This is another one of those simple things that can improve a photo dramatically.
A tripod provides a secure mounting solution for your camera, subject to you positioning it right. It stops camera shake and helps get a crisp image.
Like anything tripods range in value from the cheap to the ridiculously expensive. Cheap serves a purpose but they are often flimsy and do not have the flexibility you need so it can be worth investing in a half decent one to get the best of both worlds.
There are various heads on the tripods available on the market, all of which serve a purpose, but a ball joint head will give the greatest flexibility. It allows for complete manipulation and means the camera is not restricted to certain angles like they are on pan and tilt tripods. In all honesty for most pan and tilt will be enough, the ball just gives flexibility.
Cheap alternatives include using a beanbag, a wall or another flat surface, but these are only good in certain situations, sometimes a tripod is just better.
On uneven surfaces a tripod can allow a stable setup thanks to the adjustable legs:
Now a standalone camera will have a universal ability to connect to a tripod (a recessed screw hole on the base of the camera) but smartphones do not. So tripods become a little more difficult for smartphones but there are solutions.
The best is to invest in a cheap tripod for smartphones, like the one below. They can be difficult to get hold of but they do exist. These tripods are relatively cheap and the do essentially what a full size tripod does. They have a ball joint head for flexibility. The holder itself accepts various sizes of smartphones and the legs are fully adjustable and extendable.
The good thing is though, once you have the universal holder, you can connect it to any normal tripod, thanks to it having the appropriate screw hole on the bottom of the holder.
It attaches to a tripod like so.
For more creative photography you can’t go wrong in investing in a gorillapod. It is a tripod like no other. It will fix to things that you wouldnt have thought possible thanks to a series of legs made up of independent flexible joints.
They come in a variety of sizes to handle cameras of different weights. Using the holder from the smartphone tripod you can connect it to the Gorillapod and take photos from position and angles that you would never expect.
So you have got your camera set up, you are ready to take the shot but what could make it more perfect…use the camera’s self timer if you have one. It is unlikely on a tripod, but if you’re afraid of camera shake when pressing the camera button then by using the self timer, providing the subject does not move, you can be sure the camera will remain perfectly still as you are not touching the camera upon taking the photo.
On a budget or can’t use a tripod? If this applies to you, then attach a lanyard to your phone if it has the capability then place the end (not attached to the phone) of the lanyard just under your elbow and around the outside of your wrist. This will give extra stability when holding the camera and help get a sharper shot.