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HDR Photography Tips: Get a Good Tripod

Taking better photos for HDR involves getting a good tripod. There are other more important things: taking better photos in general, and effectively using the particular techniques of high dynamic range photography, of course. If you aren’t taking good photos, whether you employ HDR techniques (like using a tripod) is irrelevant.

Likewise, you diminish the effect of shooting wonderfully contrasted clouds at sunset in a five-shot bracketed set if you fail to understand how to set up and compose the shot, using your tripod.

Get a good tripod. Cheap tripods are, well, cheap. They aren’t stable, don’t allow you to change heads, break easily, and mark you as an amateur. Good tripods are worth the investment. You would never regret — not for a minute — spending extra for a Manfrotto tripod (the legs), heads (one ball and one pan-tilt), and a good bag.

You may end up at this after going through several cheaper versions. You don’t have to run out and buy a Manfrotto (distributed by Bogen, by the way). Shop around and find something that suits you. Try Gitzo, Induro, Slik, or Calumet.

A good tripod makes aligning HDR brackets easier in software. Your overall HDR image will be sharper as a result. And, a good tripod is especially a great investment if you have thousands of dollars of camera and lenses to protect. These tripods have very strong mounting plates (the thing you attach your camera to that mounts it on the tripod) and don’t tip over or collapse easily.

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