I do not use a tripod for every single shot but I always bring it along with me. A tripod tends to take up more room then the rest of my gear, but it is worth its advantages! If you do not have a tripod yet, I hope my advantages to having one persuade you to purchase one!
By using a tripod, you can eliminate any camera shake that may occur if you are shooting handheld. Imagine a beautiful mountain scene as the sun sets in the distance, just to notice your photo has a slight blur to it when you upload it to Lightroom! Not an ideal situation when it comes to taking landscape photos. By taking the extra time to set up a tripod, it will add the stability you need for the shot, especially in low light situations. An example of this would be a sunrise & sunset where light is limited but you still want your f-stop around f/8-f/11to not lose your depth of field. By having your camera on the tripod, it allows you to use a slower shutter speed and a wider range of aperture, which also means a lower ISO because the stability of your tripod allows you to leave your shutter open longer.
Another example of when a tripod is necessary is during long exposures such as night photography or using a Neutral Density Filter (often used to capture waterfalls, clouds, or other blurred motions). I mention in my Night Photography tips about taking advantage of a delayed shutter through your cameras settings, my Canon allows for a two second delay, or by using a remote, you can ensure you are not getting any camera shake by pressing the shutter button.
My favorite advantage about using my tripod for my landscapes is using the Live View option on my DSLR’s LCD screen. By enabling the live view mode on a tripod, most cameras will then allow you to focus within a movable rectangle. On my specific camera it will light up green when the rectangle is in in focus. Live Mode is a huge benefit if your tripod is set up low or very high to the ground, since you can literally see what your lens is. I also like using live view to check my composition. Many cameras also allow you to add a grid (3x3 for example) to your live mode under settings. I found this to be extremely helpful when I first started out and not as comfortable with the rule of thirds and balancing my composition.
Last but not least, a good tripod will allow you to move your camera to different levels, high, and low; along with easily being able to tilt your camera left & right to adjust. I look at a tripod as an investment in my equipment, just like I would a new lens or a camera body. Save for a well-known brand compared to buying the cheapest available. Cheaper tripods tend to be wobbly and do not hold the weight of DSLR’s well. The last thing you want is your camera toppling over because of it! Make sure your tripod selection can support the weight of your camera and lens choice. My large telephoto lens weighs a lot more then my prime lenses!
Happy shooting and never stop exploring!
I am a mother to two wonderful boys, a wife to my amazing husband, and lover all animals including our two dogs! I was the little girl who wanted a camera for Christmas! I have always had a love for all things photography, but it was shortly after my oldest was born I bought my first DSLR camera. Flash forward seven years, a few upgrades in my gear, and THOUSANDS of pictures later I am now sharing my love for photography through my landscape and outdoor sessions. I specialize in Landscapes, Outdoor Family, Couple, Maternity, and Senior sessions in Interior Alaska. I look forward to capturing your memories forever!