How to use a monopod correctly… and when you should actually use one

    | Photography Tutorials | Tutorials | 11/12/2013 10:46am

    In this quick tutorial we demystify this specialist form of support for your camera and explain how to use a monopod correctly.

    How to use a monopod correctly... and when you should actually use one

    Most people think of the monopod as a one-legged alternative to a tripod. But the monopod is a very specialist form of support that is more useful in some situations than others.

    The first thing to realise is that monopods only give your camera a minimal amount of support. You can’t use them for slow-shutter speed seascapes, or for shooting cityscapes at night.

    At best, a monopod allows you to use a shutter speed that is one or two stops, slower than you could manage with a handheld camera. It’s no use for long exposures.

    But there are places where even this small amount of support can minimise camera shake. In low light or when using a particularly long lens, they come into their own – but only when using a tripod is impractical or impossible.

    One reason they are favoured by sports photographers is that they can be used in crowded places where there is not enough space for a tripod, or in venues where tripods are banned. They also fold up small, and let you move around quickly to follow your subject.

    Monopods come into their own with big heavy lenses. They are not primarily for stabilising your camera kit when taking shots. It’s more about giving your arms a rest in between shots, with the monopod taking the weight as you wait for the action.

    SEE MORE: Best monopod for DSLR photography: 6 top models tested and rated

    How to use a monopod correctly

    How to use a monopod correctly: step 1

    01 A collar is better than a head
    Most monopods come without a head, as they are mostly used with big lenses that have built-in tripod collars. You screw the monopod into this rather than the SLR base. You can then quickly switch from upright to horizontal-format shots.


    How to use a monopod correctly: step 2

    Classic stance

    How to use a monopod correctly: step 2

    Archer stance

    02 Are you an archer?
    The classic stance [top] is to place the monopod just ahead of you, with your feet slightly apart. 
On hard surfaces, where it may slip, try the archer stance [bottom]. Stand side on to the subject, resting the monopod base against your back foot.


    How to use a monopod correctly: step 3

    03 Reach for a better view
    Monopods can be used to get unusual viewpoints. Hold them above your head for a bird’s eye view, or to shoot over fences. You can’t see through the viewfinder and fire the shutter with the self-timer, intervalometer or wireless remote.


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    Posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 at 10:46 am under Photography Tutorials, Tutorials.

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