No Tripod, No Worries!


I realize this is probably obvious to a lot of experienced lomographers, but I had been shooting for over 8 months before realizing I could easily do long exposures without a tri/mono pod. So for any newbies out there – don’t be afraid to long expose without any other equipment.

Credits: kneehigh85

As I have mentioned above, I had been shooting long exposures for a while before realizing I didn’t have to stand alongside my boyfriend waiting to borrow his big tripod. As I have gained more experience, I have actually started to enjoy not having a tripod, and being a bit more inventive about where I stick my camera. Obviously the largest flattest surface you have is the floor, and quite a lot of my night shots have been a result of me holding my camera to the ground.

Credits: kneehigh85

After I had tried this a few times, I actually started to like the bit of floor that shows up in the photos and have even started to do this in the day at times, as you can see below.

Credits: kneehigh85

When the floor is not an option, or you want a bit more height, it can be good to steady your camera against a flat vertical surface like a wall or a lampost as I have done in these shots below.

Credits: kneehigh85

Lately, I have also become a fan of sticking the camera on a table top for a long exposure as you can really get some great angles that way.

Credits: kneehigh85

I have also had some success when doing a HQME using a wall as a surface – HQME being a high quantity multiple exposure. What I did was, rested my Holga 120 on a blanket (to prevent scratches) on a wall pointing at the subject area, set my distance and then used my left hand to really hold it down firmly so that it could not move too much for the duration of the shot. I then did between 20-30 exposures of the same shot and got the result below, which I was really pleased with as I had read a few reviews suggesting it would be impossible to do it this way.

Credits: kneehigh85

written by kneehigh85 on 2012-02-08 #gear #tutorials #tripod #tip #floor #camera #bulb #tipster #long-exposures #surface #quick


  1. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    I personally have a trying love/hate relationships with tripods, I never seem to carry mine and when I do it's awkward and attracts way too much attention to me while street shooting, my solution; carry a monopod! Lighter and easier to carry it came with a slender carrying case which can strap to my camera bag, and when I need it I can pull it out and set up a shot and quickly move on to the next without all the fidgeting and readjustment of my tripod. I sincerely suggest trying one out!

  2. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    @aroninvt I have a monopod but I am a bit useless with it. I seem to be incapable of holding it firmly so it swings from side to side!

  3. mikeydavies
    mikeydavies ·

    love this, i love my tripod but i hardly take it anywhere, sometimes i need one so i just use the floor!

  4. skrutt
    skrutt ·

    Great tipster! I have a tripod, but doesnt seem to have it when I need it... A monopod would not work either, as I would swing it from side to side, as you do.
    Will try this next time Im out in the dark, shooting for some nice things...

  5. jeffr
    jeffr ·

    great tipster!! and great shots - really well written and demonstrated

  6. duncancreamer
    duncancreamer ·

    Telling people to hold their camera still if they don't have a tripod isn't really much of a tip, sorry if that's rude. I should have realised when you mentioned you didn't want to scratch your Holga, that something was up. (A Holga that hasn't any scratches is a Holga that hasn't been used. Which is a shame.)

    Here's a real tip you will find handy… or maybe footy. If you need a tripod, but don't want to cary one around, place a tripod screw into the tripod-screw hole, tie a large loop of string to that screw and stand on it while pulling up on the camera. If you make the string the right hight, you can loop it under your shoe, still see through the viewfinder and hold steady for the shot. Plus, no chance of scratching your plastic, toy camera.…

  7. pollard71
    pollard71 ·

    Nice bit of advice.
    I've been shooting pinholes for years and never carry a tripod. All of the things you mentioned are spot on. The reason why I like it is because not having a tripod requires you to think about your shot even more. Then there are the shots that I never would have even considered taking if I'd had a tripod...holding the camera firm on the ceiling of a pedestrian walkway between buildings.
    As for your HQME....p'shaw to those who say it can't be done. You have an excellent result. When I shoot my Kodak Brownie it's common for me to fire the shutter multiple times.
    Keep shooting and keep writing.

  8. pollard71
    pollard71 ·

    Oh, and ignore DuncanCreamer's rudely asinine response...he clearly decided to comment w/o actually reading the full article. And honestly, I'd laugh my ass off if I saw photog in real life hamstrung like the guy in that illustration link.

  9. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    Hahaha @pollard71 thanks a lot. I am a tough cookie though and I think when I wrote the article I appreciated that for a lot of people it would be obvious but for me, for a long time it hadn't been so I felt I would share.
    And @duncancreamer thanks for the tip, I might try it but again that would involve some level of preparation that I usually haven't done. And yeah I don't want to scratch my holga even though it is a toy, I never used to cut the hair off my Barbie dolls either x

  10. jennysparkle
    jennysparkle ·

    I never bother to try and do long exposure shots without a tripod and I should really! Which usually means I hardly ever take many night time shots. So I going to think sod it! I'll have a go even if I do come back with a roll of blurry mess! Good tips! x

  11. djramsay
    djramsay ·

    Wow @duncancreamer I have some ideas where you could put your tripod, don't hate, encourage.

  12. nuhdos
    nuhdos ·

    I like sticking the camera on the table too !… :D

  13. b0m
    b0m ·

    I use a gorillapod with my LC-A+. It's very easy to carry and you don't have to find flat surface. Great compromise in my opinion.

  14. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    @b0rn I actually have one of these that I use now and then but I am so disorganised I never have it with me!

  15. diomaxwelle
    diomaxwelle ·

    I thank the heavens finding this article, because you told me everything I needed to know to do longer exposures, plus HQME (I always wondered was what a good number to start with, and never got a clear concise answer), without a tripod (because I never have the damn thing with me XD). You tread the fine line of taking the obvious, and actually making it a real tip with real information that people can use. Thanks again. ^^

  16. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    @diomaxwelle Thanks a lot - this article did attract a bit of negativity as it seemed obvious to some people but I am glad it has helped you. I need to do some more HQMEs and get a bit better at them but I was happy with these results, even though my fingers went number from pressing the camera down so hard!

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