4 Tips for a Steady Handheld Shots

On this video, Rob Nelson a science filmmaker and a biologist by training demonstrates four simple ways to shoot more steadily when you have no tripod available.

O.K. so you didn’t bring your tripod with you or you can’t use it for whatever reason (there are more and more places where tripods are simply not allowed), how can you still make the shoot work for you?

Nelson shares a few pretty basic but useful tips that might help you with this task (some of these can be good for both stills and video):

  1. Use a strap – use the strap and pull it away from you with both hands until you can fill the strap on your neck – this is good for video (although you might make this work for stills as well), it will allow for 3 points of contact with your camera.
  2. Lean back and forth – this one is purely for video and it continues the first method – use the 3 point method and lean back and then forwards when recording the video (do this slowly).
  3. Slow motion – You can also shoot in slow motion and even add some warp stabilizer to help make the footage more smooth.
  4. Use objects – use the ground, use trees, use fences or and stable object that you can lean on or physically place the camera on top of to get the shot that you want – this might now be a full replacement to a good tripod but it is better than normal hand holding.
  5. Bonus tip: use those knees – you can sit down and put the camera between your knees and not move or touch it with your hands – if you keep still you might get some good stable footage that way – but this is mostly for shooting relatively low to/from the ground.

This isn’t the first time that we have been looking at this topic. In the past we had photographer Karl Taylor demonstrated several important techniques for holding the camera and keeping it stable even when shooting in low light and slow shutter speeds. If you are more into video – Australian film director Christopher Kenworthy (from Tuts+) demonstrated some advanced handheld techniques for shooting video in a way that will mimic cinematic effect but with no extra gear and more recently we had Pye from slrlounge look at “6 Tips for Hand Holding Your Camera for Shooting with Slow Shutter Speeds“.


You can find many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on and  LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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