You’ve got the latest DSLR, a smattering of lenses and the best location in the world, but try as you might, things are still looking more Monet than Ansel Adams. Even with the best image stabilization technology and neurosurgeon hands, photos will lose their crispness around exposures longer than 1/20th of a second. Past that, you’re going to need something sturdy to rest on.

The go-to for most is a tripod: they’re strong, stable, and excellent for selfies. But with a tripod often comes bulkiness, cost and strange looks, especially as you pull a duck-face all by your lonesome. The happy solution? A monopod. With 1/3 of the legs and no need for an expensive head, monopods are less expensive, less bulky, and stable enough for most low-light photography. Key to a quality monopod is compactness, long extension, low weight, and a high maximum load; with those in mind, we picked three of our favorite monopods at a handful of price brackets. Steady yourself.

OUR MONOPOD PICKS Mefoto Walkabout ($59) | Gitzo Traveler CF ($445) | Manfrotto Pro Self-Standing Monopod ($145)