Originally Posted by Kevin@rsp
As far as "in studio" sessions. Do you try to adjust shutter speed etc. to enable you to not use a tripod or is it a necessary evil? I feel so restricted using it but I know in some light conditions you may have no choice.
I often use a tripod in a studio setting. Why? Well it has nothing to do with the shutter speed in most cases. Obviously with modern flashes, the length of the flash is between 1/1000th to 1/3200th on average which will freeze most any action and certainly any action a model can make. Shutter speed has no meaning in this regard, as the flash speed is the shutter speed. The only time I worry about shutter speed is if I also want to include ambient light. In that case you can "drag" the shutter speed (shoot a a low shutter speed to allow the ambient light to effect the scene). Otherwise, the rule of thumb is to set the shutter speed to the sync speed of the camera (or 1 stop below).
So why do I use a tripod? I use it for several reasons. In the old days, when I shot with a RB67, you were talking about 10-14 pounds of camera and lens, so a tripod kept you back from breaking. That can still be a factor with some of the huge lens (like my Sigma 70-200 F2.8). But the most important reason, is that you can then interact more freely with the model. I put the camera on the tripod and then get the model where I want her in general (and I use f11 to f16 when doing this). I frame the scene in the camera and lock focus on where I plan to have the model's eyes (manual focus). I then take my cable release in hand and raise my head from the viewfinder. I can now see the model much more clearly and can talk to her without a camera stuck to my head. I can then direct, her and snap shots here and there. If I want eye interaction with the camera, I bring my head close to the camera. If I want her looking elsewhere, I move so she can look at me. I can dance, make faces, or whatever to get reactions and snap away. You must be careful to not allow the model's head to move out of the general area where you have set your sharpest focus (but f11-f16) give you much more DOF, so you have some wiggle room. This used to be the way a lot of pros worked with their subjects. Take a look at some of the photos at Hurrell at work, and you'll almost always see him away from the camera with a cable release in hand.
Oh well, times change. But anyway, play with the idea of tripod and cable release and you may find it adds a new dimension to your photography. On the other hand, if the model is dancing around, then you'll probably need to keep the camera in hand.