Professional NFL Photographer Captures Prime Time Game with iPhone 6s Plus

Professional NFL Photographer Captures Prime Time Game with iPhone 6s Plus

Recently our own Lee Morris shot a model photoshoot entirely with an iPhone 6s Plus, showing that with proper lighting technique, a good model, and proficient use of editing software, you can obtain professional looking results with even the most humble of cameras. Andrew Weber, a professional sports photographer, decided to take it one step further by capturing the unpredictable environment of a primetime NFL game with only his iPhone 6s Plus in hand. Weber was kind enough to answer some of our questions and provide a great sampling of his photos from the shoot.

Weber is a veteran sports photographer with a resume that includes high-profile clients such as ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and events such as multiple Superbowls and the Olympics. He recently took the opportunity to do an entire shoot with his iPhone 6s Plus of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Denver Broncos.

Weber noted among its positive points that the iPhone 6s Plus was easy to use and handy.

First of all, we wanted to know why he would even want to do any shoot with an iPhone when his normal setup includes a pair of Canon EOS-1D Xs, a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L, Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L II, and a Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L.

The iPhone 6s [is] 12 megapixels and my pro DSLRs are 18 megapixels, so it's not that far off. I just wanted to show that it doesn't matter the tools, it doesn't matter the gear, you can tell the story and can make great images with a point and shoot iPhone, a Polaroid, or whatever... It's about being creative.

While Weber loved the handiness, ease of use, and mobility of a camera phone, he went on to address some of the limitations he experienced from using an iPhone 6s Plus, noting its functionality targeted more towards amateurs, ISO performance, and a fixed lens. And while he used multiple apps including the native camera, Camera+, and Manual, he found all of them to have some of the same issues centering around burst shots.

While there were of course many limitations, Weber also noted that the new challenges pushed him to think a lot more about his shots.

It just made me think a lot differently than if I had a DSLR in my hand, like okay, I'm just going to shoot this and I know how it's going to turn out. Compared to using the iPhone 6s Plus, OK I'm going to shoot this and I have no idea what's going to happen.[...] It's just a stab in the dark. I liked that aspect. The mystery of it.[...] Having a chance to do things with these tools you're not used to using.

Weber chose to forego his usual setup, which includes a pair of Canon EOS-1D Xs.

It certainly goes without saying that, given more time, he could have gotten a lot more out of the iPhone as he gained comfort with its strengths and weaknesses. It should also be reiterated that no one is saying the iPhone is about to replace DSLRs. Well, not yet at least.

For more, check out Andrew Weber's own professional work on his website and follow him on Instagram @aweberphoto.

All images used with permission.

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6 Comments

Aaron Bratkovics's picture

Great article. I enjoy seeing photographers use the tools they have.

I questioned "It's just a stab in the dark." because ....how? The digital camera is still a digital camera. And I also questioned why he said "The iPhone 6s [is] 12 megapixels and my pro DSLRs are 18 megapixels, so it's not that far off." As in it being a digital camera too? Obviously the quality is going to be better because of the type of sensor.

but ANYWAY I'm not trying to be annoying haha

"It's about being creative." and that is what I really like. I hope more people see the phone as an aid or a tool. No one is complaining about running around with fuji x100t <333 lol.

Anonymous's picture

Lol... this is why the magazines are getting rid of professional photographers .... Great job ..

John Skinner's picture

I saw Mark shooting this... some of us were snickering away watching this as most people aren't avid iPhone people. And watching him ham bone this phone around was pretty.....well -- awkward.

Better him than me. I don't see a double truck coming out of this one Mark.

Marco Wagner's picture

OK. We get it. iPhones can take pictures. Yay. The 5 did too. and the 4. and the 3. I have a Pepsi can that can take pictures too! Lets do an article.

michael buehrle's picture

i bet the other working pros were also making fun of him. all i see from his pics is a bunch of "snapshots" for lack of a better term. there were zero game shots, no shots of plays, td's, int's, punts ect.... i agree with robert, this is why some places are dumping their working pros. just send a college kid there with an iPhone. as far as 12 meg vs 18 meg being not fat off i guess that might be but look at what else your getting with you 18megs. this might be a funny article but i don't consider people who use an iPhone at take pics a photographer, just someone who takes pics.

Richard Johnson's picture

Not sure what all the hype is with the new iphone having 12 megapixels. Congrats, the new iphone now has a little over half the megapixels as my 2 year old Sony Xperia Z3. I have read a few articles now where photographers are comparing the iphone to their pro DSLR, and it is a bit misleading. Yes the iphone maybe 12 megapixels, but how big is the sensor compared to a full frame DSLR? It blows me away how brainwashed apple fan boys are. Other smartphone have been running laps around the iphone for years. Even the newest iphone is still two years behind and twice the cost. If you wanted to write an article about using available tools to tell a story, then leave the lackluster iphone specs out of it.