An L Bracket is a handy tripod accessory that connects to a camera and attaches to a tripod making it possible to seamlessly switch between a portrait and a landscape shot.
This handy, and small, accessory increases the versatility of your tripod and will easily squeeze into your camera bag.
Simply connect an L Bracket mount to the bottom of your camera, traditionally via the 1’4″ screw-in thread. The bracket then attaches to the tripod either by a screw-in connector or other alternatives like an arca-swiss connection.
Once attached and set-up, you can now easily and quickly remove, rotate and re-attach your camera when switching between a portrait and landscape mode (shown below).
The benefits of L Brackets
The main benefit of using an L Bracket is to easily photograph both horizontally or vertically in one simply movement. This will save a considerable amount of time instead of having to tilt your tripod head completely sideways.
L Brackets may not be needed when it comes to shooting in a studio, but they can be a dream to have in landscape photography and a very handy tool when it comes to architecture or real estate.
You may be wondering, “how long can it take to tilt a tripod head?!”. Well, by the time it took us to loosen the ball socket of the tripod, tilt it and adjust the level in the scene, 60 seconds had past.
This meant the perfect cloud formation that captured our landscape shot perfectly, had moved on and the natural lighting had shifted. Making our portrait shot of the same scene undesirable.
Although many photographers find it easier to tilt the head of their tripod to achieve a portrait shot, there can be a few disadvantages:
- Poor weight distribution. By tilting the tripod head from landscape to portrait the tripod now has a bigger weight distribution on one side, which may cause an unstable set up in windy conditions.
- General wear and tear. By constantly changing the weight distribution and loosening/tightening the quick release system of your tripod head, general wear and tear may start to become an issue.
There are also many other great personal benefits to using L Brackets: “I can hold my tripod over my shoulder while walking on trails without worrying if the camera would fall off the mount” Nicole S. Young, photofocus.com.
What to look out for when buying an L bracket
As the photographic industry is flooded with different types of L brackets, you’ll have no problem finding the right one for you. But here’s a few things that you may want to consider:
- Weight and construction. Your chosen L Bracket is responsible for holding your camera and lens, so make sure it’s sturdy and solid. It may also be attached to your camera for an entire shoot, so make sure it’s also comfortable to hold.
- Check tripod compatibility. Check if the L Bracket will fit your tripod head. This can be anything from a standard 1’4” screw-in thread to an arca-swiss fit (like the SRB L Bracket Camera Mount).
- Price. If you’re on a budget, L Brackets can be very affordable. Unless you’re wanting a super-duper looking fancy L Bracket, remember that the main purpose of one is to switch from landscape to portrait. If it achieves this and fits your tripod, go for it!
Tips for using L Brackets
Once you’ve found the L bracket that is right for you, there a few things you may want to consider:
- A fully charged battery. An L bracket will often obstruct the side and bottom compartments of a camera, including the battery door. If you have to swap batteries during a shoot, this will mean removing and re-attaching the L Bracket.
- Secure your camera. L Brackets form a complete structure with your camera, allowing you to slide the camera on and off the tripod. Make sure the camera is secured to the L Bracket so there is no unnessesery movement.
- Alternative Shutter releases. As well as the battery door, cable ports may also be restricted. That means your normal shutter release port may not be accessible.