How to use a tripod?
Pretty straightforward... or is it?
A big part of photography is developing the sensibility to use the right tool correctly. There are various accessories that go with cameras to enhance your ability as a photographer and capture that perfect shot. One such crucial piece of equipment, which you will find in the toolshed of every photographer, is a tripod. For those who are just starting, it is best to get acquainted with this nifty accessory before jumping into it. Let's try to get to know this handy tool a little better.
What is a tripod, and why is it useful?
A tripod is a three-legged stand to support a camera or other apparatus. It is a portable device that supports, stabilises and elevates, not just a camera but various camera equipment as well. The structure or shape of a tripod is pretty simple. All tripods have three legs and a mounting head where you can attach a camera or other compatible devices.
The primary purpose of a tripod is to provide a stable base for capturing a shot. But that's just the surface function. A tripod comes in handy in many other situations like a timelapse, astrophotography, etc. A tripod that utilises a fluid head allows the camera to pan left and right, or tilt up and down in a fluid motion, without any jerks. As a basic tool, it simply holds your camera in a stable position without you having to do it and get tired.
How to use a tripod?
It is fairly straightforward to use a tripod. It is a tool for stability, and apart from the mechanical contribution, it has only a little performance impact on the overall output. The basics for both, photographers and videographers, for using a tripod are more or less the same. There are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. One of the most common mistakes is not checking the level after mounting the camera on the tripod head.
2. Make sure the camera is balanced well on all three legs.
3. When setting up the tripod, ensure all three legs are firmly rooted and grounded, so there is little to no scope for tilting backwards.
4. Depending on the tripod and your needs, you also need to lock the pan and tilt angles. If you want to keep it steady and locked at a certain position, then after adjusting, use these locks to capture the static shots.
5. For videographers, you can fiddle with the handle, as most tripods allow handle adjustment as well.
6. One of the most often overlooked things is setting the drag. It is the resistance you will face while panning and tilting. Don't forget to adjust this according to your liking.
If you are a photographer and you employ a tripod to mostly capture stills then your use can be drastically different from those who utilise a tripod to capture videos. However, it is recommended to get a tripod with a height that reaches at least your chest. It will make shooting a lot easier for you.
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