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


Please help support by commenting below and joining the conversation on our forum here.


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



Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of

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Previous comments

Great video, shows off how a small phone can shoot good images, given the right lighting, model and studio of course. Principle is still solid though.

How did you white balance those worklights? I have a small 500w worklight from home depot and i cant seem to balance it quite right.

How is this a surprise?

In the video you mention people complain lack of equipment holds them back and you are going to prove them wrong by doing a shoot with an iPhone... but then you proceed to use a professional light setup in a studio environment.

The fact that the photos came out great under these conditions shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

Lighting and composition are far more important for quality photos than the camera itself.

I agree with Carl Hancock, the camera doesn't mater its the quality of light and the ability to control that light that matters. How bout you guys do a real low budget photo shoot, with the iphone or the olympus camera, outdoors since most beginners do not have a studio much less studio lights.
My suggestion;

Entry level camera (on camera flash)
foam core (reflector)
white sheet (for diffusion)
Sun (main light)

now that's roughing it...

Nice photos.. but I am sure someone could afford a pretty good entry level DSLR for the amount that lighting alone costs.. lol

This is a great eye opener for people. It is not the camera that makes the photo, it is the talent of the photographer

AMAZING !!!! Not the camera makes the photo , it is the talent of the photographer :) GOOD JOB !!!

Love this post, I have been preaching this for ages to my students and anyone who will listen - so glad you did this demonstration to prove it once and for all!

if this doesnt inspire you, nothing will.

I have 3 DSRLs, Canon's 60D, T1 and an XSi plus a Canon Powershot SD4000is. 2 months ago I purchased an iPod touch and since then, I take 1 photo with all the other cameras per every 30 or 40 I take with the iPod Touch. I just love the thing. It may not have all the functions, resolution, focus, aperture and many other things the other cameras have, but is so much fun and the photos are great.

I know many of you still focus on the fact that he has all that lighting gear and the studio...... but the point was to show that you can get great pictures with something so simple like the iPhone. The result would be the same using natural light. In fact, I know a wedding photographer that shoot a entire wedding using his iPhone. Remember, is the photographer, not the camera.

For a start this is an amasing job and well done. You do prove a very good point about composition and lighting. Also something that many wouldn't dare to do.

However some people do need to keep in mind that this was achieved in a controlled enviroment. The results wouldn't be the same outdoors, during a fashion show, some fast action shots etc.

I am not trying to take any credit from the photographer but just stating the obvious (ie a phone cannot replace a descent camera).

I have a new found respect for my iphone 3g...
amazing work love this site

Hi There,

so we have:
Professional Model, Professional Stylist, Professional MakeUp, Professional Hairdresser, Professional post-prodution and Professional Photographer

do we really need a camera!?!?! Come on, even with a 19th century camera we could do the same thing.
it's no about the camera but about everything that evolves the photo shoot. This is the point.

oh and professional lighting

excellent stuff, I love the site, and this video is truly inspirational I hope you don't mind that I shared it on our clubs site, thanks and keep up the good work.

Great great video! Like one of the very first posts would be great to see how you do a shoot with non professional lighting! Bring on that video please!

Amazing pics!!! Proof that it is totally the person behind the camera and not the equipment!!!

Nice making off video, the music and the edit. Keep Rocking!

hi there,
Just wondering what kind of software did you use for video editing? its really nice...

It doesn't matter how much lighting you add or how great the model looks, or how much post processing that you do to images captured on an iPhone, you can not say that the camera doesn't matter. Truth is, the image sensor of the iPhone 3gs is approximately 10mm squared, compare that to the Nikon DX Format sensor, which is approximately 370mm squared. The Nikon sensor is ~37 times the size of the iPhone sensor. That means if you took the same photo with both cameras, the iPhone image would have to make up 37 times the information (resolution, color information, etc.) that it actually records to get the same size print or physical screen image.

you both are freaks!!!

Editing IN a call on the iphone

DURING a shoot



My God! i cannot believe some of the moronic comments this exercise has created! Full props to you guys - a very much enjoyed and apprecitaed video. Thanks!

Wow! So cool! Thanks so much for doing this. I need to share this with my students!!!

Let's up the challenge. Use a pocket camera under $300, only household lights, and other light modifiers found around the house, no professional models, or makeup artist and no professional retouching. I know it can be done, so show us that. Don't cheat with all the pro lights and talent.

why would any photographer goto that extreme? Let's just do it all in software and not even call it photography! And pro can find an equally pretty girl pretty easily; Olivia isn't a 'pro' model.

Totally amazed. Case proven. It's not the camera any longer.

time to sell away the dslr and buy back the 3gs! =D

chin dropping, mouth open, eyes staring.............WOW

Don't forget the Call-dropping :D

Haha, anyone wanting to switch back, I will totally trade in my unlocked iphone 3G for a 5D MK2...

I’m currently studying digital film-making and video production @ the Art Institute of Atlanta. And I from Nigeria. Making films simply makes me happy. Passion beyond reason. I take it personal. It’s bout the gear, it’s bout the task, it’s about lighting, and the camera. It’s about everything. It’s bout the creative mind behind it all. I never stop thinking about fancy gears, music, videos and photos. I’m always finding inspiration. I have no fear plus I gotta pay my dues. I have nothing to lose.

Really awesome!


When people ask what equipment I use - I tell them my eyes, When i ClicK is here to make you look just that extra special!
Company Overview
Tariq AK, the BRAINS behind the tag line When I ClicK, my passion for photography developed at an early age and since then I've never missed that special moment to capture. The enthusiasm to step into professional boundries grew stronger when Tariq AK started work with the hotshots at the verge of 2009. The start of 2010 marks a new era in his career by diversifying into the world of fashion under the name When i ClicK which is a subsidary of Circle Se7en©
Professional Photography and Creative Solutions.

Come And Like my page on Facebook

the idea with iPhone is nice and it is true its not as much about the equipment as it is about the photographer. However you guys used a fair amounts of light and this makes a huge difference, because the light is key to an image. So please encourage people to explore, but do not make it sound like its that simple. It is a learning curve and money invested in equipment.

All the haters in this... eeesh..
I think he did awesome with the phone.
And didnt he say that this was about the camera?
Damn people, listen and read before you start your idiotic complaining!
The man took a damn cell phone and made top quality photographs, and you want to pick it apart like it wouldn't have happened if his lighting or makeup or model wasn't what it was? GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES.....!!!
He's got talent!
You, probably don't.
face it.
Get over it.
And enjoy it.


Shows how far good composition goes. Have you sold any iPhone-shot images to customers?

Dude, this thing doesn't even shoot it :)

It's not about gear it's about skill. Even with cheap lighting you need to know how to light your subject. This is why the images look so professional!

good photoshop via iphone... it definitely increases the love of the people for iphone.

Amazing from an iphone...

I have always said that the tool is not what creates the image.  It only captures it.  Just because you own a Blad, does not mean that you are a creative photographer.  It just means you bought a Blad. Well the same applies to an iPhone or the later.

I think the test is remarkable but you can't say equipment was not an issue in this test.
Do the same thing with only Lowes flood lights, shower curtains and cheap reflectors.
Bring that lighting equipment to the level of that phone. I'm sure you can do it.

In the video the test was the camera, not the lighting, makeup etc... It is about the camera and the image in your head!!! Thanks for the information, now I have to improve the image in my head and not the equipment.

In the video the test was the camera, not the lighting, makeup etc... It is about the camera and the image in your head!!! Thanks for the information, now I have to improve the image in my head and not the equipment.

Very surprised by the results, I just wonder how much retouching was done to make them look that good? The iphone 4GS now has an 8MP camera and other improvements so it's just getting better and better!

You, my dear sir, are amazing! I was seriously considering buying the iPhone 4S OR a dslr. But due to budget limitation I was so confused whether to choose high quality pictures (dslr) or decent pictures+entertainment (iphone 4s). But you just cleared my confusion that it is not about the camera. It's about the things you capture and how you capture them.

Also i want to take decent fotos that will be memories and carrying a DSLR all the time is not a possible option for me since i am not a pro like you.

Thank you once again! :')

ha its easy to shoot with an iphone when your backdrops and everything else is professional quality. I would do it with a crappy old olympus slr outside with bad lighting and use a flashlight or floodlight to light thats a challenge!

haha - worst camera fashion shooting - what a bullshit and nothing worth not even the time to spend on looking the videowhy didnt you use a holga? <a href="" rel="nofollow">iphone reparation</a>

Check out this music video, it was shot entirely on iPhones. One stationary, one handheld. We thought it had an 8mm look to it:

Check it this music video, it was shot on 2 iPhones. One stationary, one handheld. We thought it had an 8mm look to it.

Thats nice

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