In a few weeks, my partner and I are heading to London and Iceland for a two-week vacation. While London definitely isn’t a first for us, Iceland is. This trip also marks another important first for me: It’s the very first time I’m leaving my DSLR at home. I’ll be relying solely on my iPhone 6s Plus for all my photos.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I came close last winter but ultimately ended up carrying around my Nikon and about 15 pounds of glass. I don’t want to do that again — and I don’t think I have to. With the help of several apps and a few great accessories, I’m leaving the pro gear at home in favor of a much lighter travel bag.
Over the past several months I’ve been milling around Amazon looking for the best iPhone tripods and mounts I can find. I’ve run several through their paces and I’ve made my final decisions.
When it comes time for our trip, these are the tripods and mounts that will make it into my (very light) gear bag alongside my Olloclip and a few other travel accessories.
Pocket-size tripod, fits any iPhone with a Lightning port
I actually stumbled upon the Kenu Stance locally and ultimately ended up ordering it the next day off Amazon. What intrigued me about this tiny tripod was its compact size and ability to work with any iPhone that has a Lightning connector (basically iPhone 5 and newer).
Just extend the two legs on either side and set the Stance on any flat surface, and you’re ready to use it. Your iPhone connects to it just as you would connect it to your Lightning cable to charge. It even functions as a travel dock via a tiny attachment that allows you to slip your Lightning cable inside of it to dock at night.
When the Stance is folded up you can easily fit it inside any pocket (yes, that includes skinny jeans). Oh, and it also has a bottle opener built in to one of the legs!
In some situations, the Kenu Stance may not make a lot of sense, like when you don’t have anything to set it on or the only available surface isn’t flat. This is why I also plan on bringing my GorillaPod Magnetic.
You can adjust the legs to sit flat on any surface, and you can also wrap them around poles, trees and anything else you’d like. The legs are magnetic and can easily hold an iPhone 6s Plus (I use it in conjunction with a Glif, which I’ll talk about below). The mount that comes with the GorillaPod is decent, but I wouldn’t trust it with my iPhone at an angle or holding it upside down for a long period of time. The threads on the head are standard-size so you can use any mount you’d like, as long as it isn’t too heavy.
In terms of overall size, the GorillaPod magnetic is incredibly tiny and should fit in larger pockets (men’s, probably not women’s). Regardless, I’ve never had trouble stowing it in a smaller purse or travel bag and forgetting it’s there until I need it.
I’ve been using a Glif ever since the days of the iPhone 4s. It’s long been one of my favorite iPhone mounts because it’s sturdy and incredibly easy to stick in any pocket.
The newer iteration of the Glif is my favorite yet. It fits most iPhones and doesn’t cause any damage to the frame of the phone (this is a problem I see with many cheaper mounts, particularly ones that come on selfie sticks). The last thing I want is to scratch up my iPhone by taking it in and out of a badly designed mount.
I use the Glif most often in conjunction with my GorillaPod Magnetic. It’s small and light enough that it adds hardly any weight, which means I’m perfectly comfortable attaching it to a surface sideways, upside down or whichever way I need to.
When I’m not using my Glif, I’m most certainly using my Shoulderpod S1. While the Glif is incredibly lightweight, the Shoulderpod is heavy, sturdy and incredibly well-made. It even comes with a base you can screw on that is flat on the bottom so you can use it without a tripod in a pinch. And since the Shoulderpod is heavy enough to stand on its own, you can trust your iPhone will stay upright (as long as there isn’t any heavy wind).
The Shoulderpod uses a standard screw-thread so you can use it in conjunction with almost any tripod. Whenever I’m bringing along my full-size MeFOTO tripod, I always use it conjunction with my Shoulderpod. They complement each other well.
You also get a nice leather strap with the Shoulderpod that attaches between the mount itself and the attachable base. This way you can loop it around your arm and carry it along easily.