Vlogging is a great way to boost your social media presence, whether you’re promoting yourself or your business. There’s nothing like a well-made, engaging video to get viewers’ attention.
But can you vlog on your phone?
Of course, you can!
Some new vloggers choose to spend a ton of money on a fancy camera, but it’s not necessary. The impressive cameras available on today’s mobile phones mean it’s entirely possible to produce high-quality videos using your smartphone.
However, a good camera isn’t everything when it comes to vlogging. You’ll need content that stands out from the crowd in terms of quality. With a few essential vlogging accessories, you can begin creating content that keeps your viewers coming back for more.
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2020s Best Gear to Vlog on Your Phone
So, you’re interested in getting into vlogging but don’t know what sort of gear you’ll need? The first question you should ask is what kind of vlogging camera you’ll be using.
No need to fret – we’ve got you covered. Truthfully, a smartphone is the way to go in 2020.
So, this guide will go over all the necessary gear for vlogging with your phone, as well as provide you with a couple of different options for each kind of equipment.
So, get excited because the start of your career as a phone vlogger is closer than you may think!
Best Phone Tripods for Vlogging
One of the critical elements of a well-made vlog is a stable vlogging camera. Viewers are unlikely to watch more of your content if your videos are shaky and distracting.
The type of phone tripod you need is determined by the kinds of videos you intend to produce. If you’re working from your home studio, you might find a larger or taller tripod will suit your needs.
However, if you’re vlogging on the go, you might need something more portable.
Once you’ve decided what types of videos you intend to produce, you can make an informed decision on what kind of tripod will work best for you. Here are our favorite tripods for vlogging with your smartphone.
A few years back, Peak Design took on a unique challenge – to completely redesign the tripod. The result is pretty spectacular. They shaved off everything unnecessary and upped the quality of the most important tripod qualities – weight, size, and ease of use. The Travel Tripod is a winner if you’re willing to spend the money, but for many, that price tag is shocking. There are certainly adequate options for one-fifth of the price tag.
Best Budget Option – Joby JB01469 Griptight Gorillapod
If you’re looking for a phone tripod that you can use for years without emptying your wallet, then any Joby offering is for you. Fortunately for you, we’ve found this used one from KEH Camera. Now I know that used is scary, but KEH has a pretty serious warranty. It’s certainly worth biting the bullet at a price point like this.
Best Deal Option MeFoto BackPacker Tripod
Remember earlier when we said that there are certainly adequate options for one-fifth of the price tag? Well, enter the MeFoto BackPacker Tripod. While the max length isn’t as great as the Peak Design, the BackPacker folds up into a smaller size. At the end of the day, if you’re using a tripod once you get past a certain price, the differences in quality between products are pretty negligible (hint – that point is about where the MeFoto BackPacker Tripod sits).
Best Phone Gimbals for Vlogging
If you’re a vlogger producing videos on the move, a tripod isn’t going to cut it. To eliminate camera shake while walking around, you’ll need a gimbal.
If you need some help deciding which kind of handheld is for you, then check this out.
Most gimbals, like the DJI Osmo Smartphone Gimbal Kit, will connect to your smartphone in the same way as a tripod but will allow you to film more movement with less shake and blur.
Gimbals are available in two different types: two-axis and three-axis. Two-axis gimbals provide stabilization with forward or sideways movement but will not allow you to pan. Three axis-gimbals provide stabilization on all three axes, so you’ll be able to pan across your scene while minimizing unnecessary movement.
If you’re looking for a professional-grade gimbal that you can use with your phone, then the Zhiyun Crane M2 is for you – it’s a beast. This particular gimbal is probably best suited for someone who is a hybrid smartphone-traditional photographer so that all their gear is handled by one piece of equipment. At the same time, if you plan to profit off your smartphone content creation, then you should treat it as an investment! That means, grabbing gear like the Zhiyun Crane M2 because it performs and helps to ease your client’s mind (remember, the stigma!).
Best Budget Option – Ideafly JJ-1S
So, you’re looking to create variable content on a budget; why else would you be looking for a budget phone gimbal, right? Well, the Ideafy JJ-1S is going to give you what you need from a mobile phone gimbal, but not much more. At the same time, if your video is shake-free, then do you really care about the extra bells and whistles? It’s worth noting though that the vastly superior DJI Osmo Mobile 3 isn’t that much more expensive.
Best Deal Option – DJI Osmo Mobile 3
If someone walked up to me on the street and said, “what’s the best phone gimbal for the money” I’d immediately respond with the DJI Osmo Mobile 3. This thing is the most cost-effective piece of smartphone photography gear I’ve ever seen. The quality of video that you get from the Mobile 3 is superior to a lot of what you get from much more expensive phone gimbals. If you’re on the fence between the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 and any of the other options, then go this direction.
Best Phone Remote Shutters for Vlogging
When it comes to producing stable videos with your mobile phone, there’s one final secret weapon that every vlogger should have in their gear bag: the camera remote. Using a tripod or gimbal to keep your videos free of camera shake is a great start, but you’ll end up shaking the camera every time you need to press the shutter button.
If you plan on setting up your smartphone to record some distance away, you’ll absolutely need a remote shutter. Otherwise, you’ll spend an unnecessary amount of time editing out those shots of you running back and forth to press the record button.
Remote shutters are pocket-sized devices that typically connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Once you try it, vlogging will never be the same. If you need more convincing, read more about camera remotes here.
Who would’ve guessed that our favorite remote shutter for vlogging would come from Moment? Well, we probably could’ve told you that before writing this. After all, Moment’s gear is legit. It’s worth noting too, that the Moment Bluetooth Remote is, at time of writing, heavily discounted on their website. While the cost of this Bluetooth remote in comparison to others is high, it by no means breaks the bank.
Best Budget Option – Bluetooth V3.0 Selfie Shutter Remote
If you want the functionality of a smartphone remote shutter at the cost of a McDonald’s meal, then this is the one for you. The Bluetooth V3.0 is a no-nonsense offering that does what’s expected. Do be wary that you get what you pay for so don’t expect this shutter remote to last your entire vlogging career. At the same time, at this price point, you can buy one just to see if a smartphone camera remote is worth it for you and your work.
Best Deal Option – Zttopo Bluetooth Camera Remote Shutter
Everyone loves a great two-for-one offering, right? Well, that’s what we have here from Zttopo. Now, you may be saying, “why would I ever need two remote camera shutters?” You know weddings are usually shot in teams, yes?
There’s no drawback to having multiple remotes – give one to a partner, keep it as insurance, or utilize it and sync it to an old phone. This package offers you the opportunity to capture loads of different angles within a scene because you can control multiple phones’ cameras from a distance. Are you ready to feel like a Hollywood movie director?
Best Phone Lighting for Vlogging
Another critical aspect of producing high-quality vlogs with your smartphone is your lighting. For even lighting without harsh or awkward shadows, you should avoid using the flash on your mobile phone. Even if you plan on shooting outdoors, using natural light, you may need an additional source of fill light.
You don’t need a fancy lighting setup to produce well-lit videos, but you will need something that you can position around you to soften or fill out any natural or artificial lighting.
If you’re looking for portable lighting that will also serve as a tripod, consider the UBeesize Ring Light. It’s easy to set up, has several different lighting options, and can be dimmed to suit your needs.
Profoto C1 Plus Mobile Light
Lume Cube Light 2.0
2 hours or 2000 flashes
1 1/2 hours at full or 13 hours at minimum brightness
Best Quality Option – Profoto C1 Plus Mobile Light
If you’re doing your vlog on a phone in a dark room, then you’re definitely going to need to address lighting. You may as well get the best lighting that you can, right? Well, the Profoto C1 Plus Mobile Light certainly fits the bill. Unfortunately, it’s only going to really work with iPhones because the Profoto app is only available on iOS. At the same time, if you download the app then the mobile light turns into a Bluetooth camera shutter too!
As far as budget options go the Aputure AL-M9 is a bit expensive. At the same time, the benefit that you get from investing a little extra in an external flash is worth it. There’s a reason that we recommend not to use the flash on your smartphone – it’s harsh. You may have guessed it, but cheap external flashes are harsh too.
But for less than a nice dinner at your local burger joint, you can get the Aputure AL-M9. You’ll be amazed at what professional-grade lighting can do for both your photography and videography. While this offering isn’t rigged to the nines with different settings and controls, there are nine light dimming settings which are more than enough at the price point. What gets lost in translation is just how much better Aputure’s lighting is than the native flash on your smartphone – you’ll notice a difference immediately. The AL-M9 is a great addition to a street photographer’s rig.
Best Deal Option – Lume Cube Light 2.0
Are you the kind of creator that bangs up your gear? Well, the Lume Cube is pretty much indestructible, so maybe it’s the one for you. This lighting accessory was designed to withstand anything nature can throw at it. Did you know that it’s also waterproof up to 30 feet? You can do some serious underwater photography with the Lume Cube Light 2.0 that’s for sure.
Not only that, but this external flash works with traditional cameras, drones, and action cameras in addition to your smartphone. That’s an endless supply of content creation opportunities! Oh, and it’s the size of a golf ball too. So, there are lots of positives for Lume Cube – what’re the negatives? Well, you can get less expensive flashes but we’d argue they’re more likely to break and lack in performance.
Best Phone Microphones for Vlogging
Having a well-lit, stable video will do nothing to promote your vlog and your brand if your audio is subpar. Unfortunately, the microphones built into most mobile phones aren’t high quality enough to produce sound good enough for vlogging.
Instead of settling for bad audio, consider investing in an external microphone. There are several different types of external microphones that you’ll be able to choose from. For all three options, we’ve included links to vlogs that use this particular kind of external microphone. Do note that in all cases, the vlog uses a variety of microphone set-ups depending on the type of content being created (hint – you should too!).
The first type attaches to your phone or your tripod. This type of microphone, like a unidirectional mic, is ideal for capturing clear audio in any setting. Most even come with a foam windscreen to reduce wind and noise when filming outdoors.
You can also use a lapel or lavalier microphone, to take your audio to the next level. Lapel microphones can be discretely clipped onto your clothing to provide high-quality sound recording while reducing background noise. These lavalier microphones are great for vlogging because they allow you to easily record both action and vocal audio.
The third type of microphone is the handheld microphone (it can be mounted as seen in the video). These are a great option for vlogging with your smartphone if you’re stationary. If you’re vlogging in more than one place though, you should go in another direction.
Deity V-Mic D3 Pro
RØDE VideoMicro Microphone
RØDE Lavalier GO
Smartphonehone, tablet, DSLR (pretty anything with a 3.5mm jack)
If you’re paying this kind of money, you expect quality – no exceptions. The Deity V-Mic D3 Pro delivers, and for slightly under what you may expect to pay. This smartphone microphone – though it works with other devices as well – is used by many successful vloggers so you know you can trust the audio. In addition, you get killer control over gain with the D3 Pro which is a huge bonus when recording audio. The Duel Rycote shock mount just increases the amount of control you have when shooting.
Remember the days of throwing out bad audio because it didn’t make the cut? Well, you can kiss them goodbye with the Deity V-Mic D3 Pro.
Best Budget Option – RØDE VideoMicro Microphone
Maybe you really like the idea of mobility and smartphone-only kind of content. In that case, we recommend the RØDE VideoMicro Microphone because it was designed ease of use and mobility in mind! While it does require a RØDE SC7 adapter cable (less than $20) to work with your phone, it’s well worth the cost. The added windshield is a nice touch that adds to the performance and usability of the mobile phone microphone. It’s worth noting that if you register your purchase you’ll also receive a two-year extended warranty!
Best Deal Option – RØDE Lavalier GO
Choosing a lavalier or lapel microphone is the best deal option because they are the most versatile kind of vlogging microphone. While unidirectional microphones are also useful they make up the other two options in this section. As we pointed out earlier, the best content comes from a variety of microphones. Consider the type of content that you plan to create and then think about how each style of microphone would affect filming.
Best Backdrops for Vlogging
You don’t necessarily need a backdrop for vlogging with your mobile phone, but if you’re filming in your home or somewhere that might distract from your message, consider purchasing a backdrop.
Backdrops help keep your viewers’ attention on you, rather than a messy background.
Your backdrop should support your brand and your message, so choose a backdrop that sets the right mood. Typically, simpler is better, as viewers can be easily distracted by clutter. Bold colors can appear more or less professional, while softer colors may appeal more to certain audiences.
Once you’ve found your perfect backdrop, you can, of course, simply pin it to the wall. However, if you’d rather not damage your walls, or don’t have a wall to attach your backdrop to, consider investing in a backdrop stand, like the Julius Backdrop Kit.
Backdrop stands will also allow you to change your background as your vlogging style evolves, and your needs change. They can also be moved around, so you can set up your studio in another location if needed.
Best Editing Apps for Vlogging
As with regular smartphone photography, a good video editing app will allow you to add those final touches to your videos to keep your viewers coming back for more. Editing will allow you to create content that flows smoothly and keeps viewers engaged and interested.