The use of a tripod is crucial for good photography. A tripod helps you stabilize your camera and avoid blurry images, especially when you shoot at a slow shutter speed and in low light. But what if you forget your tripod, or you lose it? Let’s be honest, as a professional photographer you probably won’t forget your tripod when you prepare to leave for your photography assignment, the latter is more likely to happen. So, if you’ve been wondering if you can take pictures without a tripod, the answer is yes.
Photography is an art. It is certainly possible to take stunning photos without the use of a tripod. We’re not saying it will be easy. After all, a tripod not only adds stability to your camera but makes your work simpler. There are some creative ways to make use of your camera, and some make-shift tripods that can help you find ease. Here are some tips, tricks, and ideas you can make use of if you do not have access to a tripod:
Pay attention to your camera’s shutter speed
When it comes to shooting without a tripod, one of the first things to keep in mind is that you need to be quick. See, a tripod can stabilize your camera, as we just mentioned above, which makes it possible to play with shutter speed. A slow shutter speed setting in your camera allows you to take sharper photos. However, without a tripod, you’re more likely to have blurry images.
When you shoot without a tripod, there’s no way to make sure that you will not shake or move. Even the slightest shake will ruin your photo. So, instead of relying on slow shutter speed settings for your camera, don’t go any lower than 1/30 for your shutter speed, if you have a good spot, where you know your body won’t shake when you’re taking the photo. In any other situation set the shutter speed to 1/60.
When you shoot without a tripod, always remember that for sharper photos, you will need to be quick. The longer your camera takes to capture the photo, the more the chances of your body moving, even a millimeter, to ruin how your photo turns out. Also, the quality of your photos in quick shutter speed will depend on the quality of your camera, lenses, and in-built image stabilization.
Take a knee!
After the first point in mind, it may be obvious that you will need a way to stabilize your camera and yourself when you shoot a subject. So before we talk about other ways to steady the camera without a tripod, let’s talk about the easiest one! Practice dropping to one knee and using the propped knee as a stabilizer for your photoshoot. Although this is not as perfect as a tripod, it will give you more room to tinker with your settings.
Use your environment
As a photographer, you should be used to becoming a part of your environment. This is true, especially for the times you don’t have a tripod. Instead of working on keeping your body from shaking, use a place in your surroundings to lean your camera against. This will give you a solid way to keep your camera steady. Before you use this tip to shoot without a tripod, remember to check that your camera is secure. Make it a habit to check the area where you prop your camera on. If you don’t, the camera may topple over and get damaged. You can make use of heavy rocks as a surface or you can make use of different things in your environment to support your camera. Additionally, you can even use your camera bag to add stable support.
Don’t be afraid to strike a pose
Although we have pretty much discussed the different ways to steady a camera without a tripod, there are a few more things to keep in mind before we move on to the technical aspects of shooting photos and videos without a tripod. When you’re looking for an alternative to shooting photos or videos with a tripod, pretty much anything can work to your advantage. That is if you put your mind to it. Here’s what you can do:
Consider laying on the ground. This will not only give you a different angle and add a creative touch to your photos and videos but will also give you ample stability.
Use a stack of books, if you can. If you’re shooting photos and videos indoors, and have a pile of books available, you can use that to your advantage. Remember to secure the camera.
Sometimes the best way to stabilize the camera is with the help of camera straps. You can wrap the camera strap around your arms and secure it. Furthermore, if you’re set on shooting at slow shutter speed settings, wrapping a camera strap will be beneficial.
Don’t be afraid to lean on objects. Similar to using your knee as a stabilizing element, leaning on walls, trees, and anything else you find in your environment will be a great support for you.
Crank up the ISO
A great way to shoot sharper videos and photos is to make use of varying ISO for your assignment. If you want your photos and videos to be sharp, just set your camera’s ISO to a higher number. This will give you better shots. However, a thing to remember here is that your ISO settings can lead to grainy pictures, especially if you have an old camera. Some practice with your settings will help you find the sweet spot. Of course, a newer model will not lead to these challenges. But it is not impossible to have great shots with an old camera without a tripod with a high ISO.
Begin practicing by cranking the ISO to the highest option you have. Then slowly make your way down, this will help you understand the difference between the photos and videos. Additionally, remember that noise in your photo is not necessarily a bad thing. Noise can be used as a creative expression. However, for that, you will still need to understand the balance between noise and your photo or video. Practice will help figure it out.
A wide aperture is your friend in low light
So far, most of the ideas don’t talk about a low-light environment. What happens when you don’t have a tripod and you need to shoot a video or click some photos in low light? Well, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, work on your camera settings. Apart from finding a stable place to rest your camera, use a wider aperture. When you don’t have a tripod, the best way to make sure you give your best is to use the tools you have at your disposal. So, instead of worrying about the stability and angles, set your camera to a high aperture. This will help you get a blurry background and a sharp focus on your subject. Obviously, like other aspects of videography and photography, practicing will help you understand your sweet spot.
Shoot with wide-angle
When you don’t have your tripod one of the easiest ways to get sharp photos and videos is to shoot with wider angles. Wider angles are especially good for video or photo shoots because it captures all the elements. Furthermore, this works well for low-light situations. However, remember that this may not always work. Sometimes, some shots need longer focal lengths. If that’s the case, we have another tip that helps you take sharp shots without a tripod.
Don’t be afraid to use multiple frames
It is true shooting without a tripod is difficult. But shooting in multiple frames in the same location, with the same focus is a great way to take perfect photos! There’s nothing worse than taking a photo you love, only to find out that it is not as perfect as you thought it would be when you took it. So, take multiple shots of the same subject, and sort through them when you get home. Even if you feel you have the perfect shot, simply take more shots. You never know which one is the best because the LCD screens of your camera don’t do justice to photos.
Shooting videos without a tripod: Useful Tips
Although most of the tips above have been focused simply on photos, let’s take a moment and discuss what you can do if you want to take videos without a tripod. First of all, the challenge you’ll face when it comes to filming without a tripod is the same as photographing without one. The challenge would be to stabilize your camera.
The tips we mentioned above, about the settings and additional stabilizing tips, will do wonders for your videos as well. Apart from that, remember to take note of your surroundings, you never know if you’d find a better angle and better stability for your shots!
Don’t have your tripod? Here are two tips that work without fail!
Carry an extra light source: When you pack your equipment, always keep an extra light source handy. This will help you always shoot sharper photos and videos, with or without tripods. An extra light source will help you control lightning, and help you improve your photos, regardless of the time of the day.
Carry a mobile tripod: A mobile tripod, such as a gorilla tripod, will help you keep yourself safe even if you don’t have your tripod. Mobile tripods can easily fit into the camera bags, which will ensure that you have them on you at all times. Furthermore, mobile tripods can be small and folded.
Apart from this, we find gorilla tripods a better option for your mobile tripod needs. These types of tripods are extremely flexible and allow you to set them wherever you want to set them. For example, you can use the legs of the tripod and secure the tripod legs on a fence or on a ledge, to get a creative angle! A gorilla tripod can help you secure the camera while making sure that you have the angle right, even if you’re holding the tripod.
To summarize, let’s talk about something we have not been discussing some of the most common things. So, let’s take a moment to discuss those. Firstly, always remember to relax when you’re trying to improvise your angles without a tripod. Secondly, remember to look around, and pay attention to details. This will not only help you to understand where you can set your camera but also will help you get ideas for your assignment. For videos and photos, alike, you need to keep practicing. Practice with different lenses, lighting, shutter speed, focal lengths, and aperture. Also, use the alternative tripod ideas, or the mobile tripod you intend to use, whenever you can.
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