Ten Situations When You Should Use a Tripod

Tripods are pretty useful, so much so that they're normally the first photography accessory I tell anyone to buy. And while there are some obvious times when you should bring yours along, there are lots of other situations where you might find it useful. This helpful video will show you all the times you should think about packing your tripod as well as some good tips for using them.

Coming to you from James Popsys, this video will give you an overview of the usefulness of tripods. While it might not seem like the most exciting topic, they're a tremendously helpful (and often downright necessary) tool for maximizing image quality. Here's an additional tip: if you photograph events and want a second perspective, put a second body on a tripod and use your camera's phone app to control it over Wi-Fi (if you have that capability) or use a wireless remote. For example, when I photograph classical music concerts, I pretty much have to stay put once the music starts, so I'll put a second body at a different place in the hall and use my phone to control it. Just make sure your camera is safe wherever you put it and won't be stolen! 

By the way, if you're looking for one to purchase, it turns out that in our recent review, our favorite tripod was the most affordable we tested

[via James Popsys]

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Neverrr, just kidding, I hate lugging them around but I definitely need to dust mine off lol

Given that the objective of most photographers is to create the best image possible, I'd argue the list of times you shouldn't use a tripod is much shorter than the list of times you should.

Oh gawd. Another self-proclaimed 'expert'. Where do they all come from?

If you're talking about James Popsys,he's a professional photographer so probably is some kind of expert.He come's from Manchester I think if you really need to know.

I do have to say with such incredible image quality coming out of SLRs these days, I'm surprised when I see a tripod being used sometimes. One bright summer day at high noon someone was shooting a lighthouse which is on land with a fixed light (so no purposeful blurry water movement or light swirl, etc.) with a tripod. I get that a tripod was required in the days of ASA 64 film, but when you can put your D850 at ISO 1600 with a fast lens, you're going to have a shutter of at least 1/800 and zero noise even at full 47 MP resolution. Hard to see why you really need a tripod for that.

Some would say having five axis image stabilization built into a camera/lens combo is every bit as good as carrying an invisible tripod around with you as long it's in day light.

There are so many types of shot that can't be attempted hand-held. It's not only used to keep a single shot steady, but a sequence of shots that cannot shift between frames, such as HDR. Also, long exposures can also be by design - not solely because there's a lack of light.

Great point -- never thought about bracketed exposures, etc. And it would have made more sense if the lighthouse was on the water where they wanted a purposeful blur, etc. I guess I was struck in the example I cited because it was soooo bright the day I saw it. But as Mike mentions below, they could also have an older camera or a crop sensor and need as much IQ as they can get.

Duh, so you can shoot at ISO 64 and get an even better image.

I would have agreed two years ago or even a year ago, but the IQ I'm seeing at higher ISOs these days just stuns me. But I hear your point (and frankly I didn't need the "Duh" to get it either), particularly if you have an older camera or a crop sensor and really need to squeeze every ounce of clarity out of a shot that you can.