Long Exposure Photography Choices: Tripod

I’ve talked about color and water with long exposure photography, but today I want to talk about tripods.

There are many types of tripods out there, including heights, mounts and materials.

Tripods typically come in three options:

  • Carbon Fiber
  • Aluminum
  • Steel (harder to find and better for studio work)

Of course, I listed those from lightest to heaviest. Although the tripod screw on the bottom of cameras are universal, tripod manufacturers uses a variety of mounting styles. Manfrotto has their own quick release mount, Benro and Gitzo have their own quick release style but also offer another option. There is a mount system that is more universal than the rest, which is called Arca Swiss style. Benro, 3 Legged Thing (affiliate), Gitzo and Really Right Stuff also use the Arca Swiss style.

I once used Manfrotto tripods until I was able to afford the Really Right Stuff system. They are my tripod company of choice, with Benro being another favorite (and they also sponsor my long exposure photography workshop).

The key to a tripod for your photography is a mix of need and personal preference. I am 5’9″, so I decided to purchase a tripod that is taller than I am, but with the size and weight that can be easily transported when traveling.

I like my legs sturdy
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In the photograph above, you can see my tripod, with only the bottom leg poles extended. However, instead of extending the top/thickest poles, I decides to use the center post for the minor added height. Either way works, but if your tripod is too light or not strong enough, then wind can cause shake when using a center post.

To help add weight and reduce shake, I usually hang a camera bag from the hook underneath the center column. In the photo above, I am hanging my Think Tank Photo (affiliate) backpack by one of the metal rings on the strap.

I originally posted this photograph on Google Plus with the following description:

You may have noticed that Think Tank Photo is a sponsor for my upcoming long exposure photography workshop.

You also might be curious why a camera bag manufacturer is a sponsor for a workshop on this topic. The answer can be made without words, but I will also add some words for the heck of it.

Think Tank Photo makes the best camera bags on the planet. They’re built extremely well, are designed for every day elements, by photographers for photographers and so many other reasons.

Now look at the photo and you will see why else Think Tank Photo was asked to sponsor the workshop

Another note worth mentioning, regarding tripods, are the feet. As you can see, my tripod has rubber feet at the bottom. Many manufacturers, including Really Right Stuff and Benro, offer different types of feet. For example, metal studs for dirt or sand and claws for hard rock or ice.

I hope you found that helpful. If you have any questions about picking a tripod for your long exposure photography, please comment below.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,



This Post Has One Comment

  1. I am looking at buying a tripod, I am studying full time so money is tight. But I am going to be doing a lot of landscape and long exposures so I need one that will avoid to much camera shake.

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