If you’re serious about photography, and particularly if you like taking long-exposure shots, a tripod is an essential piece of the toolkit. Tripods come in many different sizes, and can be either very simple or highly complex.
Many people buying modern digital cameras opt for mini-tripods, which often have flexible legs. The photographer can bend the legs into a position that holds the camera level and steady, even on awkward surfaces. These are great for taking timer shots of the family or long-exposure shots at night on a weekend break, and you can easily slip them into your pocket when you’re done.
For more control and versatility, serious photographers use larger tripods with levers that control the tilt and angle of the camera. The levers can then be locked in place when you’ve found the perfect composition. These tripods often stand as much as five feet tall, allowing you to take shots of large groups of people at head height without needing a surface to stand the camera on. The legs are normally adjustable, and most models fold up into a tube shape of about 18 inches in length.