iPhone Camera Kit 2018

In 2016 I posted about my about my iPhone 6 photography kit which was an update from the photography kit I used in 2015. I bought an iPhone 7 last year and changed my photography kit only slightly but I made some changes to how I process my mobile images.

NOTE: Lightroom CC refers to the new cloud-based desktop version of Lightroom. Lightroom Classic CC refers to the regular desktop version of Lightroom. Lightroom CC mobile refers to the iOS versions of Lightroom CC.


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for iOS was released several years ago, has gone through several iterations including a recent name change. Originally a standalone app, Adobe has made the mobile app an integral part of its Creative Cloud (CC) strategy and added features along the way. Over the last year, this free mobile app, now call Lightroom CC, along with an Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan subscription, has become my go-to software for all my iPhone photography.

My Creative Cloud Photography subscription includes the Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC desktop app. Apple added RAW support to iOS starring with version 10. Adobe added RAW/DNG support to Lightroom CC mobile soon after.

The app has three shooting modes — High Dynamic Range, Automatic, and Professional. The Professional capture mode gives me complete control over essential camera settings like the shutter speed, the ISO, exposure, and the white balance. Lightroom CC mobile focus mode has a feature that simulates the “focus peaking” feature found on many mirrorless cameras. A green outline around the edge of the objects show the features that are in focus.

Lightroom CC for mobile has Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode for creating RAW (DNG format) High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. Three images are captured and then aligned, merged, and de-ghosted within the app to create a high dynamic range composite. With the HDR mode, I get a 16-bit floating point image with the full flexibility of a traditional raw file plus the expanded dynamic range of a multi-frame HDR blend.


Adobe Lightroom CC mobile’s key feature is its synchronization with the desktop versions of Lightroom CC. This Lightroom CC feature syncs developed photos easily between an iPad, Mobile, or Mac.

Lightroom CC mobile has easy-to-use sliders, filters, and quick adjustment tools. Edits on my iPhone are automatically synced everywhere else. I can shoot on my iPhone and edit on my iPad or Mac.

Just like in Lightroom Classic CC on my iMac, I can pretty much adjust everything about an image via Lightroom CC for iOS. Lightroom CC mobile contains all the image adjustments found in the Basic panel of Lightroom Classic CC desktop’s Develop module, such as white balance, exposure, contrast, clarity, and vibrancy. It also includes several presets for applying black-and-white and colour filters (landscape, portrait, and vivid), specific looks, and tones; and a crop tool that can straighten, rotate, or lock the photo’s visible area to specific aspect ratios.

The details section inside Lightroom CC mobile gives me control over sharpness, as well as adding noise reduction tools. I use those a lot. The iPhone 7 sensor is subpar in low light situations. I created a preset in Lightroom CC mobile as a default starting point for my editing.

The one thing lacking that I wish Adobe will do something about is that presets in Lightroom Classic CC cannot be synced to Lightroom CC mobile. However, Lightroom CC users can use the same presets between desktop and mobile. Presets imported through that Lightroom CC desktop version will now sync via the cloud to the mobile apps. The same synchronization also works with colour profiles. The feature works with both purchased third-party presets and user-generated presets.

Like on Lightroom CC desktop, the Lightroom CC mobile app uses the edits already applied to the selected photo to create a new preset. I can select which adjustments to include in the user created preset.


I’m pretty good at holding my iPhone 7 steady while taking photos but long exposure and HDR require that the camera remains stationary. A few years ago I bought a small Manfrotto tripod that I use to use with my iPhone.

The tripod is lightweight, portable and rugged. It's small enough to fit inside a long coat or small backpack. The tripod has a push-button locking adjustment, so I can position the tripod head just where I need it.

You can learn more about Adobe Lightroom CC on Adobe's website.

Complete Kit

My mobile photography workflow is snap, edit, post. The Manfrotto tripod and two camera apps are all I need to create compelling photographs with my iPhone.

Adobe Lightroom CC + iPhone 7 back camera @ 3.99mm, 1/1400 sec at f/1.8, ISO 20

What's in my bag

Up until a few years ago, I didn't use a backpack. I worked at the same company for many years. Other than a small lunch bag, my iPad and my blood glucose meter, most of what I needed for the workday could be found at my office. All that changed when I went back to consulting when my role at my employer was eliminated. I now have a backpack — I finally unpacked the one a vendor had given to me — and it was quickly filled up. I don’t travel for work but as a consultant, I want to avoid using my client’s resources for my personal or business affairs. The things I chose to carry in my backpack are mostly what I think I need to get through the workday. The backpack has a lot of compartments and a built-in rechargeable battery. Cables thread through the backpack to the front pouch where they end at a joint mini-USB, micro-USB and 30 pins dock connector. Here’s the stuff that chooses to keep in the backpack.

  • iPad Air/MacBook Air — I alternate between these two. I use them similarly but prefer the iPad for reading. Mostly these devices are for note taking during meetings, catching up on emails, and updating my calendar. I can also track client time, do invoices and pay bills.
  • Apple Magic Mouse and MacBook Air power charger
  • 2A USB charger. Sometimes I forget to charge my devices overnight and I need to give them some juice.
  • Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Air. I love this keyboard. Not quite as good as the keyboard in the MacBook Air. It also doubles duty as a sturdy iPad Air.
  • Bamboo iPad Sleeve by Grovemade. This case is falling apart but I prefer it when storing the iPad after a binge of reading. It’s been replaced by a newer sleeve.
  • Pentel Graph Gear 1000™ Mechanical Drafting Pencil and 0.9mm graphite refills. I’ve had this pencil for several years. I started using mechanical pencils in engineering school and the habit stuck. I like the weight of this in my hand. It’s what I use to take notes.
  • Moleskine Squared Notebook. The Pentel and Moleskine are perfect together. Although I don’t draw circuit diagrams anymore this one makes nostalgic for the past when I did.
  • Harmon Kardon BT Over-Ear Headphones with Bluetooth. A little muddy in the midrange and base but these help me stay sane and music while I work. They are also great as a hands-free accessory for phone calls.
  • ACCU-CHEK Aviva Combo glucose meter. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes almost 8 years ago. Most people don't have a need for an ACCU-CHEK device. The Aviva Combo device takes a sample of blood via glucose test strips and provides a reading of my current blood glucose. The Aviva Combo also controls my ACCU-CHEK Spirit Combo insulin pump. Together with a Dexcom G4 CGMS, I am able to successful manage my diabetes.
  • Doxie Go Wi-Fi Scanner. When I started consulting I needed to sign and return a stack of paperwork. I also need to keep copies of printed documents related to my contract and time sheets. This Wi-Fi scanner has a rechargeable battery and easy to use software quickly became an indispensable part of my mobile office.
  • Kingston 8GB USB Vault Privacy flash drive. Hardware-based, 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) because there are some things I want to keep to myself.
  • Cross ballpoint? pen. Sometimes I need to sign things. Like contracts. This pen is one that my father gave to me when I graduated from high school. That was a long time ago. Other than my Sony Dream machine, it's the oldest thing I own.
  • Mophie PowerStation 4000mAh 2.1A External Battery Charger. For when I have to travel to New York City or I am in meeting all day long and don’t have access to an electrical outlet. This PowerStation will charge my iPhone several times or my iPad twice.
  • Soft cloth screen cleaner. Apple devices seem to attract greasy fingers.
  • Adapters. Yep. I have a lot of these. I didn't want to show up to a meeting to or presentation only to find that the projector didn't have a video adapter for my iPad Air or MacBook Air. I have Thunderbolt to VGA, Thunderbolt to DVI and Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters. That covers the display needs of the MacBook Air. For the iPad, I have Lightning to VGA and Lightning to HDMI adapters. Just for when Wi-Fi proves unreliable but an Ethernet port is available I have a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter. I also need a Lightning to USB cable for charging the iPhone and iPad and a USB to micro-USB cable for charging the Mophie.
  • Lunch.
  • Smarties candy roll. I carry several rolls on me to treat hypoglycemia. The main ingredient in Smarties is dextrose, a form of sugar. One roll of Smarties has about 6 gram of carbohydrates. One tablet of the glucose tablets sold at the pharmacy is about 5 gram of glucose. I can buy an entire bag of Smarties for the price of three glucose tablets. I don't know what 2015 has in store for me. Perhaps I will continue consulting. Perhaps I will be convinced by an opportunity to become an employee again. Who knows what will be in my backpack at the end of 2015.