Five tools every iPhone photographer must have

iPhone owners should have these tools in their photography bags.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
An iPhone 4S complete with Olloclip, Glif, Gorlliapod, and headphones set up to take a photo. Jason Cipriani/CNET

As the saying goes: "The best camera is the one you have with you." More often than not, for me, that camera is my iPhone. I always have it on me, it's ready to take a photo in a matter of seconds, it takes amazing photos, and I can edit and share those photos all from the same device.

With the iPhone's camera continuing to be used more and more, there are plenty of accessories available to aid iPhone photographers in getting the best shot possible.

Here are five tools you should have in your bag:

Gorillapod Magnetic
You're going to need a tripod. For that, I recommend the Gorillapod Magnetic. It's equipped with magnetic feet, allowing you to place it in some unique spots, a standard tripod mount, and more than two dozen joints allowing you to bend and manipulate it to get the perfect shot.

You can get the Gorillapod Magnetic from Joby for $24.95 with free shipping.

Now that you have a tripod, you're going to need a way to connect your iPhone to the tripod. That's where the Glif comes in. The Glif is made specifically for the iPhone 4/4S and allows you to use your smartphone with any standard tripod.

The Glif can also be used as a stand to set your iPhone up in for a video call.

You can buy the Glif for $20, or the Glif+ pack for $30 plus shipping from Studio Neat.

When iOS 5 launched, it included the ability to use the volume-up button on your iPhone as a shutter release, eliminating the need to tap the iPhone's screen to take a photo. Then, CNET's Sharon Vaknin told us that the volume-up button on your headphones will also work as a shutter release when taking photos on your iPhone.

By placing your iPhone on a tripod and using your headphones as a shutter release, you'll eliminate any shaking of your iPhone that's normally caused by tapping on the screen or pressing the volume-up button on your phone. The result is going to be a blur-free, clear picture.


An iPhone 4S using the Olloclip macro lens to take a close-up picture. Jason Cipriani/CNET
Adding a lens to your iPhone is something most iPhone users will never even contemplate; I know I didn't. Then at CES 2012, I was introduced to the Olloclip. I'm yet to look back.

The Olloclip is a small accessory that adds three lenses to your iPhone. You can choose from a macro, wide-angle, or fish-eye lens. It's designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and it slips on and off your phone in a matter of seconds, allowing you to quickly change lenses based on the photo you're taking.

The addition of three lenses to your bag greatly expands the types of photos you can take with your iPhone.

The Olloclip will set you back $69.99 plus shipping.

There are plenty of apps available to help make your photos look amazing, all without requiring you to know a whole lot about the editing process. There isn't one app that works the best for everything, and with the relatively low cost of photo-editing apps on the iPhone, it's worth having several different options in your arsenal. Mix and match the features of different apps to get your desired results.

In addition to editing capabilities, there are some great apps for taking time-lapse photos and slow-motion video, and for slowing down the shutter on your iPhone.

Some apps I recommend, in no particular order, are:

All of the accessories listed are easy to carry with you anywhere, including the Gorillapod, which fits comfortably in a jacket pocket.

There are plenty of other accessories and apps out there to help you get the best photos you can from your iPhone. If you have an app, or another accessory you prefer, feel free to share in the comments.