Rich Legg, Photographer
image by Scott Jarvie

One of my photography resolutions for the new year was to use a monopod for the majority of my shooting. The reason is quite simple: to create sharper images.

Two photographers whose work I greatly admire, Kenneth Linge and Yuri Arcurs, use a monopod the majority of the time. Kenneth (international award winning wedding/portrait photographer) uses his mostly while shooting outdoor portraits with a 70-200 lens using available light, and Yuri (one of the top selling stock photographers in the world) uses his for all his commercial work. The final thing that pushed me over the edge to begin using this piece of equipment was this video that Yuri posted on his blog:

The statement that Yuri makes in the video that you don’t want to be throwing out your #1 pick when selecting images because of blur hit home with me. Having absolute perfect focus on stock photography is critical, and I have had to often discard an image because of slight camera shake.

Kenneth Linge's New Blog
Kenneth Linge using his monopod

One thing that has happened since I have begun with the monopod is that I have received numerous requests about the equipment I am using. My setup is very similar to the one Yuri describes in the video. The great part is that I already had most of the pieces and only had to add the relatively inexpensive monopod to complete my kit. And guess what? My mother knew what I wanted and I found it under the tree on Christmas morning (Thanks mom!).

Here are the pieces I have assembled for my setup:

Monopod: Manfrotto 334B Automatic Monopod
Head: Manfrotto 488RC2 Ball Head
Bracket: Custom Brackets QRS-H2 rotating bracket

For the bracket, I use the QRS-H2 which normally has a flash mount. I have removed the mount (simple to do using an allen wrench) for everyday use. The reason I use this bracket versus the more compact Digital PRO-SV is twofold. The first reason is that I already had this bracket (hey, I saved +$200), and the second reason is that I can attach the flash mounting arm if I am shooting in a scenario where I need the strobe.

I have now used this setup for a half-dozen shoots and must say that it is becoming a very natural part of my work. I find that after a rather brief adjustment period, I don’t feel as though it is an inconvenience at all to use. In fact, I think it has made it easier for me to shoot. And the final result, I have absolutely noticed that I have discarded fewer images, both in-studio and outdoors, for camera shake.