There’s a pretty significant difference in quality between an iPhone photo and one taken with a $3,000 digital SLR.

But not so much if you add a wide-angle lens to that iPhone, attach it to a mount and use some extra lighting for the shot.  
Brandon Hoe would know. He’s a photographer, videographer and marketer by trade. He’s also as frustrated as anyone by the weight of professional photography equipment on long trips to Europe or Asia, and yet the lack of quality of the alternative, which happens to fit in his pocket. 

It was enough to inspire a two-and-a-half-year project to give the iPhone the functionality of his professional camera. The result is the Helium Core, the first of what he hopes is a series of accessories aimed at improving the quality of iPhone photography and videography and creating a “global consumer business that is based in Durham, NC,” he says. 

Helium Core looks like a heavy-duty case for the iPhone, but it serves as a cage that allows for almost any professional camera attachment. There’s a spot to screw any number of lenses or filters, jacks for flashes, lights and microphones and multiple mounting points for a tripod. The cage doesn’t block any of the iPhone’s ports, jacks or its screen either.

It also has small touches, like a vertical mounting option for taking video using Snapchat or Facebook Live. It can even replace a laptop as apps now allow for editing on the phone itself. 

“The smartphone has enabled this era of hyper mobile content creation where you can fit everything you need to create within a small bag,” Hoe says.

According to his Kickstarter campaign, which wraps up Friday but has already surpassed a $30,000 goal, the Helium Core is “the basic building block for iPhoneography.”

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Note: ExitEvent is a news partner of WRAL TechWire.