Make Your iPhone Camera Even Better (Part II)

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #122


In addition to using the 645 Pro Mk III camera app I told you about last week for most of my shots, I’ve also discovered a handful of third-party accessories that help me take better pictures and videos with my iPhone. 

Stabilizing your camera is vital for taking good photos. So the first thing I throw in my pocket or bag when I know I’ll be shooting is a tripod. I’ve got a bunch of ‘em but the one I use most is a Jelly Long Legs tripod ($9.95) and a Spring Tripod Mount ($14.95), both from Square Jellyfish.

Inexpensive, sturdy, and light in weight, I rarely leave home without my Square Jellyfish tripod.

This setup is small and light enough to carry comfortably in a pants pocket, yet it’s sturdy and stable enough to hold my camera (iPhone) steady on almost any reasonably flat surface.

A tripod helps keep the camera steady, but if you have to physically touch it to press the shutter release, you’re going to cause the camera to shake, even if you have rock-steady hands. Even though image stabilization is built-in to the iPhone, it’s always best to keep your camera perfectly still. So the second thing I grab when I’m shooting pictures or videos is a remote shutter release button. The one I use is the Hisy Bluetooth Camera Remote ($24.99;, which is small enough to carry on your keychain, and can trigger a photo or video from up to 90 feet away.

Trigger your shutter from up to 90 feet away with Hisy.

I picked the Nova Bluetooth iPhone Flash ($59) as one of my top gifts for geeks last year. No bigger than a stack of five credit cards, it houses an array of 40 tiny LED lights nestled beneath a soft white diffuser.

Small and thin enough to carry in your wallet (if you have a big wallet), the Nova flash rocks.

The light is brighter than you expect from something so thin and the free companion app offers settings for gentle, warm, neutral, or bright light for your photos or videos.

The Nova camera app lets you adjust the intensity and warmth of the Nova light.

What I didn’t know at the time was just how useful the Nova flash would be. It’s great for portraits in tricky lighting situations; I often use it to bring out foreground details or as a side fill. And for those who shoot pictures of food... using the Nova makes everything look far more delicious. In a nutshell, photos shot with the Nova flash almost always look much nicer than ones shot with the built-in flash or no flash at all.

Here are a couple of un-retouched comparison shots so you can see for yourself:

IMHO, the Nova flash is warmer and gentler than the harsh built-in iPhone flash.

Finally, I’ve mentioned iPhone camera lenses by Olloclip several times, but I recently discovered the Ztylus Revolver 4-in-1 Lens Attachment ($69.95), a clever device with four lenses —fisheye, wide-angle, macro, and circular polarizing. While Olloclip offers an optional case that integrates with their lenses, the Revolver requires a Ztylus case ($29.95–$44.95). Still, I love changing lenses in seconds and the results have been as good as or better than with my Olloclip lenses.

The Ztylus system is a winner if you like having multiple lenses handy.

And that’s all he wrote…