How to not give up with a Tripod

Richard & Chris

In Lincoln we often have students walking round the city setting up cameras on tripods, usually video but sometimes still.

Watching people use a tripod and seeing how they struggle you quickly realise why so many photographers give up on tripods.  I felt that way for a while myself until I found the secret.

The excuse to not use one is generally that there too big and heavy to cart around, but as you watch people struggle you quickly realise how difficult and frustrating they are to use and it’s this that generally stops people from carrying them.
Richard in Hartsholme Park
Having been in that position I can tell you that the biggest issue is the tripod head and its two factors that cause the issues.

  1. The attachment of the camera to head.
    If just a screw, either direct or a screwed in, it comes loose when you try to position the camera or if one of the cheaper quick release systems the quick release plate comes loose on the camera as you work. This makes it impossible to frame the shot as you like. Buy an Arca Swiss type plate dedicated to you camera body.  The good ones fit tight and do not slip.
  2. The tripod head.
    If it came free with the tripod it’s generally junk. Try different heads. Personally I love ball heads but hate pan and tilt video heads. Find one you like and get it in an Arca Swiss fitting.

This way using the tripod becomes a joy and if using it is fun and your getting shots you otherwise could not get, then the carrying it somehow becomes far less of a chore.

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