Just bought your first camera? Getting to grips with photography? In this video, Matt shows you how to use a tripod correctly.
Want to share your own advice for beginners? Feel free to add your comments below.
Hi and welcome to the eight part of our ten-part series on How To Use Your Camera. My name is Matt and I’ll be taking you through all of your camera’s key settings so that you can start taking great pictures.
Today we’re going to be looking at how to use a tripod. I’ll be showing you how to use them correctly.
Tripods come in a range of sizes and designs and they allow photographers to create images they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Whatever tripod you use, there are a few principles to follow to ensure you get the best performance from them.
Firstly, you’ll need to attach the camera to the tripod itself; this is usually done with a quick-release plate. Simply screw this into the base of your camera and make sure the edge of the plate is parallel with the edge of the camera. Now, fit this plate inside the tripod head; you should see the lever to the side move once it’s safely in place.
Tripods are usually constructed with three of four sections for each leg. Make sure you use the sections towards the top of the tripod first, and then work downwards if you need extra height, as this will help you to get the best stability.
Most tripods allow you to extend the centre column upwards so that you can position the camera higher up. If you do need to get extra height, always make sure you extend the leg sections before you extend the centre column, as this will also help to keep the camera more stable.
Some tripods also feature a small hook at the end of their centre column and this can help you with stability too. All you need to do is attach your bag or another heavy object to it so that it weighs the tripod down and keeps it in place.
The head of the tripod will often have one or more spirit levels, which can help you ensure your camera is level. It’s always a good idea to check this when setting up your tripod so that you can be sure of capturing your images without any skewed details.
Make sure to also turn off your image stabilisation system when using a tripod. Leaving this on can actually make your images less sharp as the lens will attempt to correct for vibrations caused by the image stabilisation system itself. Some recent cameras and lenses sense when they are on a tripod and may turn themselves off automatically – check the manual of your lens or camera to see if this the case.
Finally, use the self-timer option or a remote release when taking an image on a tripod. This will allow you to capture the image without any physical contact from yourself at the point of the exposure, and so may help you to get a sharper result.