Nothing has changed photography more than the rise of smartphones. Taking pictures used to involve film, which needed to be developed and processed. Photographers had no idea what they had captured until seeing the images come back from the lab (or the drugstore). Then came digital cameras, which made it possible to see the images on a tiny LCD screen and upload them to a computer where they could be manipulated with tools like Photoshop. But the smartphone camera revolutionized the game.
Suddenly, everyone was a photographer with a camera in their pocket ready to take shots with a simple swipe up on the screen. (Ain’t nobody got time to wait for a digital camera to power up.) Then Instagram came along with its filters that could transform a bad shot into a good one, or at least a better one.
But now that everyone has an iPhone and Instagram, it has raised the bar on good mobile photography. Sure, you can throw a “Clarendon” or “Lark” filter on your picture, but so can everyone else. If you want to really take better photos, you need a little bit more. From photo editors to lenses to tripods, these accessories can turn your run-of-the-mill iPhone photos into images that cause jaws to drop (and “likes” to pour in).
OLLOCLIP 4-IN-1 LENS
The camera on the iPhone 6 is not too shabby on its own, with a f/2.2 aperture and exposure control. But OlloClip’s 4-in-1 lens is a versatile tool that, in Spinal Tap terms, can take your photos to 11. It has a fisheye and wide-angle version to allow you to capture more in your pictures and a 10x and 15x macro lens so you can shoot close-ups in great detail. The lens stashes neatly into a pendant so it’s easy to keep it with you at all times.
GRIPTIGHT GORILLAPOD MAGNETIC
One of the best ways to take better pictures is to find new and unique angles from which to shoot. With the GorillaPod Magnetic, your options are vastly increased. The legs articulate in every direction to create a stable platform in the most uneven environments. And strong magnets on the ends of the feet mean that you can connect the GorillaPod to any metal surface. Your phone is clipped in place by a mount that can be removed to make the tripod compatible with other cameras as well.
A solid photo editor is a must for anyone who wants his images to stand out from the pack. VSCO Cam is one of the coolest ones out. The free version includes a set of filters that are a step up from your standard Instagram ones. It also allows you to crop your pictures to standard aspect ratios and and adjust the exposure and contrast levels. As your photography develops, you can purchase packs of filters that provide more refined adjustments depending on the type of photos you’re shooting (portraits, nature, etc.)
NOVA BLUETOOTH IPHONE FLASH
Using the flash on your iPhone is pretty much guaranteed to result in harsh lighting and red eye. It’s why most professional photographers use remote lights to illuminate their images. The Nova serves a similar purpose, but packages the lighting solution into the size of a credit card. It uses 40 LEDs to create a more natural lighting environment so that pictures have more depth and softer tones.
HISY BLUETOOTH CAMERA REMOTE
If you want to take selfies but don’t want to look like a d-bag walking around with a selfie stick, then this remote is what you need. A simple click of the HISY snaps the photo or starts recording video. It pairs with your phone via Bluetooth and has a range of 90 feet (we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether leaving your phone unattended 90 feet away is a good idea).
PARROT AR.DRONE 2.0
This won’t exactly help you take better iPhone photos, but you can control this drone and its high-def camera with your iPhone. The AR.Drone 2.0 is surprisingly easy to fly. Simply tilt your phone to steer. The images from the drone’s camera are live-streamed to your device so you can see them in real time and you can expand the camera’s memory with the included USB port.