An iPhone tripod is a great accessory for your mobile photography, especially when shooting in low light or when taking self-portrait photos. But with so many tripods available, which one do you choose? In this article we’ll compare five different kinds of iPhone tripod and give you some great tips on taking sharper, shake-free photos with your iPhone.
1. Joby Gorillapod – Small & Flexible
If you want to stay true to the “mobile” ideal of mobile photography, you may want to start by considering small and lightweight tripods that you can easily carry in your pocket or bag for a full day of “mobile” shooting.
The Joby GripTight Gorillapod is one of the most popular iPhone tripods as it offers so much flexibility… literally!
Its bendable legs can be shaped to stand firmly on any flat or uneven surface.
And you can even wrap them around objects such as poles, trees and fences to brace your iPhone for taking photos.
This allows for incredibly adaptable camera positioning and precise control over your photo composition.
The adjustable GripTight mount allows you to easily clip any model of iPhone (with or without a case) onto the tripod. The grip has rubber pads to protect your phone and keep it securely in place.
The GorillaPod is also available with magnetic feet, allowing you to attach the tripod to most metal surfaces.
I personally have a GorillaPod, and it’s probably the one I use most when I’m out and about due to its small size and ease of use. I highly recommended it!
2. Joby GripTight Micro Stand – Compact & Foldable
Another tripod design from Joby is the GripTight Micro Stand. It’s extremely small, especially when folded down, so it can easily fit in your pocket when you’re not using it.
However, its rubber feet also mean that it can grip pretty well to uneven surfaces, such as the rock in the example below.
Due to its super-low profile, the GripTight Micro Stand is excellent for extremely low angle shots when placed on the ground.
Just like the flexible GorillaPod, this tripod has an adjustable mount which means you can use it with any model of iPhone.
The aluminum ball-head allows for precise control over the angle and position of your phone, and this helps you to compose your photos with ease.
I also own one of these tripods, and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an ultra-compact iPhone tripod.
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3. Manfrotto Mini Tripod – Sturdy & High Quality
Manfrotto has an excellent reputation for producing high quality products for professional and enthusiast photographers.
This sturdy Manfrotto Mini Tripod has the professional quality you’d expect from Manfrotto, and its compact size makes it perfect for mobile photography. At 18.5cm (closed) the tripod easily fits in a jacket pocket or small bag.
Unlike the Joby tripods, this one doesn’t have an adjustable grip mount to hold the iPhone in place, but Manfrotto sells an iPhone case for $25 that slides onto an adapter on the tripod.
Alternatively, you could purchase a different kind of iPhone tripod mount that will attach to the tripod’s screw thread.
This Glif Adjustable Tripod Mount costs $30 and allows you to securely attach your iPhone to the Manfrotto tripod.
One of the benefits of the Manfrotto iPhone case is that it also allows you to attach other Manfrotto accessories such as lenses and an LED light.
The ball-adaptor on the tripod allows for the mounting plate to be angled once the push-button on the side of the tripod ball is pressed. Releasing the push-button locks the mount into position.
An additional benefit of the Manfrotto tripod is that once closed, it makes an excellent grip to hold the camera when shooting video with your iPhone.
It keeps your hand out of the way of the screen and definitely reduces camera shake in handheld video footage.
Lastly, because this tripod has a standard ¼ inch adaptor screw thread, it can be used with all other cameras that have the same common screw thread size, as long as the camera weight is no more than 650g (1.4lbs).
You can also attach other accessories such as this Manfrotto LED light directly to tripod’s screw thread.
This is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high quality, sturdy, yet compact tripod for your iPhone. You can read more about the Manfrotto tripod and iPhone accessories in our in-depth review.
4. Lollipod Tripod – Tall & Lightweight
If you’re looking for a taller tripod for your iPhone, the Lollipod tripod is a great lightweight option.
In some ways, the Lollipod is a bit of a crossover between a monopod and a tripod. It consists of one multi-section telescoping pole that stands on a small tripod at its base.
The biggest advantage of the Lollipod is that it’s exceptionally lightweight and easy to carry. It packs up small, yet can extend up to nearly four feet.
If you keep the tripod legs collapsed, you can even use the Lollipod as a selfie stick or to shoot from high above you.
As it’s very tall and skinny, the Lollipod can be a bit “tippy” in strong winds. However, the developers foresaw this and incorporated a neat solution.
They include an attachable “hammock” with the Lollipod that fits between the legs and allows you to place any sort of heavy object on it to hold it in place.
If you’re outside, you can almost always find a rock or other heavy item to use. Otherwise, the Lollipod is rock-steady and very reliable.
The Lollipod has a standard tripod mounting screw that will accept many types of iPhone tripod mount. I use the Joby GripTight Mount as shown below.
I’ve been using a Lollipod both on location and in my studio for almost two years now, and it continues to work as well as it did the day I bought it.
The Lollipod comes in a great range of colors, and costs around $55. It’s a really great investment if you’re in need of a lightweight, flexible-use tripod for your iPhone.
5. Full-Size Camera Tripods – Steady As A Rock
Finally, if you already have a full-size camera tripod that you use for photography with a DSLR or other digital camera, you can simply use that with your iPhone.
These tripods are designed for supporting large cameras so they’ll keep your iPhone super-steady, even in windy conditions.
The only adjustment you need to make to a full-size camera tripod is to purchase an iPhone tripod mount so that you can attach the iPhone to the screw thread on the tripod.
The obvious disadvantage of using a full-size tripod is that it’s bulkier and heavier, so it’s not very practical to carry with you on a daylong mobile shoot.
But if you’re taking your DSLR and tripod out with you anyway, then you might as well use it with your iPhone too!
Of course, if you’re shooting at home or in a studio, then it’s certainly the most solid option due to the weight and size of the tripod.
If you don’t already own a full-size camera tripod and you’re looking to purchase one, there are many different options available.
A good place to start is with Manfrotto as they have lots of different models and they’re known for their excellent quality.
You can expect to pay anything from around $65 for a full-size Manfrotto tripod.
When Do You Need An iPhone Tripod?
Of course, you’re unlikely to need a tripod in every shooting situation, and there’s no point carrying it around with you if it’s not required.
So when exactly do you need to use a tripod in your iPhone photography? The main reason for a tripod is to steady your iPhone to avoid blurry photos caused by camera shake.
Camera shake occurs when the iPhone is using a slow shutter speed and the camera is moved (even very slightly) during the exposure.
The iPhone will always use a slower shutter speed in low light situations such as at night, in shaded areas or indoors where there’s no strong light source.
In these circumstances the shutter needs to stay open for longer to allow enough light in to correctly expose the image.
Using a tripod when shooting in low light will eliminate any camera shake, resulting in a crisp, sharp shot.
Sometimes you might choose to use a slow shutter app to create a long exposure image for creative effect.
In these situations a tripod is essential as you’ll be using long shutter speeds of several seconds.
If you’re struggling to find a subject for your iPhone photos, mounting your iPhone on a tripod and using yourself as the subject is a great option.
Use A Remote Shutter Release
When using a tripod, you may find it helpful to use some form of remote shutter release.
This helps to avoid any additional camera shake that may be caused by tapping on the iPhone’s screen to take a photo. And if you’re shooting a self-portrait it’ll save you from having to use the camera’s self-timer.
The simplest option is to use the earbuds that came with your iPhone. The volume buttons on these will function as a shutter release.
Another option is to consider one of many wireless remote shutter options like the Muku Shuttr which is available for $39.
This is a great iPhone photography accessory that connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth. It works with any camera app that supports the use of the volume buttons to trigger the shutter release.
What If You Don’t Have A Tripod With You?
Of course, even if you do own a tripod, you might not always have it with you when you want to take a photo.
So one last thing to keep in mind is that you can take sharper photos if you practice holding your iPhone steady through a number of techniques.
One easy technique that I learned years ago was to brace yourself against a solid object (wall, railing, etc.), take a slow, deep breath, and then snap your photo as you’re slowly exhaling.
This certainly isn’t as good as using a tripod, but it’s worked for me in a pinch when I had no other option available at the time.
Of course, you can also look for solid objects on which you can rest your iPhone. Anything that will support your iPhone will do, such as a wall, a fence post, a car roof, a rock, a pile of books or even your shoe!
There are many options that you can consider for tripods, and those mentioned above are simply suggestions based on popularity and personal experience.
It all comes down to your own preferences and whether you’re looking for something lightweight and compact or strong and sturdy.
No matter which option you choose, you’re certain to notice an improvement in the sharpness of your low light, long exposure, and other photos that require shake-free support.
If you shoot a lot with a tripod, consider using a remote shutter release so that you can take pictures without having to touch the iPhone at all.
And remember to practice holding your iPhone steady without a tripod. It would be a shame to miss out on a great shot just because you didn’t have your tripod with you!