Tripods are very useful, whether it be for low light and night photography, long exposures or to prevent camera shake. So what to do when you’re on-the-go and don’t have one with you? Here are three useful tips that will save you in case you have to do photography without a tripod.

Tip 1: Use a faster shutter speed and higher ISO

A very simple solution is to increase your shutter speed. Doing so will prevent motion blur and allow you to get a sharper image.

Note: You might have to increase your ISO as a counterpart in order to keep the right exposure. A very high ISO will introduce noise and may affect the quality of your image. You are the judge to decide when high becomes “too high.” Using a wider aperture will help you keep the ISO as low as possible.

Male photographer resting camera on rail without tripod
Resting your camera on a nearby object helps to stabilize it. Photo by Sami Boudjelti on Unsplash.

Tip 2: Stabilize your camera

If you’re going for a long exposure (using a low shutter speed), you’ll have to stabilize your gear to reduce/prevent camera shake. If your lens has built-in image stabilization, turn it on. Then, make sure you either hold properly your camera. When I do macro photography, for example, I hold my breath and keep my elbows very close to my body to create a “block.” This helps reduce handshake blur.

You can also rest your elbow on something very stable while holding the camera, like the floor (if you’re lying down) or your knees (if you’re sitting). Another easy and efficient tip is to lean your back against a wall. If the camera has to be absolutely steady, I put it on a secure surface (a table, a chair, a rock, a car …) and use a 2-5 second shutter delay.

Tip 3: Use a tripod alternative

A tripod might not get into your bag but a lighter, smaller alternative might. Even though I seldom use tripods, I always carry an alternative — just in case. This alternative can be a GorillaPod, a bean bag or — the one I personally carry with me — a Platypod. That assures me to have a quick fix if an unexpected situation arises.

Keep it simple!

That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Sometimes more is less and creativity is our best weapon. Keep on exploring with these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to nail your next photographic opportunity. Now go out with confidence and have fun!