Camera shake is one of the most common photography problems you’ll encounter. And if you’re having trouble getting a solid base for your camera, you’ll want to read these 4 advanced tripod tips for beating camera shake in any weather or any terrain.
Setting up your tripod should be a pretty straightforward task, but it’s surprising how many people make a fist of it. Actually, maybe it’s not that surprising, as most tripod manuals are perfunctory to say the least.
Obviously you should follow a few basic guidelines, such as making sure the head is level, using a cable release and locking the mirror up, but when the terrain or weather conditions become more challenging, you need some more advanced tripod techniques.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up quickly and create a solid base in any type of photo location (essential for capturing long exposures).
So next time you’re setting up your camera and composing an image, don’t just extend the tripod to its full length and start firing away: take a moment to work out how to compose your shot without the tripod.
Then, as you’re adjusting your tripod, use our guide to ensure shake-free shots.
Advanced tripod tips for beating camera shake
01 Fat legs first
When buying a tripod, choose one that combines strength and weight (we like the Giottos 9361B model with MH5001 head). When setting up, extend the fatter legs first, then release each of the other leg sections in succession until the tripod is at the correct height.
02 Vertical central column
Make sure that all three legs are on firm ground, giving them a slight push to ensure they don’t move. Adjust their length to ensure that the central column is vertical rather than at a slight tilt. If your tripod includes a bubble level then use this to ensure that everything is straight.
03 Weigh it down
Attach your camera bag to the central column hook; the extra weight will help to lower the centre of gravity, creating a firmer base. If it’s very windy, attach a bungee cord between the hook and bag and then adjust the length so that the bag is just touching the ground.
04 Get down low
Low-angled landscapes really benefit from a steady tripod base and most tripods are designed with a removable central column for this reason. With the column removed, position the tripod flat to the ground, then use the angle and length of the legs to level the camera.