A tripod in a simple definition is a three legged holder, but specifically, what is a tripod? And how important is it? Tripods in professional photography are really essential for a quality photo and I will talk later about why they are really important?
What is a tripod?
a tripod is completely responsible for keeping the balance of the camera, facing any horizontal, downward and lateral forces. A tripod isn’t used only as a holder for the camera. Back in the ancient ages, it was part of the Chinese and Greek culture used as trophies or as a cooking. the Chinese people use tripods in modern times to symbolize values like unity but away from that let’s talk about the most used term nowadays for tripods
Let’s get into more details about our photography tripods. They are made mostly from steel, aluminum or carbon fiber with very thin legs (holders) to try to save space as much as possible. All tripods have a thing called a thumbscrew that has a mate in the camera to attach to.
Now that we’ve answered the question (what is a tripod) it’s time to ask why do you need a tripod? Tripods are really important for motion and fixed photography to prevent the movement of the camera, like the blurred image that is produced when the shutter is open while there is camera movement. let’s say it is a tool for reaching the maximum sharpness that a photo can reach. Tripods are also used sometimes as a replacement for the stands.
You can see night photography is a piece of art all in itself, you don’t get a lot of light and in some cases there is almost no light at all. Therefore, you will have to use a slow shutter speed which is impossible for you to hold steady by yourself. For example, when you’re capturing those magic tails of lights made by cars at night using long shutter speeds which makes it almost impossible for you to hold the camera still with your hand. That is where the role of the tripod comes in, giving you a quality photo.
As I said, tripods aren’t just camera holders, they can be a flash unit holder for a photo session or to hold camcorders. Since tripods can tilt and pan easily, they are very efficient for camcorders, giving you a professional panning movement and a high quality picture.
Action shots and close-up shots
If you are looking for a really eye-catching action shot, then you need to use a tripod for the panning movement to make it easier. Also, close-up shots require no mistakes for as you know, a slight movement is enough to ruin the quality of your photo.
I think this time if I asked “what is a tripod?” You will probably think it’s weird asking the question knowing all of this benefits and knowing how essential it is, it moves you from the “I want to be a great photographer/filmmaker one day” zone to actually being a professional great photographer
Telephoto lens and tripods
The telephoto lens, with its heavy weight and its long focal length, is really hard to adjust. It gets affected by the slightest vibration from the wind or the camera shutter and mirror. All that plus the slow shutter speed due to the slower maximum aperture which will make the problem even worse.
Getting the right frame isn’t an easy job. When you set the tripod, it’s easier for you to decide if there is a better frame that you can get. The tripod can get your camera places your eyes and hands can’t reach. A lot of tripods can set your camera just centimeters from the ground or as high as NBA players. Indoor sessions with the tripod gives you the opportunity to focus more on the lighting and not worry about the camera, thus creating a creative environment for your photos.
Sunset is not an easy thing to capture when handling the camera due to the low lighting and increasing darkness. When you take a look at your LCD, you will see how much less sharp the details are when you don’t use a tripod. Even if you adjusted the ISO level really high, you will create a noticeable noise in the photo.
Let’s say you went out on a sunny afternoon with 50 photographers. Probably only 5 of them would be carrying tripods. You might wonder why they would carry an extra thing like a tripod in the middle of the day. A lot of professional photographers said that it’s true in many cases that they might not get a vibration or a camera shake but they say from their experience, stopping the camera shake isn’t the only purpose that tripods were made for. When you go for a shot in a bright place, the more intense the light the more intense the shadow, which makes it harder to show the parts in the photo where that shadow is, so to get the best result from this photo, multiple exposures might be the best answer. By taking multiple photos of the same setting and then combining all the photos on the computer, or some camera themselves have this option, would be a great way to create the perfect photo. A tripod would be essential for this exercise.
The neutral density filters
The neutral density filters are used in photography to balance anything that is moving like flags or waterfalls with a proper blur and balanced daylight. You would have to shoot a longer exposure anyway depending on the amount of light and density. Experts say that the neutral density filter and tripod are married. Try to a take photo with the neutral density filters with your hand and you will regret it the second you look at your LCD. The two are made for each other so the more you give to your camera and care about what she loves the better pictures it will give you.
Shooting architecture buildings or places is not a field of interest to a lot of photographers, but if you are interested in shooting them then you might go ahead and bring the tripod with you next time. Lighting won’t be your strong suit here unless it’s ultimately bright outside or you have you own source of strong artificial light so you will need to slow down your shutter speed. So again, what is a tripod here for exactly? First of all, it will allow you to keep your shutter speed slowed down so you won’t have to keep the ISO levels high creating a noticeable noise rate in the photo
Now that we have explained what is a tripod is, what is it used for, how important is it and is it essential in every type of photos? Let’s talk now about what exactly to look for when buying one
Factors to look for when buying a tripod
Remember first of all that you are going to carry it with you frequently, so if have a normal camera with no accessories, then it is better to go for the light option. But, if you are planning on getting a DSLR soon and some accessories for your camera, then get something that can hold that weight. If you already have some accessories connected to your camera then I guess you know what to do.
Getting a light weight or heavy one doesn’t always equal stability. Test the camera on the tripod yourself to make sure it is going to hold still on a windy day. Look for the style too, because there are a lot of different styles so pick one that will hold with you when you are out most of the day.
One factor as well is the number of sections in the leg. It could be 2 or 3 but I would go for the 2 myself. It is really simple and easier to carry when folded.
You are the one who decides here what height to go for. Think about the minimum and maximum height that you will need and try it yourself to see how it operates. Fold it up and see how does it looks. You might want to go for a maximum height that you can reach without bending because you don’t want to spend all day on your toes to look at the photo in the LCD.
One of the most important things, as well, is the head of the tripod. There are numerous ways in connecting the head of the tripod to your camera and each way is different. Determine how flexible your camera is going to be. One good thing about the head is that you can buy it separately and easily connect it to the rest of the tripod and the camera.
So next time someone asks you what a tripod is, you are probably going to have a pretty good answer now.