- Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod
- SIRUI T-1205X 5-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Manfrotto MK190X3-2W 190 Aluminum 3 Section Tripod Kit with MHXPRO-2W Fluid Head
The tripod is a universally recognized versatile tool that all photographers use at one point or another. I personally think it should be in any photographer’s kit. Despite it being a relatively simple device with an obvious purpose, I see a lot of photographers using the tripod wrongfully and quite a few times that ends up costing them serious money.
A tripod is going to slow your shooting process and that’s a good thing up to one point. It shouldn’t make it too slow however and this takes us to one of the most common mistakes that even professionals make. Most photographers setup the tripod, put the camera on it and start framing until the find the perfect shot. This is actually the wrong way to do it and it takes quite a bit more time. The correct way is to frame the shot with the camera handheld and then put the tripod in position and mount the camera on it.
Another classic mistake rookies make is when they expand the legs. Never start with the upper elements because if you’re shooting in snow or mud, the locking mechanisms are going to get dirty and over time they will damage the tripod. Always start with the bottom elements.
You should also make sure you invest in a tripod head with an additional locking mechanism. There’s nothing worse than having your camera fall off and break because it wasn’t secured enough. The price difference is only a few dollars and when you compare it to the potential costs of fixing or replacing an expansive lens, it totally makes sense to put a little more into safety.
A lot of tripods have a small hook on the end of the center column. Hanging your camera bag on it can be a great way of adding a little more stability to the tripod. Just make sure you don’t do this hack in windy conditions because the effect will be opposite.
Here’s a video from Adorama TV with photographer Mark Wallace demonstrating some cool tricks you can start applying the next time you use your tripod.