If your goal is to become Instagram famous or simply go viral on social media, you need to take high-quality photos. DSLR, digital and smartphone cameras have all come a long way and are all top competitors for Insta-worthy pictures. But there are many essential gadgets that can take you beyond a few likes and comments and push your photos to the top of the Instagram fame page. We’ve reviewed the top must-have gadgets and accessories that will improve your Instagram photos.
Taking dozens of pictures and selfies does a number on your muscles, which is why you may experience shaky or blurry pictures. A tripod is a three-legged camera stand that is designed to reduce camera movement and capture a still picture. Tripods are ideal for all types of cameras, including smartphones. Companies like Targus and Sunpak have zeroed in on the smartphone-compatible tripod, which usually reaches around two feet tall and folds up into an easy-to-carry pouch. Some smartphone tripods feature bendable legs, which can easily wrap around a beam or bedpost for great angles. While most smartphone tripods are meant to sit on a table or desktop, DSLR and digital camera tripods typically reach four to five feet tall and are meant to stand alone on the floor. Smartphone tripods range anywhere from $5 to $20, while larger DSLR-compatible tripods can cost up to $100.
2. Light Ring
Whether you take still photos or prefer video, a light ring is a must. Poor lighting can ruin even the highest quality content. There are dozens of different types of lighting, but a ring can work for any type of photographer or videographer. Most light rings stand alone on a tripod or similar stand and contain a holster for your camera. Typically, your smartphone or other camera clips into the center of the ring to capture you or your subject in the direct light, which may come with various settings and filters. Light rings range from $30 to $200, depending on the size and type you purchase.
A good lens can make or break your pictures. Smartphone cameras have come a long way, but the standard lens on an iPhone or Android can always be improved. A snap-on smartphone lens is designed to alter your pictures in a way that fosters creativity and changes the aesthetic. For example, attach a fisheye lens to your smartphone to capture the world in a bubble view. Or, snap on a wide-angle to expand your camera’s view. Some snap-on lenses change the color of the photo or apply a filter for an artsy effect. Some even apply 3D effects for unparalleled pictures. The cost of a snap-on lens ranges from $15 for a single lens to $70 for a lens kit.
4. Selfie Stick
By now, most people have seen or heard about selfie sticks. While they may look funny to the average passerby, selfie sticks are invaluable for quality front-facing photography. Trying to capture a picture of yourself in front of a wide background or broad scenery is a struggle. Most selfies result in cut-off faces, uneven landscapes and an obstructed view from your arm. A selfie stick holds your smartphone on a long, telescoping arm to expand your range of view. Most are Bluetooth-enabled, which means you can easily press a button on a remote to capture a picture. Others may attach to your smartphone using a cable or jack. Selfie sticks range from $5 to $15.
5. Remote Shutter
If the idea of a selfie stick scares (or humiliates) you, try a remote-controlled shutter button. This tiny remote connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and responds to the press of a button. Simply set your camera on a tripod, pose and wait for the snap of the camera to capture a perfect still photo. Most remote shutters have a maximum range of about 20-25 feet, giving you the freedom to set up the perfect shot at any distance. Remotes range from $5 to $45.
6. Portable Power Bank
You never know when the perfect picture may present itself. Don’t get caught with a dead cell phone battery and carry a portable charger or power bank with you wherever you go. When you’re always on the run, you don’t have time to find an outlet and wait for a full charge. Portable power banks can be charged ahead of time through a USB to provide you with the juice you need when you’re on the go. Most power banks are no larger than a smartphone and can carry a solid charge of up to a few hours. You can find a quality power bank for anywhere from $15 to $35.
There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve got the right shot and finding out later that the end result is blurry. If you suffer from shaky hands, a smartphone handgrip can help you get the sharpest photos. A handgrip holsters your smartphone in a way that mimics a real camera, helping your hands remain steady while you film or shoot. Some have double grips that allow you to hold the camera with both hands like a DSLR, while others are meant to fit in the palm of your hand like a digital camera. Handgrips range from $45 to $80, depending on the design.
8. Body Harness
Take rugged and adventurous pictures while keeping your hands completely free. Snap your smartphone into a body harness to capture amazing views as you run, bike, free fall or perform other activities. Most harnesses strap around your back and arms and clip in front of your chest. If you’re worried about damaging your smartphone while wearing a harness, consider purchasing a heavy-duty case to prevent against drops, bumps and other accidents. Harnesses range in price from $15 to $25.