7 Best Tripod for Real Estate Photography

A tripod is one of the most beneficial investments that you can make when starting a real estate photography business. In fact, after the camera body and lenses, a tripod is our third most recommended buy should you want to get into photography in general.

There are many kinds of tripods on the market today and figuring out which ones are best for you will heavily rely on the following five factors:

Factor #1: What and where will you be usually practicing your photography? Will a lightweight tripod suffice in this setting, or will you need a heavy-duty kind?

Factor #2: What height will you be shooting from – waist or floor height? Will a short tripod do the trick, or would you perhaps need a full-sized variant?

Factor #3: How heavy are your camera and its additional gear? Similar to factor 1, you may need to consider if a lightweight tripod or heavy-duty option is best.

Factor #4: What is your budget range? Tripods can have a very broad range of prices, we are talking anywhere between $10 to over $1000. On average, you can get high-quality ones for about $50 to $100, but again, you can adjust based off your initial budget.

Factor #5: How frequently will you be adjusting your angles, height, and perspective of the tripod? If you will be moving around a lot, perhaps a heavy-duty one will be more challenging.

Why Do People Need Tripods?

Tripods are designed to keep your camera gear stabilized and in just the right angle needed for the shot. It can enhance your ability to take multiple photos in varying situations and conditions.

Take for example if it is windy out and the breeze easily sways you. A sturdy and durable tripod can ensure your camera stays still throughout the entire shoot. You will also not have to worry about holding heavy equipment as you take your shot since the tripod will do the heavy lifting.

Furthermore, tripods can hold other kinds of equipment as well such as flash units and reflectors. Making it a convenient, all around investment that you can benefit from in the long run.

Benefits of Using A Tripod When Taking Real Estate Photos

Tripods have multiple advantages to them. If a photographer invests in one for their business, they reap the following benefits:

1. A tripod allows long exposure settings

If you are planning to get shots with longer shutter speeds, then you will need a tripod to ensure your images are not blurry. You may have the steadiest of palms but holding a heavy camera perfectly still for multiple seconds, let alone minutes, is a struggle you do not need to endure.

2. A tripod allows for low light photography

When it starts to get late out and there is not much light to naturally process through the camera, the images will end up looking dull, grainy, and way too dark if your settings are not adjusted accordingly. To prevent this from happening and increase the light, you have three options: to widen the aperture, elevate the ISO, or reduce the shutter speed.

However, the first two are not as favorable since these affect the depth of field and create noise, so lowering down your shutter speed is truly the best solution. This means your camera needs to be as still as possible to avoid even the slightest movement of the hand.

3. A tripod allows for HDR photography

HDR photography is the process of capturing at least 3 shots of the same subject, each with varying exposure levels, and then combining them to achieve one perfectly lit image.

To ensure that you get the framing down to the exact centimeter, a tripod can guarantee that your camera stays in the same spot and angle each time.

4. A tripod allows for sharper images

Even if you are shooting during the day, with ample lighting, low ISO settings, and higher shutter speeds, there is still the possibility of experiencing the camera shake effect, most especially when using DSLR cameras, resulting in blurry and hazy images.

You can benefit from a tripod’s ability to keep your photos as sharp as possible as it holds the camera steady in its place, with or without a built in image stabilization system.

What 5 Aspects Make A Tripod Great For Real Estate Photography?

There are numerous brands, sizes, features, and qualities that take one tripod apart from the rest of the bunch, and boy are there a lot on the market today. Because of the vast number of choices, it can be a little overwhelming to decide which is best for you.

To help narrow things down, we have prepared a handy guide of 5 aspects to look out for when choosing a tripod for real estate photography.

Aspect#1: The material

The make of your tripod is a huge factor in how durable and portable it can be. While a light, high-quality tripod may cost you more; a cheaper alternative may not be as durable and easy to bring around. If you have the budget, invest in a carbon fiber tripod so it can last you longer, and will be easy on your carry on.

Aspect#2: The tripod head

While there are many kinds of tripod heads, they essentially fall under three main categories, each with its own advantage over the other:

  1. Pan-tilt head: This is a fluid head and is designed to support both vertical and horizontal movement. It is more common in tripods of affordable range.
  2. Ball head: This is a flexible head and has been regarded to be smoother compared to the pan-tilt variant. It has a control mechanism for tightening or loosening the grip, which gives you complete jurisdiction over the angle of your equipment
  3. Gimbal head: This type of head is more suited for long tripods and heavy cameras. This can be manipulated in about any direction with little to not tightening or loosening to do.

Aspect#3: Durability

Going back to durability, ask yourself how long you think your tripod would last based on how often you plan to use it, and if you are open to replacing it regularly given that your usage may be extensive?

Also consider how secure you feel your camera is mounted on your chosen tripod. Are the legs, hinges, and all other parts strong enough to keep still? This is one of the most important aspects to test out since you will not only be dealing with a broken tripod if it falls over, but your camera may suffer dents, too.

Shoot days are extra busy and could potentially be chaotic, so you want to ensure that your tripod can withstand a little tossing around every now and then. You are not only purchasing a safe stand for your equipment, but you are also investing in peace of mind.

Aspect#4: Size and weight

On shoot day, you will most likely be bringing around a lot of equipment. Keep in mind that even small, light things add up eventually. Consider how heavy the tripod will be when combined with the rest of your things, and if it can neatly fit in your car and/ or your bag when it’s broken down to portable size.

Aspect#5: How tall it extends

A good tripod can be there for you through varying heights. Considering how tall it can vertically extend and if it is enough to get you great shots will go a long way when you need images from a higher point of view.

How To Use a Tripod When Capturing Real Estate Images?

Disable the Camera Image Stabilization System

The camera image stabilization system is designed to detect camera vibration and automatically adjust to it. Since it is AI, it cannot detect if you are using a tripod, meaning the system will automatically be on the lookout for vibration and applying micro camera shakes in the process.

Utilize the Camera Timer

When your camera is mounted on the tripod and is perfectly still, you would not want any external force to ruin that. Pressing the shutter button with your finger to take a shot is an example of an external force.

To prevent your hand from creating a motion blur, utilize your camera timer or invest in a remote control shutter button that is compatible with your camera so you can control it from a distance.

Extend the Tripod's Legs

By extending the legs of your tripod, you help improve the stability of your equipment by evenly distributing the weight. This is essential most especially if your camera gear is on the heavier side. However, always ensure that your gear’s combined weight is one that your tripod can support otherwise it could break.

If you are shooting in windy weather, you can try keeping your tripod sturdy by strapping it on a stationary object.

Set the Tripod To The Right Height

This is a great option for those who really want a robust tripod that can support them in shooting long exposure images and also strong enough to hold large camera setups.

The tripod legs are made up of 3 materials, namely aluminum, magnesium, and titanium (AMT), which were designed for a weight-to-load-bearing ratio of up to 19.8 oz. Due to this tri-titanium alloy, the Slik Pro’s legs have a 40% higher strength-to-weight ratio when compared with other tripods in its range. It also features user-friendly flip locks that can ease height changes and quick setup adjustments.

It has a rapid-type center column, which stays in place even with movement, offering you impressive angle accuracy and stability. It is also designed with foam-padded upper parts in order to make it more comfortable to bring around and work with when it’s cold out.

The 7 Best Tripods For Real Estate Photography in 2022

Tripod 1: Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB

Material: Aluminum

Tripod Head Type: Pan Head

Weight Limit: 11oz

Many consider the Vanguard Alta Pro to be the perfect real estate photography tripod. Its flexibility and stability are revolutionary, and it offers a wide range of angle options.

It features a Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC) System that is designed to adjust the middle column for up to 180 degrees – both vertically and horizontally. This makes it the perfect option for both macro and low angle photography.

It also offers the Instant Swivel Stop-n-Lock (ISSL System that moves the central column in a singular motion, and is mainly responsible for the stability of the tripod.

Other features that the Vanguard Alta Pro offers are:

  • Quick flip leg locks
  • Advanced camera vibration and shock control
  • Non-slip and spiked rubber feet, which make it better suited for different kinds of terrain
  • Aluminum tripod legs that adjust to 25, 50, and 80 degrees
  • Hexagon shaped central column for ultimate stability and durability
  • Patented extra magnesium die-cast canopy
  • Removable hook for conveniently hanging camera accessories

Tripod 2: Slik Pro 700

Material: Aluminum

Tripod Head Type: Pan Tilt Head

Weight Limit: 19.8 oz

This is a great option for those who really want a robust tripod that can support them in shooting long exposure images and also strong enough to hold large camera setups.

The tripod legs are made up of 3 materials, namely aluminum, magnesium, and titanium (AMT), which were designed for a weight-to-load-bearing ratio of up to 19.8 oz. Due to this tri-titanium alloy, the Slik Pro’s legs have a 40% higher strength-to-weight ratio when compared with other tripods in its range. It also features user-friendly flip locks that can ease height changes and quick setup adjustments.

It has a rapid-type center column, which stays in place even with movement, offering you impressive angle accuracy and stability. It is also designed with foam-padded upper parts in order to make it more comfortable to bring around and work with when it’s cold out.

Tripod 3: Manfrotto MTO55XPRO3

Material: Aluminum / Carbon Fiber

Tripod Head Type: Ball Head

Weight Limit: 19.8 oz

The MTO55XPRO3 is highly regarded for its 90-degree column, which expands vertically and horizontally. There is no disassembly needed when switching between vertical and horizontal column configuration, and it can even be achieved while the camera is connected on top.

The Quick Power Lock (QPL) levers are designed to make extending and adjusting the tripod legs very user friendly. In fact, it even enables single-handed operation in one swift motion. It also features an intuitive and ergonomic tripod leg angle selectors, which you can individually set at differing angles to allow for versatile placement and positioning.

The central column has a built-in bubble level to assist in getting the exact and accurate framing of your images. It revolves freely around the midsection, allowing you to move it around to its most visible position.

This tripod comes in both aluminum and carbon fiber variants.

Tripod 4: Manfrotto MK290XTA3-3WUS 290 XTRA

Material: Aluminum

Tripod Head Type: Pan Tilt Head

Weight Limit: 176 oz

Another entry from Manfrotto is their MK290XTA3- 3WUS 290 XTRA model. The main advantage it has for real estate photographers is its ability to extend vertically from 12 inches to at least 63 inches tall, providing you with the flexibility to shoot almost any kind of space of varying sizes.

Should you need to shoot interiors of a high ceiling house, this tripod will work best as it can stretch over 5 feet high. However, if you need to take detailed shots, it can comfortably be secured in an ultra-low position of 3.5” as well.

It only weighs about 62 ounces, but can hold camera gear of about 128 ounces, making it a convenient solution for those with more equipment. It also features a flip lock feature that helps extend or retract the legs much faster, essentially cutting down the time needed to set up and be much more effective with every shot. The legs are also all individually adjustable, tension-adjustable, and fitted with rubberized feet, which make it suitable for just about any terrain.

To complement the flip lock feature, the tripod also holds a quick release clamp, which makes just about any kind of shot or angle possible.

The Manfrotto MK290XTA3- 3WUS 290 XTRA works best for the following real estate photos:

  • Architectural photography
  • Daytime real estate photography
  • Twilight real estate photography
  • High Dynamic Range real estate photography
  • Aerial drone real estate photography
  • Elevated real estate photography

Tripod 5: Benro Mach3 TMA28A

Material: Aluminum / Carbon Fiber

Tripod Head Type: Other

Weight Limit: 30.9 oz

The Mach 3 TMA28A comes in aluminum and carbon fiber variants. While the aluminum counterpart is made of high quality materials, its 9X carbon fiber option has high-performance twist locks and magnesium casting, which make it the perfect option for both indoor and outdoor photography sessions.

Each of the four legs can be independently adjusted to fit any terrain, and come with twist locks to guarantee they are secured throughout the day. Any compatible tripod head can be attached to the top of the tripod via a 3/8”-16 thread. It also features interchangeable screw-in rubber feet and stainless steel spiked feet to provide maximum stability.

Should you wish to create a full-sized monopod, the Mach 3 features a removable left that can be combined with the middle column.

Tripod 6: Gitzo Travel Series 2

Material: Carbon Fiber

Tripod Head Type: Other

Weight Limit: 391.36 oz

The Gitzo Travel Series 2 has been ranked among the top 3 toughest tripods around the world. The brand itself boasts a longstanding reputation for high quality and dependable products, far beyond the Travel Series 2 variant.

It has a maximum height of 65.2 inches, which makes it a great option for shooting high ceiling rooms and for making setting up much easier. It also has a load capacity of 391 ounces, perfect for those with heavy-duty camera equipment.

When it comes to durability, the Gitzo Travel Series 2 is a sure winner thanks to its carbon fiber body. It guarantees to last you a long time and if properly maintained and taken cared of, it could quite possibly last you your whole career.

It is highly rigid and can offer great stability with uneven terrain. However, due to the fact that it is designed as a travel tripod, its portability may be lacking when compared with bigger tripods. Although, this concern is nothing a weight bearing bag or sandbag can’t fix.

Tripod 7: Viltrox VX-18M

Material: Metal and Rubber

Tripod Head Type: Other

Weight Limit: 22 oz

The Viltrox VX-18M is an affordable professional tripod made of high quality aluminum metal. It features a fluid drag video head with a view distance of 6.5 feet, has a tild range of 90 degrees forward, and 80 degrees back. Its head can pan a complete 360 degrees due to its independent locking mechanism and sliding QR plate. This advantage is great if you want to take shots with movement.

The ball head’s diameter is 60mm, giving you full control to level the head without needing to reposition any of the tripod legs. This makes it a breeze to take angled shots without worrying the tripod will go off balance. It also has a built-in bubble level indicator at the top of the tripod to assist you in leveling it horizontally at all times.

The Viltrox VX-18M has above average stability and can hold cameras and equipment weighing up to 13.2 lbs.

Bonus tip: Purchase the tripod legs and tripod head separately

There are many great choices that come in a kit, and if you are still starting out or this is your first ever tripod, then we highly recommend sticking to those or reviewing any of our recommended top tripods listed above.

However, if you have the time to look for the parts separately, this will give you more control over the kind of equipment you are purchasing. When it comes to the legs, first consider how many sections are necessary for the kind of terrain you will most likely be shooting in. The more sections your tripod has, the more stability and flexibility it can offer in the long run. This does not mean to say you should get the one with most sections – just consider what works best for your projects.

Next up, when purchasing the head, also consider what you are most comfortable working with and what your style is. Most professional photographers would choose between the Pan Tilt Head (or a geared head) and a ball head.

The ball head can freely swivel around and is known to be the smoother of the two. It have its own mechanism to either tighten or loosen the grip so you can get the exact angle you are going for. On the other hand, a pan tilt head allows you to adjust across horizontal and vertical axes. While the latter may take more time, it should be a good choice if you are the “set it and forget it” type of photographer.

Wrap Up

Investing in a tripod for a real estate photography business or session can go a long way. It not only helps you make the most out of each shot you take, but it can also hasten the process and make each project more efficient.

With a high quality tripod, you can expect to have a faster system in setting up your angles and equipment. More importantly, you can enjoy shooting with little to no adjustments needed each shot as the tripod ensures your equipment’s stability and accurate positioning.

A common concern for photographers without a tripod is also getting the wrong white balance when moving around. You can prevent this by maximizing the individually adjustable legs and intuitive head of the tripod to get the right white balance, natural color cast, and clear-cut angles each time.