5 Tools for Improving Your Smartphone Photos

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Smartphones are the cameras that most people always have on them; making the smartphone their best camera. And the best can get so much better. The industry has accounted for this major shift toward mobile imaging platforms and has created amazing tools to help elevate the simple smartphone camera into a serious photographic tool. Here are some of the best.

Lenses!

Pros use DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Why is that? Well, it is all about the lenses. Being able to change perspective or take photos that the standard smartphone camera can’t pull off is a great step into capturing breathtaking mobile photos. Sure, multi-camera arrays are helping here, but they still can't match what a dedicated mobile accessory lens can do.

A leader in the field is Moment, with a solid selection of lenses and cases for most popular smartphones. You will need one of this company’s dedicated cases for your phone model, but then you can use any of its lenses. Smartphones have been endowed with dramatically improved lens quality in their latest releases, and have been given even more. But, you still can’t beat getting that extra bit of reach or a wider perspective when you need it. Moment offers a great selection with a Wide, Tele, Macro, Superfish, and even Anamorphic available.

Moment Anamorphic Lens

Portable Lighting

Among the disadvantages of smartphone photography is difficulty working with artificial lights. The lack of a mechanical shutter has generally forced users who even attempt it to stick with continuous sources. Not anymore. Profoto just this year launched the C1 and C1 Plus, a pair of ultra-compact and versatile lights that are not just compatible with your mobile devices, but made for them. These are specific to newer iPhones and work with an app to control nearly every aspect of the light. If you ever wanted to take complete manual control of your next mobile photography session, the C1 series is something to look at.

Profoto C1

Continuous lighting is still a great choice, especially if you want to do some video, too. There are some ultra-compact LED panels available that will clip to a phone or connect via a port. We love the Luxli Viola2 5" and Luxli Cello 10" RGBAW LED lights that feature simulated gel filters, a full range of colors, and adjustable color temperature and brightness. Two more affordable choices are the Godox LEDM32 Smartphone Mini Light and Xuma Mobile LED Light. A great thing about these is that no companion apps are required.

Luxli Viola² 5" On-Camera RGBAW LED Light

Photo-Specific Cases

Now, these are a little different than the cases you would use to simply attach a specific brand of add-on lenses (though some of those do have some of these features). We are talking about cases specifically designed to improve the photo-taking experience. An example of this is the miggo Pictar Mark II Camera Grip. Essentially, it gives you the same shooting experience you would have with a real camera. It even has a shutter release in the right spot and some programmable buttons and control rings, for the complete package.

miggo Pictar Mark II Camera Grip for Select Standard Smartphones

Support Systems

The next dimension of mobile imaging would be getting a solid support system. The obvious choice is a selfie stick, of course, and it is a great way to start. For getting much better photographs, upgrade to a mini tripod. A common choice is the Joby GripTight ONE GorillaPod, which can bend any way you need it. For video and vlogging, these tools are almost essential. If you want to get that cool, smooth handheld footage, pick up a gimbal stabilizer, such as the DJI Osmo Mobile 3.

Joby GripTight ONE GorillaPod Stand

A New Phone

Smartphones get better every day. Sometimes it might be worth upgrading your phone if you use it often for photography. The latest releases from every manufacturer boast vastly superior imaging, compared to last year. Apple went up to three cameras on its Pro phones along with Deep Fusion technology for improving quality, Google doubled its cameras to two on the Pixel 4 and boosted its class-leading Night Mode to include astrophotography, and Sony took the Xperia 1 and gave it cinematic video capabilities. Here’s a look at some of the best smartphones of 2019 to give you a taste of what’s available.

Google Pixel 4 128GB Smartphone

Is there anything you use for mobile photos that wasn’t mentioned here? What about questions on how to make the most of your smartphone? In either case, you should leave a comment, below!

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