A tripod is usually the best way to take a steady picture. But there are a lot of times when a tripod isn't convenient to use. One alternative is to mount your camera on an articulated arm that is mounted off to one side. This will still hold your camera steady but it will be able to get angles that would be impossible for a tripod.
The easiest way to make an articulated camera stand is to modify an articulated desk lamp. The best style of lamp for this application is one that has two sets of parallel arms. A flexible gooseneck lamp can work but they aren't able to support heavy cameras as well.