Grant Wickes, aka Professor Gadget: Using iPhone Photo and Video for Business

The iPhone is quickly becoming the “go to” gadget for fans of photography and video and many are now using these features for business and marketing purposes. Enter Grant Wickes, a.k.a. “Professor Gadget,” Vice President of Business Development for Wasp Barcode Technologies and a Top 100 SMB Influencer. Grant has sourced many useful gadgets and turned his iPhone into a one man media studio for conducting on-the-go interviews.  Tune in as he joins Brent Leary to share some of these special finds so that you, too, can make the best use of the iPhone for business.

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iphone photo and video for businessSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Grant Wickes: I’ve been steeped in the technology world for 25, almost 30 years.  It has always been on the marketing and sales side of things with software companies.

Small Business Trends: What compelled you to get into “interview mode” at conferences?  To find all of these cools tools to turn your iPhone into a full blown production kit?

Grant Wickes: I don’t come from T.V.  I don’t come from radio.  I am not a big expert on these things.  But I have a passion to interact with folks.  As you said, going around to the various conferences.

I like to take photographs. I have all of the high end equipment, a big Cannon Digital SLR, with all the big lenses, which is fantastic. But I don’t want to bring all of that stuff with me on the road. Then the iPhone came out and it really became an interesting platform.

I collapsed it down and found the iPhone really became the platform for me to be able to do photography. I got into it, this thing is a fantastic video machine.  So I did not have to bother with the camcorder any more.

Small Business Trends:  Can you talk about how you make them look good and sound great using the iPhone?

Grant Wickes: Sound is something people will not tolerate if there’s crackling. The iPhone has a built in microphone, but honestly, it’s just a cheap little mic inside the phone.

With a little research, now you can get adaptable microphones.  There is one by Belkin that’s called an iPhone Boom Mic that plugs right into your ear piece for the iPhone and sticks out about 4 or 5 inches and I can go around talking to people.

The second approach is the little lavalier mic that all the T.V. guys put on their collar. There is an adaptable unit from Audio Technica for $20. I can get a lavalier mic with a 20 foot cord, with another little $20 adapter that converts into the iPhone plug in. Now I have studio quality sound for an interview.

The other one, the Boom Mike, was around $40.

Small Business Trends: How do you get great lighting from a picture you take from your iPhone?

Grant Wickes: If you are out at an event or in a spot, you look for natural light. It is always the best approach. If I can get an outdoor setting where the sun is in the back, or if I can get an indoor sitting area that has a glass enclosure where outside light is coming in, that is always superb to do that.

But let’s face it, we don’t always have that luxury. For $30 for both, I have bought a couple of different LED lights. These things are small little white lights I turn on.

I have a bracket I can fit on the iPhone so that the light now shoots off to the side. It hangs out to the right side of the iPhone.  Because one of the things you try to avoid with light is having it directly in someone’s face.

An iPhone with this little case for $23, with a $13 extension heading out there, with a $30 LED light, and $30 microphone, and I’ve got gadgets on the go.  I have studio quality on a shoe string budget.

I have these little gadgets in my bag. I can immediately have a quick conversation, it leads to an interesting discussion. Within less than five minutes, I am up and running. In less than ten minutes, you and I have finished the conversation. I have content that I can put up and share with my customers, or clients, or business prospects.

Small Business Trends: Did you see any difference, in terms of views or clicks, in the way people perceived the content?

Grant Wickes: There is no doubt. The good old days where you can have your flip cam and all of that noise in the background – that’s really not acceptable anymore. So I do see it. I see it through Google Analytics the continued use and sharing of these video snippets that I take.

Small Business Trends: Where can people see these tips that you have talked about?

Grant Wickes: I am putting up a robust set on my Pinterest.

Small Business Trends: Where can people find some of these tools and these little gadgets?

Grant Wickes: There are two primary places I go for my gadgets. One is called Photojojo.  They are a fantastic little gadgets spot for iPhones.  Another is B&H Photo Video. It’s based in New York and is a store for photography.  They have all of these little gadgets I’ve picked up.

I didn’t even talk to you about the 8x zoom lens I got from Photojojo to do shots. So we have to talk again Brent. There’s too much stuff to share with everyone in a short amount of time.

Small Business Trends: Since you mentioned that, what is that called?

Grant Wickes: That one is iPhone Lens by Photojojo. It is an 8x lens.  Now they have one for the iPhone 5 that takes you 12x. So it is like having a 600mm lens on your iPhone. It is $35. It’s just fantastic!

This interview about using iPhone photos and video for business purposes is part of the One on One interview series with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.

This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.


Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.

12 Reactions
  1. Thanks for the link to his Pinterest board. That’s so much easier than searching around for all the things he talks about.

    • Hi Robert, glad the Pinterest board worked. I found that approach worked well… I wish there was for simple formatting on pins (like bold and italic), since I tried to describe the various devices in the text.

      I hadn’t really used Pinterest much, but I did like it for highlighting these visually oriented items. Tough to really explain the concept without some pics! Let me know how else I could improve info or display on Pinterest board.

      Cheers, Grant

  2. I was there. Impressive.

    I watched the Professor in action. (Right behind Brent)

    Future road show?

    The Franchise King®

  3. This is great that Grant is given a spotlight. His efforts to make tech accessible for small business has always had a terrific eye on value. Well done, Brent!

  4. Grant Wickes: Do you know about the phenomena GeekWalks, people waking around, taking photos and spreading the pics via social media channels?

    Brent: I look forward to listen to your interview. How do you like SoundCloud so far? Have you tested Audioboo? I will talk about podcasting on the next WebCoast “unconference” (potluck) in Gothenburg, Sweden.

    • Hey Martin,

      SoundCloud is really nice and seems to be on its way to being a kind of standard for embedding audio. I haven’t checked out Audioboo but will do so now.

      Btw it looks like I’ll be coming to Stockholm next year as part of the European CRM Bus Tour I’m a part of. (

      Thanks again!

      • Brent: SoundCloud has been associated with the music industry for a long time, but it looks that it is getting popular in other areas too. Audioboo has a nice, homey and social touch to it.

        How would you compare and contrast SoundCloud features with BlogTalkRadio. I have been a premium user and host for BlogTalkRadio for some time and I like the stats you get and how your show is promoted through the site. But I would like to attract sponsors in the long run, so I can cover my costs for having a premium account, and to be able to invest in some new equipment and tools for the production of podcast show.

        I look forward to meet you this year! I see that you will be in Oslo, Norway. Will you travel through Gothenburg, Sweden, too? I have now registered on the site. Talk to you soon again!

        All the Best,


  5. Hi Pierre, so nice of you to post your comments. I do enjoy sharing some of my experiences and hopefully in a small way help the business owners. And Brent is the consummate interviewer… he’s extremely talented at getting an easy dialogue going.

    Hey Martin, hope all is good with you in Sweden! Haven’t heard about GeekWalks… sounds a lot like photowalks… and that I know is popular with the GooglePlus photographic crowd. I tend to use a few social sites to share photos – Flickr, PicasaWebAlbums and a couple others (need to do a post on pros/cons of each of these sometime in future).

    And the SoundCloud worked real well from my perspective as the interviewee (in fact the real good content is in the radio interview link Brent provides at the bottom of the text copy on the site). Just like a normal phone conversation with Brent.

  6. Grant:

    Things are OK in Sweden. Are you in Dallas? I visited Dallas in 1996 and had a fascinating meeting with financial trader, Victor Sperandeo (Trader Vic books).

    Yes, GeekWalks are like photowalks.

    For you information, Brent was a jolly good guest on my EGO podcast show (September 26, 2010)! 🙂

    I like to listen to Brent’s podcasts during my weekend walks. But lately have had some tech issues with listening to it on the Downcast iPhone app.