10 tech gadgets under $40 to help you take better iPhone photos

It has become a running joke in the digital age that almost any ordinary person can become a photographer with a smartphone camera. And, with smartphone models like the iPhone 13 coming out, giving us features like professional-grade 4K video quality and multiple lenses, many "iPhone photographers" aren't actually kidding. In fact, you might even decide to prioritize your new iPhone over your fancy new DSLR camera.

"iPhone cameras are so advanced these days," travel blogger and photographer Kristi Hemric tells Bustle. "You don't need an expensive camera to take great photos." In fact, Hemric recommends that anyone looking to get into photography start with a phone before upgrading to any professional camera.

Of course, while you can capture some great results with your iPhone camera, it's important to know how to use it to your advantage. "Light is your best friend," Hemric advises. Hemric also says to use your smartphone's composition grid to your advantage. “You want to be able to direct the audience’s attention where you want it to go.”

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Once you've mastered some photography basics like lighting and framing, and figured out what your iPhone can do (FYI: If you have an iPhone 11 Pro Max or later, Hemric highly recommends shooting in RAW), you can just Start there.

And if you're looking to take your iPhone photography to the next level, there are plenty of products to help you achieve that goal. As Hemric suggests, from a reflector that always ensures light is your best friend, to a tripod that helps frame your shots perfectly, here are some of the best products to help you take better iPhone photos.

If you purchase a product through links in this article, we may receive a share of the sale.

Reflector bag

Neewer 5-in-1 Foldable Reflector

Use a reflector to quickly transform your candid photos into studio-quality shots. These reflectors will redirect natural light (or indoor lighting) to properly highlight your subject.

  • advantage: Portable, available in a variety of shades and colors to suit different aesthetics, and comes with a carrying case.
  • Cons: While it's portable, you most likely won't be taking it with you for impromptu shoots.

Comments: One reviewer describes it as "useful for anyone shooting film, video, advertising, or magazine communications."

Dimensions: 43 inches/110 cm

Colors/Shades: Black, Gold, Translucent, Silver, White.

mini tripod

UBeesize Flexbile Phone Tripod
  • Pros: Portable, flexible legs help the tripod balance/anchor on a variety of surfaces, and remote control lets you take photos without running.
  • Cons: Not as supportive as non-portable tripods.

Comments: " It's very sturdy and the swivel action on the head is awesome," one user wrote.

Dimensions: 11.54 x 3.43 x 2.24 inches

lens kit

Xenvo Smartphone Camera Lens Kit
  • Pros: Connects to any smartphone, tablet or laptop. Expand the shooting capabilities of your phone camera without having to buy a different camera or install a lens.
  • Cons: Since it's a clip-on lens, you'll need to adjust the lens until it lines up perfectly with your camera.

Review: "The metal frame is sturdy and well-finished, and the lens is very clear glass," the reviewer writes. "This looks like something I might buy for my DSLR."

Dimensions: 3.4 x 2.7 x 2.6 inches

Includes: 0.45x wide-angle lens, 15x macro lens, clip-on LED light, travel case, lanyard, cleaning cloth.

selfie stick

BZE Retractable Selfie Stick Tripod
  • Pros: Allows you to capture front-facing camera photos from greater distances. The retractable length makes the cane easy to carry. Doubles as a tripod. Includes a remote shutter to take photos from a distance without having to click the camera button on your phone.
  • Disadvantages: The extended selfie stick may not be as stable as handheld shooting.

Comments: One user wrote that they even placed the tripod in the sand and it "held up very well."

Dimensions: 8.7 x 2.64 x 1.93 inches

ring light

Kaiess Selfie Ring Light with Tripod and Phone Holder 65% off
  • Pros: Quickly upgrade lighting and enhance appearance in photos. Setup is pretty quick and easy compared to studio lighting. Doubles as a tripod and comes with a clip to plug in your phone.
  • Disadvantages: Not suitable for moving photos.

Review: " My skin looks great in this light. Phone holder is sturdy. Excellent product and price," one reviewer wrote.

Dimensions: 17.5 x 12.9 x 2.5 inches

Options: White, Natural Light, and Warm Light. The brightness range is adjustable.

Remote shutter

Xenvo Shutterbug Camera Shutter Remote Control Sale
  • Advantages: No need to take a selfie when taking photos remotely. Perfect for taking non-selfie photos of yourself or taking photos with friends. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Samsung and Google Pixel and tablets.
  • Cons: You may be seen if you hold the remote while taking a photo.

Comment: "Eventually when we go on vacation I'll be in the photos too," one commenter joked.

Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.8 x 1.2 inches

light box

Glendan Portable Photo Studio Light Box 80% off

If you want to level up your product shots (or any smaller-scale still life shoot), this lightbox can act as a mini studio for your iPhone photos.

  • Pros: Includes dimmable LED lights and various backgrounds. There are reflectors inside the box. Portable and quick to assemble.
  • Disadvantages: Can only be used for small size photos.

Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 12 inches

Includes: light box, six colors waterproof PVC background, light diffuser, reflector.

lens protective film

QHOHQ iPhone Screen and Lens Protector (3-Pack) Check out the sale on
  • Advantages: Tempered glass prevents damage to camera lenses, ensuring high-quality photos. Prevent fingerprints from leaving on the lens.
  • Cons: Some users have reported issues with the screen protector that comes with the product.

Compatible with: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Includes: lens protective film, screen protective film.

lens cleaner

MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • Advantages: Removes fingerprints and residue from the lens and improves photo quality. Perfect for touch-ups on the go.
  • Cons: Some users report needing to wash the fabric before use.

Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.4 x 0.3 inches

waterproof box

Case-Mate Waterproof Floating Phone Pouch 80% off

Nothing expands your photographic horizons like taking your phone underwater. This waterproof bag allows you to shoot in water or rain without worrying about damaging your phone.

  • Pros: Waterproof, 100ft/30m IPX8 certified. The float feature reduces the risk of losing your phone in water. The sensitive touch allows you to use your phone as normal inside the case.
  • Cons: Some users reported that the case failed to keep their phones floating in water.

Comments: One reviewer said they keep their phone in the case on ATV trips and "the case wipes off easily and allows for great photos and videos while being constantly soaked in muddy water."

Compatibility: Best for anything up to six inches in length.