A Tripod Alternative
A tripod can be a lifesaver in difficult shooting environments. However, sometimes you just can't bring a tripod or don't feel like carrying anything as bulky as a tripod. When you come across these types of situations, take a tip form the pros. Use a bean bag. By placing your camera on a bean bag, you can make a mini tripod on just about any surface. Beans bags will change shape to adopt to uneven surfaces, and will keep your camera steady. I even knew one photographer who had an even simpler and more economical solution: a homemade bean bag. Just find an old sock (one without holes of course) and fill it with beans. The bean bag "tripod" is perhaps one of the simplest, yet one of the most effective, photography tips I have ever come across.
What about those time when you don't have a tripod and you forgot your bean bag? Steady yourself however you can. In this respect, using a camera is a lot like shooting a gun: the steadier you, are the better. In these situations, lean against a wall or tree. Get down on one knee and rest your elbow on the knee that's up. Or, put your camera on a flat surface. If there's no alternatives, you can always lay on the ground and rest your elbows on the ground to keep your camera steady and your photos crisp.