Love them or hate them, tripods are an essential part of your landscape photography gear.
As landscape photographers, we want to create pin-sharp images, from the front to the back of our compositions.
A tripod is a key element that promotes end-to-end sharpness.
1 Straighten your shot with levels
An annoying process is straightening your shot after shooting.
This adds up to wasted time in post-production.
It is a good idea to level your tripod at the time of taking the photo. This will save you the repetitiveness of levelling the horizon later on.
Consider the balance of the tripod itself.
To get a clear and sharp image, the tripod should be as steady as possible.
Checking all the spirit levels on the tripod will help to ensure balance and stability in the tripod.
2 Hands off the tripod
Holding onto the tripod will result in camera shake or blurry images.
A small vibration from your body onto the tripod could result in unwanted loss of image sharpness.
If a strong wind blows or a gust hits, only then should you get a grip on your gear.
Otherwise, keep your hands off the tripod.
3 Use a lens column for your long lenses
Many photographers attach the tripod plate to the camera when shooting with a telephoto-type lens.
This is nonsensical.
Instead, use a lens column to attach the tripod plate to the lens. A lens column will provide balance to the tripod/camera setup and bring better stability to your shot.
4 Weigh the tripod down
Again, it is important to have a stable, well-balanced tripod when shooting landscapes.
Use a bungee cable that connects to the bottom of your tripod centre column onto a weight placed on the ground. The weighted item could be a sandbag or your photo bag, for example.
The weight will assist in stabilising the tripod by pulling it towards the ground.
This will also be useful when shooting in inclement weather.
5 Leave the centre column of the tripod down
As I have mentioned throughout this post, a tripod is about the balance and stability of your camera and lens combination.
Extending the centre column of a tripod does not assist balance, nor stability.
Rather, extend the tripod height from the more stable legs of the tripod.
I use a tripod most times when photographing landscapes, and will recommend the same for any landscape photographer.
Carrying a tripod can become a trade-off between cumbersome gear, and photographic efficiency. Tripods allow for more creativity through balance and stability.
You may not always need a tripod when photographing landscapes, but you will be glad to have one on hand when necessary.