Camera Phone Setup


I want to see how good my iPhone 5S is for taking photos under more professional conditions when I’m not trying awkwardly to angle the phone to shoot. As much as I trust the dexterity and steadiness of my hands, I need to start by getting a decent tripod mount to shoot at home and on the move.

Nothing fancy, just something that won’t set me back more than $100 and takes up little space in a messenger bag or on a bookshelf at home.

Tripod mount

Most people have probably noticed that camera phones don’t tend to come with screw holes to use with tripod mounts, so we’ll first need to fit something with one to our camera phone.

They tend to get a Glif for this.

The Glif tripod The full Glif set The Glif decked out with everything
The Glif, $28 or $55.

With The Glif, you can incline your camera phone on a flat surface, in case you want it angled for reading or a better position for photography.

You can either by The Glif alone, or you can order the full set which inclues a hand grip with a wrist strap to help you steady the camera phone without risk of dropping it.


Next, we’ll want to mount our camera phone to a tripod. According to The Wirecutter’s article, the best one is the GorillaPod Hybrid.

Looking at [The Glif’s website][the clif], the GorillaPod appears to be featured in the promotional photos, so they seem to prefer the tripod as well for camera phones.

The GorillaPod allows you to not just use it as a regular tripod; you can also make the legs hog an object to steady it The GorillaPod used as a more regular stand; you can rotate the mount along one axis, too
GorillaPod Hybrid, $39.

Portable battery

iPhones, uh, how do you put this kindly … last about as long as a character on Game of Thrones.

Just like the straightforward choice for a tripod mount is a Glif and a GorillaPod for a tripod, you should just go with Anker for an external battery.

Just go with whichever portable battery, PowerCore, meets your needs of weight, capacity, and design.

Anker also make the best third-party cables, PowerLine. They’re one of the only third-party iPhone cables that haven’t been disabled by Apple through a software update; ask me how I know. Consider getting one for your car’s USB port, of for when your Apple cables inevitably fray. If your car doesn’t have a USB port, guess what, Anker’s PowerDrive takes care of that.

With a portable battery short enough to fit in a jacket pocket, you can hook up your battery to your phone even as you carry it around and record video and livestreams.

Photography 101

I really like Apple’s new “How to Shoot on iPhone 7” series on YouTube.

When and how to trigger

One thing I really miss is a external device to take the shot, since you don’t want to destabilize the shot. While you can use the external volume buttons for this, the problem still doesn’t go away.

My solution for now is to just use a release timer to have the camera shoot when I’m not around to mess up the shot.