The stability we can achieve with our tripod is only in part thanks to its build quality. Correct positioning of the tripod allows us to obtain sharper images and prevents our equipment from accidental drop.
When positioning the tripod we must be careful to level the legs. In this way the center of gravity is located on the central column. Thus the weight of our equipment pushes directly from the center to the ground. When using the central column horizontally, the center of gravity moves aside and the tripod tends to tip over.
When positioning our tripods we should use the spirit level on the base of the tripod and not the one on the head. We extend the legs until the desired height starting with the sections located at the top of the tripod, which due to their thickness offer greater stability. Not all the legs have to extend to the same length. If the terrain is uneven, some will be more extended than others. The important thing is that the top is levelled. The last section that we extend is the central column, since it is the least stable part.
We made an exception when positioning it in water or mud. In this case we extend the leg sections located at the ends enough not to dirty the closing mechanisms.
When positioning the camera on the tripod, we will try to align the lens with one of its legs. This leg will withstand the force in that direction caused by the weight of the lens. When using heavy teles, studio lights or we have extended the tripod column horizontally, we must pay special attention to this step. We will anchor the tripod to the ground using sandbags, weights or hanging our bag to the column.
We can use an L-plate to attach our camera to the head. This way we don’t shift the center of gravity when shooting vertically. Instead we will unlock the camera and rotate it on the head.
Other techniques to improve stability
If we need more stability we can use a remote shutter release and the mirror lock / trigger delay option of our camera. You can find these functions in your camera user manual.
By following these simple steps we can achieve better focusing in our photographs, allowing us to continue taking photographs in any situation.