A tripod is definitely valuable on a shoot. In any situation they will keep your camera more still than any other tool.
But what happens when your tripod is not handy? What if your tripod breaks or perhaps you just can't access it at the time a moment is over. Whatever the situation, there are alternative methods for holding your camera more stable than you could with just your hands.
1. Use a monopod
They're more portable, quicker to set up and they'll still keep your camera relatively still.
Lean a monopod against a wall or a tree for added stability. One leg is the monopod, the second leg is the wall, and the third leg is the friction between the wall and the camera body that will keep the camera from moving forward or backward.
2. Rope support
Tie the ends of an 6- to 11 -foot piece of rope together to form a loop. Hang the rope over your lens near where it mounts to the camera body, and let the rest of the rope fall. Then place each foot along the rope on the ground, so that you can pull up with the camera to make the rope tight. The upward tension you apply to the rope should be enough so you can shoot with some stability.
3. Put your camera down
Find a firm surface that's at the same level you want to shoot at like a rock, a table, the ground, a chair, etc. If the surface is dirty, put something on it to protect your camera, such as a jacket or a magazine. Now rest your camera on the surface and frame your shot. You'll almost always find that you need to adjust the height of the lens or the camera body; for that you can use almost anything, such as a wallet, or a small book.
4. Apply pressure
If you must hand-hold the camera, find something immobile that you can lean against. Again, a wall or a tree will do. Hold the camera against the wall to create some friction that will help the camera stay still.
5. Use your body
Position your body to give yourself a lower center of gravity, thereby making your stature more stable. When standing, spread your legs to shoulder-width and shoot sideways; your stance will give you a wider base.
An even better option, if you can work from a low angle, is to put one knee on the ground, put your elbow on the other knee with your arm sticking straight up, and use your hand on that arm to support the camera.
Last update: 02:52 PM Tuesday, September 4, 2007