May 26 2007

The Most Important Photography Tool and What to do when You don’t have One

Published by at 11:17 am under Equipment

Hands down, the most important photography tool you can ever purchase, after the camera or course, is a tripod. Tripods are invaluable. Even if you think you have a very steady hand, you will find that nine times out of ten, a photograph taken with a tripod will be clearer and more beautiful. If shaking is not a problem for you, you still have to account for the motion that occurs when you push the camera’s button to take the snapshot. In short, tripods are simply a good idea.

So what can you do if you don’t have one? There are many reasons why a photographer may be left high and dry without their trusty tripod. First off, many beginners don’t think about buying one when they purchase a camera for the first time. Tripods can also be very heavy, depending on make and model, so while you might carry your camera at all times, the tripod may get left at home, especially during events like hiking trips. There are also occasions when you don’t have enough time to set up your tripod-you need a quick shot! When you don’t have a tripod, for whatever reason, there a few things you can use in its place to help you take better shots.

If the main reason you don’t carry a tripod is because of its weight or bulkiness, invest in a monopod. These portable devices are basically a single leg of a tripod and will help you steady your camera. To use a monopod, balance yourself against a wall or other steady object and try to be as still as possible.

You can also bring an even smaller makeshift version of a tripod by carrying a long loop of rope. Attach one end to your camera and step on the other end with your foot and pull taut. The upward tension will help you stop shaking.

Of course, you can also use the world around you. Mount your camera on the nearest steady object that is at the same height at which you are shooting. Be sure the surface is clean, and use items you have to prop the lens at the perfect angle. When all else fails, kneel and rest your elbow on your leg as you are shooting. It is difficult to keep the camera perfectly steady, but by doing all you can possibly do (and by remembering your tripod next time), you can create clear photographs.

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