Joel Grimes: Why I Use a Tripod

Professional photographer Joel Grimes admits he almost always use a tripod – either in the studio or when he is shooting outdoors – here is why.

Lots of people don’t like the hassle of carrying or working with a tripod – they feel that it is simply too restricting and with today’s image stabilization you don’t need one. Well, Grimes has a very different perspective on using a tripod. He starts by mentioning one of his old photography teachers who said that using a basic kit lens on a tripod at f/8 will beat any expensive lens wide open handheld. This is just how optics works and even if you are freezing action with speedlights Grimes recommends that you use a tripod to eliminate even the smallest chance of vibration.

Grimes is a big fan of Really Right Stuff (RRS) products (they are an American manufacturer with very high-quality products including tripods, heads, and accessories). Although RRS are far from inexpensive if you are a professional photographer investing in a high-quality set of legs and a head/s can really last you for years (we know what we are talking about – just like Grimes we have a Gitzo tripod from the 1980s which still works great today). Of course, if you can’t afford a new high-end tripod – consider a good second-hand set – there are some selling online for as low as $100 (when it comes to heads – especially ballheads – a good new one is still probably a better idea).

Joel Grimes has been the subject of several videos we published here in the past including “What Makes a Great Photograph?“,  “Making Superheroes“, “Shooting Active Sports Photography in the Studio” and “Joel Grimes: the Singing Photographer“.

You can watch more from interesting photographers on our photographer’s section here on LensVid.

Update: We now have a whole new subsection dedicated to tripods for you to check out with new releases and reviews plus lots of info and videos.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of 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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