This post contains *affiliate* links, which means that I may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. I only provide links to products that I use and wholeheartedly recommend.
Content creation is my full-time job. In just a few short years, I've grown an engaged audience of over 200,000 followers across multiple platforms, had my photos published in print, and been featured in national publications. I've signed five-figure deals, worked with partners that include numerous Fortune 500 companies, and built a business that I love.
And I've done it all with a phone as my primary means of creation. For two years, I operated my business with just an iPhone camera. Now that largely remains the same, though, I have added a *DJI Osmo Pocket 3 to my toolkit, which I LOVE!
With my iPhone, which I've upgraded over the years to whatever version has the most advanced camera, I take my photos, film video content for my own purposes and for partners, and more. While I prefer to edit on a computer for the larger screen, my phone also serves me well for quick editing and creating graphics. It's the ideal tool as it's always on hand, designed to be portable, and is also relatively inconspicuous.
Can you really be an influencer or content creator with just a phone?
You don't need fancy tools to be successful as an influencer or content creator. My career is a testament to that. None of my brand partners have ever had an issue with my work being created on the phone. Instead, my ability to tell a story and connect with my audience has been most important.
The best tools are the ones you have access to and know how to use. Yes, some brands will specifically be looking for creators to partner with who have a full camera setup and more advanced photography skills. Sometimes, you may play the comparison game with others who have "fancier" equipment and feel behind.
But relying on a phone is not a hindrance to your work or career as a content creator. In fact, as long as it's a relatively newer phone, so the camera is up to date, there are even advantages to being a phone-only creator.
First, you'll be more likely to capture those unscripted, off-the-cuff moments if you rely on the tool you're most likely to have on hand. When was the last time you went somewhere without a phone?
Second, especially for platforms like TikTok, filming with a phone is preferred as it makes the content you produce feel more native to the platform. And TikTok has impacted other social media platforms as well, including Instagram, making the picture-perfect style of the past less prevalent on the platform. Those raw moments you snap on your phone might just be the key to success in the evolving social media age.
Finally, working with a phone can lower the cost of content creation, making it more accessible and encouraging creators to stop worrying and just start creating.
The Tools I Use As A Full-Time Content Creator Who Works Primarily On Her Phone
Let's make some phone magic!
Below are my favorite accessories, apps, and tools I use in conjunction with my phone to create content. I use them regularly to create for social media, my subscription community, and brand partnerships.
Remember, the tools you have are not nearly as important as how you use them, how you work to level up your skills over time, and how you build community and credibility with your audience. Those are the things that will determine your success as an influencer or content creator.
So yes, even with just a phone, you got this!
Apps & Digital Tools For Phone Content Creation
Whether on my phone or computer, Lightroom is my preferred photo editing app. Not only does Lightroom have all the tools you need to edit photos for social media or other uses, but you can also buy and use presets for Lightroom if your editing skills are not quite there yet.
Learning to edit photos well takes a lot of time if you don't already have that skill set. And while you will get faster and more proficient at editing, Lightroom presets can professionalize your photos while you learn to do it manually. Think of presets as filters or a set of established edits that you can click on or off to apply those edits to your photos. Quick, easy, done. I have a few preset packs from Parker Arrow that work well.
Videoleap is my preferred mobile video editing app as it has a feature that will show me visually with little dots where the beat of the music lies. That makes it easy to trim and align individual clips so that they move with whatever music I've chosen and feel really lively and dynamic. FYI I've worked with Lightricks, the company behind Videoleap, on a paid partnership.
For more video resources, check out this guide to the fundamentals of crafting engaging short-form videos for social media and this quick tutorial for making videos synced to music on Videoleap on your phone!
I use Later to schedule social media content for multiple platforms. Especially as I repurpose content to ensure coverage on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, Later's calendar and scheduling features are essential, so I can keep it all straight. Later also has a great newsletter that takes you through the latest in social media strategy, trends, and more.
*Canva Pro is easier to learn and use than other graphics tools such as Illustrator and can do everything you need as a creator. I use Canva Pro for everything from creating and editing my media kit to creating graphics and Reels cover photos. Canva has lots of available free templates to get you started, and you can buy templates for graphics as well. As someone whose strengths do not lie in graphic design, I typically purchase Canva graphics templates from Your Social Team when I want to create more visually appealing text-based posts for Instagram. Then I tweak them in Canva to fit my branding, and then I'm ready to go!
Physical Tools & Accessories For Creating Content With Your Phone
The *Lume Cube Panel Mini is my favorite portable light. It's small enough to fit in a purse or decent-sized clutch, has solid battery life, and you can control the brightness and temperature of the light. The diffuser cover creates soft even lighting, which is especially great for filming in restaurants or other places with dim lighting. Plus, it comes with a mini shoe mount, which you can use to attach to a variety of tripods and cameras.
The tripods you use and need will really depend on your filming style and needs. Below are the three tripods I have and use regularly and even travel with!
For On The Go Filming
I typically have this *JOBY GorillaPod Action Video Tripod somewhere in my bag when I'm out and about. It's the perfect size to open up and prop on a table to film myself eating if I need to, and it has bendable arms that I can use to hook on things to secure it (I've literally wrapped it around a post to get the right angle). I use it with this *JOBY phone mount, which fits all phones and has a mount where I can attach my favorite portable light (*this panel mini noted above).
An Extendable Tripod
For shoots where I might film people standing (on hikes, at a gathering, etc.), this *5-foot Extendable Stand from Lume Cube is my go-to. I also bring it along if I'm filming any interview-style content, as I never know when the best backdrop for the interview might involve the subject standing rather than sitting. Technically it's a light stand, but with this *mobile phone clip attachment, it works well as a tripod. And unlike many of the other extendable tripod options I found for phones, this stand, and phone clip combo also has a mount where I can attach my favorite light if needed (*this panel mini noted above).
For Overhead Videography
For overhead videography, which is great for recipes and how-to videos, I use the Overhead Pro Tripod Kit. It was an investment at $209 but has dramatically improved my video quality and, over the course of two years of heavy use, has held up very well.
You may or may not need a microphone setup, depending on what style of content you create. Typically, I recommend getting a microphone if you're filming video content where you want to record a voice speaking at the moment or capture interviews. If you're just recording video voiceovers after the fact during the editing process, then you likely don't need a microphone.
I use the *Rode Wireless Go II portable microphone system and love it. It captures crisp audio, and the system itself is light and easy to pack and carry. You can connect it to your phone, and you can also set up the transmitters to record audio whenever they're turned on to capture backup audio as well. I also have this *charging case, which allows me to simultaneously charge both transmitters and the receiver using just one cord.
Content creation, especially filming on the go, means you will inevitably need to charge your devices and likely a lot more often than you'd expect. Between laptops, microphones, lights, your phone, and anything else in your kit, it can be a lot. For portable charging, I use the *Anker 737 Power Bank. It charged all my devices (and a few friends' devices) throughout a four-day trek on the Inca Trail, where I had no access to electricity for the duration, and it can charge a laptop along with other devices simultaneously. One thing to note: this battery is heavy, which is unavoidable among the more powerful batteries I've found.
Backpacks For Gear
Once you have content creation gear, you have to figure out how to carry it around. Especially for filming on the go, you need to be able to fit all the tools you need and keep your hands free to hold your camera, a light, or whatever else you need for filming. I'm a big fan of backpacks for those reasons. I alternate between two backpacks from Timbuk2 for filming projects as they have a lifetime warranty, relatively sleek branding (I really dislike large logos) and useful pockets and nooks for storage.
For More Casual Filming And Exploration
For day-to-day projects where I might film an experience at a restaurant or explore out on my bike, for short trips, or when I don't necessarily have a plan for a more intense project, I carry the *Timbuk2 WMN Never Check Daypack. It's small enough not to be annoying, fits laptops up to 13 inches, and has useful pockets to stash a portable light and other supplies.
For Travel And Bigger Content Creation Projects
For travel content creation or more intensive projects where I plan to conduct interviews, need to carry multiple tripods, or will be out for long hours so need to pack a backup battery, snacks, and more, I use the *Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack. This is the bag where I can pack all of my filming equipment for a two-week trip, with so many pockets to keep items organized and still fit under the seat in front of me on the plane. Pro tip: If you're traveling to create content, NEVER check your filming gear. If it's lost or stolen during transit, it can derail your entire trip.
Above are the tools I use as a full-time content creator who films more than 95% of her content on her phone. These are items I've accumulated over a few years and tested and used over and over again. For projects big and small, the above, along with my iPhone, are what I'm reaching for.
If you have any questions, please drop them below in the comments!