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Capture footage using a steady tripod

A tripod is an essential tool for any photographer or videographer, helping you capture content without camera shake and completely hands-free.

What is a tripod and how to use one?

A tripod is a camera stand or holder that has three legs positioned in a triangular shape on a flat surface. A camera, or even a smartphone, connects to the top of the tripod using a clasp or hot shoe screw. You can usually move the tripod around, including side to side and up and down to get it to the optimum position for filming or taking still photos.

Most tripods are extendable with legs that can be pulled out to position the camera closer or further from the ground or flat surface on which it’s placed. Some are made from flexible material so they can wrap around a pole or tree branch, for example, for conveniently capturing footage just about anywhere.

You’ll find camera tripods, phone tripods, mini tripods, and even travel tripods, including ones that can collapse to turn into monopods or selfie sticks as well.

Why would you buy a tripod?

A camera tripod or phone tripod helps not only improve your footage by providing steady recording without any camera shake, it also means you don’t need to have someone hold the camera when recording a long video or snapping a variety of photos.

Tripods make it easy to record videos or photos when you’re on your own, especially useful if you’re going to be the subject. Set one up to record on a timer, or tap the record button, sit or stand in place, then edit the footage once done. Some tripods come with a Bluetooth remote control for triggering the shutter from afar.

Camera tripods and phone tripods, including tripods for iPhones, are typically lightweight and fold up compact so they’re easy to bring with you. Professional photographers might use full-sized tripods, but a standard, adjustable and compact tripod will suit most people.

What to look for in a tripod

When looking for the best tripod for iPhones, another phone tripod, or a camera tripod, make sure it will accommodate your device. With large-screened phones, check the maximum width and height the expandable clamp can accommodate. If the tripod uses a hot shoe for a DSLR camera, verify that the weight capacity can support your camera and desired lens.

For travel with a tripod, look for something that is compact, lightweight, and comes with a carrying case. It’s a bonus if it converts to a monopod for taking impromptu selfies or shooting point-of-view videos.

Finally, check how far the tripod extends and collapses to ensure the height range will suit the type of content you want to record. If you do a lot of outdoor shooting, consider a flexible tripod that can easily mount to other surfaces beyond just flat ones.