Mobile Photography 101 {Part 2}: Accessories

Are you ready to take your mobile photography to the next level? Then my four part series is just for you! In Part 1, we talked about various little lenses you can use to up your game.  This week, we’re talking accessories!  These are the things that either help you take better pictures, or just make it a lot easier!


As with anything there are a TON of different things out there that you can buy to make taking photos with your phone a lot more fun.  But, you definitely don’t need all of that!  Part of the beauty of mobile photography is that it’s MOBILE! You don’t want to have to carry around a backpack to haul around your various mobile photography gear!

There are some things I do carry around with me, but for the most part, the lenses I mentioned last week and good, natural light are enough for on-the-go shots.  With that said, these are a few of my favorite accessories for mobile photography…

Tripod

Why would you need a tripod for your mobile phone, you ask?  Well…there may be several reasons! 
1) You need to take photos or video of yourself and no one is around to do it for you
2) You want to get a unique angle for your shot and you, physically, can’t get there
3) You want to take a photo of something or someone without it being obvious (come on…we’ve all been there! And no…I’m not promoting stalking your crush!!)

There are several options for going hands free with your cell phone.  Just search on this on Amazon and see for yourself! 

I have a Gorillapod Mobile that works well in a pinch.  Since it’s mini, it doesn’t have a lot of flexibility for positioning it exactly where you want it, but it definitely allows you to go hands free when needed.



You can also get a little kickstand.  It doesn’t have as much flexibility as the mini tripod, but it is smaller and easier to carry around.

Both of those options also work well if you want to prop your phone up to watch a video or do some Facetiming!

Finally, if you are doing videos on a regular basis, you can buy a mount for your full size tripod that will hold your cell phone.  I haven’t personally tried these, but they are really cool!  

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

After the Part 1 post, a few people had asked me about how to mount their cameras to do videos for their blogs and if you have a full size tripod, I’d definitely recommend the tripod mount.  

If you don’t, then I’d go for a Joby Gorilla tripod since you can bend the legs around table legs, chair legs, or anything else that works! The mini one I featured above would be a bit too small for that, so I’d go for something more along the lines of this one -> Joby Gorilla Tripod.

Remote

Once you have your tripod in place, the next thing you need is the remote shutter release.  This will allow your phone to take your photo without you having to press the button on your phone! These generally work via wifi.  

This is perfect for you selfie takers out there!!

I have this one…

I’ve recently come across this one and I think it’s really cool!  I love how tiny it is!  And…it comes in a bunch of fun colors!!

While you can set a timer on your camera phone, having a remote shutter release puts everything in your control.  You can take as long as you like to get in position and set up the shot.  You’re not subjected to 10 seconds or whatever is on the timer!

Ollo Phone Case

I have the iPhone 5s, so this particular product is unique to that version.  They don’t seem to have a similar case for the iPhone 6/6Plus or non-iPhone phones, which is a shame, because this case is awesome!!  



If you want to use the Olloclip that I talked about in Part 1 then you can’t have a case on your phone (that’s probably a ‘con’ I should’ve included on my list!).
The beauty of this case, is that you don’t have to remove the case to use your lenses.  The corner of the case has a hinge where you can simply expose camera, add your lens, and take your shot.

Reflectors

I’m going to give a few tips on lighting in Part 4 of this series, because photos are nothing if you don’t have light!  Good lighting can make or break your photo, so it’s always best to find good, natural light for your photos.  

With that said, sometimes the lighting isn’t even, or there are a tad too many shadows on one side.  Yes, you can edit that to raise the shadows, but you’ll likely be left with a little noise in the image.  

What’s better is to use a reflector to bounce light back onto the shadowed areas.  Now…don’t worry…you don’t need to go buy one of those big umbrella things that you remember from your school portrait days!  

If you are taking photos of things at home…all you need is a piece of white foam core or poster board (foam core is a little more stable, but poster board will also work).  Just position that so the light from your window hits that and bounces back onto the darker areas of your subject!

There are a few other cheap-o options for reflectors when you’re out and about and don’t want to carry a piece of foam core with you, but we’ll save those for the Part 4 – Tips & Tricks post!

Photo Backdrops

You may have noticed a few trends in mobile photography lately…lots of white OR lots of wood!  Have you looked with envy at some photos on Instagram and wished you had an awesome wooden table to take your photos on.  Or, how about wishing you had a white desktop since everybody seems to have a white desk these days!

Well…now you can one or BOTH of these for a lot less money than you may be thinking!  And you don’t even have to buy a new piece of furniture…I promise!

All you need are a few photo backdrops!

If  you check out my Instagram feed, you’ll notice a particular wooden ‘table’ that I like to use for in my photos.  Here’s an example:

Here’s a little secret…this isn’t a table!  It’s a 2′ x 2′ piece of plastic that just looks a wooden table.  I bought a pack of four different wood designs on Etsy and LOVE the versatility (and this Etsy shop is awesome!).

My other favorite thing to use a $5.99 white tabletop from IKEA.  It’s big enough to make it look like a desktop, yet small enough to stash under my sofa when I’m not using it!  And it was only SIX dollars!!!

You can also look around your house to find other interesting textures to use as backgrounds in your photos – cookie sheets, crinkled parchment paper, blankets, etc.  Look around and get creative!

And here’s a behind the scenes peek at a photo set up for taking!

3dots

Now that I’ve shared a few of my favorite accessories, next week, I’ll share some of my favorite apps for taking pics, editing pics, and a few other fun things!!

What do you think?  Do you use any cool props or tricks for getting good shots?  Does anything on this list appeal to you?!  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Note: This post does contain some affiliate links. Buying any of these products through these links will add a few extra coins in my purse and I thank you very much!

Comments

    • 2

      says

      Hi Hannah! I’m so glad this post introduced you to a few new things! I’m thrilled you’re loving the series and I’ll be sharing Part 3 next week and Part 4 the week after that! Thanks so much!!

  1. 3

    says

    One of the best piece of advice anyone has ever given me in regards to taking a better photo, was to use natural lighting. It has done wonders for my photos! Sometimes it’s even better than studio lighting!

    • 4

      says

      Yes!! Natural light is the best for photography (unless you’re a pro and know the secrets of using artificial lighting :)). The one thing I cannot stand is to see someone use a flash (either on a cell phone or a point and shoot)…just no, no no!! lol

  2. 5

    judy says

    Awesome post….funny thing i was checking Swanky prints last night. I was going to ask you about them. Well you answered my question. Great idea to slide the table top under sofa! Thanks for sharing.

    • 6

      says

      Swanky prints is awesome!! They ship really quickly too and their products are fantastic. I’ve ordered photo backdrops from other websites and I prefer Swanky Prints :). {moo}

  3. 9

    says

    Yep, I’m one of those people who has been looking at IG wondering why people have all these fantastic white and wooden pieces of furniture. AND we’ve been traveling for the best part of three years, so I’ve been saying to myself “when we settle down, THEN you can have one”… and turns out all this time I could have just gone to Ikea!!! 😉 Thanks for the tips, Vicky!

    • 10

      says

      You’re very welcome, Jess!! And the nice thing about it only being $5.99….if you did have to toss it for some reason during a move, it was only $5.99, so not a huge loss!!

  4. 13

    Taylor Yates says

    SUCH a useful series!! I’ve been wanting to up my quality of photos…I’m considering getting a new iPhone soon so when I do, I may be picking up a lens and one of those iPhone cases too.

    acupoftay.com

    • 14

      says

      Thanks Taylor! So glad you’re enjoying! I’m putting the finishing touches on Part 3 today and it’ll go live later this week ;). This has been a fun series to write, so glad to hear you guys are liking it!

  5. 15

    says

    Those Joby’s are EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! I love that the arms are bendable to adjust to whatever service it’s on. It’s been added to my Amazon wishlist to ask for as a small birthday present. :)

    • 16

      says

      Yes…the Joby’s are AWESOME! I have one for my point & shoot and those little arms are surprisingly secure (I’m not sure I’d try it for my dSLR since it’s so much heavier, though). And you can seriously put it anywhere! Love those :). I hope someone gets you what you want for your birthday!

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