Urban smartphone photography

Urban Photography:
How to Choose the Right
iPhone Accessories

So you want to be an urban photographer

You might not have a DSLR and a full setup, but there’s no reason to let that stop you. It’s not hard nowadays to get professional-quality shots with no more than your phone and one or two carefully selected iPhone camera accessories.

Urban photography is all about capturing the human condition and the effect that we have on this world. If you’re not getting photos of people themselves, there’s plenty of opportunities to see the impact we have on these concrete jungles. To get the most out of your pictures around the city, here are a few tips to help.

Use an iPhone tripod for the “sit and wait” method

While it might be amusing for some, you’re not going to make any friends by jumping out on people and shoving your camera in their face. The pictures that tell a thousand words are those that capture people candidly in their day-to-day life. The ones where you can just sit back and allow them to happen. They don’t need to be forced.

To get these candid shots, you’ll probably want to stay still, or even leave your iPhone camera set up on a tripod. For urban street photography, we recommend the PIXI -- a compact tripod that’s perfect for taking with you and setting up in the perfect place.

You can turn the PIXI into an iPhone tripod with the help of our universal smartphone clamp. Just attach it to the mini tripod and adjust the clamp to fit your phone. It can then be used as either a stable holder or a comfortable grip. Set it up in seconds and you’re ready to shoot videos, selfies, and urban photos.

You can also use one of these iPhone tripods for motion blur shots of street life. Just capture a Live Photo on your iPhone 7 (or newer) and select the long exposure option. This will capture a series of images and merge them all together to create a soft-style shot with a motion blur effect. This makes the PIXI a perfect iPhone 7 tripod.

Brighten up your urban photos with a portable LED

To give your iPhone shots a more professional look, getting the lighting just right is key. Anyone who’s used an LED for their urban landscape photography will know how much of a difference it can make. It adds life to any photo and can make your urban shots “pop”. Using a portable light is ideal for those night-time shots or when it’s a cloudy day. You can’t always rely on the weather to be in your favour, but you can always carry your trusty LED to save you in those situations. Just test it out in a close-mid range and you’ll be surprised by what these little things can do.

What’s great about the Lumimuse series Lumimuse series is that they’re so bright for their size. You can fit them in a small pocket of your bag and take them on the bus or train around the city. They can even be attached to a PIXI tripod to enlighten your photos from any angle.

If you want a bit extra customisation, you can also control the Lumimuse 8 via bluetooth with a simple iPhone app. This lets you change the amount of lighting straight from your phone - simply choose a brightness level of anywhere between 0-100% for a perfectly-lit urban photoWant to know more about the Lumimuse range and how to use them? Just take a look at our expert review on the series of portable LED lights.

Use a camera rig to combine your iPhone camera accessories

Once you’ve got all the iPhone camera accessories you need, you’ll want to put them to use in the most practical way possible. It’s not always ideal to hold your LED in one hand and your iPhone in the other. That’s why you may want to attach them to something like the TwistGrip System. You can then hold both in one hand at the same angle. It can be attached to your phone with an adjustable clamp, then you can add your accessories to it too. This turns your phone into a full system capable of top-quality urban photos.

The TwistGrip complete kit will give you all the capabilities you need to fit any smartphone in any size and then connect all the accessories you need to take your best shots. You can attach your phone to your iPhone tripod, add your Lumimuse LED, and even a microphone if you’re shooting video footage.

If you can get a solid setup for your iPhone, it won’t be too hard to get professional-quality pictures with nothing more than your phone. Just get the angle, lighting, and right timing, and you can get stellar shots without the need for all the gear. Your urban photos could be the next ones for the history books next to those from the 20s, 60s, and 80s. You can even try editing them to be black and white for that vintage feel.

Urban photography doesn’t just apply to your hometown, you can also take your portable accessories with you on holiday

If you’re looking to get some shots abroad, check out our guide to accessories for travel pictures for even more recommendations. This guide aims to help all the iPhone owners out there to select the perfect accessories for their phone. If you do have a different type of smartphone though, we still have plenty of gear to upgrade your urban photography capabilities. Whether you have a Samsung or even another type of phone, there’s something for you in the full range of smartphone tripods and accessories.

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