When you first start using a monopod, there is a tendency to think of it as a tripod missing two legs. This will cause a problem. No matter how steady you are, a monopod will not offer you the stability of a tripod. Instead, follow the rules you use when taking photos with a hand-held camera. In fact, think of a monopod as hand-held-plus!
Monopod attach to the camera just like a tripod. When using a camera with a short lens, the monopod mounts directly to the camera (or battery grip if attached). With long lenses that have a mounting collar, the monopod mounts to the collar.
A monopod will bear the weight of the camera or lens allowing you to concentrate on taking the picture. This means less fatigue over an extended shoot with more accuracy.
To steady the monopod, place one hand on camera and the other on the lens barrel or lens collar. That’s why lens collars have finger notches. You can also hold the monopod itself although I never found this as stable as having both hands on the camera.
Your stance is very important. Standing with your feet side-by-side will likely cause a wobble. Instead, try standing with one foot forward and shift your weight to one foot (like you are going to take a step). This will greatly stabilize both you and the monopod.
Try stabilizing the monopod against your foot or leg for additional support.
Monopods can restrict movement to a fairly linear plane which is actually great for panning shots.
Quickly adjust vertically by tilting the monopod and taking a step backwards or forwards.
The monopod is light enough that you can still pick-up the camera with the monopod attached to take some quick photos. (Another reason to buy a carbon-fiber monopod.)
Leave the image stabilization engaged. Remember this is hand-held-plus!
Even a partially extended monopod can be a great stabilizer when held close to the body. Try extending the monopod just enough that it extends down your chest. You can hold the monopod with one hand or just let it touch your chest. Either way, this is a great way to add stability for a quick moving subject.
Attach a remote shutter cable and the monopod becomes an extended arm to take photos above a crowd or shoot low to the ground. Just use Live View to check focus and subject.
Add a weight to the bottom of the monopod, and it becomes a great camera stabilizer for shooting video! And, yes, it really does work. I shot the entire NYC Halloween Parade this way and you will see the camera floats very smoothly!
If you ever thought of purchasing a monopod, this is your chance! Adorama has created a fantastic combination of a Induro CM25 Carbon Fiber 8X Monopod with a Flashpoint F-9 Compact Tripod Ball Head with Quick Release for under $150. It’s an Adorama Exclusive; click here for details.