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Use a Tripod to Improve Your Photography


Article by Stephanie Snow

Photography by Stephanie Snow

To me, photography is capturing the world around me in the most beautiful way I can. While it's far quicker to hand hold the camera while taking photos, I've learned that there are many instances where using a tripod is a necessity if I want to take the best possible image.

Here are five types of photographs where using a tripod can improve your photography.

1. Use a tripod and slow your shutter speed to create motion blur.

Try putting your camera on a tripod and slowing down your shutter speed. This reduces camera shake and stationary objects will be in sharp focus and moving items will blur. This is a popular technique for smoothing moving water, capturing star trails, and creating interest in city life photos.

2. Try Sparkler Photography.

It doesn't have to be the Fourth of July to have fun photographing sparklers. By putting your camera on a tripod and leaving the shutter open longer, you can create photos with light trails and create fun images.

3. Take Better Self Portraits.

We've all gotten used to taking Selfies but cell phones have wide angle lenses that distort our faces. If you want to take better Self Portraits, put your camera on tripod, set the timer and go pose. Even better, set your camera to take multiple photos so you have more to choose from.

4. Take Multiple Exposures of the Same Scene to create an High Dynamic Range Image.

In recent years HDR photography has become more popular. Use a tripod, take multiple photos of the same scene with a wide range of exposures, and use editing software to combine the images. The result can be an image that might be difficult to capture straight out of camera.

5. Use a tripod for Macro Photography.

After photographing for years with kit lenses, I wanted to try macro photography. As you photograph smaller objects using a shallow depth of field, it's important to use a tripod to capture sharp photos. To ensure the sharpest focus, turn OFF the Vibration Reduction if it's an option on your camera and use a remote trigger to take the photo so your hand doesn't shake the camera.

You may be wondering what type of tripod is best. There are many great manufacturers that offer compact and full size tripods. Consider whether you want a compact travel size if you are hiking a lot or taking it on a plane. If a full size is better for you, make sure you check how tall it extends and also how low it will get to the ground, because eventually you'll want to get low for a picture.

Just as important as the size of the tripod is the head that the camera will attach to. Some are full swivel ball heads while others have limited range if you want to turn turn it vertically or tilt it to the sky for night photography. Take your time to consider what features are most important to you and spend the money once on a great tripod rather than ending up buying several less expensive ones.

Most important, get your camera out of your bag and start taking photos. It's a beautiful world around us and using a tripod can help us capture it at its best.

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