- Tripods are perfect for the on-the-go vlogger or influencer
- A good tripod, whether high-tech or cheap, will make your iPhone pictures better
For most of us, our phones are our main cameras and camcorders. And while megapixels have improved, sensors have gotten more prominent, and companies have added stabilization, if you want top quality pictures, a tripod is a trusted and true piece of hardware to use with your iPhone.
These companion accessories, originally designed for stand-alone cameras and camcorders, have expanded into the world of smartphones, allowing you to frame shots artfully with your iPhone and shoot videos that won't induce nausea. Most of these tripods work just as well with other types of smartphones, too, and some work with traditional cameras.
Many choices of materials, builds
As iPhone cameras have improved, so have tripods and stabilizers. From plastic to hollow metal to straight-up aluminum, there are many different tripod materials to choose from. Some have flexible legs, like the Joby GorillaPods, which allow you to customize a tripod's height, shape and size in incredible ways. Some opt for nonflexible legs that offer a solid footing.
No matter the build of the legs, most have a flexible head that can be moved in a variety of directions, so you can have the lens pointed in the right direction.
High-tech versus old school
Depending on your budget, you might want to invest in a stabilizer instead of a tripod. These electronic stabilizers don't need legs, thanks to gyroscopes and sensors inside that keep the attached device straight. The DJI Osmo 2 is an excellent example of this. You slide your phone in, turn Osmo on and start filming. No matter how you turn your hand, Osmo will keep the iPhone straight and stable.
Other high-end tripod manufacturers make motorized heads that can be placed on top of traditional tripods. Of course, a nonelectric tripod works just as well, as long as you're sure it's sitting on stable ground.
The other route is getting a smartphone mount for a standard tripod. The Manfrotto Mount for Universal Cell Phone ($9.99; amazon.com) is one of your best bets if you go this route. It has silicone rubber grips to ensure it doesn't scratch your phone and works with almost any tripod. And keep in mind that not all tripods include a mount, so a mount like this Manfrotto might be a necessity.
Here are our top picks.
This tripod has three 8-inch legs and can fit an iPhone and most other smartphones with ease, thanks to an included mount. Since the legs are flexible, you can use this as a standard tripod or wrap it around a tree to get a unique shot. It also works with a traditional camera.
Perfect for the on-the-go vlogger or influencer, this mini tripod from Manfrotto includes a phone mount. It has a techno-polymer and aluminum build and measures in at about 8.5 inches when closed. You can also easily use the mount for a traditional camera.
The original flexible tripod is the Joby GorillaPod, and this version includes a phone mount. You can wrap this tripod around your arm, a tree, a lamppost, or almost anything. It allows the true artist in you to come out, since you can get practically any shot imaginable.
At almost $130, the Osmo Mobile 2 is not the cheapest, but it is one of the most high-tech iPhone tripods and stabilizers out there. With 15 hours of battery life, you can stabilize plenty of videos or photos, and also charge your phone through a USB cable.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.