movement of the camera.

4. When you are taking action shots and doing sport photography

Panning is vital in taking stunning action shots as it allows you to really capture the movement. Having a tripod makes panning much easier and more fluid.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use a Tripod

5. When you are doing nature photography

A tripod is key in getting great nature shots as you can be waiting around for hours for animals to make an appearance that might only last a few seconds, so you need to be ready.

6. When you are using a telephoto lens

Telephoto lenses tend to be difficult to steady. Their long focal length magnifies any vibration caused by the camera shutter and mirror, wind, or by the photographer themselves. Their slower maximum aperture also causes a frequent need for slower shutter speeds which exacerbates the problem even more.

A good rule of thumb for deciding whether hand-holding a telephoto lens will cause you problems is that a shutter speed of at least 1/ the focal length is required for a sharp picture. For example, if you are using a 500mm. lens the minimum shutter speed you would normally need to use without a tripod would be 1/500th second. When using a shutter speed slower than this simple rule of thumb suggests, a tripod is in order. A good tripod will help steady your camera and ensure sharp pictures.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use a Tripod

7. When you need to be creative

Last but not least, a tripod can really help by making you slow down and think about the shot you are taking and getting the framing right. With a tripod you can also get your camera into places you sometimes can’t. Manytripods have the ability to let you place the camera anywhere from just inches off the ground to way above eye level.

When you're in the studio, the tripod frees you from the camera, and allows you to concentrate on the lighting of your subjects knowing that the camera is both secure and in the right place.

If you want a tripod, but you aren’t sure which one is best for you, then Manfrotto's tripod configuration tool is a great place to start. Based on your choices, the configurater identifies suitable heads and tripods to suit you and can guide you through the Manfrotto catalogue according to your photography needs. Visit www.bogenimaging.co.uk for more information.

Entry Tags

camera, telephoto, sports, action, macro, nature, tripod, 7 reasons, tripods, manfrotto, monopod, support, why

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35 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 cm photography

I learned something new from your article about the focal length and shutter speed rule. Very good advice.

7:58 pm - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#2 Andreiphotos

I hardly go anywhere without my Manfrotto tripod. This was essential part of my latest package in fact - camera, lens, flash, tripod, bag - in that order.

Making my living as a TV cameraman I get to hear from time to time: “Why do need a tripod?” I always urge to reply: “You tell me why I do not need a tripod?”. There are situations where tripod may not be needed. But by default - Yes.

8:05 pm - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#3 Rob

Does the shutter-speed rule of thumb apply to 35mm cameras? Would I need to calculate with the 35mm equivalent focal length of my micro four thirds lens?

9:23 pm - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#4 Gaurav

Would anyone advise me on which one should i go for? Mid budget range..


10:21 pm - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#5 beto duran

Is this a manfrotto add?

1:17 am - Thursday, November 26, 2009

#6 Andreiphotos

I would not necessarily call it a Manfrotto ad. In my earlier comment I failed to mention Sachtler brand of my video camera tripod. I use Manfrotto for my still camera and/or for the flash.

3:41 am - Thursday, November 26, 2009

#7 Gilo

This is all very true. But of course it is also fair to say that nothing can compare with the freedom of composing a picture which only a handheld camera can give you.
Particularly in people’s photography, no matter how good you and your tripod are, it will always take you a few seconds to put the tripod in the right position and by then that expression you wanted to catch will be gone or you may have had to to settle for a less than optimal angle.

4:55 am - Thursday, November 26, 2009

#8 LargeFormat

The shutter rule is good to know for sure.  That said it is very rare that you could hold a 400 or 500mm lens to begin with so you might as well bring a tripod anyway.  Those lenses are huge and almost impossible to hand hold.  The focal length/shutter relationship is good to know but never go below 1/30 if you are hand holding the camera if you want locked in motion.

7:23 am - Thursday, November 26, 2009

#9 Gilo

I totally agree. My comment was referring to more ‘normal’ lenses, since the article seems to imply that you are always better off with a tripod, irrespective of the focal length you are using.

7:33 am - Thursday, November 26, 2009

#10 dsi r4

You give us very nice detail on tripod that its useful to take perfect picture or photo I amm very excited about this one.I am professional photographer I want to plan to buy this one it is really very useful.I will use tripod to take Panoramas, and i Motion films.This tripod look so nice.Thanks.

10:41 am - Monday, November 30, 2009

#11 Pedro Almeida

To Rob:

Yes, you need to convert to 35mm equivalent. On the other hand if you have some kind of image stabilization or a good shooting technique (elbows tucked, etc) you can get away with a lower shutter-speed.

11:22 pm - Monday, November 30, 2009

#12 Ken Sellars

I enjoyed reading all your comments. Over recent years I always take a Silk lightweight tripod with me as well as a camera, and use it the majority of the time. When looking for wildlife shots I often have the camera attached to the tripod, legs extended but closed togeather, as I sneak through the bush. There are examples at “Dinkum Aussie Stuff” http://www.dinkumaussiestuff.blogspot.com/ click the link to “Travel Australia”

1:09 am - Wednesday, December 2, 2009

#13 Erwin Schmiedt

Reason #8:

When You want to make 3 or more pictures with the same image-frame with different exposures, to make an excellent HDR-photo on Your Desktop.
(Without tripod it would not be exactly the same frame!)

10:03 am - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

#14 Erwin Schmiedt

Reason #9:

Allow nice effects, i.e., one picture with a person and the same picture without the person, or the person at an other place inside the same picture.
I always make bluray-videos with my photos, and I use such series by dissolving them, to bring movement in the photos.
(Excuse my English, I am German, thank You.)

10:10 am - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

#15 dsi r4

This tripod is the perfect accessory to the Flip Ultra Video Camcorder. I only wish I had ordered it sooner. It is an incredible value and greatly expands how you can use your camcorder. On this video, which is less than two minutes, I show you the tripod and how it can attach to various items. Then I let you see it work in action as I use…

7:02 am - Monday, December 14, 2009

#16 Fred

I must say, I read this article because I wanted to know why I was missing out by not using a tripod.

Some good points, though nothing that really is insightful when being posted on “photographyblog”. On “Esquire” etc, fine.

Anyway, imho, tripods are on their way out as fast as disk drives are. In 5 years, entry DSLRs will have ISO25600 with almost no noise. Unless you’re shooting bulb, tripods will be of little use.


Going further, in 10-15 years all of our glass will be paperweights. Lenticular lens designs will give 100+ MP in a small camera with perfectly corrected in-camera images. Our cameras will look like dinosaur CRTs.

Not gonna stop shooting while waiting though! But a K-x with a lot of lenses (gotta love the 50/1.4) is in no need of a tripod.

5:03 pm - Monday, December 14, 2009

#17 Jon

I going to have to disagree with you on that one, Fred.  Regardless of future ISO capabilities, many of us will intentionally shoot at slow shutter speeds to capture the movement of propellers, waterfalls and bird wings.  I cannot imagine doing panoramas without a tripod, though I hear it can be done.  I’ll always need a tripod.

6:33 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#18 Fred

Gotta agree with you there. Moving water, props and landscapes need a tripod. I prefer bird shots to be still, but each to their own.

Back to props… any magic way to shoot a moving helicopter without sopping the props?

6:18 am - Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#19 Hayden in NZ

good way to shoot helicopters is to really slow the shutter speed down, i use about 1/125th and that gives the rotors motion.

11:14 pm - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

#20 Fred

Thanks. Makes sense… duh!

Slow the shutter down enough to give the blades motion, but not enough to blur the whirlybird.

12:24 pm - Saturday, December 26, 2009




4:20 pm - Sunday, December 27, 2009

#22 David

Very informative.

12:15 am - Friday, January 15, 2010

#23 gareth

Nice article, i believe a good sturdy tripod should be had by all photographers it opens up a whole new world of photography since you are able to do longer shutter speeds, auto bracket exposures to name just a few.

12:18 am - Sunday, January 24, 2010

#24 Kelly

I was looking for other professionally opinionated reasons to use a tripod while taking photos to share with many real estate agents that I advertise for and figured while i was here I’d add another reason to your list ;)
If you’re ever taking photos to be viewed in sequential order such as in a Virtual Tour, you will most definitely want to use a tripod :)

2:04 am - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

#25 Kelly

btw… I will leave a link to your page for reference when doing my virtual presentation/info-mercial ;)

2:07 am - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

#26 JOE

very good in helping to decide which kind of lens, IS or without IS needed etc

2:29 pm - Monday, November 22, 2010

#27 Camera Stabilizer Geeks

Tripods are an absolute must have in any photographers bag of tricks.

Getting the perfect shot can require waiting hours on end. Liked that you mentioned nature shots as this typically requires the most waiting time. A tripod is a life saver when it comes time to wait.

5:41 am - Saturday, October 29, 2011

#28 Lacey

I’m just starting out in the photography world so yeah..things make sense from what I’ve just read.Thanks.

9:07 am - Thursday, February 2, 2012

#29 Jeff

I’m new to photography, and this is what I am asking my self right now. Should I buy a tripod or just a nifty fifty first. But I decided to buy a tripod.
Another problem came, good tripods don’t come cheap. Can anyone suggest a “good” tripod for around $200? Planning to use it with a D7100.

8:25 pm - Sunday, April 28, 2013

#30 M bilal

Is camera stand is used in wildlife potograpi

6:30 pm - Saturday, June 7, 2014

#31 Ranwsom

It is worth noting that these cheap Chinese with plasitku quickly disintegrate - should avoid such http://www.open-youweb.com/tani-statyw-do-aparatu-fotograficznego-i-kamery-opinia/ and choose always something better

7:19 pm - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#32 Victoria Christophe

My tripod just sits in the closet and collect dust… after reading this I think I might start using now. Thanks alot Mark

8:16 pm - Friday, January 15, 2016

#33 Emina

I always argue that using a tripod forces me to slow the whole process and be more conscious of the shot I’m taking, and I’m therefore more likely to make conscious decisions that will help me get a better shot.

3:57 pm - Thursday, February 18, 2016

#34 Priya Shah

I’m new to photography, and this is what I am asking my self right now. Should I buy a tripod or just a nifty fifty first. But I decided to buy a tripod.
Nice article, i believe a good sturdy tripod should be had by all photographers it opens up a whole new world of photography since you are able to do longer shutter speeds, auto bracket exposures to name just a few.

8:01 am - Friday, April 1, 2016

#35 Brian

always always always use a tripod if you can! Of course… if its not feasible or youre lazy to carry it wherever you’re going make use of whatever you can around you for stabilization.

4:04 pm - Monday, August 15, 2016