It’s no secret today’s smartphones have very impressive cameras capable of taking amazing photos. These products can make them better. For most people, the phone is the first thing they reach for when a photo opportunity arises. Some even make the most of it by producing outstanding photos using the right gear to complement their abilities.
There’s a lot that goes into making a smartphone camera so effective. Beyond the image sensors and lenses, there is the computational software and optical image stabilization, among other things. Not to mention apps available to add to the mix as photography tools.
Despite all the incredible features smartphones come with to take great photos and video, certain accessories can take things to another level. Know someone who puts thought into capturing images? Any one of these mobile phone photography accessories could help their cause.
Joby GorillaPod mobile vlogging kit
Starting with the GorillaPod tripod, you have a foundation to start with. Twist and wrap the legs around any object that fits to shift or adjust the angle. Joby’s GripTight Pro 2 can mount a wide range of smartphones (56-91mm wide), even if they’re in a case. It has a cold shoe mount you can slide in, along with two screws on the sides to attach the handles for the Beamo Mini LED and Wavo mobile microphone. Those latter two make up the rest of the kit, though you can attach any other accessories to those handles. They don’t have to be Joby products.
This kind of setup adds a lot of versatility, especially for shooting video. Whether you rest it on a surface, wrap around something else or hold it in hand, the mobile vlogging kit works in a variety of ways. For photos, it makes time-lapse shots so much easier, as well as night shots where it’s better not to hold the phone in your hands.
Aputure MC RGBWW film light
Being a Bluetooth-enabled light, it pairs with the Sidus Link app on iOS or Android where you can adjust the light’s intensity, hue, saturation and temperature. It covers millions of colours, meaning it can illuminate a subject with whatever tone you’re looking for. It even has some FX modes to emulate effects through the app. A pretty wide colour temperature between 3200-6500 Kelvins covers various tones, like cool, warm, tungsten and daylight.
As an accent light, the MC RGBWW lends itself to a whole lot of creativity. Use it for people or products. Change up the colours and try the different features in the Sidus Link app to make things interesting.
ShiftCam SnapGrip magnetic smartphone battery grip
The magnet on it is very strong, able to hold the phone in either portrait or landscape orientation. The SnapGrip is compatible with Apple’s MagSafe system. Attach any MagSafe-ready iPhone, or any phone with a MagSafe-enabled case. This grip isn’t only for iPhones. A disc comes in the box that you can stick on a phone or case without the magnet built-in. The grip’s own battery can wirelessly charge the phone for added convenience.
DJI Osmo Mobile 6
This gimbal is made for smartphones, but there is a catch. While it will work with both iPhones and Android phones, the DJI Mimo app is more advanced for iOS. To get it on Android, you’d have to download an APK file of the app and sideload it. Android users who’d rather not do that can always consider other options.
Apart from the motorized mechanics handling the phone with grace, the Osmo Mobile 6 adds precision in other areas. It’s easier to focus or zoom in on a subject without touching the phone, though the ActiveTrack focusing system remains intact. It’s super easy to switch between landscape and portrait, and the app always tells you which mode you’re shooting in to avoid mistakes.
DJI designed this gimbal to fold up and take less space when transporting it around. It comes with a pouch to carry it, and the battery charges up via USB-C.
Elgato 17″ Wi-Fi LED ring light
Vloggers and content creators rely heavily on good lighting. Chances are, you’ve seen videos online with people speaking into a camera with what looks like professional lighting, and odds are good they were using a ring light. Ring lights are useful tools for illuminating a subject—which could be yourself—without taking up a lot of space.
The Elgato 17-inch Wi-Fi LED ring light is a good example. It’s not going to quite match the kind of professionalism of studio lights with large diffusers, but it serves a real purpose for setting up a light in a spot where you don’t need a really elaborate layout. Speaking in front of a webcam is a good example of that, or in tighter spaces where bigger lights aren’t practical or necessary. It offers varying colour temperatures to present a cooler or warmer tone based on what look you’re going for.
It includes a separate mount for a camera that sits in the middle of the ring to distribute light more evenly. A clamp at the bottom of the pod is for setting it on the edge of a desk, so this is not really ideal if you want something for your tripod. While you can adjust the height and angle for this light, it’s designed to mostly stay mounted in one place.
What’s also cool about using something like this is how easy it is for selfies or product photos. If you like capturing images of people or work you’ve done, like art, this could be the way to light them up.
There are more useful accessories that can help phone photographers and videographers get the images they want. Some are for specific devices or platforms, so best to confirm that what you have in mind will be compatible. In most cases, unless explicitly stated, they will work perfectly fine.