The Benefits of Shooting Without a Tripod in Landscape Photography

When it comes to landscape photography, perhaps no accessory is more ever-present than the tripod. The tripod allows both for techniques like long exposure photography and for ensuring the highest levels of image quality. And sure, those are some major benefits, but there are some pros to working without a tripod as well. This interesting video discusses some of the best reasons for shooting handheld in landscape photography.

Coming to you from Henry Turner, this great video discusses the benefits of shooting without a tripod in landscape photography. For me, the biggest benefit of not using a tripod is simply the increased mobility. While I do not avoid them entirely, I find them clunky to work with, and they slow me down significantly. For some people, that is a good thing; we all have our preferred workflows. But I tend to flit from idea to idea and place to place, and so, I like to stay as light and mobile as possible, or the process begins to feel frustrating. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Turner. 

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

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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I find tripods to be necessary for things like exposure stacking, but I recommend delaying mounting your camera on a tripod as much as possible and doing as much exploratory work with just the camera in your hand first. It's like driving a car: start the engine when you really need it.

I have an excellent carbon-fiber tripod that mostly stays in the car. I'm 81 and use a rollator. I can sit down and brace on my knees. I prefer to keep my shutter speeds higher than my zoomed focal length so I allow my ISOs to float up when needed to ensure sharpness. Modern tools like Topaz DeNoise AI can tame noise and even refine sharpness. Like Roberto Ovalle, I use my tripod when really needed, such as for focus stacking, but if I can get a sharp picture handheld, I'm happy.

I admit I have never done the silky water thing because the tripod is still in the car and I had enough trouble using a rollator to get to the site. I should make the effort to try it.

I'm attaching a 3-frame *handheld* panorama of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. I have grown adept at keeping the camera level and watching my overlap. I once was a working pro, but now I am a happy hobbyist, yet still a stickler for image quality. I've been told that I can not do what I do. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I do it anyway.