The iPhone Fashion Shoot By Lee Morris

The iPhone Fashion Shoot By Lee Morris

A few weeks ago I did a full fashion photo shoot with my iPhone 3gs. I posted a few of the images and asked people to critique them (never exposing that they were shot on my cell phone). I couldn't help but laugh when a few of our readers claimed that these were "the best images I had ever taken." Nobody ever claimed that they were too grainy, too soft, or lacked detail.

So before I say anything else let me start by saying; I created this video to simply show that you should not be limited by your camera. Obviously there was a lot that went into this shoot including a professional model, hair and makeup, a studio, lighting, and a retoucher. We may create another video in the future where we shoot with only natural light but this video is simply about the camera. There are so many photographers who are obsessed with noise, sharpness, color, dynamic range, megapixels, chromatic aberration, moire, distortion, etc. So many photographers get wrapped up in the technical side that they forget how to take compelling images. This video is for them.

So a few months ago I called Olivia Price; "Hey Olivia, would you be willing to let me do a full photoshoot with you but I'm only going to use my iPhone camera." I had worked with Olivia before, and I must have gained her trust because even though she was very busy she agreed to model for me. Luckily, we set up the shoot right before she was scheduled to move to LA to continue her acting career.

Next I called the local high end hair salon in town, Stella Nova. Madison LeCroy and Tiffany Starnes agreed to donate their time and talent to be a part of this shoot.

I then contacted Pratik Naik of Soltice Retouch. Pratiks portfolio is mind blowing and I was thrilled when he agreed to do the skin retouching for the video.

Travis Harris, a photographer from Miami was in town for the week and he agreed to help Patrick Hall film the whole day.

I now had a full team of extremely talented people and I had yet to even test the phone's camera capability in the studio. At this point I was scared that I may be in over my head. What if the iPhone wasn't capable of creating good quality images? A few days before the shoot I called Patrick Hall over to my house to help me test out the camera. I set up a standard square beauty lighting scheme and got Patrick to stand in. I took this shot:




We were both shocked by the quality of the image. Once we uploaded the picture to the web, you couldn't even tell it wasn't shot on a DSLR. I now had the confidence I needed for the upcoming shoot.

The day of the shoot went very well. I tried to be as informative as possible in the video so I won't go into great detail here about how the images were shot. After the shoot I sent the files over to Pratik for initial retouching. Once I got the files back I gave each of the images a "look" using different photoshop techniques and filters. In the video you can see the original image, Pratik's retouching, and then my final editing.

People may claim that the original images don't look that great but I was shooting with the intent of using Photoshop afterwards. If the backdrop paper didn't fill the frame I knew I could easily fix it afterwards. With today's market being what it is I see Photoshop as a necessary tool for every image I make. I am in the business of making money and my clients do not care if I got it perfect in the camera or made it perfect in post, they simply want a perfect image. It's the same process with music. A band could record and entire album in 1 take, but what successful artist does that? Today, everyone records track by track one at a time and use software to combine them all together into a perfect mix.

A quality camera and lens is a fantastic tool to begin with but even the most expensive camera in the world is capable of taking bad pictures. When your clients view your work they aren't thinking, "Wow I don't see any chromatic aberration in this image!" They are simply thinking, "Wow, I can't put my finger on it, but this looks great!" Olivia has one of these images as her profile picture, and it already has a ton of comments like: "G-L-A-M-O-R-OUS", "LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", you are so beautiful!!"... These are your clients; these are the people that will pay you to take an image and they are not pixel peepers. And many of you, who are photographers, even still said these are some of the best pictures I have ever taken. I can't say that I agree with that but I will say they are pretty damn good for a cell phone.

You can view all of the edited images below both as high res raw and edited images here.


iPhone Fashion 1 edited
iPhone Fashion 2 edited
iPhone Fashion 3 edited
iPhone Fashion 4 edited
iPhone Fashion 5 edited
iPhone Fashion 7 edited
iPhone Fashion 8 edited
iPhone Fashion 6 edited
iPhone Fashion 9 Raw
iPhone Fashion 10 edited
iPhone Fashion 11 edited


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UPDATE: A lot of people have asked us what sort of budget equipment we could have used to create these photos. Here is a list of a few items that would make this possible on a budget:


Interfit Photographic 36" Octobox: Large enough for soft light; good on the wallet.

Pro Studio Solutions EZ Pro Strip Box softbox 12"x56" soft box with Speedring Great little strip box; this one is for Alien Bees but can be used with constant lights

Cowboystudio 24" x 36" softbox soft box for Alienbees Alien beesLarger softbox for beauty style lighting. Again, Alien Bee version

Cooper/Regent TQS1000 Twin Work Light 1000-Watt and StandThese would work so much better than our studio strobes. Just be careful with 1000 watts in a 1000 watt softbox, don't let it run too long.

For more photography by Patrick Hall and Lee Morris, check out and



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Previous comments

This just proves its more about the auxiliary equipment rather than the actual camera.

I.e. what you really need is some lights, reflectors and even backdrops and of course photoshop. Depending on what you are shooting.

Oh, and it goes with out saying... the photographer is the biggest margin of imperfection.

I have to say Lee, that was an outstanding video. No excuses, it can always be done if you challenge yourself and work with talented people. You could have still done it with natural light or even homemade Studio lighting. Excellent idea, great execution and outstanding results. Keep up the good work!

Well done you made it work ..... If you're up to the challenge maybe an outdoor shoot ? = ) Your newest BIG Fan Here

LOVE the video- hate to get off topic, but what is the song playing in the background??

Beyond a certain minimal camera threshold, for this kind of shoot you need the model and the light... and she's fabulous. Other photography, 'being there' with a camera is much more important than -which- camera. Your point is well made, a very entertaining video. I wonder how many pictures of all types are taken with the phone because that happens to be the camera available. I don't carry my DSLR's around regularly (not Olympus's, either...) but I almost always have the phone...

You totally bring up the greatest of the greatest. Fantastic video and tutorial... Awesome!

I guess I can stop being jealous at Soccer Dads and their Nikon FF dSLR's and $6,000 zoom lens at the park as I carry my Olympus dSLR with the kit lens around... ;)

Awesome work.. Love the videos & photos.. Great work..

First, i appreciated that. Actually, it is not special at all.Professional lighting, beauty only

Do another project shooting a model using no professional lighting or natural lighting. Can't wait to see that!

nice work man,,,,,love it.....really awesome!

Gosh...these pics make me want to see if she'll model on my personal pole even more...

Or see if she'd do a personal porn shoot with/for me...

It's kind of self contradictory, you said you can take good pictures even with the iphone. Just go outside and shoot great pictures in normal light, andavaerage light conditions, not on a studio with profesional equipment. Unfortunately for me i saw at the header that the pics were taken with an iphone so i knew the color didn't look so rich, the noise, etc. But still even without reading it I think is obvious that the camera quality wasn't very good.

Good post, but why kicking the Olympus users in the balls? If ditching one specific brand for that, you've got to have a good reason, and you have to tell us why. Otherwise, it's on the wrong side of funny.

I'd love to see a photoshoot done on the new iPhone 4.

Loved it, now I have to swap my 3G with my wife's 3GS and she'll be so unhappy about that. Great stuff. Cant help admiring and laughing at the same thought.

Great job. Makes me wish the iPod Touch had a camera.

Awesome! I always say it's not the camera, but the lighting! You guys did a great job explaining that! Love the video!

Congrats on getting the front page of YouTube today.

Hey Lee, LOVED this video! Great work, keep it up.

And here's a couple pictures I took with my CRAPPY 2.0 MEGAPIXEL MOTOROKR E6!

Thanks again!

You are such a tool, incredible.

dude that was epic

this is a mis fire...comes of very cocky
i'm not knocking the skill
but this missed the point of the general argument

a pro camera is equipment, it's a better tool,
but all that lighting and rigging, not to mention buying flood lights just for the shoot?
all equipment and all better tools
tool/equipment costs money; something regular people don't/won't invest in
thus it's much harder to get great photos that effortlessly

(next time snapping pix round town with your iPhone - bring two huge flood lights.
Better yet support the economy buy the flood lights when you need them. cheap at only $50 each)

on the other hand the model was lovely

Quite astonishing results!

Great Shots! You proved your point!


So, I saw this and thought, wow, all I need now is to invest in some really good lighting, a model, hair and makeup, and a touch up studio. Shit, the cheapest part of it all would be the high quality camera gear. This is not want I wanted to focus on, I just thought it was funny to hear...

Almost a year ago, I started my own iPhone photoblogging site,, to see if I can turn the iPhone pics from my 3G into something worth printing out. Using Photoshop and other free iPhone apps coupled with the terrible camera, I was able to do some decent prints from it.

Great post, regardless of irony, from Fstoppers, and the model was hot to look at so that's awesome.

"It doesn't even shoot RAW"

Hilarious. Nice video, very informative. My day job is a video editor, but I've began to dabble in photography on the side. Mainly food, babies, and brides (but only when coerced).

It's all about the lighting. You've proved your point very nicely and over the top. This is why cameras like the d70s still rock - 1/500s sync speed, pop on a $100 50 f/1.8 and get some light modifiers, you can really shoot some nice things. The point that a lot of people are missing is that you don't need a $2600 dollar 5d Mk II and $1800 85 f/1.2, you can get by with much less, heck a basic studio kit:

d70s, 50mm f/1.8, SB-28s and cybersyncs plus a couple of light mods will have you shooting for under a grand. DIY spirit is where it's at. For example, I shoot all my product shots on a $50 dollar DIY shooting table: Why Not!

Great site!

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