Top 8 DIY Tripod Alternatives for Real Estate Photographers

Resourcefulness knows no bounds if you are a real estate photographer. We’ve seen all kinds of creativity come into the scene when we needed it the most, time and time again. Real estate photographers have long grappled with cases of forgotten accessories, missing items, or perhaps broken things but that never slowed them down. In this article we talk about using a DIY tripod in situations where one isn’t available for use for any given reason. The fun part is being able to scour for any object within the property that could potentially stand as a DIY tripod and give you the same effects without any sweat. Think of it this way. A real estate photographer needs anything that would create stability and straightness. There is a plethora of items that can provide this function and take away the stress of not having a tripod at hand. Without further ado, here are the top 8 DIY tripods that real estate photographers can use as a substitute.

The 8 DIY Tripods You Can Use

  1. Stacking books on top of each other

In a real estate property that might be occupied and is up for sale, it won’t be hard to find some books to stack. In fact, phonebooks and other thick publishing material would fit the bill just fine. It also features a lot of flexibility as a DIY tripod as it enables you to easily add or remove books to play around with the level. Just remember than this isn’t a game of Jenga where the books are too small and stacked too high that there is a danger of falling.

  1. Using the Lazy Susan

Famous for easily bringing around the dishes to everyone on the table, the Lazy Susan can be a real estate photographer’s dream come true for more than just the still images. A Lazy Susan can be used to capture panoramas or even 360 camera images. The motion can even be controlled by manually rotating the Lazy Susan about its axis, but again, be careful on spinning and stopping it suddenly. You won’t want to compromise your cameras now.

  1. A bar stool

Bar stools are a great choice for a no-frills DIY tripod alternative. It’s high, it’s stable, and best of all the level is just right for most interior shots. The only downside though is that it isn’t adjustable, making it fixed on a rigid height. Also, a bar stool is not common in most households as they serve a specific purpose of providing seats at a breakfast counter in the kitchen so don’t put all your chips in these guys.

  1. The top of a car

If exterior shots require some level of elevation to make sure the shot doesn’t make the property lean back, then mounting the camera on top of a car could just be a life saver. One watch-out on this DIY tripod though, that not all cars have flat surfaces on the top. Most would be curved on the apex, but a real estate photographer would know how to fix that using some car floor matting.

  1. A desk

Most properties will have desks, or even the slightest resemblance to a table. As a DIY tripod, this is probably one of the most stable surfaces because it simply takes a lot of effort to knock a table down unless you’ve got a wobbly one. For cases like these, fold a piece of paper and wedge it under the shortest leg of the table to keep it rigid. Also make sure that the table isn’t too heavy as you may need to carry it around from one room to the next.

  1. The steps of a ladder

Ladders can provide you with versatility on height. Some people even take advantage of being able to stand on the topmost step and take an overlooking photo of the interior. But let’s get real. This DIY tripod can be utilized for its numerous steps, giving you plenty of options when it comes to shooting at different heights. Most real estate photographers would shoot with the camera on their hands and sit on one of the steps of the ladder. Be cautious when attempting this as a simple miscalculation can lead to disastrous results.

  1. Selfie sticks

A selfie stick in your bag could not spell V-A-I-N any louder, but it comes in handy in this situation, doesn’t it? These monopods can screw into your camera just as good as any tripod, so they remain secure. You can even take 360 shots and panoramas using this just by rotating it with your hand. It might not be a very stable option but hey, you have got to work with what you’ve got, right?

  1. A rolling cabinet

Otherwise known as a pedestal, it might be rare to see these hanging around during property shoots, but once you find one it will be a useful DIY tripod alternative. It can roll around so transporting it would be easy. Just make sure it’s not one of those filing cabinets that could fall on you if there’s too much pressure exerted.

What You Want to Remember with DIY Tripods

Ensure they won’t cave in and break your camera

It is exciting to get creative especially if you are a realty editor photographer who is looking to utilize a makeshift tripod. But always take into consideration the stability and moveability of the chosen alternative. At the end of the day, the last thing you want to happen is to break your camera, effectively ending the shoot.

Safety is key

Also take note of the safety implications of what you are trying to do. While some of these do not pose grave danger, some like ladders and huge filing cabinets will be risky. Use them with utmost care, ensuring that you do not injure yourself or the people around you during the shoot.


While it is fun to do a DIY tripod, real estate photographers must understand what is needed to make this work safely and effectively. The numerous ways you can go about it poses an excitable feeling that should be coupled with the right train of thought and purpose of use such that you can work through the lack of a real tripod with the best outcome for the shoot.


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