As many of us are increasingly equipped with powerful smartphone cameras, the realm of vlogging and capturing creative content has never been more accessible. Rigs, attachable lenses, lighting, and mics are just a few of the many mods available today to enhance the potential of that tiny machine in your pocket. Even if you aren’t looking to start vlogging, accessorizing is a great way to elevate the media you share with others and encourages a more creative relationship between you and your phone. Here are a few nifty smartphone accessories to keep on hand when inspiration strikes.
SmallRig 1.55X Anamorphic Lens for iOS & Android
Phone photography is an often scoffed at and tragically underrated medium, which is a shame, because it can be an important entry point for burgeoning photographers. Phone cameras also tend to be inflexible, making swappable hardware a great place to start when looking for that creative edge with your phone. The 1.55X Anamorphic Lens from SmallRig is a neat attachment for an iPhone or Android user who prefers cinematic-style shooting. While most smartphone cameras are confined to a 16:9 aspect ratio, this lens enables your device to capture high-quality widescreen photo and video by fastening directly onto the smartphone camera.
The Anamorphic Lens is also conducive to applying lens-specific cinematic effects like a brushed lens flare, which can add significant panache to your next smartphone shoot. There are plenty of apps for adding these effects in post, but producing them organically with the lens is part of what makes this product so unique and fun. Overall, it is a pleasure to experiment with and will yield footage that stands apart from the quotidian.
If you do plan on purchasing this lens, we recommend also checking out the compatible Mobile Phone Cage. The cage is not a must-have, since the lens includes its own clip for direct application, but it may be practical if you plan on using additional phone lenses or are worried about damaging your phone's camera by fastening the hardware too tightly. This cage is also useful for mounting additional accessories, such as a microphone or a small LED, which we will discuss in detail later.
OBSBOT Me AI-Powered Selfie Smartphone Mount
Phone mounts are another integral tool for production, especially if you are a solo creator. While a good mount can make production easier, an exceptional mount can truly improve the quality of your content and even empower you to pursue more involved projects. This is true of the Me AI-Powered Selfie Mount from Obsbot, a phone mount with a built-in 120° wide-angle sensing camera that keeps you centered in frame. This mount is a game-changer for solo creators because it addresses the clumsiness of constantly readjusting your smartphone camera. The smart camera pans to track its subject with a smooth and near-cinematic quality that is consistent and reliable, enabling its user to remain hands-free and in their creative flow.
While there are comparable subject tracking mounts on the market, the Me distinguishes itself with the flexibility afforded from a built-in camera instead of an app. Because this mount’s neural network AI functions separate from your smartphone, creators are free to shoot on any app of their choice, including Instagram, Zoom, or a regular smartphone camera, to name a few. This is especially handy for mobile solo creators like fitness instructors or artists, although the Me is also highly compatible for any work-from-home configuration.
Godox LEDM32 Smartphone Mini Light
While smartphones have come a long way with their cameras, their lighting efficacy leaves much to be desired. Save for that awful flashlight on the front, most smartphones today attempt to redress lighting with low light filters that aren’t quite on the level. Attachable lights, like the LEDM32 Mini Light from Godox, are a great way to close the gap. The LEDM32 can get surprisingly bright and clips to the front or back of your smartphone. It also features dimmable settings so you can find the perfect amount of light for your shot. While it is designed for smartphone use, this LED can be easily clipped onto a camera or tripod in a pinch. It is versatile, lightweight, and unobtrusive—an accessory that can always be kept in your bag if you are a spontaneous vlogger.
Godox Round Mini RGB LED Magnetic Light
At a higher price, Godox also offers the Round Mini RGB LED Magnetic Light, an off-camera option with a bit more flair than the LEDM32. This compact light features a range of color temperatures from 2500K to 8500K alongside adjustable hue, color, and brightness. It also has 14 special effects designed to simulate realistic lighting like a flickering candle or the glow of a TV. While it can become as bright as the LEDM32, the Mini RGB’s adjustability makes this light a good match for a more discerning vlogger. It is also well-suited for a creator who is looking to pursue more involved cinematic projects but isn’t quite ready to take the plunge with a pricey continuous light.
Keeping this in mind, the Mini RGB does not mount on your smartphone like the LEDM32. However, it is tripod compatible and can easily mount on any magnetic surface. Although it may lack convenience, this light’s versatility compensates for it. It’s a nifty little gadget that will exceed your expectations if you plan how to use it.
Shure MOTIV MV88 Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone
Audio upgrades are a bit trickier when recording directly from a smartphone. While shotgun mics are the go-to option for creators, a new vlogger might seek gear that is more straightforward and ideally can be used without a cage. For this kind of creator, the MV88 is an amazing, no-fuss condenser that attaches directly to your iPhone or iOS device. As a plug-and-play gadget, it becomes the primary audio input when shooting and is powered directly from your smartphone or iPad. The mic features a rotatable hinge to point in any direction you choose, making it an excellent accessory for selfie vlogs, musical performances, and two-way interviews.
Like previous accessories, the MV88 is a practical gadget that offers applications well beyond vlogging. With a swath of modes to toggle between for different stereo width, this mic is great to have on hand if you are a vlogger or a creator who generally wants better audio in your videos.
SmallRig All-in-One Smartphone Mobile/Vlogging Video Kit
B&H offers a variety of vlog-specific curated kits that we would be remiss not to mention. With this in mind, the All-in-One Smartphone kit from SmallRig is one of the best. This kit includes the Mobile Phone Cage discussed previously, as well as a desktop tripod, power-bank holder, two side handles, a shoe mount, an LED light, a microphone, and all the subsequent accompaniments like mounts and assembly hardware. As far as one-stop-shopping goes, this kit is great for a newbie without gear looking for the fastest way to get started.
The kit itself is incredibly modular and therefore customizable. While the kitted attachments like the mic and light are included, they are easily swappable with other preferred accessories. The cage and attachments can also be configured for either vertical or horizontal shooting, and the included tripod and handles make stable filming in either orientation a breeze. It is worth mentioning that the handles are only compatible with the SmallRig cage, but this cage is flexible enough to transcend its kitted inclusions. Overall, this kit is professional-looking, organized, and intuitive to use, the perfect way to hit the ground running as a new content creator.
RØDE Vlogger Kit
In a similar vein, the Vlogger Kit from RØDE is an excellent alternative at a slightly lower price for a more low-profile content creator. Devoid of the flashy cage and cables, this kit has more compact mountable accessories and is designed to be assembled with ease.
The included VideoMic Me-L mic closely resembles the MV88—a device that does not require an adapter and is available in different configurations for smartphone compatibility. The MicroLED affixes neatly to the kitted tripod clip and comes with eight colored filters for unique lighting. While the tripod itself can also be used in vertical orientation, the included accessories are intended to be used horizontally—a notable limitation to this kit. If you shoot predominantly in landscape, this will not be a hinderance, but it is worth noting to avoid being confined to one orientation.
If you are looking for a kit that you can expand upon, the SmallRig bundle mentioned earlier is the best fit. The flexible phone cage, handles, and tripod alone already make the kit worth it without the quality accessories. The RØDE kit is minimalist and straightforward, perfect for the kind of creator who likes to plug in and go. Both kits are well built and can accommodate accessories outside of those included, so you can’t go wrong in choosing either one.
Overall, purchasing accessories that inspire your imagination is a great place to start. Being unafraid to experiment is ultimately the best way to maximize your creative potential, and hopefully some of these recommendations have given you a strong jumpstart. If you have your own favorite smartphone products or vlogging tips, we would love to hear from you. Please chat with us in the Comments section, below.