Friday, February 19, 2010

There are lots of reasons why it's important to use a tripod

As you read through the How To Guides on our sites you will notice that we continually stress the importance of using a tripod for product photography. The number one reason to use a tripod is that it will help you get sharper images. It doesn't do you any good to have the camera's lens focused correctly, if the camera is moving when you press the shutter. Even the slightest amount of camera movement will make for a blurry image. Therefore it is critical that you have your camera mounted on a sturdy tripod when taking product shots. (A tiny tabletop tripod or a cheap department-store tripod might be slightly better than no tripod; but they are not likely to give you a really sharp image. It is important that your tripod is sturdy).

There are also other benefits to using a tripod that go beyond just helping to get a sharper image.

- Using a tripod forces you to slow down a bit and spend a little more time composing your image. It is amazing how simply placing the camera on a tripod will cause you to evaluate the scene more closely than if you were just pointing and shooting. When the camera is on a tripod you are likely to give more thought to the angle of the camera, the angle of the subject, what the background looks like, and so forth. All of those elements will contribute to a better final image.

- Using a tripod gives you the opportunity to take several shots from the exact same location. This can be especially useful if you will later use image editing software to composite (combine) several shots. When there is a wide range of tones from light to dark in a scene it can be very useful to shoot the subject twice using different exposures. You can then composite the light areas of one shot with the darker areas of another shot of the same subject. If the camera has not moved between shots, the task is much easier. Compositing images from handheld shots are much more difficult.

- There are still more reasons to use a tripod, it makes it easier to use a remote shutter release, allows you to change the position of the subject without moving the camera, it allows you to shoot subsequent shots of different subjects from an identical camera angle, and so forth. So for whatever reason you decide is important, there are lots of benefits to taking product shots with a good sturdy tripod. The only real downside is that you need to acquire a good tripod and you need to expend just a little more effort to actually use it. But once you have it and see the improvements in your images, you will find the effort well worth while.

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