Tripods are a simple, but very helpful tool in photography.
The most important reason one uses a tripod is to retain image quality with a long shutter speed. Many settings contribute to image quality; a low ISO, for example. But main contributor to quality is the stability of the camera. If you are taking a picture that requires a long shutter speed, such as 1/20, and you’re holding the camera, the picture will most likely have a slight camera shake. Camera shake will make the entire picture blurry, with no point in focus. This isn’t your fault- people are unable to stand perfectly still. With higher shutter speeds, you won’t be able to notice the camera shake. Just be careful as your shutter is open longer- once the shutter speed drops to around 1/40 or lower, your images will begin to show shake.
But with a tripod, you can prevent this.
A few tips when setting up a tripod: First, make sure the tripod is properly leveled! You may be in areas where the ground is uneven. To correct this, some of the tripod’s legs may be longer than others. Also, make sure the tripod is level and stable before you attach your camera to it. You can check this by looking at the bubble level found near the center of the tripod.
If the bubble isn’t in the center of the ring, then your tripod isn’t level yet. Always check this, as if the tripod is unbalance, it could fall over and potentially break itself and whatever gear is latched to it. Last tip: if conditions allow, have one of the tripod’s legs point straight ahead. With one leg facing ahead, the other two legs are at the sides, meaning you are less likely to trip over the tripod as you go to take pictures or move around the tripod. For more information about tripods, go here.