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.
Please help support Fstoppers.com 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 www.patrickhallphotography.com and www.rlmorris.com
I think it is fantastic you could take theese pictures with an iPhone. - When was it taken? - Was it with the iPhone 4 or 4S?
And I expect you have used some Photoshop :P - But really nice pics
good morning. i just found you guys as i was surfing the web for I phone apps. I'm blown away by all the great articles and videos and ideas you have. I'm further blown away by the wonderful subscribers who all seem so appreciative of what you guys are showing the world. The I phone fashion shoot had some photos in there that were absolutely breathtaking and i'm still catching my breath even as i write this comment. Of course the model was spectacular and one could make an argument that she would make a cardboard box camera look good. But all joking aside the I phone and the lighting combined with a great model and great photographer made those shots absolutely professional and then some. I've just subscribed and i'm hoping to have a ball keeping up with you guys. Thanks for providing us all with such uplifting and exciting ideas and tips. JE
thank you this is great! I would love to know more about which photo apps you think are best and also about external lenses and flashes that can be mounted to the iphone
Why doesn't anybody mention that even though there was only an iPhone used as a camera, several thousand bucks were spent on the lighting (not the flooders, of course :-P ) not to mention the professional Photoshopper who did a great lot of work on those pictures?!
I see the point: You don't need a 3Ds to shoot great studio images.
But you should've mentioned: The most important thing about Studio shootings is the LIGHT!
Duh. Of course if you got the light right, the composition right, and with good wardrobe and good looking model, it's not really matter so much about what camera you'd use. Of course pixel peepers would pointed out, why you didn't use Nokia N8 which was the real game changer on camera phone?
bon travail, merci
Great photos, from an iPhone i am very impressed :)
woow these are absolutely amazing. It is soft but in a way that looks like it was done intentionally. I signed up on vimeo just to like this video. Great Job!
<a href="http://www.macvision.dk/reparationer/iphone/" rel="nofollow">iphone reparation</a>
1/3 Photographer, 1/3 Lighting, and defiantly 1/3 model = amazing shots.
The expensive lighting, studio, assistants and above all models and photographer are responsible for the PICTURES here. The phone is merely 'responsible' for the image recording and it isn't much.
This post is like crediting the type of tape recorder used for the Beatles excellent and enduring music instead of their work and artistry. Yes, you don't need a 3200mm F1.4 lens on 'full' frame to produce a good pic, but such work DOES go far more smoothly using a DLSR - any brand.
Misleading - nothing more.
Q.E.D. The proof is in black and white it's the finger that takes the picture!
Brilliant. Q.E.D. It's proof beyond doubt that it's the finger that takes the picture.
Wow... small world... as I am watching this video, I see Olivia Price on Fox's new show "Touch". Whoa!
BTW- I found you by watching this video... http://gizmodo.com/5911315/this-amazing-camera-can-capture-both-the-sun-...
Hi! I love that this backs up what I have always, always said to people who tell me "You must have a great camera!" I always laugh and say "It's not the camera but the light and understanding humans that create a good portrait." I'm trying to start a photography company with my two best friends. Anyone who wants to check us out, or critique us, PLEASE DO! www.eastbayphotographer.com or www.facebook.com/eastbayphotographer
Ps. We currently shoot with old Canon 30d, an Olympus PEN E-PL1 and a Canon Rebel XT.
A totally non sense video. if you could prove that any tom dick or harry can take decent photos with an iphone in their living room environment then it would make sense. You are suggesting people to have thosands of dollars of lighting and studio equipment and then shoot with an iphone. isnt that lame ??
If someone has all the equipment you have used in the shoot, they probably also own an SLR.
And stop comparing Olympus cameras with an Iphone cam, dont make yourself look lame ! (I am not an Olympus user, but atleast I have respect the brand.)
You only made half a point this time. It's impossible to get those shots without the tons of expensive lights you have.
There's probably noone with those kinds of lights who can't afford a proper camera. So maybe it's a case of: if you're a pro and you camera packs up, your iPhone can hold the fort well...just don't try to print them :)
Love your work! My favourite website!
I think this is sort of BS. You wanna know why... Because you're using a camera (any camera for that matter) under studio-lighting conditions! Lighting is very important for photography. I know that now as a beginner. I would think this was just a big marketing-stunt. Apple probably wil hand you their new iPhone for free or something. Why don't you tell us about the (i)phone-conversation you had with Apple marketing :)
But I do Like it though..
Nice article Danny, as photographers it’s so easy to become trapped in
the loop of constantly upgrading gear. But I’ve noticed more and more
are starting to see the light and realise its about the artist and the
image. The camera is just a tool. Kevin Russ is a great example of this.
He sells prints of his wildlife photos taken with his iphone
good in theory, but these images are retouched to hell. so, it's hard to say
Excellent article. LOVED the velcro touch. "I need my phone back" :)
Wow this is amazing work and all on the 3GS version of the IPhone! I would love to see an updated post with the new IPhone 4S it has an even better camera, it would be amazing to see how much more can be done as technology on the Iphone advances. Great post!
Here is my suggestion for a better test: Take a beginner like me and give him/her a really expsnsive camera plus lens and then let him/her take pictures of stills and you'll do the same with an iPhone. No post processing other than global LR adjustments are allowed and no modifiers. Just you guys and the cameras. Wanna bet that you'll suck big time cimpared to the beginner for the average-joe's eye? Someone I know once told me : I just want to have an out of focus background that's why I wanted a wedding photographer. There you have it. The average-joe doesn't care about post processing and all that. They simply want a nice looking picture with an out of focus background and that's why so many wedding photographers struggle with getting jobs because every idiot can deliver instangram-like looking wedding pictures.
And your pictures look good yet flat. So I guess you kinda proved that you need good equipment by proving that you don't. Paradox ;)
Iphone was really cool and there are apps to hack games on android too like https://www-luckypatcher.com/ and https://www-creehack.com/
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