Tips for novice tripod users
I never used a tripod until I started shooting stock. I made some silly mistakes when I started shooting with one, and some of the tips I have read for my photo class include silly things that I managed to get right. This is a compilation of tips for novice tripod users including things I learned through experience and things I've read about. There is probably nothing new here for anyone that has worked with a tripod more than a few times.
1 Get a tripod that will hold your gear. Weigh your camera with the heaviest lens, etc. you will use with the tripod and make sure it is rated to hold at least that much weight. You don't want your expensive equipment crashing on the ground.
2 Read up on different types of tripod heads and think about how you will use the tripod. If you will be hiking around shooting landscapes and wildlife, consider a ligh weight carbon alloy. For in studio use a heavier and less expensive pod may be fine.
3 If you extend the single rod above the legs, you create a less stable platform and may experience camera shake.
4 Hang your camera bag or something heavy from the bottom hook to help steady the pod.
5 Sometimes it's better to set a fast shutter speed and forget the tripod.
6 Make sure everything on the tripod is good and tight.
7 Use a quick release plate so you don't miss a great shot while getting the camera on or off the pod.
8 Use a remote shutter release or a delayed shutter to further avoid shake images
Once you have used the tripod a little while, all of this is obvious, but it seems these are some things that people don't always realize right away. I hope these tips are useful to someone like me that still has a steep learning curve for stock photography.