How Do You Use a Tripod?

In order to use a tripod, extend the largest, longest legs first and avoid raising the center column. Be sure the footing is secure on the floor or ground before attaching a camera or other device to the base.

Although each tripod is slightly different, many work in much the same way. On uneven ground, adjust the tripod legs to make up for the variations in the surface. Follow the steps below to set up and use a tripod.

  1. Extend the legs
  2. Extend the largest legs first. This keeps the tripod steady.

  3. Check the footing
  4. Make sure the feet of the tripod are secure, and, when using a tripod on a slippery surface, wedge the feet in position. When satisfied with the tripod's position, lock the legs into place.

  5. Attach the camera
  6. Attach the camera or other device to the tripod's base without raising the center column, which makes the device unsteady.

Always use the thickest section of the legs first, especially when the tripod does not need to be extended to its full height. Only use the thinner sections if the tripod must be at full height. The center column of the tripod is its weakest section, and photographers should avoid using it whenever possible, notes If necessary, such as in windy conditions, weigh down the tripod using the clip that comes with the tripod or attach bungee straps.