There are situations in friends or family gatherings where the photographer needs to have himself in the pictures of the group that he takes. His simplest way to do it is to mount the camera on a tripod and set the self timer to release the shutter. He then rushes to position himself in the group and wait for the shutter to click or the flash to discharge. By using the tripod he is able to frame well the position of the group in the LCD monitor, and by using the self timer he is also able to press the trigger release button even when his hands are off the camera thereby reducing the likelihood of having a camera shake that causes a blur in the picture.
The right combination of shutter speed, aperture and ISO in relation to the ambient light is the basic elements of proper exposure of a picture. In addition, choosing the appropriate white balance setting, focusing the subject on, and holding the camera steady while pressing the shutter release button result in the production of vivid and tack sharp pictures. A fast shutter speed reduces the chance of having blurry pictures. But there are many situations when one needs a long exposure to get the desired effects on the pictures that he is taking.
Low light or night photography subjects such as moon, fireworks, light trails need long-duration shutter speed, low ISO and mid range aperture such as f8 to f11, the sweet spots of many interchangeable lenses, to have sharp pictures with less noise. In that type of photos it is extremely difficult or even impossible to hand hold the camera without shaking the hands. That is a situation when a tripod comes in handy. It is even more of help if the photographer uses the self timer or a remote control via the infra red wireless signal transmission of the camera where he can release the shutter without depressing the shutter release button. Tripod is also a useful tool in enhancing the quality of image of subject in daylight in such photography genres as portrait, nature and macro among others.
It is fortunate that some modern digital cameras come with built-in shake reduction feature. DSLRs which do not have it use interchangeable lenses that have image stabilization capability in them. However, the built in shake reduction feature in the camera body or lens is not a fail-safe guarantee of blur free image in all situation. The best remedy for a camera shake is the use of a tripod. However, there are many situations where tripod is not practical to bring along with or not convenient to use.
Tripods come in variety of maximum height, weight, load capacity, leg sections, type of head and the metals used in legs and other parts. Those with carbon fiber constructions are more expensive than the aluminum ones. The ball type of head is usually a feature of the more expensive tripods. In choosing a tripod, one should consider its weight capacity in relation to the camera and the available lenses that he uses. It should be able to support the weight of his camera and other accessories mounted on it. He should also consider its maximum height and weight. A short tripod that is not proportionate to the photographer’s height or a very heavy one may hamper or limit his movement during his photo activities.
Regardless whether a point and shoot, bridge, mirrorless or DSLR camera is used, a tripod is an indispensable tool to photographers whether he is an amateur or professional. A tripod will definitely widen his experience and improve his skill as a photographer. The good thing is that tripod, unlike interchangeable lenses, is one of the cheaper camera accessories.