Use a Tripod

After you finish nerding out to this 300 step Rube Goldberg machine, watch it one more time.

See the shake? See how it makes you crazy because it’s out of focus **and** shaking? When you create video or photos, do you have similiar feelings when viewing your creations? Your old pal db have a keen fix for you. Easy and can be relatively inexpensive and will improve everything that you do with a camera.

Use a tripod. Here is a good one to start with. It’s less than $30 and will work with any camera. If you need this for your iPhone, check out the Glif to give it a place to connect to a tripod. I swear by mine and think you will do.

Sure, we all want to feel and try to look like a professional photographer, dancing around the room snapping away as if our subject was a top super model and we are making mad bank from our photos. Truth be told, we aren’t professional photographers (yet), aren’t shooting super models with $10k worth of gear. We are taking pictures and videos of our kids, food and ourselves riding bikes.

When I take photos and video, I really like them to be clear, in focus and as shake free as possible. That’s why I use a tripod. Also, when shooting with a tripod, you will find that those shots in rooms that have less than ideal light will come out nicer, no matter what camera you are shooting with. No need to get into the nerdery of why, just know that a tripod makes things better.

Stop taking crappy video and photos. Motion blur is only cool when you are photographing F1 cars, not when you are trying to snap the kids and Grandma in front of the Christmas tree. Get a tripod and use it.

For those times when you don’t have a tripod handy, here are some of my favorite tricks to keep the shots steady.

  • Find a solid flat surface and use the camera timer
  • Hold the camera very tight while leaning up against a wall
  • Keep your elbows in
  • Get string and a eyehook. Yes, this works
  • Try a monopod

Doesn’t matter if you are using an old point and shoot or a brand new fancy DSLR, a tripod will make your photos better.

By Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.

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