Camera shake is one of the main causes of blurry images, especially when using longer lenses. A tripod is great for very long shutter speeds, but if you need to follow a moving subject, a monopod is a better solution, as it enables you to move the camera but still have greater stability than if you were just hand-holding it. In this tutorial we’ll show you step-by-step how to use a monopod to get sharper images.
The key to getting the most from a monopod is how you stand and support the camera. You need to ensure your stance is balanced and comfortable, and that you use your body as an integral part of the monopod.
Finding the best way to stand, while still allowing you to move the camera comfortably, takes a little practice. So use these four steps as a guide, then practise to find the exact positions for your feet and the camera that you find the most successful.
Remember that these positions can be affected by the size of lens and camera that you’re trying to hold steady, and even by whether the ground you’re standing on is sloping, or has a loose or solid surface.
1. Attach the camera
With a small lens or normal telephoto zoom attached to the camera you should screw the monopod directly into the fitting on the bottom of the camera. For larger, heavier lenses, be sure to use the tripod bracket supplied to ensure a more balanced set-up.
2. Stand firm
You need to stand so that you are comfortable and balanced. Put one foot in front of the other – I find it more comfortable to have my left foot in front of my right, but you may prefer it the other way round – then find a position that feels the most natural and balanced.
3. Height matters
Now extend the monopod so that the viewfinder is as close to your eye level as possible, and the foot of the monopod is positioned almost alongside your leading foot. If the monopod doesn’t extend high enough, try leaning down a little until you find a comfortable position.
4. Do the twist
Now you have your basic set-up, make sure that you are free to twist your body to allow you to cover the area the subject is likely to be moving through. Try to find a position where you can cover the greatest area without having to move your feet or become unbalanced.
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