You may think that it is stupid to ask how to use a tripod. However, many photographers use a tripod wrongly so that they get blurry images, even with a decent tripod.
Forget about cheapo tripod, with a decent tripod, if you use it incorrectly, you will still end up with blurry images. Today I will share 7 advanced skills that help you to use a tripod with its maximum potential.
Use a Tripod L-Bracket
A L-bracket is an accessory to mount your camera onto the tripod head. Normally, when you mount your camera onto the tripod, it is in a horizontal direction. What do you do when you need to shoot vertically? Rotate the ball head 90 degree. After doing this, you will have unstable system.
The solution? Use a L-bracket.
A L-bracket allow you to mount your camera either horizontally or vertically. The next time when you want to shoot vertical, your camera will sit still and stable in the centre of the tripod just like shooting horizontal images.
Level Your Tripod
To have the highest stability, you should level your tripod shoulder. The reason why you need to set the shoulder level is to ensure your tripod is in perfect balance. If you do not set the level, your tripod may be shaky, unstable, or even fall off.
Another reason is that you won't be having the same level when you move the camera. When doing panorama or panning, having the same level for every shoot can save you lots of time in post-processing and success rate.
Most tripods contain a spirit-level. You can simply adjust the leg length to set your tripod into perfect shoulder level. When you are setting leg length, remember to lengthen the thickest section first. The thickest section will give you the highest stability.
Mount The Lens onto Tripod Instead of Camera Body
Telephoto lens sometimes are heavier than your camera body. When you use heavy long lens, the centre of gravity will shift and you will see your camera is not as stable as usual.
Fortunately, most tele lens have a small leg for you to mount on a tripod. When you mount the lens instead of the body, you will see how the stability increase.
I usually keep the mounting plate on my 70-200mm f/2.8 attached while a L-bracket on the camera body. By doing this, I can swap between wide angle and tele faster.
Use Center Column as a Last Resort
The centre column will destabilize your whole setup. Try not to use it unless you have already open all leg sections.
In case you need to reach a higher point by opening up the centre column, make sure you have you tripod shoulder perfectly leveled. A leveled tripod will make the centre post in a vertical orientation. This can give you a bit more stability.
Set Three Legs into Different Angel
In some extreme environment, you may not be able to set the tripod base level by just adjusting length of three legs. In these cases, you may try to consider adjusting three legs into different angle.
Each leg have a knob for you to adjust the opening angle. When you are on irregular rocks, you may need to open one leg wider so as to stand on another rock.
Here is an example that how "extreme" I can go. No matter how difficult to set tripod in the environment, remember, safety comes first.
Add Some Weight Underneath
No matter how strong you tripod is, there is still may have small vibration under strong wind. The trick to prevent vibration is to add weight under the tripod.
Under the centre column, you can see a hook. This hook is for you to put some weight on it and make the tripod more stable. Normally, I will hang my camera bag which is the best option I think after years of experience.
Get to The Lowest
Most tripods have a centre column. This column may prevent you to stick the camera on ground. Actually, the centre column is reversible.
You can install it in a reverse direction like this:
Then, you can reach the lowest angle that you are looking for.
Remove Camera Strap
Camera strap is good for holding camera. However, when come to shooting on a tripod, camera strap is not a good thing. Think about it, when you mount the camera on a tripod, where will the strap be? Fluttering by wind.
In order words, it will increase the chance of blurry image.
Camera strap also increase the chance of accidentally knock down of camera. Therefore, the best way is to remove the strap when you are doing tripod photography.
Hope these tips can help you get rid of shaky tripod. Share to your friends if you think this post is helpful.