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

You must be kidding me. These pictures look awful and to call them fashion. What about them is fashion? Is it because she has clothes on? I don't see it. These pictures look amateurish and cheap. At best they could be use for a high school year book portrait session. What a disgrace to photography. Who ever picked these should be fired. Frank Marshal

Calm down Frank. I am a wedding photographer, not a fashion photographer. I am sorry that I have disgraced the art of photography. I'll fire myself when I get a chance.

These photos do look far superior to anything I've seen come from a phone. However they do not appear professional quality to me, and I suspect others think so because: (1) they are all human (face) subject, where the brain is trained to fill the gaps, (2) the background is removed and the clothing is monochromatic, and (3) the hazy lighting and texturing make the camera's weaknesses appear as styling effects.

Now I don't have any photography background, so I say this just as someone who thinks he can tell a good picture from a great one. But I can certainly see the limitations of resolution in the raw images. Also, I don't think the light saturation does not look "real:" I've seen some pictures of people where it's the same as if you are looking at them and these do not look like that. Along the same lines, the coloring does not look right. Again it's hard to tell what is camera limitation and what is photographic style, but again I suspect you are covering for the camera's weakness.

Again, these do look very good to have come from a phone. But your thesis should be this phone is much better than all others when it comes to taking photographs, not that you can take something approaching professional quality photographs with this device.

My point is not that the iPhone can take professional quality pictures or even that the iPhone is a good camera phone. My point is simply that your gear should not be a limiting factor in creating good pictures. It is possible to take "better" images with whatever you happen to have at the moment.

I'm a professional photographer as well and I couldn't agree more by the words you are not limited by your medium. Amazing photos. I just learned a bit from your lighting set up BTW. All I can say is your a beast for doing this and proving that it's all in the eye and a little photoshop goes a long way. My question is does this translate to print? Did you have to higher the pixelation? I know it's not possible to do that but I have seen photos taken with a Iphone and yours seem to be smoother and less grainy for print. Is that all the magic of photoshop?

PS one more all of you who are arguing the quality and the colors...Be a little creative with your quality and colors. When you see an old photograph that has coffee stains or water stains or aging do you say "oh that looks like crap because look at the grain and the stains and the age...UGH" No it is what it is. Every camera has a different feel to it. I personally own 30 different cameras from all different times and they all take pictures completely different. I think people need to get out of this hole they are looking in when looking at photographs. A photograph is a moment in time. No matter what you capture it with it was there at that moment and that makes it completely unique. Photoshop helps but again that's trying to get it out of its small constraints and open the color scheme to something else. Just my 2 cents.

I don't really get the point. When do we actually use the iPhone this way? How often do we take tons of lighting equipment with us and forget the SLR camera at home?

Liked the whole project nevertheless.

Just phenomenal results. Thanks for proving once again, that it's not necessarily the camera , but the creative mind behind the camera, that visualized the 'impossible'.

Perfect pictures. I like iPhones but i didn't know i can take so good pictures with my iPhone! Can you please make a shooting with iPhone 4!

The images are grainy but they came out very nice. The raw images are actually very good by themselves. If the iPhone 3 can produce these images, I can't wait to see what comes out of the iPhone 4!

Great vid - and thanks for reinforcing the point that great pics can come from modest resources. Besides the iPhone camera, the hint of MacGyver was also there with the shop floods in this vid. Now how many of us will ever admit that we actually tried this - well done!

Omg. this is so INSPIRATIONAL :) AMAZING work and I just heard about this site TODAY. ha. Definitely, will add it to my Bookmarks ;)

This video is amazing. I dont have an iPhone but Im definitely trying it on my blackberry. This is very educational & inspiring as well. Great job Lee Morris, Soltice Retouch, Olivia Price & of course the iPhone. ;))

great video, great concept. Makes me want to use a rim light more often.

that's a complete LIE. If you need Photoshop any picture will look that amazing. I have a photo studio and most of the pics I ended delivering are taken not with my nikkon, but with a cheap Casio because the way it handle exterior light. A little bit of PS and there you have it. a GREAT picture.

Just like "albert kinng" said - try doing the same thing without Photoshop (and the pro set of lights etc) and then you can make such a big fuss out of shooting with ipod or some other shitty camera. Now it's just funny for people who know anything about photography and PS.

Nice try though

Very nice video!

Well they got really expensive light equipment, makeup staff, great models and designer clothing.

and if they want to print that pics, they can't, because the iPhone has really low resolution.

Great to see someone else is experimenting with mobile phones as cameras. Well done!
I shoot fashion, beauty and advertising for a living but I also have a personal blog only made of pictures taken with my cell phone, no retouching, just as shot.
Would be great to hear what you think and I hope you don't mind me writing the address to it:

Keep up the great work!

No question,good model, very good lighting, very good Photoshop afterwork, 3 megapixelcamera, displayed on small screens, very good results. As some others commented it would be intresting to see results without that flashy lighting equipment. Natural sun , natural cloudy sky, natural inside electrical lighting, how about that?
An interesting observation was the natural behavior of the model and the natural smiling, that's also a good message of that video.
People who will buy the next iPhone with an improved camera should observe this video and apple should use it in their Advertising since it has a very important message.

I think its very inspiring, ignore those knocking what you did. Obviously a professional photographer wouldnt use an iphone to do a session, but I think your point behind this is to encourage other photographers they dont need all the latest and greatest to be successful!

So thank you! Very cool video :)

Phones as professional cameras makes me want to punch a just like like using auto instead of manual... meaning the camera has more control over the image then you do, making it less your own. Buuuut what everrrrr people of today D: loose your creative in camera control for mobility...

i betcha can't take a decent picture with the nokia xpress :(

Very inspiring! Makes me want to buy an iphone but i probably wont.

That is awesome. Inspiring! I just bookmarked it.

Amazing! The photos look awesome. I have an iphone and I love photography This truly makes me want to just try some shoots on my own. I also appreciate all the lighting direction. That was extremely helpful, and informative. Great Job!!

this is very inspiring and helpful to all aspiring amateur photogs. thanks to your team.

awesome work! love the outcomes. Good to see that you dont need an expensive camera to take professional shots ;)

Keep up the good work!

Whoohoo! Finally someone proves what I've been saying for years! I've always said it doesn't matter what camera a photographer shoots with...if they don't have that "eye" they've got nothing! That was a phenomal shoot! Taught me so many things!

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