8 Reasons Why You Should Get A Tripod For Your Smartphone

I, like many people I know, never thought much about tripods for smartphones. In my work as a filmmaker, I used a tripod all the time unless the shots needed to be hand-held or otherwise. But, when it came to smartphone photography, I didn’t bother. I thought it was overkill.

If only I knew then what I know now, then I wouldn't have thought that way. As much as I am confident in my ability to hold my phone steady as I take a picture, I’ve come to realise the benefits of using a tripod.

It may seem like just another accessory, but the lowly tripod can really help improve your smartphone photography.

Using a tripod is one of those things that make your smartphone photos look good.  Perhaps even good enough to have them printed out. Here's how.

1. Provides stability

First and foremost, obviously, a tripod helps you keep your camera stable in one position. Every other benefit that follows rests on this piece of equipment’s ability to hold the phone steady without you having to touch it.

Even if your smartphone camera has OIS, EIS, or both (more on that here), there’s only so much they can do to help stabilise your image. The heavy work is done by the tripod.


And when shooting a video, this is an absolutely good thing. Shaky and wobbly hand-held videos don’t look great at all. Having your smartphone on a tripod will stabilise your shots which will make your video look more professional and engaging.

2. Better photos in low light

It’s a known fact that cameras don’t perform their best in situations where there is limited lighting.

Due to design limitations, smartphone cameras struggle even more. However, there are some settings you can adjust on the camera to increase its exposure and sensitivity to light. 

By adjusting the ISO and shutter speed, you will end up with brighter pictures in low light. These two settings and others are found in the camera app's Manual mode. You can learn about the benefits of shooting manually here.

Increasing the ISO increases the image sensor’s sensitivity to light, whereas slowing down the shutter speed keeps the sensor activated long enough to receive more light.  However, the problem with a slow shutter is that one slight move will ruin the photo.

Using a tripod will give you the confidence to slow down your shutter speed quite a lot in order to get as much light in as possible without worrying about an unstable camera causing blur.

It is definitely one of the most important of all the things that can help you improve your photos at night or in low lighting conditions.


3. Keeps the images sharp

This point is directly related to the one above. One of the secrets of good smartphone photography is to make sure that the image quality is sharp.

This is done by understanding how focus works and making sure it is always sharp, and that you have no motion blur caused by camera movement.

Although blurry shots are mostly a problem in low lighting conditions because of slow shutter speeds, this can still be an issue in the daytime as well for various reasons.

You may naturally have shaky hands or maybe your arms are tired from physical activity. Whatever it may be, a tripod will help you prevent blurry photos by keeping your shots steady.

4. Slows you down (in a good way)

There’s nothing wrong with whipping out your phone on a whim to take a picture. In my opinion, I think that’s what has made smartphone cameras so popular in the first place.

On the other hand, taking your time to get a shot has its benefits. It can yield some really impressive results.

See, when setting up a tripod, you’re sort of forced to think about the shot you want to take, the angle and position of the camera and how you’d like to compose the shot. This also gives you time to study your shot and think about the ideal camera settings to use for your shot.

Slowing down and having more time to think about your shot also allows you to be more creative. Your hands are free, so you can step away from the camera and arrange things they way you want them to be in the frame and go back to the camera and check how it looks.

It may take a while to set up a tripod, but it definitely does pay off!

5. You can shoot self-portraits

Selfies are one thing; self-portraits are another. Stretching your arm out as far as you can (or using a selfie stick) to take a picture of yourself in front of a monument or with a beautiful natural backdrop is all good, but it’s limiting in what you can capture and achieve creatively.

As mentioned before, using a tripod frees you, so you can photograph yourself at whatever distance from the camera you wish. And when there’s company, you can take a full-length group photo and be in it, too!


This freedom also means you can interact with your surroundings as you take pictures of yourself which could result in some really creative shots. You can capture images of yourself outdoors or create a studio-like environment indoors and let your imagination run wild.

To take photos of yourself, you’ll obviously need to set the timer in the camera app settings. Some tripods actually even come with wireless remote controls that allow you to activate the shutter from a distance.

6. Time lapses

Tripods and time lapse photography go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jam. I personally don’t do much time lapses, but when I do, it’s always with a tripod. Always! Any unwanted camera movements and the time lapse will be compromised.

The end result of time lapse photography is a clip that shows something that usually happens over a long period of time, taking just a few seconds to unfold on-screen.

Examples of this would be clear skies turned dark by ominous storm clouds rolling in across the sky very quickly. Another example would be a plant that grows from a seed to full maturity in just seconds.

Time lapses are achieved by editing together a sequence of shots that are captured after intervals of seconds, minutes, or hours. These images are then combined into a short video clip. To get the best results, it is very crucial to keep the shot steady.

Some more complex time lapses include motion by placing the camera on a very slow-moving slider. But for a basic, static time lapse, a tripod is all you need.

7. Perfect landscapes panoramas

Panoramas are basically a series of shots that are stitched together, either in-camera or in editing, to create one, super long image. Landscapes are often the best option for panoramic shots.


For it to work well, you need to make sure that the frames of each shot match up so that you won’t experience much difficulty blending them together later.

This can be difficult even when doing in-camera “stitching” because you’ll be holding your phone up for a while and it is likely that your hands and arms could grow tired and start to shake, which will definitely affect the quality of the panorama.

A tripod will help you keep your shots steady and the frames always matched up perfectly for each shot. This will make stitching the photos together manually much easier. Even the in-camera panorama will be quicker and more accurate.

8. Makes macro photography easier

Macro photography is about taking photos of things from really, really up close. So much so that you can oftentimes see fine details of the subject. Although you can do macro photography by just holding your phone in your hands, using a tripod makes it a bit easier.


A tripod will help you keep your shots steady which is very important in macro photography because camera shake is very noticeable when working very up close with your subject. Obviously, a shaky camera means blurry photos and you don’t want that.

To further ensure crisp photos, set a timer in the camera settings. That way, your hands will be nowhere near your smartphone when the picture is taken, thus eliminating any chance of shake.

Sure, setting up a tripod is time consuming and not every situation calls for one, but I honestly think that it truly is an invaluable accessory to have.

It frees your hands and allows you to take awesome and creative images, even at night. Just make sure you also use a reliable, good-quality smartphone mount that will keep your phone tightly secured to your tripod.

To learn what to consider when investing in a tripod that’s perfect for your smartphone and meets your photography needs, you need to understand tripods. I have an article that gives the complete breakdown of a tripod and all its components in full detail here.

Leave a Reply