Step Up Your Travel Photo Game: iPhone Camera Lenses

Several years ago, I read Chase Jarvis’s book The Best Camera Is the One That’s with You. His argument is that most people don’t need fancy equipment to capture photos; they just need to use the camera they already carry with them everywhere in their pocket. When he wrote the book in 2010, his iPhone had a 2 megapixel camera. I upgraded to an iPhone SE prior to my trip to Morocco, and I have been incredibly happy with the images captured by its newer 12 megapixel camera.

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The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco, shot with an iPhone SE

For Christmas this year, Mike bought me a set of clip-on smartphone lenses that allow me to take a wider variety of shots. They include a fish eye lens, a macro lens, a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens, and a circular polarized lens designed for bright sun settings. My favorite of these is the macro lens, which allows me to shoot incredibly close details at high resolution. And they’re so quick and easy to use!

iPhone Lenses

Product photo: SimpLenz

My recent visit to the greenhouse and gardens at Biltmore Estate was a fun place to play around with them. This is a shot taken with the iPhone SE’s standard, built-in lens:


It’s fine. It has good color, depth, and detail, down to the drops of water on the plants. But check out the drops of water on these kalanchoes, shot with the clip-on macro lens:


Be still my heart! And the detail on these ornamental grass fronds, also shot with the macro lens:


Swoon. In fact, I couldn’t stop taking detailed photos with the macro lens. It’s still as point-and-shoot easy as regular iPhone photography, but each flower (and, therefore, each image) was a work of art. When you’re working with subject matter that’s only an inch or so in size, it’s pretty amazing to see it in detail better than you can detect with your naked eye!

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Consider me obsessed. 

The lenses work with any smartphone or tablet, and the clips can be used with the regular or forward-facing (selfie) camera. The best part? The whole set costs under $25 USD on Amazon and they fit in your pocket, too. It takes some practice to master the placement and focus with each lens, so you’ll want to spend time with them before you use them to capture once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Get your own set of lenses here!