Paparazzo Olivia Review [The Little Phone Stand That Can]
My social media feed has been full of phone stands and lighting rigs ever since I started making reels. I knew I wanted to review one of these “all in one solutions” to see if they might make the life of an artist on social media a little easier. So you can imagine my excitement when Paparazzo was willing to send me an Olivia Phone Stand & Light in exchange for my honest review. I can not wait to bust this box open and go through the features with you!
I received this unit in exchange for my honest opinion, and you will find exactly that stated below. This post may contain affiliate links and purchases made using those links may support DFW Craft Shows at no additional cost to you.
The box for the Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light itself was sturdy, wrapped in bubble wrap, and then packaged inside of a plastic mailer. Inside the box, I found:
- Printed Canvas Travel & Gift Bag
- Poppy Camera Bluetooth Remote (Free Gift)
- USB-C Charge Cord
- Magnetic Phone Ring & Stand (Free Gift)
- Olivia Phone Stand & Light with built in bluetooth remote
The Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand and Light includes a double-side 100 LED lamp. This means that no matter what configuration you choose, you will have the option between 7 different lighting modes on either side. You can use the buttons on the end of the light OR the built-in bluetooth remote to toggle between:
- Cool Tone – Low
- Cool Tone – Medium
- Warm Tone – Low
- Warm Tone – Medium
- Mixed Tone – Low
- Mixed Tone – Medium
- Mixed Tone – High
The Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light makes for a great supplemental / fill light when used in conjunction with ambient lighting. Olivia was able to boost visibility on otherwise dark and difficult to capture shots. The additional lighting helped me highlight details in my work and evens out unbalanced lighting. I found myself shooting on Mixed Tone Level 3 the most because this mode offered the strongest and most neutral supplemental light for my shooting environments.
Single Source Light
I do not recommend using Olivia as a single source light. When you eliminate other light sources to work solely with Olivia, the result will be a harsher lighting environment, and the quality of your videos will degrade as the distance from the light source increases.
PROS: Having a fill light will help even out unbalanced lighting and highlight pertinent details on your work.
CONS: The lighting is not strong enough to work as a standalone light, specifically at higher height settings in dark environments.
TIP: When used as a fill light, Olivia is able to help highlight details and reduce awkward shadows from other light sources.
Paparazzo Olivia Configurations
The Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light arrives fully compact. In order to open the light, you have to slide the lid backward, and then tilt it up. You cannot pull the light directly up or you may break the unit. They included this warning on a decal sticker holding the lid in place for folks who tend to jump right in before reading the quick start guide.
Once you have opened the lid, you can pull the base extension rod from the base and rotate it into the upright position. In order to maintain this position, you will have to screw the handle down until it locks onto the base. You can now start to extend the telescoping pole and explore the various configurations available with your Olivia Phone Stand & Light. The Olivia offers two main configurations:
The 90° configuration makes the Olivia an excellent phone stand for overhead shots and process videos. When you have reached your desired height, simply fold down the hinge and then rotate the phone holder so that the phone clips are facing upward. This position is the only position that will lock the hinge in place and support the weight of your phone.
When working with the 90° configuration in landscape mode, it is important to plan your layout to avoid capturing the base of the phone stand in the frame. You can do this a number of ways:
- Utilize the optical zoom on your phone for a closer shot
- Reduce the height of the telescoping stand until you can no longer see the base
- Get creative with your angles
- Crop or photoshop the footage in post to remove or replace the base
Obviously, this is a non-issue when working with videos in portrait mode. The base is naturally excluded from a vertical view. The phone holder also offers various rotations at 15° locking intervals for more creative layouts.
PROS: This configuration of the Olivia Phone Stand & Light is perfect for maker videos, freeing up your hands to focus on your art and/or the processes you are demonstrating. The additional lighting can really help to bring out detail work.
CONS: Shooting in landscape for wider frames can be difficult to achieve without capturing the base in your frame (see my tips above for working around this). The stand can feel askew once the weight of the phone has been added. See my tips below on how to level your footage.
TIP: The added weight of your phone may cause the stand to tilt just enough to make your footage look un-level. If this is the case, I suggest using some kind of wedge, whether DIY or otherwise, to adjust your phone within the phone holder grips until it sits at the angle you want.
The upright configuration is great for shots that would call for a more traditional tripod / camera layout. It is also perfect for selfie videos and calls where you need to on screen but also need your hands free to demonstrate or display products and processes. In this configuration you can take advantage of the full 360° rotation, again locking at 15° intervals, both on the phone holder and the entire light display rotating from your selfie camera to the full camera lens on the back of your phone.
I found this orientation to be extremely helpful when shooting footage of our 3D printer. The additional light was able to illuminate the otherwise inaccessible workspace, making it easier to see the build in progress. The Olivia Phone Stand & Light was also able to stand freely from the 3D printer, which is great if you have limited tabletop space or worry about the printer shaking the camera.
PROS: The Olivia Phone Stand & Light is quick to setup and offers an extra hand when you are shooting footage for your reels. It is easier to carry around that a full tripod and you can set it up in minutes. The fill light works hard to even out your lighting and highlight details that would be otherwise lost in dark environments.
CONS: The stand itself, when extended a few feet, can be a little wobbly. Definitely take precautions before setting up time lapse videos.
TIP: Used a large, heavy book as a flat surface on carpeted floors. You can then put the Olivia Phone Stand & Light on top of the flat surface for extra stability. Using this method, I was able to capture solid time-lapse footage of our 3D printer for a build that took around 3.5 hours.
Phone Cases and Weight Distribution
The manufacturer states that the Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light can support phones with cases up to 3.15″. My phone cases sit within the range of this description, but they do have pop sockets, which always complicates everything. If you have anything other than a slim, level case, I would highly recommend removing it for best results. I was working with both an iPhone 11 Pro and the much larger iPhone 7 Plus.
The manufacturer advertises that the light on the Olivia Phone Stand & Light lasts up to 3 hours, and I can confirm this data with my own personal experience. As I mentioned earlier, I used my Olivia to record a 3D build that took approximately 3.5 hours. The light turned off right at hour 3, at which point I simply plugged the light into a backup battery and turned it back on. If you are recording a time lapse video, I highly recommend plugging it in anyway–I always do. No one likes a light (or a camera) to die mid-project.
Pricing & Availability
At the time of this post, the Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light costs $85. During their current Easter Sale, you can snag it for $74.80. Free shipping is available to most countries. You can also use the promo code DFWCRAFTS to get up to 20% off–this discount code will even stack on top of sales for maximum savings.
Shipping note: I do want to mention that the Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light took several weeks to arrive at my home in North Texas. I am not sure what the typical delivery time looks like, but I do know there were several worldwide shipping issues going on at the time. Your experience may vary, plan accordingly.
Overall, I think the Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light is a quick and easy-to-use tool to make videos and reels feel more accessible to a variety of skill levels. It was able to easily replace my light stand, tripod, and gooseneck phone holder on several occasions. Not having to setup for half an hour meant that I could shoot my videos immediately and get back to crafting, instead of talking myself out of making the video in the first place because I didn’t want to drag out my equipment. Easier reels means more time for creativity. Celebrate!
The Olivia Phone Stand & Light does have its limitations, however. I do not see it becoming my goto for overhead shots that need a wide frame or any maker videos that require plenty of horizontal workspace. That being said, I have found many situations where the Olivia Phone Stand & Light made it easier to get every day footage that I would have otherwise skipped for the hassle of setting up. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is active or wanting to be more active on video-based social media platforms. The Paparazzo Olivia Phone Stand & Light makes it easy to shoot beautiful, engaging reels with minimal cost and setup.
Links included above are affiliate links and may support DFW Craft Shows at no additional cost to you. DFWCS participates in the Amazon affiliate program, but DFWCS is in no way associated with Amazon or the items above. The opinions stated above are my own, and I have not received any sponsorship or free products from the aforementioned manufacturers.