Next Level Smart Phone Pics

With the explosion of social media and the continuing improvement of smart phones, everyone is becoming better and fussier at taking good pictures.  You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get a hero shot anymore.

As a result, I am continually getting messages from people about the equipment I use and asking questions about how to improve their own photography.  And it’s great.  I love that we are able to capture memorable moments and treasure them forever through a frozen moment in time and I’m especially all for getting the best image you are able to create.

Unfortunately, we can’t all afford expensive camera equipment. My camera bag currently has over $25,000 worth of equipment that has taken me years to build up.  I earn money from my photography, so I can easily justify the expense.  But I’m finding there are times where I don’t want to drag around a heavy bag full of equipment, particularly when I’m not working, but I still have high expectations from the images I create, even if they are just happy snaps that I am keeping for myself.

The latest smart phones have pretty decent cameras these days and their images fine for social media and happy snaps, however if you want to go one step further, without forking out for a camera, I have recently been testing out the range of lenses from Black Eye that attach to your camera. Don’t mistake these for the cheap $10 clip ons you see at discount stores.  The first thing I noticed when I opened the box, actually even from the packaging itself, was the quality.  Made from high quality optic lenses, these attachments will take your images to the next level.  They are light and small and fit into a small carry bag that comes with the lenses and pops into my handbag.  Just quietly, I’m obsessed with them at the moment.  I find myself going out and leaving my camera at home to test out and play with these, particularly as you can see by the results, the images I am getting are pretty impressive for a phone pic.

 Black Eye HD Macro

This is my favourite lens. Probably because to achieve the results this lens gives, you pretty much either need a professional Macro lens attachment for your camera, or one of these.  The macro options are endless and lots of fun.

Here’s some things you need to know about Black Eye lenses and pretty much my first impressions:

  • When I first started using them, to be honest, they can be a bit fiddly. You need to line up the small lens at the back of the attachment with the camera on your phone.  But I have definitely found that the more I use the lens, the easier it gets to place accurately.   One trick is to look down on your camera from above when lining up the lens, it makes it easier to use.
  • Fits any phone, I-pad, even lap top, any case – very versatile. There are other options on the market that are specific to certain phone models but these will fit anything.
  • It is easier to use without the case at first until you get used to it. This can also help reduce the vignetting.
  • Doesn’t even compare to cheap $10 lens attachments.High quality optics with hand polished glass to give clear natural colours and minimise lens flaring and reflections.
  • I have an I-phone 8 and I-phone X – both with duel cameras which I do find a bit tricky to line up.However, I have been advised there is a Duel lens option coming September 2018.  If you have a duel lens phone, I would suggest waiting for the update.
  • There is also a tripod that you can purchase for long exposures, time lapse, selfies etc. It even comes with a detachable blue tooth shutter remote

Black Eye 3 x Telephoto

I love the way this lens pulls the image in and creates a shallow depth.  I have been using this quite a lot for flat lays and product shots.

Finally, can I say that this is not a paid or sponsored blog.  I feel like they are something that could really revolutionise phone photography as you are achieving a much better result at a fraction of the price of a camera. So far, I have found them really fun and useful and want to pass this information on to the people who ask my advice about cameras and photography.  The lenses are not “cheap” but when you consider you are spending upwards of $1000 on a phone, you can get a 3 lens kit including hard case for $200 which I thought was pretty good value, especially considering the results I have been able to achieve.  This is the “Pro Kit” which comes with a full frame fish eye lens, 3 x telephoto and a HD macro.  The other lens that I have been using is the Cinema Wide.

Black Eye Cinema Wide

Great to widen a shot without the distortion of a fish eye

Note that with all images shown, initially the mentioned lens was attached to a smartphone, a shot was taken (shown on the left of screen) and immediately after, the lens removed and another shot taken with the phone in exactly the same position (shown right of screen) to demonstrate what effect the lens attachment achieves.  No images were edited or altered in any way.

Black Eye Fish Eye

Always great for a selfie and capturing a really wide perspective.  As with all fish eye lenses, you do get the distortion and I found getting the focus right was tricky.