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The Advantages of a Tripod
Tip Provided by Dave
Using a tripod can help a lot when taking critical photographs. Every serious amateur photographer should own at least one, if not two of them. Using a tripod for close-ups of flowers, crafts, jewelry, etc. will allow you to use a slower shutter speed without worrying about moving the camera as you take the picture. That in turn gives you the opportunity to use a smaller lens opening for greater depth of field. Remember, greater depth of field requires the smallest lens opening you can manage and still have enough light getting into your camera for adequate exposure. Adding more light (via flash or other external lights), plus a slower shutter speed, will allow either you, or your camera's automatic circuitry, to pick a smaller lens opening. And depth of field, of course, is the amount of depth in an object that appears in sharp focus.
Finally, setting up your shot by having your camera mounted on a tripod gives you the chance to take a short "breather", after framing, focusing, and setting the exposure, but before actually clicking off the picture. Often, that's important to the photographer's own physical comfort. Tripods today are smaller, lighter and easier to set-up than ever before, so there's little excuse not to carry one along, at least when you feel that you might have the need for it. Tripods can also be used to hold lights, reflectors or backgrounds by simply adapting these other items to accept the 1/4-20 screw thread found every standard tripod.
Note: Even a monopod (a camera support with a single leg) is often better than having to totally hand-hold a camera, in order to get that once-in-lifetime shot. A monopod can also be used to get up and over the heads of a crowd, or just to achieve something of a "bird's eye" view of a scene. Use a fairly wide-angle lens seting, set the focus to roughly infinity, enable the camera's self timer, and raise the monopod up in the air as high as you can. An instant aerial shot! Try it, the results can be interesting.
I would also add to the tip, with tripods, that its often good, to use the timer feature or remote control with the camera. As sometimes, pressing the button can cause small shakes even with the tripod. So this removes this problem, I know this from bitter experience as some pictures I took in low light, with the tripod were slightly blurred. Since I started using the timer where possible it removes any camera movement.
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