tripod. I heard this tip listening to The Tech Guy podcast recently and wanted to write it down so I wouldn't forget it, but at the same time share it with others.
As most know, the purpose of the tripod is to provide maximum strength and stability for the camera when taking photos. Tripods are used often by most photographers in various situations. Many photographers take their tripods with them in the field, but as many of you know, including myself, this can often be a hindrance in more ways than one. So, if you want something that's quick and easy to carry around that doesn't add on extra weight, or as a backup in case your tripod is out of reach or breaks, then this may be your answer.
First, cut a piece of string about double your height in length (example: if your 5 ft tall, cut the string about 10 ft). Take that string and tie it into one large loop. You will now need a screw that will fit into your tripod mount (located on the bottom of your camera). If you don't have an extra one or the one in your existing tripod doesn't pop out, take your camera to the nearest hardware store and buy a screw that fits. It should be a standard size. Now, tie one end of the loop to the screw and then insert the screw into your camera tripod mount on your camera. Now stand inside the loop with both feet on top of the string and pull the camera up into position. Notice that the string has now formed a rigid triangle, and when you adjust the width of your feet, it will also adjust the height of your camera. Using this makeshift tripod will allow you some of the same features that a standard tripod does; like camera shake, especially to the left and right. Now when your ready to take a photo that requires some extra stability just pull this "poor-mans tripod" out of your pocket or camera bag and you'll be set!
I know this is no substitute for a quality tripod, but in a pinch this makeshift tripod is better than nothing, and it requires virtually no extra packing and setup time. Although, you may receive some strange looks from others when using this.