No Tripod? Use body parts...or whatever...

This really does not sound as gruesome as the title implies.

Well a tripod is particularly useful when taking photographs to reduce the inevitable camera shake. But sometimes it is just not possible to drag that tripod along. Especially in places like shopping malls, museums, places of worship, etc. Continuously practicing using the camera helps over time to get better quality pictures.

For a steady grip, hold the upper arms as close to your sides as possible, dig those elbows to the ribcage. Support the camera with the left hand underneath the camera and the fingers gripping the lens barrel. Right hand gripping the right side of the camera with the second finger gently pressing half way on the trigger. This method works for me for the most part.

So what to use when there is no tripod? Whatever is available at the scene. Use your bags, monopod, gorillapod or whatever is on hand.

Other Props

Right/Left Knee

But really my favourite prop is my right knee. No kidding. I like low angle shots. Plant bum to the ground, left leg crossed and flat to the ground with ankle hook behind or at the side of the right feet. Right leg bent and at 90 degree angle to the ground. Place camera on knee cap. Voila - impromptu tripod. This picture was taken in such a way. People stare, but who cares? Ignore distraction and focus.


There are usually plenty of rocks around a waterfall or streams. They can be a bit slippery but the dried ones can be used as props. This one was taken sitting down on the wet ground and luckily there were rock boulders enclosing the stream of waterfall.


One of my favourite prop. These can be found in both rural and urban settings. Depending on the architecture, these railings can be metal, wooden or other materials. For multi-level shopping centres, I like those fencing made of glass with metal railings on top of the glass. There is usually space between the glass partition and the metal railing to cramp the camera lens in between. Tilt the lens at a 45 degree angle and the metal railings on top serves as a clamp. Place the left hand underneath the lens barrel as additional support. It usually works. Easier to get ceiling architecture. This is a shot using that method.

© Jlhope
Lamp Posts/Pillars

Good as support to lean your back as additional support, especially when shooting upwards. Or wrap the left arm around the lamp post as a clamp while still supporting the camera. Right index finger is free and ready on the trigger. Sometimes it works sometimes not.

Grab Your Partner

Yeah, grab him or her to use as support.

© Mimnr1
Here is a link with photos for reference : How to Reduce Camera Shake – 6 Techniques. Some of these techniques work for me. Some don't. It helps if the camera has the Image Stabilization (IS) or Vibration Reduction (VR) as the article mention.

I have been known to do crazy things to get a particular shot. What crazy things do you do to get yours?

Photo credits: Cbomers, Grigor Atanasov, Haslinda, Jlhope, Mimnr1.

Your article must be written in English

May 19, 2011


Thanks for taking the time to drop by, guys and gals. Very useful video link, Brad. Thank you :) BTW, was the Brad mentioned by Joe McNally, you?

No :) I wish I had a chance to spend some time with Joe and see him work!

May 19, 2011


Thanks for taking the time to drop by, guys and gals. Very useful video link, Brad. Thank you :) BTW, was the Brad mentioned by Joe McNally, you?

May 19, 2011


Here is how to hold a camera, according to Joe McNally: Da Grip :)

May 16, 2011


an exceptional blog. Well done!

May 09, 2011


Very good, thanks for sharing!

May 01, 2011


The article is very useful and the shots selected are simply great!!!

April 28, 2011


Great post! Many thanks for using one of my pictures. I have tried all kind of steady flat surfaces as a tripod in particular in the urban environment such as bridge railings, railings, parked cars, mini-containers, window ledges, park benches, stairs, walls, fences, bollards, seatings, or litter bins. Sometimes I place my camera on the ground to get a different angle or a point of view. To avoid camera shake I use a remote control rather than pressing the shutter release button.

Thanks for your interesting blog and the link for reference with very useful tips.

April 27, 2011


Hi, great subject, very useful! and thanks for using my image! Btw, your Waterfall in motion is a great picture!

April 27, 2011


Glad this article has been useful. Came across that link while doing research for another project. Telephotos are dang heavy, wonder how that person does it. We all do what we need to get that shot, yes? ;)
Those images are courtesy of the photographers who have kindly take part in a thread posted in the Daydreaming Forum. Thanks for that bit of chuckle and support.

April 26, 2011


Very useful! And thanks for using my image :)

April 26, 2011


Great article!

April 26, 2011


Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

April 26, 2011


Great information

April 25, 2011


Great blog, great images. thanks for sharing.

April 25, 2011


nice images

April 25, 2011


A bag of rice from the supermarket works as well as an expensive bean bag.

April 25, 2011


The comment below tickled my sense of humour :) does it only work if made by a "wife" haha! A bag of dried peas made by your wife is said to work well if placed on rough surfaces such as rocks or walls. David.

April 24, 2011


I used the walking stick of a 90 year old lady to click this. I supported the stick on the wall, held the camera firmly on the other end of the stick and took a shot with the camera pointed vertically down.
Incidentally this picture was painted by the same 90 year old lady who does all sorts of things like knitting, painting, stitching, craft works..... any thing that she can think of at this age !!

 Bird painting 

April 24, 2011


Excellent post. Thank you, I put some of it to use today!

April 24, 2011


i found a marine vinyl bean bag that I use that is amazing and lightweight

April 24, 2011


A bag of dried peas made by your wife is said to work well if placed on rough surfaces such as rocks or walls.

Related image searches
Handhold related image searches