Travel Photography Tip #5: Use a Tripod
Taking that perfect picture to symbolize your trip to a far-off land and it comes out shaky or out of focus. What the heck? OK, what went wrong? Most likely the camera wasn’t still and the photo came out blurry. Best and easiest solution… use a tripod. Its simple really, the tripod stabilizes your camera and keeps it in one position so your camera has the time to process the image.
Cameras have shutter speeds, which is the time it takes to actually take a picture. The slower the camera’s shutter speed, the more dynamic the images are. These shutter speeds go down as the camera’s price tag rises. Meaning, more expensive cameras generally have a wider range of shutter speeds, so what does this mean? Unless you plan on breaking the bank on a 4-5 thousand dollar piece of equipment, you may need a tripod to keep your camera stable while you take pictures. Slower shutter speeds mean the camera takes longer to process the image so the camera must be held extremely still. This is where a tripod really comes in handy.
Tripods are key to taking outstanding photos with high definition details that will really turn heads. Using a tripod will also take away any handheld camera shake that often occurs with amateur photography. Have you ever noticed when taking pictures that you have it focused perfectly in the viewfinder but the image comes out blurry? That’s because it was human error. Holding a camera makes it subject to any shaking, movement or mistake made by the operator. Try using a travel tripod, usually lightweight and easily collapsible, these are excellent buys and very affordable. You can purchase a pretty good quality one for around $40-75 USD and they fold up to around the size of an electric razor.
Using a tripod will make pictures of action look more dynamic as well. When taking pictures of harder to capture subjects like waterfalls, outer space and in low light situations a tripod is crucial to keeping it in focus. When the camera needs the extra time to process an image it must be held completely still and this is where user error comes into play.
Tripods also allow the user to fiddle around with the more advanced camera options like different modes and shutter speeds. These allow for more dynamic results and cool effects that make your pictures look so cool. Haven’t you ever looked at a photo and wondered how the heck the photographer made it look so cool? Chances are they used a slow shutter speed and a manual picture mode so they could adjust levels until they found something unique. That’s what photography is all about, trial and error until you figure it out.
So have fun out there and try new things, experiment and luckily with digital cameras, you can erase the bad ones and keep the good ones.
In the grand scheme of things you don’t necessarily NEED a tripod but if you plan on taking pictures of landscapes, sunsets, and water, a tripod is needed.