Do You Need a Tripod for Macro Photography?

Joe Farace Photography

Guest Post by Joe Farace

Yes but you need it for everything else too!

Joe Farace Photography

In this time of high-tech image stabilized and vibration reduction lenses as well as anti-shake capabilities built into cameras from Sony, Olympus, and Pentax, you might wonder if you even need a tripod? I think so and let me tell you why:

When you want to work at the smallest possible aperture to increase depth-of-field, especially for those macro shots, you’ll need a tripod to hold the camera stead for those resulting long shutter speeds.

For portraits a tripod can be a three-legged assistant that holds your camera while you walk up to talk with a portrait subject and touch up their pose. While making portraits, some photographers prefer to have the camera on a tripod so the subject can look at them instead of seeing a face that’s blocked by a camera.

A tripod is important for maintaining precise registration for “before and after shots,” construction progress photographs, and panoramic images, no matter if they’re virtual reality or conventional. Infrared photography, whether film or digital, often requires filters that are seemingly opaque and have filter factors approaching infinity and produce long shutter speeds that even the best anti-shake or image stabilization technologies can’t handle.

But most importantly, a tripod slows you down and forces you to concentrate on the photograph’s composition, making sure you take the time to look in the image in the viewfinder’s four corners to see any unwanted surprises lurk there.  A tripod enforces a deliberate approach to making photographs rather than spraying images rapid fire, it makes you take the time to think and that is the most important aspect of making any photograph.

Tripods come in many sizes from tiny tabletop models to heavy-duty camera stands for studio use. Because of the availability of so many types, sizes, construction materials, styles, and even colors, there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution and, like eating potato chips, you can’t have just one. That’s why most of us end up with a collection of camera supports with different tripods used for different kind of tasks.

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