Do You Actually Need a Tripod for Landscape Photography?

When it comes to landscape photography, few pieces of equipment are considered more vital than the tripod. And while it is certainly a fantastic piece of equipment, it also significantly alters your workflow. So, do you really need a tripod? This great video examines the question and if you can afford to leave your tripod at home the next time you head out.

Coming to you from fototripper, this interesting video discusses if you need to bring your tripod along for landscape photography. No doubt, if you are doing something like very long exposures, you are going to need a tripod, but on the other hand, the advancing stabilization capabilities of lenses and cameras are making it easier than ever to hold your camera for more shots. And there is something to be said for this: while it is certainly more convenient, it also allows you a completely different workflow, as you can focus more on exploring the space and less on logistical concerns. Try leaving your tripod behind the next time you head out. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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Tom Reichner's picture


I use a tripod for most of my photography, because it involves a very heavy lens (12 pounds). However, I never even consider using a tripod when shooting landscapes. But then again, I don't do low light landscapes. If I were shooting a landscape that requited an exposure of 1/25th of a second or longer, at more than 50mm focal length, then I would need to use a tripod or other means of support to assure acceptable results.


Daniel L Miller's picture

The most expensive lens can look cheap and soft with hand-held motion blur. Joel Grimes did a great video a couple years back clearly demonstrating this.

But for me the reason I use a tripod is because I almost always use bracketing.

EDWIN GENAUX's picture

I mostly do Milky Ways and a Tripod is a must! But years ago ('15 and '16) using the A7s (no IBIS) but using the E 10-18mm f/4 OSS at 12mm Full frame to 27mm (APS-C) I walked about without a Tripod, but the pod at the time was Manfrotto 190L very heavy but now one of the small travel pods. All these were handheld AND the last was with the A7Rii hand held and bracketed 3@ +/- 2ev when I forgot and left the tripod camera plate in car noticed when getting to Antelope Canyon tested some single shots but due to dynamic range I did some bracketed and the +2 looked sharp. So I did the whole tour bracketed while the Canon and Nikon (2017) were all on sticks and were very annoyed at me while on by back shooting up or on my belly shooting at their feet. With the FE 12-24mm f/4 G (NON OSS) (new then) I was getting wider shots than only some with 16mm most with 35mm. The day before I was at Horseshoe but with the Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6 yes had my stucks but got close to edge and others doing panos at the edge I just hand held with fear camera would go over with the wind gusts. To use sticks you need remember to turn off IBIS and OSS any way! It is a miracle what can be done today but I daily take advantage!!! Stepped out my front door looked over and saw the full moon went in got camera and with the NEW FE 200-600 @ 600mm hand held a capture, just unbelievable. To add if you go in caves lit you are not allowed sticks so your camera strap with a bungee hooked to belt and camera you are the sticks works in museums too.

Stuart C's picture

My main argument for it is to hold your composition, once you have it dialled in I like to lock the tripod off and then wait for the light. Obviously long exposures are another big reason.

Landscape photographers are often shooting in high contrast situations so things like grad filters become useful too.

John Perhach's picture

Yes and no, It depends on ones skills with shooting hand held. It requires a good bit of practice to get good at doing focus stacks, panos or longer exposures hand held, but it can be done for sure. Sometimes a tripod is flat out needed like for astro or various other reasons or simply works best for situations like for example at a waterfall with a lot of spray and you need to hold a umbrella in front of your lens & camera in between exposures.