Epic Portraits Shot With an iPhone, a Flashlight, and a Big Mac Box

Being a commercial photographer means being able to deliver no matter what the conditions are and pushing the boundaries for the client. In this video, as you’ll see, French photographer Philippe Echaroux was given the challenge to go even further and create stunning portraits using only an iPhone, a flashlight, and a Big Mac box. Yes, you read that last item correctly! If you’re wondering how he did it, be sure to watch the full video.

With YouTube, we’ve had the chance, and sometimes the distress, to see tons of challenges. The one presented in the video above is entertaining, proving that not only it’s possible to create fantastic pictures with an iPhone, but also to light portraits with minimal and cheap equipment. A commercial photographer such as Echaroux is used to shooting with the large sensor of a Hasselblad medium format camera and stunning light modifiers from Elinchrom. Being given the challenge to rely on an iPhone and a flashlight makes his work quite different.

The part that makes it even more interesting is the addition of being required to use a Big Mac box to shoot the portraits. At first, when reading the video title, I was wondering if Echaroux would put buns and meat on people’s head. But far from it, he used the box as an indirect softbox or reflector to soften the light. At the end of the video, he even gives a tip for those who want to try and recreate the same experience. By making the box as dirty as possible with the fat from the fries will help to get more light out of the box.

While there aren't tons of explanations on how he retouched his portraits, we know he used VSCO, Photoshop Fix, and Lightroom mobile. Looking at the final result, one can only wonder if people could ever have guessed how these pictures were shot and edited without watching this video. The images are quite clean and well executed.

What do you think? Do you find his use of the Big Mac box to be smart? Would you have shot or edited the images differently? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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10 Comments

It's amazing to me the amount of detail he's able to pull out, and I'm sure post-production could account for the majority. Even still, the end results are nothing short of splendid, and better than any portrait shot I've taken. Although, that isn't saying much at this stage in my development.

michael buehrle's picture

could the same be done with a whopper box ? this makes me hungry.

Still not clear for me - was it iPhone or McDonalds infomercial... :)

Mike Yamin's picture

Not epic, but pretty neat. The processing is so heavy-handed that these could've been shot with almost anything.

Thomas Starlit's picture

Nothing short of astounding. Eye opener of the day

It's apparent in the reflections of the eyes that many of them are lit primarily by window/natural light, not this makeshift light modifier.

Charly Eyekust's picture

Agree, the natural light did the job, not his stuff, only for bait

I love the ingenuity of using the Big Mac box to create some soft light. But that post processing is way overcooked in my eyes. I would have loved to have seen what could have been accomplished with some restrained optimization in post.

Very cool final result but I'd be much more interested in what the images looked like before all the post processing. Otherwise they should change the title of this from the Big Mac Challenge to the Mobile App Processing Challenge.

Dr Peter Howell's picture

Reminds me of something I'd have made when camping as a child.

Fun watch thank you!

Peter