Tripod or No Tripod?

2 months ago I finally bought a tripod, something I have been debating for a while because I couldn’t help but think, will it really make that much of  a difference? My camera has got a pretty good stabiliser and although sometimes it takes a few tries to get a sharp, up-close shot I’ve usually managed. The thing that made me decide to buy a tripod was for long exposure shots, but I thought it would be interesting to do a little test and compare the difference between a hand-held macro shot and one taken with a tripod. For accurate representations none of these pictures have been edited, they’re straight from the camera, and they were saved in JPEG format to the SD Card. All pictures were taken at Ness Botanical Gardens, Cheshire, as flowers make a great macro photography with all the tiny details in the petals and flower centre. Here’s the results:

First of all, an up close shot: With this one I think you can clearly see there is far more detail and sharpness to the centre of the flower from using a tripod.

Above: Hand Held – Below: Tripod


Secondly, a long range zoomed shot:

example 1
Above: Hand Held – Below: Tripod

example 2

This one did have a big difference. When you zoom into an area that’s far away the shake becomes increased, even with a quick shutter speed I couldn’t achieve the clarity I needed. Using the tripod did help to zoom into the other side of the lake and still get a sharp shot.

Thirdly, a water shot:

Left: Hand Held – Right: Tripod

Although the tripod allowed for a longer exposure I don’t feel it had that much impact on the surrounding areas sharpness.

Finally, a mid range shot:



Left: Hand Held – Right: Tripod


Overall, I think that as long as you’ve got a decent shake stabiliser on your camera you do not need a tripod to do macro photography. If you’re going to do macro photography hand held, it is really important to steady your own body, keep the camera close to you and lock your arms. If squatting down to take the picture is causing me to move too much I’ll just sit on the ground, there’s always a way around it. On the other hand, I am really glad I invested in a tripod to allow me to use it for zooming in on far away objects and for long exposure. To conclude, when you read photography articles that are always talking about the essential need for a tripod don’t feel that you need one to progress your photographic skills. Your photos can be beautiful and sharp without the use of a tripod, but I do feel when it comes to flower photography having a tripod has improved the clarity of my photographs.

If you are interested in getting a tripod, but want to start off with a multi-purpose one that doesn’t cost very much, I completely recommend Amazon Basics Tripods. I bought my tripod for £13.99, it comes with a bag to carry it in and collapses to 42cm and yet still extends to 127cm/50″ and only weighs 1 pound. It has a 3-way head and can be set to portrait or landscape.  I did do a lot of looking before I decided on this one and although it probably would stand still in heavy rain and wind, it worked perfectly for me to learn the advantages of tripods and develop my long exposure skill set.

Hope this was of interest for those of you who, like me, can’t decide whether to invest in a tripod for your photography.

Best Wishes,

Amy Williams-Weeks (AWW)





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