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Travel Gear: 5 Pieces Of Gear To Improve Your iPhone Travel Photos and Videos

Taken with just an iPhone.

Everyone wants to take better photos and videos while on vacation. Whether it's for Instagram, Facebook or merely to remember the moment, we all want the best quality possible. We already wrote about how to take better pics using just your iPhone. What are some pieces of gear that can improve your photos and videos even more? Below are some of our favorites. 

1. Lenses

Phones like the iPhone have started to add multiple lenses to phones. Different lenses allow you to get perspectives that aren't possible with the single stock lens. Several companies are taking this one step further by offering addon lenses and cases. These lenses expand the capabilities of your phone's camera. Moment is one of the most popular phone lens companies. They produce high-quality lenses and stylish cases. We went with Sandmarc however. Sandmarc makes lenses to the same quality as Moment, but I prefer the slimmer case Sandmarc makes. Whichever company you choose, stay away from budget options like this. Quality lenses cost money. That's just how it is. Buying cheap lenses will only frustrate you with the poor picture quality.

Sandmarc case and wide-angle lens on my iPhone X.

Quality lenses cost money. That’s just how it is. Buying cheap lenses will only frustrate you with the poor picture quality.

2. Apps

There are a ton of apps to improve on the stock camera and editing software. We use Halide for photos and FilMic Pro for videos. Both of these apps expand the capabilities of your phone's camera. Once we take the images, Snapseed, VSCO, Lens Distortions and Facetune are our favorite editing apps. Try them out and search through the App store to find your favorites.

3. Cases

Most phones today provide some measure of water protection. Some are even entirely waterproof. But, once you take your phone underwater, you lose the ability to use the touchscreen. Touchscreens don't work underwater. The ProShot Waterproof case solves that problem. Their app allows you to remap the touchscreen controls to the physical buttons on the phone. That way you'll have complete control of the camera app underwater. The housing also improves the water resistance and allows you to dive deeper underwater than you could without it. It's pretty cool!

The ProShot feels more like professional DSLR housing than a cell phone case.

Touchscreens don’t work underwater.

Another problem with using your phone as your primary camera is ergonomics. Most companies are trying to make phones thinner and thinner. While this makes carrying them in a pocket easier, it doesn't exactly make it comfortable to hold for shooting. The ShutterGrip Camera Controller is a grip that attaches to your phone and makes it more comfortable to hold. It also has a shutter button to mimic a more traditional camera. 

4. Tripods

Tripods are irritating. They're usually bulky and a pain to set up. But if you want to be in your own travel photos or take long exposure shots, you'll need one. The JOBY GorillaPod is the best travel tripod I've ever used. The three legs of the tripod are flexible so you can wrap them around a tree or a fence to get the perfect shot. The best part is that it's tiny and easy to throw in a backpack. Joby makes several versions, but if you're planning on just using your phone, you can get away with the cheapest version.

Joby GorrilaPod

5. Gimbal

In the past, steady cams and gimbals were only available for high-end video cameras. Recently several companies have produced affordable gimballs for smartphones. What does a gimbal do? Using motors and counterweights, they steady your smartphone so that the video is buttery smooth. Dji, the drone company, makes the Osmo mobile. It's one of the most popular gimbals available. We went with the Smove Mobile though. The Smove Mobile handle extends to give you even more shot options, including the dreaded selfie. It also comes with a tripod attachment; you have to pay extra for DJI's. The build quality is excellent as well. Most importantly, it improves the quality of our videos a ton. One thing to consider is an extra counterweight. If you plan to use add-on lenses, you'll need an extra counterweight to balance it out. I found this one on Amazon. It's compact and does the trick. A gimbal is a simple piece of gear you can buy that will instantly improve your videos. 


Cellphones today are so much more than just phones. For most people, their phones are the best camera that they own. The quality of those cameras has become incredible, especially when you account for the size of our devices. The gear in this post can help you take even better travel photos with the camera you already own. What about you? Do you take most of your vacation photos with a smartphone or with a dedicated camera? Answer below in the comments.

Taken with just an iPhone.


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