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Tips & Tricks

6 Artistic Photo Effects Using Tripods

By Joseph Cha on August 28th 2015

Getting The Most Out of Your Tripod

Your tripod can be used for more than just long exposure photography and groupies (selfies for groups!). In this video, we have six artistic photo effects that you can achieve with a tripod! If you need a tripod recommendation, we love using MeFoto. It’s the perfect combination of price, quality, portability, and durability. You can check out our full review of MeFoto tripods here.

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Tip 1: Use a Tripod for Composites

Using a tripod for composites is the easiest way to perfectly light your subject and capture the environment they’re in. Check out our tutorial for simple composites here!

  1. Take one photo including the light source
  2. Take one photo without the light source
  3. Layer the images in Photoshop
  4. Mask out the light source in Photoshop

Mask photo Untitled-2_zps8b0f33a0.gif

Tip 2: Use a Tripod with Sparklers

Do you want to literally paint fire into your photos? Use a tripod and some sparklers to become a pyro-tographer!

[Recommended Reading: The Best Tripods According to SLR Lounge]

  1. Slow down your shutter speed to 20-30 seconds
  2. Have your subject hold very still
  3. Light sparklers and paint the scene
  4. Use rear curtain sync if using flash


Tip 3: Use a Tripod to Capture Motion

Use a tripod to slow down your shutter and capture the motion in your scene! This artistic effect works especially well with water.


Tip 4: Use a Tripod for Smooth “Whip Pans”

This is a great technique if you want to wow your clients with some cool images.

  1. Slow shutter speed to 0.5-1 seconds
  2. Loosen tripod head
  3. Press shutter button then quickly pan in one direction
  4. Use rear curtain sync to freeze subject


Tip 5: Use a Tripod to Capture the Night Sky

A sky full of stars is one of the most beautiful sights on Earth, so be sure to use a tripod to capture the celestial wonders.


Tip 6: Use a Tripod for HDRs (High Dynamic Range)

Using a tripod to create an HDR is a cool technique that’ll show all the details in the Shadows and Highlights of your image.

  1. Set your camera to capture multiple exposures (bracketing)
  2. Merge and process multiple images in Photoshop or HDR software


I hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to know any more cool tips or tricks, then let us know in the comments below!

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

I’m a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. When I don’t have a camera in my face I enjoy going to the movies and dissecting the story telling and visual aesthetics.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Marko Lovric

    nice tips!!

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    Great tips. I picked up some new techniques. I never heard of the “whip-pan” before. It would be fun to play with sparklers.
    I’ve used a tripod for the night sky and also photographing the International Space Station.

    7) Use a tripod for panoramas.
    I metered for the darkest area since I was shooting color negative film and switched my camera to manual.

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  3. Tom Blair

    Enjoyed this one!

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  5. Lynnet Perez

    Loved this article! Can’t wait to try the “whipping pan” one. Would love to see more tricks like this to practice! Thanks a lot!

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  6. Bob Harris

    Thank you!

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  7. Kevin Nguyen

    Pye, I just want to say I love you :). Happy Fri and thank you for sharing!!!

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  8. Michael Reinhardt

    “Use rear curtain sync to freeze subject” is this possible with OCF?

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  9. robert s

    nice pictures.

    finally someone who doesnt do tacky disgusting over-exaggerated HDR.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      I think most people don’t do tacky over disgusting HDR now. It’s just that most people don’t notice it now (the picture above is one of the most “HDR” looking I’ve seen in a while).

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