Take your iPhoneography to the next level
The most popular and successful camera in the world is the iPhone. It beats dedicated cameras and other smartphones by a long way on websites like Flickr, showing that the best camera really is the one you have with you. The cameras on recent iPhones have been great for smartphones and more than adequate for fun selfies but some photographers are taking it further with professional-grade work. Some iPhonegraphy is stunning.
To help iPhone users get the most out of their phones for photography, a host of gadgets and accessories have appeared either to improve photos taken with the iPhone or to use the phone alongside a dedicated camera. Here are our favourite iPhoneography accessories. We’ve taken quality and value for money into account rather than just listing the absolute best. After all, if you’re spending thousands then you should probably just get a DSLR! The following items are all compatible with the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus but some are also compatible with older iPhones.
A steady shot can make all the difference when it comes to photography and the lightweight iPhones can be easier to shake than a heavier dedicated camera. There are many tripod solutions ranging from iPhone-specific mini tripods to adapters for standard tripods. The GorillaPod tripods have been famous for a number of years because they make great portable tripods for a flat surface but they can also tie around objects to capture images from unique angles.
Our favourite iPhone tripod is easily JOBY’s magnetic GorillaPod. It does the same as their older tripods, letting you wrap the legs around objects, but it also has magnets to connect to any metal surface. Sometimes there’s a flat metal surface available when there isn’t a convenient tree or fence to wrap around. It’s small, portable, cheap, and can be used for interesting angles.
£15.99 on Amazon
One of the most exciting accessories for the iPhone is an attachable lens. These let you take photos that would never be possible with the phone’s lens alone. Olloclip has been making iPhone lenses for a while and there are some great alternatives but we’ve chosen them because of their wide range of lenses and affordable options.
The best deal is definitely the 4-in-1 lens that gives you wide-angle, fisheye, and 2 macro lenses (10x and 15x). They’re all held together as one unit and attach to your keychain so they’re always there when you need them. There are plenty of other options on their website if you’re more interested in telephoto rather than macro lenses, but the 4-in-1 lens is a deal that delivers on quality and value for money.
£69.99 on olloclip.com
The little flash on the iPhone is ok for a turning an impossible dark photo into something worth sharing over Whatsapp but sometimes it isn’t enough for when you want to take some seriously impressive photos. We’ve used a few external flashes compatible with the iPhone and have a few favourites. For portability we loved the Nova but it doesn’t seem to be in stock right now. For quality and value for money our favourite is definitely the iblazr 2. The original was great but attached to the iPhone using the 3.5 mm jack. The latest model is wireless.
The iblazr 2 has a crap name but it works really well. It connects to the iPhone using Bluetooth and can be used with its own app for the native iOS camera app that detects it and flashes when photos are taken. The temperature can be adjusted between 5600K — 3200K, it gives out 300 Lux on medium power, and also works as a shutter release button. Most importantly, it makes a huge difference to your portrait shots.
£39.99 on concepter.co
This is a useful accessory for those doing iPhoneography or using their iPhone alongside a DSLR camera. In the right hands, a light meter can radically improve a photo. The downside is they come at a price. They tend to be used by professionals so most are high-end and can cost over £100. The Luxi Light Meter is a bit cheap (it’s made of plastic) but it works well.
The Luxi Light Meter connects wirelessly to your iPhone and an app uses its diffusion dome to tell you the best settings for your DSLR or for your more advanced iPhone camera apps. Luxi has an official app to use that gives great suggestions but their light meter is also compatible with the brilliant Cine Meter II iOS app that blows it out of the water. They make a perfect combination and could save you a lot of money.
£33.24 on Amazon
All of the items already mentioned are designed specifically for the iPhone and other smartphones. That’s great if you’re really into your iPhoneography and want to buy accessories that will make your iPhone a more powerful camera. But some photographers already have a bunch of great equipment for dedicated cameras that they could use with their iPhone on the go.
The Helium Core is a chassis we’ve written about recently. It gives your iPhone a little more bulk to make it easier to hold as a camera but more importantly allows you to attach accessories designed for standalone cameras. These include standard tripods, grips, and any 37 mm threaded lenses. The bad news is you won’t get one until July because the creator is currently using Kickstarter to fund manufacturing. The good news is that the Helium Core is fully funded already.
£75 backing option on Kickstarter
The market for iPhone photography is huge so we’ve had to miss some great products such as Moment lenses and the weird lens cameras such as the Sony DSC-QX100 and Olympus AIR A01 that are technically standalone cameras themselves but attach to the iPhone.
One final tip: the + volume button on Apple’s EarPods is also a shutter release. You’re welcome.