8 tripod mistakes every photographer makes (and how to get it right)

8 tripod mistakes every photographer makes (and how to get it right)

Common Tripod Mistakes: 7. Not weighting the tripod

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Even quite heavy, sturdy tripods will struggle to keep a camera completely still in a strong wind, especially if there’s a long lens mounted.

You can give it a helping hand by hanging a weight from the centre column if there’s a hook, or the shoulders, your camera bags is ideal.

Try to ensure that the weight just reaches the ground so that it can’t swing around in the wind but the tripod benefits from the downward force.


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Common Tripod Mistakes: 8. Erecting a tripod on wet sand

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For the best results, a tripod should be sited on firm ground so that it doesn’t sink during the exposure.

This can be tricky on beaches, especially if the tide is coming in as it can be difficult to gauge how far the waves will encroach up the sand during a long exposure.

At best this will lead to a blurred image and at worst a camera that needs a trip to the service centre.

If possible, try to shoot from rocks as they don’t tend to shift, and use a longer lens if necessary.

Many photographers find that pushing their tripod legs deep into the sand before they start shooting creates a solid base.

In addition, some manufacturers make snow shoes for their tripods to help distribute their load in soft ground.

Alternatively, it may be possible to find three large flat stones that you can move to your shooting location to give your tripod a stable platform.

Dedicated photographers could consider carrying their only alternative, three roof slates, perhaps or squares of carpet.


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  • Steve

    Re: #7 Weighting the Tripod. If I’m not lugging my camera bag around with me to use as a weight, I always take a plastic carrier bag with me. Filled with stones or small rocks, this is a really handy way to improvise a weight for your tripod.

  • That’s a great tip, thanks for sharing!

  • Steve Raynor

    I have 3 large jar lids in my bag that make superb mudfeet for the tripod. They are kept in a plastic carrier bag, so if I’m not near water to wash them, they go straight into the bag without the worry of muck and sand getting everywhere.