Today, we will show you the best overhead tripods in the market.
Flat-lay photography is another name for overhead photography. However, as the name suggests, it is an image shot from above; think of it as a bird’s eye view.
Top 3 Best Overhead Tripods (Our Picks)
To get those great product shots, you’ll need a good tripod that can be used in a variety of positions; a handheld shot may suffice, but it will never match an overhead tripod.
The best tripods for overhead shots are listed here.
5. Neewer 2-in-1 Camera Tripod – Best Value
- Stable Tripod: Made of aluminium alloy, the tripod with maximum 1.1”/28mm tube diameter is stable enough to support your camera gear up to 33lb/15kg. Comes with a carabiner which can hang sandbag or other heavy objects to increase stability if necessary
- Multi Angle Center Column: The center column lets you adjust the shooting angle, whether it’s vertical (0°, 22.5°, 45°, 67.5°, or 90°) or horizontal angle (360° panning). Reverse the center column to shoot macro photos
- Panoramic Ball Head: Securely attaches a camera to the tripod while allowing you to change the composition quickly with 3 adjustment knobs and the Arca Type quick release plate. 2 bubble levels to keep your photos look straight
What We Like:
- Rotating ball head
- Extremely stable
- What I Don’t Like
Let’s begin with an affordable and intriguing Neewer pick, the Neewer 2-in-1 Camera Tripod. Neewer is a relatively unknown brand, but thanks to its low-cost camera tools, they are steadily climbing the ranks. This tripod from Neewer made my list because of its innovative features, such as a rotating ball head and a flexible central column.
Despite its low price, this tripod will enable you to take better low-angle, panoramic and macro shots. It has a magnesium-aluminum alloy body, which makes it heavier than the competition’s carbon-fiber models.
While we should not begrudge the heavyweight, we should appreciate it because it will support our camera more stability. When you think about it, most DSLR cameras are heavy in the first place, so the Neewer tripod can keep your valuable camera safe and secure.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can use one of the legs as a monopod by removing one of its four legs. Furthermore, the monopod can be used as a climbing or walking stick! This Neewer tripod is built to last and can support up to 33 pounds.
The Neewer 2-in-1 Camera Tripod is your budget-friendly option for overhead shots and more, whether you’re new to overhead photography or want a versatile tripod.
Key Features of the Neewer Tripod:
- Ball Head Rotates 360 Degrees
- Supports a maximum weight of 33 pounds.
4. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB – Best For Most People
- 26mm 3 section aluminum alloy legs adjust to 25, 50, and 80-degree angles to enable extreme low angle photography. Quick flip leg locks and rubber feet with retractable spikes
- Easy to operate with precise pan and tilt function, the PH-32 three-way panhead includes quick release plate QS-52 and 3 bubble levels
- Hexagon-shaped central column moves from 0 to 180 degrees. The Instant Swivel Stop-n-Lock (ISSL) System securely repositions the central column in one simple movement
What We Like:
- Strong construction
- Several positions are available.
- What I Don’t Like
- Heavy and bulky
The following tripod on the list is well-known among photographers. The Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB has an ultra-sturdy build and a plethora of angle options that benefit in great versatility for studio/overhead photography.
It, like the rest of the Vanguard tripod line, is mostly black with slick metallic silver accents and a nice orange touch that delivers the tripod good aesthetics. The design will go with anything modern, including your camera.
The center hexagonal rod offers great versatility due to its ability to reach a full height of over 68 inches and pivot up to 180 degrees, with a minimum height of 28.1 inches when folded.
Vanguard is known for producing durable products, so it’s no surprise that the Alta Pro has the same characteristics.
There’s also the 360-degree ball, which is one of the best ball heads available right now while also being extremely easy to use. Although Alta Pro is on the heavy side, weighing up to 2.44 kilograms, it can support a weight of 15.4 pounds.
Without a doubt, the Alta Pro is a good choice if you need a studio tripod for flat lay photography.
Key Features of the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB:
- Made from an aluminum alloy
- Central Column with Multiple Angles
- Stop-and-Lock Swivel System
- The price is reasonable.
3. Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 – Best Carbon Fiber
- Premium Carbon Fiber Legs Offer Unprecedented Strength and Rigidity
- Manfrotto's Q90 Center Column Boasts Quick One Finger Operation
- Easy Link Connection for Adding Accessories
What We Like:
- Quick and easy technology for tripod leg and angle adjustment
- What I Don’t Like
- The construction quality could be improved.
Next on the list is a well-known brand, Manfrotto, which has made a name for itself by providing high-quality tripods. Aside from that, this is one of the best tripods in the Manfrotto lineup.
It checks all of the boxes that a photographer requires. Something we should expect from Manfrotto; it has been an industry leader for nothing. Because of its weight and height, I like to market this tripod as a tripod that can do everything. While it is a fantastic workhorse in many situations and aspects, it is also very portable.
It weighs 4.4 pounds and can support a weight of 19.8 pounds (9 kg). It can attain a maximum height of 66.93 inches (170cm) and a minimum height of 3.5 inches in terms of extension (9cm).
The unusual method of leg angle selection must be the MT055CXPRO3’s main selling point. Instead of the standard pull-out tab found on a tripod, this one pulls down on the outside of each leg section. This is a sleek and quick technology that allows us to adjust leg angles much faster than a traditional tripod.
Not only that, but the horizontal center column distinguishes this bad boy from the competition. It is a 90-degree column, which allows it to be stretched vertically or horizontally.
It is quite simple to switch between vertical and horizontal column orientation, so don’t worry; you will be able to do so even with the camera attached. If you’re looking for a tripod with some cool features, this one from Manfrotto will be more than pleased to accompany you during overhead photography.
Key Features of the Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3
- A column with a 90-degree angle
- Carbon Fiber Construction
- Leg Angle Determination
2. Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber Model ) – Best For Travel
- The Travel Tripod brings you pro-level stability, load capacity, and deployed height, yet packs down to the diameter of a water bottle.
- Unique design allows quicker, easier setup/takedown. Secure, fast, and ergonomic camera quick release. Fast-locking, low profile leg cams.
- 20lb weight capacity (optimized for a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless cameras + telephoto lens).Suitable for long exposure and Astrophotography when you require a stable but lightweight solution.
What We Like:
- Solid construction
- Five telescoping leg sections
- What I Don’t Like
While the name suggests a travel tripod, this Peak Design tripod is also excellent for food photography or overhead photography in general; after all, Peak Design created it. There’s also an aluminum model, but I decided to include the carbon fiber one this time.
Peak Design’s travel tripod made quite a stir on Kickstarter when it first debuted, so if you assume yourself to be a photographer and haven’t heard of it, you must have been living under a rock.
The Travel gets its name from its five telescoping leg sections. Peak, like Manfrotto, decided to shape the legs so that the center column could be nested close to the folded legs rather than using traditional cylindrical legs.
It has a minimum height of 14 cm (5.5 inches) and a maximum height of 152 cm (60 inches). And its maximum weight capacity is 9.1 kg (20 lbs), which is more than adequate for a compact and lightweight tripod.
Its uniqueness does not end with the legs. When collapsed, the built-in ball head is extremely light and low-profile, and its strength is quite impressive; you can freely lock any heavy DSLR on it at almost any angle. There is no doubt that this is a very capable head.
While I appear to be a paid reviewer, hyping this tripod so much, it’s not just me; you’ll find this bad boy on almost any tripod-related list. However, you should be aware that it comes at a high cost, which is understandable.
Key Features of the Peak Design Travel Tripod
- Stability on a Professional Level
- When packed, it eliminates the tripod’s volume.
- Ball head with an ergonomic design
- Premium Carbon Fiber Construction
1. Gitzo GT2542 Series 2 Mountaineer Tripod – Best Build Quality
- Reversible column: The rapid column can easily be inverted for an alternative shooting angle or low level macro work.
- Revolutionary Carbon eXact tubes are even stiffer to maximize rigidity and image stability. Carbon eXact optimizes the fibre composition for each tube size, using HM (High Modulus) carbon fibre in the narrower tubes to make them stiffer. The tube diameters are also optimized: the final leg section of a 4 section Series 1 tripod is now 22.5% thicker than its predecessor.
- G-lock system has been redesigned from the inside out; G-lock Ultra is smoother and softer to use, and is designed to reduce dust and grit from getting in.
What We Like:
- Excellent build quality
- Capable of supporting 0Ibs
- What I Don’t Like
- Nothing at all
If you thought Peak Design was pricey, wait until you see this one – just be careful not to fall off the chair, as I did the first time I saw it.
The Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Carbon Fiber tripod was designed for professionals, hence the exorbitant price. Nonetheless, this appears to be a once-in-a-lifetime investment because tripods, unlike cameras, require frequent replacement due to technological advancements.
I know photographers who haven’t changed their tripods since the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Anyway, this is a really well-made tripod with a carbon fiber design. What distinguishes this tripod is its ability to support up to 40 pounds, allowing it to compete with your gym buddy.
Jokes aside, this is a 4-section tripod that folds to a 22-inch length and weighs as little as 3.7 lbs thanks to the Carbon eXact tubes and magnesium finish, making it an excellent traveling companion.
When you think about it, this is one of the lightest tripods that is also one of the strongest. Competition tripods struggle to support less than half the weight that Gitzo can while being less compact. If money isn’t an issue and you want to pursue photography at the professional level, you can’t go wrong with this unbreakable tripod.
Key Features of the Gitzo Mountaineer:
- Extremely Large Payload
- Premium Construction
- eXact carbon tubes
- Glock Ultra security system
How to Select a Tripod?
Tripods can be purchased in two ways: as individual parts or as a complete set. So, before we get into the list, consider how your tripod requirements relate to what you’re shooting.
A built-in tripod kit is ideal if you need something compact and pretty cheap that requires no setup time. This means that the legs and head are included.
You don’t need a massive tripod setup if you primarily use mirrorless or DSLR-sized cameras. If you’re working on larger projects that require heavier cameras and their associated accessories, you’ll want to select your tripod in individual pieces that meet your exact requirements.
Things to Consider When Purchasing an Overhead Tripod
Size of the Tripod
Not only do you need a tripod for overhead photography, but you also need one that is large enough to handle the required height and sturdy enough to hold your camera. Because photography does not require you to travel around, a heavy and large tripod is the most important option to consider.
Durability and Stability
The most important requirement would be its stability and the quality of the tripod’s construction. You will need a tripod that can support the weight of your camera as well as any additional equipment, such as lenses or extra lights.
Again, I recommend avoiding cheap and compact tripods. It is pointless to save money for a cheap tripod that will eventually cost more in the long run and may even break your camera and equipment.
The tripod head is where the camera sits; there are two types of tripods to consider for overhead photography.
The Ball Head:
This type comes in various forms and allows for faster and more precise rotation. It basically prevents the ball from moving when you want it to stay in one place. For those with a little more money, check out our geared tripod head roundup.
The Pan-Tilt Head:
As the name implies, this one enables you to rotate your camera right and left, as well as up and down; however, if you can avoid the price, this may be the best option. Take into account the possibility of having to purchase the ball separately.
Tripod Legs and Feet
Tripod legs are mostly made of aluminum or carbon fiber, with the latter being the best. You should also ensure that your tripod has stable, preferably rubber, feet to prevent it from sliding back.
How do you get overhead shots?
Keep extending your tripod to its maximum height and point the camera as far down as it will go.
- Tripod Stabilization
The first and most important step after assembling the tripod is to stabilize it. You don’t want it to learn the wrong thing or to trip over the product.
- Take a look around
Before you begin shooting, make sure you look through the viewfinder. Essentially, what I mean is to perform a quick walk-through or test.
Nothing is more inconvenient than having to halt a process because your battery has died. So, before you start shooting, make sure there’s an outlet nearby or that it’s fully charged.
Overhead photography is an excellent way to capture great content for product photography or anything in general because it gives your photos a pleasing aesthetic feeling. However, you should be aware that it is not an easy task, which is why I hope this article provided you with some guidance on what to do and which tripod to select.
FAQs on the Best Overhead Tripods
Why do I need a tripod for overhead shots?
Now that you have learned what overhead shots are, I’d like to point out that you need a tripod simply because you can never take pictures from above! A tripod is the best accessory to use because it is portable.
What is the most important feature of an overhead tripod?
The most important feature of a tripod for overhead shots is its ability to be adjusted in a variety of ways. As previously stated, this type of photography is a bit unusual, and an extendable tripod, adjustable in a variety of ways, can make your job easier!
What is the best material that tripods are made of?
When looking for tripods, you should expect to see two materials most commonly used in their construction. There are tripods made of aluminum and carbon fiber. What you should remember is that carbon fiber ones are better but also more expensive.