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Tips & Tricks

Basic Tripod Tips & Tricks For Beginner Photographers | Mark Wallace

By Hanssie on October 28th 2015

I have a confession to make. I didn’t own a tripod for the first five years I was in the photography business. I only own a tripod now because someone gave me one to use, and it only recently made it out of the box. Now, I’m not opposed to tripods, I just am lazy and hate setting things up and carrying things. Case in point, a few weeks ago, I went hiking in the rain in Yosemite. Carrying a camera, a backpack, snacks, and jackets up a 5 mile steep, rocky terrain while it rained off and on was plenty; adding a tripod to that load would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. (Signs that someone is NOT a landscape photographer).


So, you could say that I am a tripod newbie. I know the basics of how to use one and I know which ones are the best ones, but the little nuances and tricks with using one is what I don’t know. Adorama released a video featuring world traveler, Mark Wallace, who shares with us some basic tips on using a tripod. In the 6-minute video, Mark talks about the differences between a twist lock and the “normal locking mechanisms” and which he prefers, tricks to setting up a tripod quickly and easily, “obvious” ways to save time (they weren’t obvious to me!) while using a tripod, and more.


This 6-minute video is really helpful to beginner photographers or beginner tripod-ers. Some may be “obvious” to you, but I had a few light bulb moments. If you want some more tripod tips or to read some of our tripod reviews, check out some of our previous articles here and watch the video below.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joe Neubauer

    The tip about extending the lower sections first makes sense if there is mud, salt water etc, but you will generally get more stability from a tripod by extending the largest diameter tubes first and adjusting height and level using the smaller diameter tubes first (opposite of what he suggested).

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    Great tips. I was given one tip from a news photographer. Now, I haven’t used a ball mount head, that seems more like using a computer joystick to position the camera. My first tripod had the pan-tilt head with handles to make the changes. I asked a Florida newspaper about Space Shuttle photography tips and gave a list of my gear.
    Their photographer suggested mounting my camera “backwards” on the tripod so that the tilt control was under the lens. That way, tilting the camera upward wouldn’t be impeded by any limitations of the pan-tilt head. That worked great!
    I later replaced that tripod that limited the upward tilt angle even more. I remembered about that tip when I tried to do moon photography and I switched the mounting of my camera where the tilt control was under the lens and I got my shot.

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  3. Brad Harberts

    Even though I have used a tripod, these tips will be very applicable in the future. Thank you for the tips Mark

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  4. Kenny Van

    Some good tips there. Thanks Mark.

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