I was just reading over the blogs that Chuck had posted earlier, and I was amazed to find that there was no mention of tripod use (or maybe I just missed it). Whenever possible, please use a tripod. In the new digital age, probably due to the small size of digital cameras, there is a tendency to think “I can hold that little thing steady, no problem”, but the truth is that if you want sharp, in focus pictures, you need a tripod.
Before you start complaining that tripods are a pain, or that they are too expensive, or that it takes too long to set them up and use them, or whatever, think about the great results that you will get from using a tripod. And imagine all the attention you’ll get from people passing by. They always seem to be impressed with someone with a tripod. That is because they know that professionals use tripods. So use one, and get awesome shots and look good.
Tripods come in a variety types and sizes too. They don’t have to be large and unwieldy. You don’t need the most expensive one there is, probably, unless you’re into spending a lot of money. There are small tabletop models that are used for taking close-ups of small items. There are the standard three-legged tripods, which are adjustable to different heights. And there are monopods, which are just one leg of a tripod, that is adjustable to different heights, and gives you support without all the fuss of a regular tripod.
The professional sports photographers use these. When you have a 250-pound linebacker heading your way out of bounds, you don’t have time to pack up a regular tripod and get out of the way, you need to move NOW!
So, get yourself a tripod and use it! They don’t have to be expensive, like I said. You may be able to find one at a yard sale, or at your local camera dealer. Online auction sites are another good source, if you’re into online bidding. The heads of the tripods (where you attach your camera) are mostly a standard size, which means that they should fit any camera. But to be sure, ask if it will hold your particular camera type.