Written By:
Jeff

Best Tripod For Real Estate Photography

Published On:
August 12, 2021
Items purchased through links help us. By doing so, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More.
When it comes to buying a tripod, most people don't know where to start. There are so many options out there, and they all seem similar on the surface. Right?

You may be thinking, do I need a heavy-duty model, or can I get by with something lighter? Should I buy carbon fiber or aluminum? Will this hold up in the wind if we're shooting outside? What about carrying it around all day - will my back hurt after lugging this thing around while getting shots of houses all day long? It's easy to see why you might put off buying a new tripod until you absolutely have no other option!

Be sure to check out our related articles, The Best Geared Tripod Head Of 2021Geared Head vs Ball Head: Full Comparison, where we discuss the best-geared heads to pair with the best tripod for real estate photography.

This guide is designed to help take some of the guesswork out of choosing your next tripod purchase. You'll learn everything from what different materials do, how they affect weight and price, when you should consider carbon fiber vs aluminum, whether ball heads or pan/tilt heads are better, and a few other things in between…

Real Estate Tripods Comparison Chart

Model
Height
Payload
Weight
Warranty
Price
RRS TVC-34L (Backordered)
68.4"
80lbs
4.55lbs
5 Years
Check Prices
65.2"
26.46lbs
4lbs
7 Years
63.58"
35.3lbs
4.1lbs
3 Years
68.1"
121lbs
5.6lbs
10 Years
63.77"
132.2lbs
8.75lbs
5 Years

These Are Real Recommendations For Real Estate Photographers

I wanted to make this clear first. I’m not here just throwing suggestions to you out of a bag. I was a real estate photographer for years before moving out here to San Diego. So if I recommend it, it’s because I have either used it myself or done extensive research and know someone personally who uses it.

Just know – the best tripods for real estate, aren’t cheap. Quality comes at a price. But believe me – they pay off ten-fold long term. 

best tripod for real estate photography.

Some of you reading this might be blown away by how expensive quality tripods can be… but trust me when I say this…

If you’re serious about making a living and turning your real estate photography business full-time… bite the bullet once… and you won’t have to for many, many years to come.

Continue reading the entirety of the article to hear a few stories of those who chose to shop cheap.

What Aspects Make A Tripod Great For Real Estate Photography

best tripod for real estate photography.

I'm going to assume you already know the importance of a tripod for real estate photos, or else you wouldn't be here, right? Yeah. I wanted to discuss a tripod's aspects that make it the best tripod for real estate photography. Seeing as there are countless brands, sizes, features, and all kinds of other sh*t out there, I'm here to spell out what you need to be looking for in a real estate tripod.

All of these aspects come into play when deciding on which tripod is best for you. These Aspects will be included in every recommendation - it is up to you to decide which aspect is the most important to you (because there isn't a 'perfect tripod', or anything for that matter).

This section will cover 5 aspects you need to keep in mind. These include:

The Material

best tripod for real estate photography.

What your tripod is made of has a huge impact on both weight and durability. Carbon fiber is usually light and more durable. Aluminum is usually cheaper and heavier. So, it's really a decision about both cost and weight. A lighter tripod may cost more - but a cheaper version will be heavier, weaker, and not as durable.

Generally speaking, if you had two tripods and the only thing different about them was material (one is aluminum and one is carbon fiber), the carbon fiber version would last longer.

Fun Fact: Carbon Fiber is about 40% lighter than aluminum - while being about 10x stronger (per unit volume)* This is an obvious reason for an increase in cost and durability.

Rigidity (How Rigid Is It)?

best tripod for real estate photography.

This is a pretty loaded question.

Basically, how much do you have to worry about the tripod (and your camera) falling over. How strong are the legs and their hinges/moving parts? Does it feel like what you paid for it?

These are things that some people don't think about when shooting real estate. It's only when they're faced with a broken tripod or, God forbid, a broken tripod and camera - that they realize how important these questions are.

Durability

best tripod for real estate photography.

How long do you think a tripod should last? Is it something you even worry about? Are you OK with replacing them every 6 months to a year? If you are, are you ok with one failing in the middle of a property - having to deal with not having one then, for the rest of the day, and the next couple days as another one comes in...

Trust me... you don't. I've been there and done that.

You want something durable as hell. Something that you can toss around now and again after a really long day shooting and on the road. You don't want to have to worry about sh*t laying on it in your trunk or the bed of your truck.

It's peace of mind knowing that what you have can take a beating and keep on going, year after year.

Size & Weight

This is an aspect that a lot of beginners don't think about. The weight of everything in your camera bag/case, no matter how small, is added weight.

They may think that a couple of ounces here and a couple of ounces there isn't going to make much of a difference... well, think like that 5, 10, 20 times, and well, what you're lugging around every day is way heavier than it needs to be.

Think small and light.

I remember having a f*ckclobbering video tripod that I thought was so badass. It weighed 14 lbs - had triple supports on each leg... superfluid head... damn, I thought I was cool...

best tripod for real estate photography.

And then I had to walk it 6 blocks through the heart of Washington DC... that was to get there... Then, I had to walk the same distance back with the rest of my gear in a pelican. Needless to say - I could have done the same shoot with one of the tripods I'm going to mention today. I mean, I was shooting on a 1dx MkII. No need for such a heavy tripod.

Stories aside - think about how often you're going to be taking it in and out of your car, walking up and downstairs, through entire homes, multiple times in one day. That weight, while maybe not at first, can wear anyone down... I don't care how 'fit' you are... it will.

Keep in mind the size of the tripod when it's broken down. Make sure it fits in your vehicle and your bag/case easily. You don't want to have to 'man-handle' your tripod every time you need to get it out and put it away.

How Tall Is It?

best tripod for real estate photography.

Or better put, how much can it extend vertically.

Depending on the type of real estate photography you do, this may not be much of a concern. For instance, architectural photography may not need photos taken from high in the air.

On the other hand, maybe you're taking normal property photography (residential), and you cannot use a drone to get those nice aerials. A tripod that can extend higher could be of more importance.

I knew of a few photographers that wouldn't take many aerials (Washington DC) because of the air traffic. They also didn't believe in breaking out poles... so they would stand on the roof of their trucks and take 'aerials' with the tripod extended as high as it could go...

It worked for them. Their verticals were way off most of the time, but they could fix it in post usually.

This can be an option for you as well. It's a metric I will include in every recommendation well.

Buy The Legs And The Head, Separate

best tripod for real estate photography.
best tripod for real estate photography.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about buying tripods for real estate with or without a tripod head.

Let's talk about the legs (or the actual tripod) first.

I'm sure you have an idea of what your height needed and what your daily payload is. Choosing between 3, 4, or 5 section legs comes down to how tall you need your tripod to be (obviously). The more sections you have (even if you don't need it now), the more flexibility it offers.

Now for the head - and this is why real estate photography for a living will tell you to buy them separately. You should purchase the head that works best for your needs and style.

There Are Two Types Of Heads

best tripod for real estate photography.
best tripod for real estate photography.

Generally speaking, there are two types of tripod heads for real estate photography. You have your traditional ball head that swivels freely as any other ball head does.

Then you have a geared head. A geared head allows you to make every minute adjustments across multiple axes using gears (you adjust them using knobs).

Now, you should have a pretty good idea of whether the way you work (or your style) supports a ball head or a geared head. Are you more of a 'set it and forget it' kind of shooter and fixes verticals and distortion in post (or has their editor do it) - or do you care more about getting everything perfect in camera? You'd benefit more from a geared head then.

Now, you should have a pretty good idea of whether the way you work (or your style) supports a ball head or a geared head. For example, are you more of a 'set it and forget it' kind of shooter and fixes verticals and distortion in post (or has their editor do it) - or do you care more about getting everything perfect in camera? You'd benefit more from a geared head, then.

best tripod for real estate photography.

So, buying them separately allows you to not only choose the type - but the quality of the head as well. There are many different 'styles' of both ball and geared heads on the market... and it gives you the flexibility to choose which one is best for you.

Quality when purchasing 'kits' is lacking most of the time as well. There are a reason manufacturers offer a tripod/head combo - they make more money off of cheaper products that way (*ahem* Manfrotto *ahem*)

Don't fall for it... buy the legs and the head separate.

Let's Recap What We've Discussed So Far

Before diving into the best tripod for real estate photography, let's go over what's been discussed thus far - really drive the importance of it all, home.

The 5 aspects you need to keep in mind when thinking of your next real estate tripod is:

  • Material
  • Rigidity
  • Durability
  • Size/Weight
  • Max Height

All 5 aspects are fundamental. However, finding a balance between the 5 and getting them as close to 'equal' as possible is a different story. We will get to that here shortly.

The last suggestion/pointer is to purchase your tripod legs and tripod head separately. You'll have much more flexibility that way - and you won't waste money on ahead and/or legs you will ultimately throw away in the trash or a closet later on.

Let's move onto the tripods now!

The Best Tripod For Real Estate Photography Goes To...

RRS TVC-34L (Backordered)

best tripod for real estate photography.

RRS stands for 'Really Right Stuff.' Yeah, I'm not kidding. Regarded as the most reliable, dependable, and plain ol' rock-solid tripod on the market for real estate photographers today (any type of photographer, for that matter).

Paired with the Arca Swiss D4 geared head - and you literally have the best tripod setup for real estate photography. This setup will probably last you your entire career (if taken care of).

Let's go over the aspects of the tripod that we mentioned earlier.

  • Material: RRS' Proprietary Carbon Fiber (most likely 7-10 layers)
  • Rigidity: 10/10 It's about as strong as you can get (on par with Gitzo)
  • Durability: 10/10 Among one of the highest durability brands on the market today
  • Size/Weight:3 Section Tripod//Load capacity: 1st section fully extended: 85lbs 2nd: 50lbs//Broken down/folded length 25.5"/65cm//Weight of tripod itself: 4.1 lbs (just under 2kg).
  • Height: Max height 58.2" / 148cm

Along with that - you have a few awesome features (as seen in the graphic above) - Their platform allows for quick changing for different accessories, quick leveling base, quick column, and compatibility for fluid video heads. It's about anything you can ask for.

With that being said, I'm sure you can see why it's regarded as one of the best tripods on the market, especially for someone who uses their tripod daily. It's meant to be used - and last. That's the most important part.

While It's More Than Worth It - Let's Talk About Price...

Yeah, all the features and dependability are fantastic. But, If you were to price out the tripod itself with an Arca Swiss D4, you're looking at a price tag of about $2,300. Yes, that's correct. If you want the best - you'll have to pay for it.

If you have the money to invest in this kind of quality that will last you a decade or more - great. I highly recommend doing so. You can thank me years from now when you hear about the thousands others have spent in replacing theirs over the years...

Now, if you don't have the cash to purchase the best of the best... don't sweat it. Not many people have that kind of cash sitting around - I totally get it. However, there are still 4 more tripods on this list that won't break the bank quite as much.

**I recommend visiting their website for even more information about their products and who they are. Their products are out of stock often (as of writing this, it's currently out of stock). Pick it up if you can and when you can!**

Gitzo Travel Series 2

best tripod for real estate photography.

Gitzo ranks in the top 3 for the toughest tripods available. Along with RRS and 3LT (three-legged thing) - their reputation is top notch for quality and dependable products.

This tripod is a bit of a price cut compared to the RRS we just mentioned - and as you can expect - there are a couple of aspects that don't match up to the RRS either.

But that isn't the point - the point for this recommendation is that it saves your wallet and your back at the same time.

Let's talk about the features/aspects before we get into anything else.

  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Rigidity: 9/10 - While the tripod is solid - because of its size and being a travel tripod, it doesn't maintain the same footprint and stability that a larger tripod would. A bag or sandbags would alleviate this issue.
  • Durability: 10/10 - You can't beat carbon fiber over billet. Everything that Gitzo produces is made to last.
  • Size/Weight:  4 section tripod//Max payload: 26.46lbs (12.02kg)//Length when closed: 17.5 inches//Weight of tripod itself: 2.94 lbs

As you can see - it is smaller and lighter. So while you lose on max payload and a little stability, you gain from it being smaller, lighter, and less expensive.

Much like everything else on this list - what you're getting is something that lasts... regardless of price, this will last you a decade or more.

Note: The average lead time for shipment of this tripod is 3-5 weeks.  If you're planning to purchase - expect to wait at least 6 weeks to receive it.

Benro Mach3

best tripod for real estate photography.

Just a heads up - this tripod is even more affordable still!

The Benro Mach 3 is the most affordable on this list. It offers many of the same features and meets payloads like the rest of them. You can't find a more recommended tripod (along with their gear head) at this price point for real estate photography. Period.

With that being said, there are quite a few setbacks that you should be aware of. Remember what we were talking about earlier... if you decide to purchase the bottom-end, you will probably get bottom-end quality.

Let's go over the aspects before we get into the details you need to know.

  • Material: 9 Layers of carbon fiber
  • Rigidity: 10/10 - As seen in the photos, this is a substantial and solid tripod with the ability to remain standing in some of the worst conditions (2 different feet - spiked ones for added stability when outdoors).
  • Durability/longevity: 7/10 - While a great tripod for the price, it has its cons. We will go over that here in a minute.
  • Size/weight:  3 section tripod//Max Payload: 35.3 lbs (about 16kg)//Length when folded: 20.3 inches//Weight of tripod itself: 3.4 lbs

As you can see - it's an excellent tripod. Professional photographers from all genres rave about it. But, while you hear the raving - you have to dig deep to find the underlying issues...

best tripod for real estate photography.

First are the tripod leg screws. No lock washer or backward threaded nut is keeping the bolts tight. Over time and depending on how much you use it - you'll have to tighten these bolts once every 1-3 months. Not a big deal, though, right? Well, I guess...

Some speak very highly of Benro - hell, I used them for years without a problem - and some don't care for them at all (like everything else in this world). So it really comes down to how well you use and take care of your equipment.

With that being said, some people claim the tripod only lasted them a year. Then some claim to have been using it for 5 years or more... Like I said, take care of your equipment, and I'm sure this tripod could last you years (and invest in thin lock-washers if the bolts start giving you a problem.

FLM CP38-L4 II

best tripod for real estate photography.

FLM may be a company that you've never heard of before. I hadn't heard of them until I met another photographer that said he loved them. He said their quality is superb, coupled with an Arca Swiss D4... he said he hadn't used anything better.

After that, I checked them out - and believe it or not, FLM has been around since 1994. Everything was designed and built in Germany. Then they were shipped to Canada, which then shipped into the states.

Since then - they have sold to a different company while maintaining their quality a reputation. I have done extensive research on this tripod and brand - and while slightly less in the quality department than the RRS... it's still a wonderful build and company.

  • Material: 10 layers of Carbon Fiber
  • Rigidity: 10/10 - 10 layers of carbon fiber (highest on this list) makes it one of the most rigid on the market today.
  • Size/weight:  4 Section Tripod//Max Payload: 121 lbs (that is not a typo)//Length when folded: 23 inches//Weight of Tripod: 5.6 lbs
  • Height: 68.1"

Pretty impressive, right? It's taller and stronger than any of the tripods on the list so far. Its strength is slightly due to the layers of carbon fiber. It supports nearly 40% more payload capacity than anything on this list.

Though, it weighs more than anything on the list too.

It is worth it to advise that this is the second version of the tripod, released this year. You get revised leg angle selectors, easy to adjust central column bowl, and taller.

If you need the extra payload but are OK with the added weight, I would highly recommend it. But, again, it all depends on your workflow and what you need daily.

3 Legged Thing Legends Tommy Carbon Fiber

LM may be a company that you've never heard of before. I hadn't heard of them until I met another photographer that said he loved them. He said their quality is superb, coupled with an Arca Swiss D4... he said he hadn't used anything better.

After that, I checked them out - and believe it or not, FLM has been around since 1994. Everything was designed and built in Germany. Then they were shipped to Canada, which then shipped into the states.

Since then - they have sold to a different company while maintaining their quality a reputation. I have done extensive research on this tripod and brand - and while slightly less in the quality department than the RRS... it's still a wonderful build and company.

best tripod for real estate photography.
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Rigidity: 10/10 - It shows; checkout the payload below.
  • Durability: 9.5/10 - I'll get into one small reason it's not a 10/10 here in a minute too.
  • Size:  2 section tripod//Max Payload: 132.2 lbs//Length when folded: 28.74 inches//Weight of Tripod: 8.75 lbs
  • Height: Max 63.77 inches

Yeah, this is a big boy. We're talking nearly 10 lbs to lug around. It's, of course, heavier than anything on this list. It's also larger when folded than anything else on this list. What it does have going for it is the added payload. It's the strongest tripod on this list.

The one thing that is both a pro and con about this tripod is that you can take the legs off of the tripod. This is great when needing a monopod or walking stick... but what it isn't good for are the screws that hold the legs on.

Those hex key-set screws can be absolutely terrible. They strip very easily if not tighten correctly (like the Benro) and can become a pain in the ass later on down the road if you aren't mindful about stripping them.

But, if extra weight and customizability is your thing - do not think twice about 3 legged things (no pun intended).

That about covers it for this one!

Whewww... that was a long one! But I really hope you got something out of it!

We talked about what aspects make a great tripod, along with a few things to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing one. Then we went over all 5 recommendations in detail.

The list of best tripods for real estate photography (From best to worst) include:

*The Gitzo is 4th only because of the shipping time.  If that isn't an issue, it ranks 3rd after 3LT!*

If there are any questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments below. I will get to them as quickly as I can!

Until next time, be keep learning and creating!

Join The Letter!

Take advantage of our weekly newsletter that covers business/editing/on-location tips & gear recommendations!  So, join the hundreds of others who are benefitting from joining!
Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
envelopephone linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram