When And Why You Shouldn’t Use a Tripod

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  By Jennifer Berube
When And Why You Shouldn’t Use a Tripod www.sleeklens.com

The tripod can be your best friend when you are out shooting. It helps keep things stable, which is vital if you are doing nighttime or sports photography. It will get rid of the blur, and it will just make things easier for you because of that stability. At the same time, it can actually be a hindrance. First you have to carry it around, and you have to take extra steps to get photos when you have it. It is important that you know when to use a tripod and when not to, and what are the pros and cons of a tripod.

There is definitely a huge range when it comes to tripod quality and there are tripods for every need. From the cheapest tripod to the most expensive, they are going to do their job and help you when you need it. Knowing when not to use them is important because for something like street photography it won’t really help you. When you want on the spot photography, the tripod is not something that is going to help. If you are looking at getting long-term exposures or you are waiting for a photo, then the tripod is great.

So, let’s dive in and learn what a tripod can do for you, and what it can’t do for you.

The Positives

There are many positives to using a tripod, depending on the types of photos you are going to get. These advantages are:


The tripod gives you one thing more than any other and it is stability. The three legs make sure your camera is stable, and they will ensure there is no camera shake. Camera shake can cause your photo to be completely ruined and the longer you hold a camera, the more it is going to shake. When shooting landscapes, say, you need to have a stable camera to get clear, dramatic shots that capture distant settings and changing skies.

Long exposures

When you have a long exposure photo idea, stability is very important. If you move, even slightly, it will cause the entire photo to be ruined. A tripod will allow for the perfect long exposure and it will guarantee that you will have no movement when you are shooting.


Want to get a photo from up high, or from down low, without having to contort yourself? That’s where a tripod is going to come in handy. It will get those extra levels for you. It will allow for some really great photos from some really great angles. For dynamic photos, angles really are a great way to make ordinary things look amazing.


If you are shooting videos, you are going to need to have a high quality, sturdy tripod. The smallest amount of shake can make your video look poor, unless you are going for that gritty look like you would in a documentary maybe. If you are doing time-lapses, you will also want a tripod because the smallest movement can mess up the entire time-lapse video.

The Negatives

As with anything, there are drawbacks to using a tripod. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a tripod, but understanding these negatives can keep you from wasting time with extra equipment when you don’t need it.

Slows things down

There’s no way around it, having a tripod is going to slow you down. You have to set up the tripod before you get the shot and that may cause you to lose that spur of the moment pictures.

Cheap tripods

The cheapest tripods are not always the best to buy because they may wobble, and they may not have a level for you to see that everything is even. They also break easily and can result in you just spending more money for a better one down the road.

Limited places

Carrying a camera around is one thing, and most people don’t care about that, but if you are photographing a crowded place, or in a tourist attraction with a lot of people, the tripod may get in the way. People will bump into it and it will become a hassle. Some places don’t even allow tripods because of the tripping hazard that they create.


The tripod is a clumsy contraption. You have to carry it around, it may result in you accidentally hitting people, and it is just going to be in the way. The best thing to do is to only bring a tripod with you when you know you are going to use it. Otherwise, forget about the tripod and just get pictures with your camera and keep things simple.

The tripod is a great tool for the photographer, especially in a studio setting, but you don’t want to use one if you don’t need to. Choose to use one sparingly, and only when you know that it is going to help you. Don’t complicate things for yourself any more than you need to by having a tripod you don’t need.

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Before I became Editor-in-Chief of PHLEARN Magazine, I spent over five years specializing in Photography Writing and contributed articles regularly to sites like PictureCorrect, Sleeklens, and PhotoWorkout. Photography has always been a huge passion of mine; I may not be professionally trained in the art, but the knowledge and experience I have gained writing about photography techniques, interviewing some of the biggest and most inspiring photographers out there, and covering industry events has been invaluable!

Comments (1)

  1. Michael Heyraud Social Verified Buyer

    thanks, for this nice article.
    For me, my tripod are as important as my DSLR. I have 2 Samsung DSLR and I shoot with Canon FD and other vintage lenses. So as there are not stabilized I must shoot on high speed and that is not always possible.