The constantly improving camera capabilities of the smartphone have given the photography enthusiast a great means of delving into travel photography.
With powerful technology at your fingertips, you don’t have to spend a bomb on expensive cameras, lenses and other photography equipment to get those perfect travel pictures. A good smartphone and the right accessories can be quite useful while traveling. Moreover, smartphones and accessories are lighter and more compact to carry as compared to heavy photography equipment.
Here are 11 smartphone photography accessories which, if used right, will help you capture that perfect shot.
1. Wide angle lens kit for smart phones
What is it: A set of 3 to 5 lenses for smartphones. The kit typically consists of 3 lenses – a fish eye lens, a wide angle lens and a macro lens.
Fish eye lenses – They are ultra wide angle lenses which capture round images instead of rectangular ones. Using a fish eye lens can give you dramatic results, especially while photographing landscapes.
Wide angle lenses – They capture a wider angle as compared to the normal phone lens. Your images will have distorted lines and angles, however, used correctly the results can be dramatic.
Macro – When you want to get a super close up picture of flowers, insects and other small subjects, a macro lens will give you excellent detail in your photographs.
Where to buy: Photojojo has these lenses available as a kit and as separate units. Olloclip sells these lenses as a set of 3 for the iPhone. Several online retailers sell various brands which are available in India
2. Telephoto lens for smart phones
Ever wished you were closer to your subject while clicking with your smartphone? Or ever thought that the subject is too small in your photograph when you click with your smartphone?
Now you have the solution. Get hold of a telephoto lens which can give you 6X or more optical zoom with your smartphone. The lens is a very useful accessory to get close to your subject without losing image quality.
Where to buy: Online retailers like eBay and Amazon stock these lenses and these are available in India.
3. SD card reader for smart phones
What it does: Provides an easy way to transfer pictures from your camera’s SD card to your phone. Simply connect the device to your phone’s USB port, insert the memory card and copy.
You may run out of memory on your phone, but having this device will help you transfer your pictures from your camera to the phone easily. Once you’ve done that, do your basic editing on the phone and share with all your friends.
Where to buy: A number of online retailers stock these memory card readers
4. Gorilla pods for smartphones
What is it: A small, flexible tripod which can hold your smartphone. As seen in the above picture, put your phone on to the gorilla pod, hang it on a tree branch, shoot selfies (see below for another useful accessory) or set it up on an uneven surface and use it as a tripod.
Where to buy: Joby makes these gorillapods. You can buy from there or from online retailers in India.
5. External flash/ lighting unit for smart phones
What is it: A lighting unit consisting of LEDs which gives a constant soft light to illuminate your subject.
Why do you need it: While clicking in tricky light situations the subjects usually get incorrectly photographed. Using the flash in such conditions give a harsh frontal light which usually doesn’t give good results. Enter the pocket spotlight – the perfect answer for those tricky light situations.
Where to buy: Manfrotto, Amazon.com
6. Remote control
What is it: A remote control which connects to your smartphone wirelessly and can be used to click pictures at the press of a button.
What can it be used for: The perfect solution for selfies. Combine it with a gorilla pod and you have the perfect setup for selfies, timed shots and much more.
Where to buy: Muku labs makes a device called shuttr and there are other such kickstarter projects. Check compatibility with your smartphone before you buy.
7. Photography filters for smart phones
What is it: A set a color and polarizing filters which plug on to your smartphone and can be rotated to get the desired filter in front of the lens.
Why are these used: They can be used to add more contrast to images or to make colors more vibrant (especially sky colors), or add hues to pictures. Using them creatively can give you stunning results.
Where to buy: Holga makes good quality photography filters. Check out what this person did with these filters, admittedly with a DSLR, but hey, only your creativity can limit you.
8. Cradle for holding smartphones, phablets and even point & shoot cameras
What is it: A cradle for holding smartphone and small point and shoot cameras
Why do you need it: The ergonomic design helps you hold your smartphone easily while shooting pictures and video. Additionally, they reduce image blue which occurs due to hand movement. The cradle can also double up as a tripod for blur free clicks. Combine this with the remote and you have a great solution for clicking time-lapse, HDR, timer pictures and video.
Several of these cradles also fit on full size tripods in case you need the full height of a tripod.
Where to buy: Woxom makes this product and it is called the slingshot.
9. Use your smart phone to control your DSLR and advance compact cameras
What is it: An interface device between your DSLR camera and your smartphone + and app for your smartphone.
What does it do & why you need it: You can control your DSLR & advance compact camera using this device + app. For cameras which offer live view, you can see the same in your phone. Place the camera on a small tripod on the ground for clicking insects or small flowers, connect with the app and you’ll be able to control all settings and click you pictures or shoot video. A must have accessory for photographers who use a DSLR. Before you buy, do check if the device is compatible with your DSLR
Where to buy: Triggertrap mobile. Alternately, get the app on google play or from iTunes, buy a small dongle which connects to your DSLR, connect and go play. A bit of DIY required if you decide to get the app and dongle on your own.
10. Underwater photography – waterproof your camera
What is it: A camera case which is waterproof and shockproof to some extent.
What does it do and why you need it: If you’re prone to dropping your phone and have a tendency to jump into water with your phone in your pocket, this little case is a god-send.
Other than that, if you like underwater photography, these cases can be useful for that as well. Your icons and phone camera are accessible, and you will be able to happily click under-water.
Where to buy: Photojojo, overboard.co.uk and possibly online retailers in India.
11. External mic for capturing the perfect audio while shooting video
What is it: An external microphone for audio.
Why do you need it: If regularly record video and are not happy with the sound quality of those, this accessory will be very useful. It will help you get clear audio to complement all your videos.
Where to buy: Several external microphones can plug into the headphones socket of your smartphone. Apple users have a dedicated iPhone boom mic which you can buy online.
These are some we have found useful on our wilderness trips. Have you used any of these? What has been your experience? Do share and let us know which ones you’ve used and which others you’ve used apart from these.
Oh and if you’re looking forward to putting your newly acquired skills and equipment to test, why not join one of our upcoming trips – they’re loads of fun, and you’ll be all happy and smiling throughout the trip.