Looking to get more professional looking photos and video from your phone? We’ve rounded up the best camera phone accessories for photography and video that can give your smartphone content an edge.
Smartphone photography has not only become increasingly popular over the past decade; it’s become the predominant format for taking photos. Advancements in technology, the ease and prevalence of social media and the size and convenience of the devices have transformed the ubiquitous smartphone into the everyday camera for the masses. According to a study by Statista, almost 80% of smartphone users around the world take pictures with their device and share them on social networks.
The widespread popularity of smartphone photography has, of course, also given rise to a new range of accessories you can use with your device to help you take better photos. The best smartphone accessories for photography include lens filters, stabilizers, mini tripods and more, which can help improve the quality of your images without breaking the bank. As well as being affordable, most smartphone accessories for photography are small and lightweight, making them easy to transport and just as suited for ‘everyday photography’ as your device itself.
Want to know what the best camera phones for photography are? Check out this guide.
Below, we’ll round up our picks for the best smartphone accessories for photography, but first, let’s take a look at the different types of accessories you can buy for your camera phone.
What are the best camera phone accessories for taking photos?
Smartphone camera lens
A smartphone camera lens is a small accessory that clips onto your phone’s camera and allows you to capture different types of photos. There are many types of smartphone camera lenses available, including wide-angle lenses, fisheye lenses, and telephoto lenses. A wide-angle lens is great for capturing landscapes or group shots, while a fisheye lens can create a fun, distorted effect. A telephoto lens is ideal for capturing close-up shots of distant subjects, such as wildlife.
Just like with your interchangeable lens camera, filters can help to enhance or alter the colors and tones in your photos, giving them a unique look. Some popular filters for smartphone photography include polarizing filters, which reduce reflections and improve the contrast and saturation of colors; neutral density filters, which reduce the amount of light entering the lens to allow for longer exposures; and gradient filters, which darken part of the frame while leaving the other part unchanged.
A mini tripod is a small and portable tripod that can be used to stabilize your smartphone while taking photos or filming video. This is especially useful for shooting in low light or at slow shutter speeds, as it helps to reduce camera shake and blur. Some mini tripods also have flexible legs, which allow you to wrap them around objects or bend them into different positions for unique angles and shots.
A stabiliser is a device that helps to steady your smartphone while filming video, providing smoother and more professional-looking footage. There are several types of stabilisers available, including gimbal stabilisers, which use motors and sensors to keep the camera level and stable, and handheld stabilisers, which are designed to be held in your hand and provide a stable base for your smartphone.
A selfie stick is a long, telescoping rod that allows you to take self-portraits with your smartphone from a distance. This can be especially useful for taking group shots or capturing landscapes and other wide vistas. Some selfie sticks also have built-in Bluetooth triggers, which allow you to control the camera remotely without touching the screen.
An external flash is a small, portable flash unit that can be attached to your smartphone to provide additional light for low-light situations. This can be especially useful for taking portraits or capturing detail in shadowed areas. Some external flashes also have adjustable brightness levels and color temperature settings, which allow you to customize the light output to suit your needs.
Remote shutter release
A remote shutter release is a small device that allows you to control the camera of your smartphone remotely, without touching the screen. This can be especially useful for taking self-portraits or group shots, as it allows you to position the camera at a distance and trigger the shutter remotely. Some remote shutter releases also have additional features, such as timer functions and burst mode capabilities.
A protective case is a must-have accessory for anyone who wants to keep their smartphone in good condition while taking photos. A good protective case will provide protection against drops, bumps, and scratches, while also allowing easy access to the camera and other buttons. Some cases also have additional features, such as built-in filters or grips, which can enhance your photography experience.
The best camera phone accessories to buy in 2023 for photos and video
Now that we’ve run through the different types of camera phone accessories available to mobile content creators, these are our picks for the best smartphone accessories that can take your work to the next level.
Gimbal / Selfie Stick: DJI OM 5
DJI is, of course, well known for its near monopoly of the drone market, but the company also makes a powerful range of gimbals. Starting with its premium Ronin series aimed at professional videographers and ending with its Mobile and OM ranges, designed for smartphones. Smaller and sleeker than previous OM gimbals, the DJI OM 5 measures just measures 174.7×74.6×37mm and provides about six and a half hours of use on a single charge of its internal battery. What’s unique about the OM 5 is that you can use it as a small handheld gimbal, but it can also be extended for use as a stabilised selfie stick.
Used in conjunction with DJI’s outstanding Mimo app, the OM 5 is hands down the best mobile gimbal stabiliser on the market, making it easy to capture smooth, shake-free footage in just about any situation. As well as providing stable footage, the Memo app allows you to utilise shooting modes such as Timelapse, Hyperlapse, Motionlapse, CloneMe, Spin Gimbal Movement and Dynamic Zoom. These are all great fun and well worth exploring. And for filmmaking novices, the OM 5 provides ShotGuides, which are effectively a built-in tutor for helping you achieve certain types of classic shots and compositions.
- Compact size
- Easy to use
- Previous versions had more professional feel
Read our DJI OM 5 gimbal review
Gimbal: DJI Osmo Mobile 6
DJI’s Osmo range of gimbal stabilisers revolutionised vlogging for the masses, and this latest iteration of the device adds a slew of new features to make content creation even easier. New to the Osmo Mobile 6 are a Quick Launch feature and improvements to DJI’s ActiveTrack technology. Enabling users to track subjects even as they turn to the side or spin.
The 3-axis gimbal provides silky smooth footage despite its small 300g form factor, which can fit in your pocket. The Osmo Mobile 6 also adds a new status panel that lets you quickly switch between modes such as Tilt lock, FPV or SpinShot. Used in conjunction with DJI’s Memo app, you can also access modes such as Timelapse, DynamicZoom, Gesture Control, Panorama and Story Mode.
- Solid build quality
- Comprehensive set of features
- More expensive than its competition – but none can compete on quality
Lens Filter: Sandmarc Hybrid ND / Polariser filter
Available for both iPhone and Android devices, Sandmarc’s polarised ND filters offer smartphone photographers the depth of field and control over shutter speed that one gets from an ND filter along with the rich colours of a polariser filter. Weighing just 18g, the filters are made of anti-reflective glass mounted onto an aluminium frame. The filters are also coated to reduce flare.
Sandmarc’s hybrid filters are available for a wide range of Android devices and iPhone models up to the iPhone 13 series – though we expect an iPhone 14 series filter will be released soon.
- Super build and image quality
- Lightweight and versatile
- Not much compatibility with mid-range and budget smartphones
Lens: Moment Tele 58mm lens
Moment manufactures a wide range of accessories for smartphone photography, and its popular 58mm lens will help you achieve 2x magnification when mounted over your smartphone’s wide-angle camera – or 4x magnification when mounted over a telephoto lens.
The twist-and-lock lens is compatible with all recent iPhone models, as well as Android devices from Google, Samsung and OnePlus. Its f/1.8 aperture allows you to create nice bokeh and shallow depth of field effects, while its 58mm focal length is perfect for shooting portraiture with your smartphone.
- Produces high-quality images with minimal vignetting or distortion
Stabiliser: Manfrotto Twistgrip System
Price: From £45
Manfrotto’s Twistgrip allows you to transform your phone into a handheld video rig. The ultra-compact system is comprised of the Twistgrip, which cradles your phone and can be adjusted to the size of your device, a Handle (with hand strap) and an Accessory Bar where you can mount other devices. At the top of the handle is a standard 1/4-inch screw so it can be bolted directly to the base of the Twistgrip. While a 1/4-inch thread on the base allows you to add on other accessories.
The Accessory Bar is where you can add other useful elements such as lights or a microphone. What’s more, its modular design means you can keep adapting the Twistgrip system to accommodate your changing kit needs. Manfrotto’s Twistgrip might not have the stabilisation of the DJI Osmo Mobile 6, but it is a fraction of the cost and still affords you a great deal of control over your filming.
- Solid build quality
- Modular design lets you reshape it to fit your kit
- No motorised stabilisation still requires a steady hand
Shutter Release: CamKix Bluetooth Camera Shutter Remote Control
The CamKix Bluetooth remote control is a small dongle that you can slip into your pocket and use to trigger the shutter on your smartphone camera from up to 30 feet away. It’s ideal for taking large group shots or wider-angle selfies with more of an environmental context.
The remote control is compatible with a wide range of iOS and Android devices going back quite a way (iOS 6.0 and Android 4.2.2 up). It is powered by a 3V battery, which comes included in the price along with a lanyard and carabiner hook. The CamKix will fire your camera with a simple click of the button.
- Small; inexpensive
- Operates from up to 30 feet
- Some users say it can take a while to pair with your phone
Lighting: Lume Cube Air
In the age of streaming and endless video calls, the Lume Cube Air is perhaps the most useful smartphone accessory you will find on this list. This pocket-size LED light packs a powerful punch of 350 lumens of light, which you can adjust across 10 steps.
As well as being able to mount it to your smartphone for more evenly lit vlogs, you can also fit it to your tablet, laptop or just about any device, thanks to its handy suction cup mount. There’s also a smartphone remote control via Lume Cube’s companion app for remote control over the light.
The Lume Cube Air offers a colour temperature of 5600 Kelvin, and charges via a Micro USB port. Underneath is a standard 1/4-inch screw thread. Meaning you can mount it to any mini tripod, full-size tripod or stabilisers like the Manfrotto Twistgrip System mentioned above. What’s more, the Lume Cube Air is also waterproof up to 10 metres. But we wouldn’t recommend taking your smartphone underwater!
- Superb, professional-quality lighting for streaming, vlogging and video calls
- Battery life isn’t long, so charge often
Lighting: Sandmarc Prolight Collection
Price: From $69.99
Sandmarc’s Prolight Collection is an RGB and Bi-Color lighting system designed to mount on to your phone to provide a natural, constant light while filming video.
The pocket-size Prolight RGB provides 16 million hues of illumination and is the all-rounder in the Collection. Perfect for filming in indoor or outdoor settings thanks to its wide 1,000 to 10,000K colour temperature range and a colour rendering index of 96+.
The Prolight Bi-Color delivers a brightness of 1500 Lux and is designed to be used as a key or fill light. It also provides a colour temperature of 3,000 to 6,500K with a CRI of 95+.
Both lights can be bought individually or in a bundle for $149.99, saving you about $20. Both lights also mount to Sandmarc’s Sandmarc Pole – Film Edition and Film Rig, which is also worth investing in should you take your smartphone filmmaking seriously.
- Some of the best smartphone lighting you can buy
- Some of the most expensive smartphone lighting you can buy
Mini Tripod: Joby HandyPod Mobile Lock
The Joby HandyPod is an interesting concept that combines a mini tripod with a mobile phone holder, adding a lock onto the clamp. It might seem like a small, unnoteworthy addition to the design. But the lock on the clamp removes one of the most annoying aspects of using mobile phone cradles: the fact that the want to stay shut.
If you’ve used one of these in the past, you’ve probably struggled to pry the cradle open with one hand while delicately sliding your smartphone through its jaws before it snaps shut. With the HandyPod Mobile Lock you can lock the clamp open just as you can lock it closed. Meaning you can mount your camera in peace. It’s a subtle, but very welcome design addition.
Apart from this, the Joby tripod is well made, from thick, rigid plastic. It features the standard 1/4-inch screw threads on the base and side, giving you options for mounting your camera in both portrait and landscape format. It’s a handy little device and one of the best mini tripods out there for smartphone photography.
- Easy to use
- Clamp feels a little cheaply made
Now you’ve seen the best camera phone accessories available, check out our best camera phones for photography guide.
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