Why Do Camera Tripods Have a Hook On The Bottom?

Why Do Camera Tripods Have a Hook On The Bottom

So you just picked up your brand new tripod and you’re ready to go and capture some amazing photographs. Upon setting up your tripod and camera, everything seems to be going smoothly. This is until you see a hook located on the underside of the tripod column….

What is this strange hook thing you may be wondering? 

Surprisingly this hook is an incredibly valuable feature for any photographer who plans on capturing long exposure photos or is shooting on uneven ground or in windy environments. Since finding out what the hook is for, my photo quality has increased significantly. Ok, lets jump in!

Ok, So Why Do Camera Tripods Have a Hook On The Bottom?

In a nutshell, the hook on the bottom of your tripod is there so you can add more weight to your tripod, which in effect makes it more stable. Typically you would hang your camera bag off the hook, or bring a seperate bag all together in which you can fill with sand or rocks once you get to your desired location.

Why Do Camera Tripods Have a Hook On The Bottom camera bag

While this is a super simple trick, it really does wonders when shooting outdoors or trying to get that crispy shot of the milky way. Also if you plan on using a heavier tripod with a telephoto lens, a tripod hook can do wonders!

Utilising the hook is also very helpful if you plan on doing video work with a fluid head or pan head. As you are likely to be standing close to the tripod, having that extra weight will give you smoother transitions and make it less prone to bumps.

But, can you even tell the difference with or without the hook?

In my experience, yes you definitely can tell, especially to the trained eye. Even the slightest vibrations from you standing close to your tripod or even your own breath can make an image slightly soft. So by adding some extra weight to your tripod is a great way of dampening out those unwanted vibrations.

Why Do Camera Tripods Have a Hook On The Bottom sand bags

If you plan on using your tripod hook, here are some pro tips that I have come up with to help you along the way.

  • Hang the weight as close as possible to the hook: I have found that when you hang a weighted bag with a long strap from the hook, there is a possibility of the wind swaying the bag. So by using a more taught strap, this can easily me minimised.
  • Fill your sand bag once you get to site: It’s embarrassing for me to admit this, but I have actually filled my weight bag before walking to the desired location. This is something you’ll only ever do once!
  • Check your tripod if it has a hook: While not every tripod has a hook, some manufactures actually hide them pretty well. In some cases you will find a hook that is inverted into the central column. You can also check out this video for making your own.
  • Anything is better than nothing: If you don’t have a sand bag with you that’s ok! A camera back of any weight will still help if you are trying to add more stabilisation to your photos.

Hopefully I have been able to answer your question on why do camera tripods have a hook on the bottom. If you feel like I have missed something, please let me know so I can add it to this article. If you would like to learn more about tripods, you can also check out my article on the top 20 best tripods for all budgets and photographic levels