A little advice on why you would do well to have a tripod in your kit bag even in situations which don’t normally call for slow shutter speeds.
Everybody knows why they may need to use a tripod sometimes….or do they? The most obvious reason if you ask a budding photographer would be ‘to minimize the chances of camera shake on slow exposures’. This pretty much sums up why you buy a tripod in the first place. The tricky part is judging what kind of shutter speeds warrant the use of a tripod!
While some photographers with rock steady hands can get away with shooting as slow as 1/2 second exposures hand-held, others may come out with shaky images even at 1/30 second. Our advice is – when time allows you to use a tripod, use one in any case even if you are confident about your steady hands. The reason is – sometimes you don’t even realize there was a shake until you really zoom in to or blow up the image to wall size. The difference between a razor sharp image and one that is merely acceptable is often the use of a tripod to eliminate all miniscule traces of unwanted motion blur! So, whether you are shooting portraits, landscapes or sports; using a tripod where you can improves your images dramatically.
Shooting sports of course requires telephoto lenses which are not only heavy and cumbersome, but almost always ensure camera shake without the use of a tripod or a monopod.
Some may argue that shooting wildlife subjects such as a bird in flight requires constant maneuvering of the camera and lens which makes it difficult to use a tripod. Well, here’s where a tripod with a ball head if not a gimbal arrangement can allow smooth panning motions while still providing adequate support. On the creative side of things, tripods can allow for extremely long exposures, time lapse photography, HDR, double exposures and so much more that is only limited by your own creativity!
Another reason you would want a tripod in your kit whether indoors or outdoors, is when you are shooting pre visualized compositions. Shooting landscapes often sees a photographer carefully contemplate on all the aspects of his composition before executing the shot. In a studio, a photographer may have more than just the camera to operate. Studio lights, light meters and accessories can call for as much attention as the camera itself. It is convenient then, to leave your composition undisturbed while you move away from shooting position to take a light meter reading or adjust a soft box!
One final word – while it is obvious that you need a tripod to shoot long exposures or while using telephoto lenses, it is likewise essential when shooting extreme close ups! A magnified subject tends to reveal the smallest of camera blur movements just as a long tele photo lens can!