When it comes to setting up your tripod, there is a lot of debate about how high it should be. Some people say that the tripod should be at eye level, while others maintain that you should raise it up higher for a better view. So which is right? And does height even matter? In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of tripod height and help you determine what’s best for your needs.
How High Should My Tripod Be?
For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that you are using a tripod to take pictures or film something. What is the best height for your tripod? And how do you find it?
This first argument is pretty simple: Some people say that the ideal height for your tripod is at roughly eye level. This would be somewhere around 5’8″ (or 1.7 meters) off the ground.
At this point, if you were standing up straight and looking forward, your camera would be pointing where you are looking which many argue makes it easier to frame shots because you can see what will appear in your frame.
No matter how hard I try to follow this advice though, I’ve always found that a tripod at this height is a little too low.
The taller your tripod, the further away you can be from whatever it’s supporting
However, there are quite a few reasons why I do not think this is how high your tripod should ideally be. First, even if you happen to be exactly 5’8″ or 1.7 meters, I guarantee that you’re not standing up straight all the time.
If your tripod is that height, then when you bend over to pick something up or are shooting from a lower angle you are going to be fighting with it constantly. It will either get in your shot unintentionally or be difficult to work with because it’s right at eye level.
2. Viewfinder Height
Your viewfinder should be about an inch below your eyes when you look through it. If the camera is too high, you will have to bend down and lift your head up which can be uncomfortable as well as bad for your posture over a period of time.
3. Tripod Head Height
The first thing is that you need to decide is how tall your tripod legs need to go. Some people prefer the extra height to get the camera up above their head, others prefer a shorter tripod for more stability. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.
Read more: Why are Tripods so Expensive?
What should I consider when looking for how high should my tripod be?
A tripod should generally feel comfortable to use. You should be able to place your camera or device on the head without too much difficulty and it shouldn’t be too heavy either.
If you’re using a camera with optical zoom, the tripod should be set to allow for as much of your subject in frame as possible. For example, if you use a 50x zoom and the height is too short, it will look like there’s nothing but the sky behind your subject.
If you’re shooting at 500mm and not on ground level (or close enough), then finding that perfect height may take some playing around until you find what works best for where your lens needs to go.