Revolutionising Tripods: The Benro Theta Is An Auto-Levelling Travel Tripod

How To Get The Best Out Of Your Tripod

When and why do you need to use a tripod? Find out in our list of quick tips and shooting advice.

| General Photography

Do you need a tripod? Well the answer to this questions is a most definite yes. Tripods will keep your camera steady and also help slow you down, improving your composition as a result. Even if you're a compact user you should consider purchasing a tripod. In fact, tripods such as those found in Manfrotto's new Imagine More Range are specifically designed for the hobbyist as they're compact and lightweight. Still not convinced? Take a look at our shooting examples of when you'll need a tripod and we've also got a few tips on how using your tripod can be made easier.

How To Get The Best Out Of Your Tripod: manfrotto_293_tripod
How To Get The Best Out Of Your Tripod: Manfrotto 057 Series Tripod

How To Get The Best Out Of Your Tripod: Manfrotto Magic ArmMacro/close up work

When you're working so close to subjects even the smallest of movements will be noticeable and can add unwanted blur to your shots. We can't control the wind and environment but we can clamp our cameras to tripods to stop camera shake spoiling the shot. So you don't have to touch the camera when taking your shot use a remote release to trigger the shutter. If you don't own one use the camera's self-time as even though you still have to touch the camera, the movement caused by you hitting the shutter button and moving away won't be captured in the shot.

For outdoor flower photography, where you need to work lower to get closer to the flowerbeds, you'll need a tripod that gives you the option to lower the angle of the legs. Manfrotto's 050 series features a low level adapter and an adjustable head that moves through 90-105 degrees which will help you get closer to your subject. If you're just starting out in photography take a look at the cost-effective 290 series which is just as versatile. If you find you can't position your tripod quite close enough, try using an arm to extend its reach. A Manfrotto Magic Arm will get you in among the flowerbeds without you having to get your feet dirty.

Action photography

For shots of cars speeding along a track you need to be good at panning and using a tripod makes the movement more fluid and smooth. As the camera needs to be able to follow the action accurately, switch to continuous focusing to keep your subject sharp while you pan to keep pace.

Longer lenses

Telephoto lenses are more prone to camera shake so having a tripod will keep your camera steady and help you bag those sharp shots. If you do want to work hand-held make sure you don't use a shutter speed that's lower than your focal length. Some take this further and say your shutter speed should be at least double the focal length you're using.

How To Get The Best Out Of Your Tripod: Panoramic Rotation UnitPanoramas

If you're shooting panoramas, particularly if there's foreground detail, you'll need a panoramic head. Manfrotto stock various panoramic heads including the Panoramic Rotation Unit that allows you to take sequential constant-angle shots around a single axis, which is essential if you want to create a set of images that can easily stitched together.

Windy days

For blustery days you'll need a sturdy tripod as unlike you, they can't be blown over easily. If you find you need a little more weight and your tripod features a centre column hook, you can hang a bag of stones or other weighty objects off it to balance the tripod. Another option is to take a heavy camera bag and wrap the strap(s) around the tripod's head to add extra weight. For lighter tripods, use your body as a shield from the wind. Sticking spiked feet into the ground will also help keep the tripod still, they're particularly useful when working at the coast to stop waves knocking your gear into the sea.

Sport and nature photography

With some sports such as cricket and wildlife photography you need to be watching the landscape/pitch in order to spot the moment you need to hit the shutter button. Using a tripod will not only make the wait a little more comfortable you can also set the camera up, focus it and use a remote release to trigger the shutter as soon as the action begins. However, a monopod can be just as useful, giving you the freedom to move more quickly.

Buy a spare quick release plate

Why we hear you ask? Well because quick release plates are easily lost and it's also good to have a couple spare just in case the size you need is discontinued. It also means that if you're working with two camera that have lenses of different focal lengths on them, you can leave quick release plates on them both, making the process of switching between the two cameras easier and quicker.

Clean and care for your tripod

Even if you have a tripod that's resistant to corrosion it's still a good idea to wipe it down after a day at the coast where it'll have met the salty sea air and water. Putting feet on your tripod's legs will help but it doesn't take long to give your equipment a quick wipe with a damp cloth. Remember to make sure you dry it out thoroughly too.

Struggling to find a tripod?

Check out and pick the right tripod and head combination for your camera with the Tripod and Head Chooser. By answering a few simple questions the interactive tool will identify which heads and tripods are suitable for you. Visit Manfrotto's website for more information: Manfrotto Tripod And Head Chooser.

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