Shoot Handheld - tyneholm
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Shoot Handheld

Assignment L19

As a landscape enthusiast there is an assumption that you should always use a  tripod, and for most of the assignments in this book a tripod will either be helpful or essential. However, you don’t always need a camera support and-on occasion-the speed and spontaneity of shooting handheld will be a more practical and creative choice. 

Tripods can hinder your movement and anchor you to one spot, and to find the best shooting angle and perspective you often need to move about. So, for this assignment, leave your tripod at home and explore the possibilities of handheld. 

Shooting handheld for even a few hours will remind you to explore and be creative. Although being tripod-free will prevent you from shooting in extreme low light and using lengthy exposures, there are plenty of subjects it suits. It can also encourage you to explore awkward or unconventional angles. For example, achieving unusually low or high perspectives is easier without a support, and techniques like intentional camera movement (see page 114) lend themselves to handheld photography. 

If you regularly use a tripod, you will find the experience of shooting handheld-and being able to quickly and instinctively alter your composition-quite liberating. 

View the images


  • You may need to increase ISO to generate a shutter speed fast enough to eliminate camera shake. High ISO performance is now so good that noise should be well 
  • controlled, even at ISO 1600.
  • Consider switching on Auto ISO. You can manually set or limit the ISO range to ensure speeds don’t stray too high. 
  • We recommend setting a range of ISO 1 00-1 000. The camera will automatically adjust the ISO to help maintain a usable handheld shutter speed. 
  • When shooting without a tripod, avoid using filters that prolong exposure, such as solid neutral density (ND) or polarizing filters.

Field Notes

  • Switch on image stabilization on your camera or lens-this will allow you to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds without camera shake. 
  • To keep your camera stable, stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your chest and try to hold the camera firmly to your face.