8 Best Smartphone Camera Accessories

iPhone 5 rear camera close up

Common wisdom is that if you’re serious about taking great pictures you need a real camera. Smartphone cameras are getting better and better, sure, but they can’t rival good point-and-shoot cameras. Well, not on their own. However, with the addition of some great accessories you can transform your smartphone from a decent camera into a really good one. Maybe even a great one.

Whether you’re after better images or want to film the next breakout video, these photo focused accessories will help you step up your game without busting your budget or adding too much weight to your bag. Below are our eight favorites for Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry as well as iPhone.

GripTight MountGripTight Mount

Smartphone camera apps often include settings for low-light/night shots and HDR that work okay if you have a steady hand but work really well if you use a tripod. The GripTight tripod mount fits any smartphone thanks to a spring-loaded grip, so it’s easy to attach to both the phone and tripod and will hold the phone steady no matter the orientation (including tilting the phone downward). Plus, it folds up for quick storage in small pockets.

Price: $20

Compatibility: iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry

SlingShot Smartphone StabilizerSlingShot Smartphone Stabilizer

Keeping a camera steady with a tripod is great for when you don’t need to move around, but what if you do? Action shots mean staying mobile, but they also sometimes mean shaky video. Smooth it out with the SlingShot, a stabilizer that keeps a phone balanced even if your own hands aren’t steady. The cradle fits a variety of smartphones from the iPhone 4 up to the Galaxy Note 2. The handle doubles as a tabletop tripod and the cradle is detachable and will mount on any standard tripod. For all this versatility it’s surprisingly inexpensive, light, and portable.

Price: $20

Compatibility: iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry


Need to get a shot from a crazy angle or just hang your smartphone from a precarious perch? The Life-Phorm is perfect. It may look like it escaped from the set of an Alien movie and absorbed a GorillaPod on the way to evolutionary dominance, but rest assured that those articulated legs and wickedly hooked feet are all in service of a diverse tool. The Life-Phorm can hold your smartphone in multiple positions and attach to branches, shelves, even body parts. Want to ensure a secure grip? Just add bungee cords. This accessory also works with tablets up to 10 inches and real cameras, no additional mounts needed.

Read our review of the Life-Phorm.

Price: $40

Compatibility: iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry


When professional photographers want to up the quality of their shots, they often upgrade their lenses. If you have an iPhone, there are plenty of lens add-ons that allow you to do the same. Few of them are as versatile as the Olloclip. Easy to slip on and off, the Olloclip is actually three lenses in one: macro, fish-eye, and wide angle. The only drawback is that it doesn’t work with cases, only naked phones. Good news is that an Olloclip-friendly case is coming later this year.

Price: $70

Compatibility: iPhone 4/4S/5

Pocket SpotlightPocket Spotlight

Any decent smartphone camera has a flash to back it up. Whether that flash is quality or not is up in the air. And sometimes you don’t want a flash of light but a steady source to illuminate your subject and banish shadows. This compact LED spotlight provides a wide and bright beam that you can either hold or mount to the headphone jack or a hotshoe. Best part: it charges via USB just like a phone and will shine for an hour.

Price: $30 ($40 with color filters) at Photojojo.com

Compatibility: iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry

iRig MIC CastiRig MIC Cast

Recording good video with your phone isn’t just about the optics. You need good sound quality, too, and the internal mics don’t always deliver it. Though the iRig Mic Cast was developed specifically for voice recording, it also ups the quality of video sound whether the subject is up close or a few feet away. While recording, you can monitor the sound via regular headphones so you can ensure the best audio. The design is compact and case-friendly — just plug it in and go. When you’re not making videos, it’s a great accessory for phone calls and podcast recording.

Price: $40

Compatibility: iPhone, Android

iPhone Boom MiciPhone Boom Mic

Boom mics allow for better, clearer audio when the subject is far away or you’re shooting in less intimate situations, such as concerts or games. And for those times when your subjects are close up, just flip from omnidirectional to super-directional. This mic may look a mite ridiculous protruding from your iPhone and you may get a few odd looks. When you hear how much better your video’s sound is, you won’t care. It plugs into the headphone/mic jack and not the connector, so it will work with any iPhone model as well as iPod touch. Though it looks big when compared to a phone, it’s actually light, small, and pocketable.

Price: $40 at Photojojo

Compatibility: iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5

mCAMLITEmCAM for iPhone and Android

If you’re really interested in taking your smartphone camera to the next level by adding a tripod mount, lenses, a mic, and an external flash, why not go for an accessory that pulls everything together into a neat and sturdy package? The mCAM system features an aluminum frame that features mounts for interchangable lenses, tripod/accessory/neck strap mounts, a hotshoe, and a notch for a mic. Everything you need to make your phone’s camera the best (on the hardware side, at least). The mCAM starter kit features a 37mm Wide Angle/Macro combo lens, a small boom mic that rotates 180 degrees, and a silicone case for the phone. A wide range of other attachments are available, including more lenses, DSLR lens mounts, more sensitive microphones, flash arms, even action carts. All compatible with the basic mCAM system. Is this overkill? Only if you don’t make anything awesome with it.

Price: $130 (mCAMLITE for iPhone), $100 (mCAMLITE for Android) at ActionLifeMedia.com

Compatibility: iPhone 4/4S/5, Samsung Galaxy S3

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