Technique: Using a TripodI've mentioned the technique of using a monopod, and so thought I should say something for its three-legged cousin, the tripod.
First, let's look at what you need in a tripod. Cheap ones are attractive because they're, well, so cheap. But don't skimp here. Better tripods will cost more but be more rigid, have smoother controls, and so forth. You can feel the difference when you use one.
If you're getting a good tripod, realize that you'll have to buy the head separately. I'd suggest at least looking at a ball head. You can smoothly move it in any direction and then tighten it in place, versus a pan-and-tilt head, where you monkey with three separate controls to move the camera forward and back, side to side, and around in a circle.
Look for a tripod with a bubble level on it. Although you can go for a rakish angle as a visual statement, you really do want to be able to take a level picture. If the tripod is level, then you don't have to fight that when trying to get the camera level.
To use the tripod, do the following:
- Spread the legs apart.
- Hold the tripod head up close to where you want it to be and extend the legs either as far as they can go or until the hit the ground. You want to rely on the legs as much as possible for height, with the center column for final adjustments.
- Adjust the leg heights until the tripod head is level.
- Take the quick release plate from the tripod head and screw it into the camera. Now connect the camera to the tripod head.
- Make final adjustments with the center column to get the final height. Take your picture.