You don’t see smartphone straps often, but they’re a good idea if you regularly take photos with your cell phone. Even if you have the cheapest phone on the market, you’re recording memories and moments that are worth protecting.
Fortunately, most cell phone straps are cheap. You don’t need to invest much to have a reliable safeguard against accidents. Here are some of the best options currently available for the smartphone photographer.
The Best Camera Straps Guide is a 4-part series dedicated to helping photographers buy better camera straps.
Part 1: Wrist, Hand, and Finger Straps
Part 2: Neck Straps
Part 3: Sling Straps, Two-Camera Harnesses, Camera Holsters and Vests
Part 4: Straps for Smartphones
Using a lanyard can both keep your smartphone safe and free up your hands to arrange props, climb rocks, or do whatever else you need to get awesome photos. It also keeps your phone in a convenient location for quick shots. You won’t have to worry about misplacing your phone or accidentally dropping it from your pocket or hand. For many photographers, these reasons make a lanyard the ideal strap for smartphones.
Lanyard straps don’t have to look nerdy. In fact, you can find a lot of well-designed lanyards, like this smart, cool-looking lanyard strap from Gear Beast. Its curved shape keeps the screen and buttons accessible, so you snap photos without removing the strap. The only exception is phones with cameras in the top-middle rather than the side. If you have one of those, a different lanyard would be better.
Another interesting design is the OUTXE lanyard. Instead of wrapping around your phone, it comes with a pad you slip inside your phone case, which then attaches to the lanyard. It’s subtle and doesn’t get in the way of your camera or charging port. And whenever you’re done with the lanyard, you simply unclip it from your phone.
If you mainly take smartphone photos when you’re out in nature, consider getting a lanyard + phone case that’s waterproof and dirt-proof, like this phone pouch from Joto. It’ll offer the best protection for your phone without compromising on functionality. The clear window allows you to take great photos and videos, even underwater.
If you want some extra protection without changing the way you hold your phone, try a hand strap. They help prevent accidental drops and allow for a more relaxed grip on the phone. They’re especially perfect for anyone with small hands or clumsy fingers. It’s a cheap way to keep your phone safe and your fingers comfortable as you take photos.
Hand straps can also look really cool. This Ninja Loop is a good example of how a hand strap can be an expression of style as much as a safety precaution. It works with all smartphones and comes in a variety of designs, from plain black to colorful rainbow. However, the strap does require a smartphone case, ideally one that fits well and isn’t waterproof.
Another option that doesn’t require a case is this hand strap from TFY. Instead of looping inside your case, it latches to the phone’s edges with strong metal brackets, coated in soft plastic so they don’t mark your phone. It’s easy to take off and put on, and the phone can still slide into your pocket without a problem.
In a similar vein, you can attach a PopSocket to the back of your phone. While it’s not a hand strap, it functions similarly. It’s flat when you don’t need it and pops up when you do. They’re extremely popular and come in a crazy number of designs, from plain black to bright floral prints. Though they’re not as secure as a lanyard, they’re better than nothing.
Most shoulder and wrist straps for smartphones look like mini purses or pouches. They can usually hold more than just your phone, which is nice for quick outings. It’s like a lanyard, only with more space and a subtle style that fits in with a range of social settings.
This vertical pouch from White Cloud has two separate compartments, so you can keep your phone nicely divided from your other stuff. There’s also a zipper pocket on the back for stashing cards or extra cash. The design is stylish yet neutral enough for both casual and formal settings.
This wrist strap from Arae is more like a wallet or clutch than a pouch. While it doesn’t hold as much as the pouch, it stays on your phone, so you don’t have to remove your phone from a bag to snap a picture. Each phone type has a specially-designed case, so it fits snugly and securely. Any cards or money you keep in the case will stay there, even when the phone is upside down.
From the same makers as the Ninja Loop, the Phone Leash is the most minimalistic wrist strap. It’s great if all you want is the strap, not a different case or extra bag. It fits on all phones, as long as there’s a case.
A wristband allows you to wear your smartphone like a watch, so you don’t have to buy a smartwatch. Wristbands are popular among runners and other athletes who want to easily access their phone while exercising, whether to play music, check messages, or snap a picture.
Wearing a phone on your wrist can feel strange at first, but many runners love it. If you’re struggling to find a comfortable way to take photos while hiking, this might be an interesting option to try.
At the moment, the most popular wristband for smartphones is made by VUP. It’s built from high-quality material that’s soft, breathable, and lightweight. It’s comfortable to wear, and the elastic silicone grasps your phone firmly, so it won’t drop. Best of all for photographers, it has 180° rotation, allowing you to get the perfect angle for excellent shots.
A selfie stick might make you think of tourist crowds, but this piece of gear is actually great for photo shoots, too. It’s an easy way to get cool angles or take interesting self-portraits, and it’s safer and easier than taking one-hand shots with an extended arm.
The FT-568 from Fugetek is the most well-loved selfie stick out there. It’s strong, secure, and remarkably stable. You can extend it up to 49 inches (124 centimeters), which is far enough to get self-portraits that look natural, not awkward. It also fits smartphones of all sizes, as well as GoPro and digital cameras–though a heavy DSLR probably isn’t ideal. Basically, if you’re looking for a reliable, high-quality selfie stick, the FT-568 is a good choice.
The NOVASAT selfie stick is a worthy competitor to the FT-568. It’s main advantage over the FT-568 is that you can turn it into a mini tripod. The selfie stick doesn’t extend nearly as far, but this multi-purpose use can give you more flexibility if you prefer tripods over selfies.
Whether you’re a casual or career photographer, using straps is a simple way to prevent accidents and keep your favorite camera in great condition. If nothing else, they can make you look stylish (and smart).