When I first started taking portraits, I would very seldom use a tripod.
I felt like holding the camera in my hand allowed me much greater freedom to move around the subject and get better shots.
But as I've gotten older and wiser, I've learned that sometimes it's far more advantageous to take portraits with a tripod-mounted camera.
Here's a few ways that using a tripod will help you get better portraits.
You Can Get Creative With the Shutter
When using a tripod, you can slow the shutter speed down to blur the movement of elements in the shot, like water or clouds.
Granted, this requires your subjects to be perfectly still for a few seconds, but as you can see above, the results can be quite dramatic.
The interplay of the portrait subject being perfectly still and sharp and the surrounding water being gorgeously blurred creates visual tension in the photo that makes it much more compelling than a traditional portrait.
And since it's impossible to keep your subjects nice and sharp when handholding a camera and using a long shutter speed, a tripod is a must for this type of portrait.
Using a Tripod Helps Slow You Down
When I shoot handheld, I have a tendency to shoot way too quickly without taking a moment to ensure that things like composition, framing, focus, and camera settings are spot-on.
But when I use a tripod, it forces me to slow down and give a little extra thought about the image before I press the shutter.
Though sometimes we might feel pressured by time to get the shot and get it quickly, taking five or ten extra seconds isn't going to cause you to miss the photo you want in most cases.
That's especially true when you have a captive audience in your portrait subject.
Tripods aren't difficult to setup, take down, and move, either, so don't think that shooting with your camera on a tripod is going to be overly laborious.
The Sirui N-2004KX tripod shown above takes just seconds to setup thanks to its easy twist-lock legs.
What's more, this tripod has legs that have automatic leg lock mechanisms for quick and easy setup.
As you get the tripod setup, extend its legs, adjust its height, and so forth, take those few moments to look at the light, think about how you want to compose the shot, and the directions you want to give the model for how they pose, hold their arms, and so forth.
Just those few seconds can make all the difference in the quality of your portraits!
Why Use a Tripod: Get Sharper Photos
Even if you have the steady hands of a surgeon, you still can't hold your camera as still and steady as it would be on a solid tripod.
That being the case, using a tripod is advantageous because you can capture portraits that are much sharper.
This is especially true if you're using a macro lens or a telephoto lens to take portraits because they are even more susceptible to camera shake than more traditional portrait lenses.
Additionally, using a tripod like the Sirui EN-2004 shown above allows you to optimize the image's depth of field.
That's because with your camera mounted to a tripod, you can use a slower shutter speed and/or a lower ISO and open up the aperture of your lens to minimize the depth of field.
Doing so gets you beautifully blurred bokeh in the background that helps set your portrait subject apart from the rest of the image.
The Best Tripod for Portrait Photography
When it comes to selecting the best tripod for portrait photography, you can't go wrong with Sirui.
They have a complete line of tripods designed and built to make taking great photos easier.
Not only do Sirui tripods have easy-to-lock legs, but they also have features you'll appreciate like foot spikes for added traction when shooting outdoors, short center columns for taking unique low-angle shots, lightweight construction for easy carrying, and a variety of ball heads as well.
Though it might feel a little freer to shoot your portraits handheld, a tripod really does give you a greater ability to get high-quality shots!