Photographer Plans To Shoot 50 Weddings In One Day With His iPhone

Photographer Plans To Shoot 50 Weddings In One Day With His iPhone

Is this really the hip thing to do these days? Why is it that I keep reading headlines like this of wedding photographers turning to their iPhone versus their camera gear? I get that it’s trendy, and within seconds (with no Photoshop needed) you can add a grunge effect with an Instagram filter and have it posted online. But seriously... *shakes head* wrote up a story on Kevin Kuster, an experienced photographer that “spent 18 years with Playboy magazine leaving as its Senior Photo Editor” is now heading over to the Phillipinnes with the charity Watts of Love to photograph 50 weddings using just an iPhone 4S. Now I of course give the guy huge props for volunteering his time and giving these couples images that I am positive they will cherish for a lifetime. I understand that many of these couples will receive the only photo they have of themselves together and Kuster is planning on going above and beyond by printing an image on the spot and putting it in a frame.

But seriously... with an iPhone? Now I know there are going to be photographers who say, “Oh come on Trevor. It doesn’t matter what gear you use? Photography is about light as long as you know how to capture it.” Or I am sure others will even reference back to the most popular post on Fstoppers when Lee Morris stunned us all with photos from a fashion shoot from an iPhone 3. Some might even reference some of the world’s top photographers who have also done this in the past including names like Jerry Ghionis or Kenny Kim. To me though, if you are a professional photographer and purposely choose to shoot weddings on your iPhone it is like...

…a chef that uses a microwave to cook his gourmet meals.
…a barber using a pair of school safety scissors to cut hair.
…a lumberjack using a butter knife.
…a renowned flutist playing a concert on a school child’s recorder.
…a hunter using a paintball gun to take down his prey.
…a barista brewing up some Folgers coffee.
…a drummer using chop-sticks.

I get that it’s not the gear that makes the photographer. I understand that it’s in how we frame the shots, how we see the light and how we interact with the clients. I also love the quote and book by Chase Jarvis, "The Best Camera is the One That is With You." I think Kuster has a great point when he says he likes to use the iPhone because the clients are more interactive “instead of staring into a DSLR lens, they can look at my face. I feel like it’s more personal.” But as I see it the benefits of using the ‘right tools’ far outweigh using the phone so they can look you in the face. What do you all think about this?

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Chris Hall's picture

So get a M4/3 camera for size, use the rear display instead of a viewfinder (if it has one) and you can get a quite a bit more reliable/higher quality images (and size). On the other hand, as long as the people hiring know he's using an iPhone, then all is fair I guess. 

Troy Giesbrecht's picture

this sounds like more of a publicity stunt. Shameful. 

Garrett Byrum's picture

ding ding ding

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

 and it is disrespectful for those couples. He will do this because he can.

Glenn Orion's picture

Read the article:

"Watts of Love’s first mission is to the island of Ilin in the Philippines. On top of lacking a reliable, sustainable source of light for the majority of its inhabitants, the remote island has not had a pastor or priest visit the island in quite some time. As a result, there are at least 50 couples that are waiting to tie the knot. 

Watts of Love's partner, Missionaries of Mother Mary of the Poor, asked a pastor to come to the region to preach and perform the ceremonies.

When Kuster discovered that his visit coincided with an upcoming visit from the pastor, he couldn’t turn down the idea of shooting the event. But instead of just photographing the service for Watts of Love, Kuster wanted to give the couples something to hold on to."

Tj Ponds's picture

i agree,  i dont doubt the iPhones abilty to take good photos, but 50 weddings in one day? c'mon, even with the best gear nobody can pull that off without it looking like u jus want the attention
50 weddings in one month would have still sounded absurd but can be more "do'able" than in one day. did 50 ppl really hire him to cover their weddings, did they pay for 2minutes of coverage?

tyrohne's picture

meanwhile Fstoppers posts another "amazing iphoneography" article...


Zach Sutton's picture

"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." - H. G. Wells

Mr Blah's picture

soooooo "Conform or die"?

Great way to be creative... keep it up... -_-

Zach Sutton's picture

No, being adaptable and conforming are different things.

Grace Wolf's picture

"adapt or parish" is all about exploring new horizons. Conforming, to me, means to go back to the box, make sure your corners are 90degrees. 

tyrohne's picture

I'm curious why you think that quote is applicable?  (Personally I don't think you put much "thought" into it... I think you think it makes you sound cerebral...)

Are you implying that using a subpar camera to what is easily available to any 'average" photographer much less a professional is akin to adapting a la 'natural selection'?  Or are you implying "in the future" all photography will take place with a personal communication device? (a fair argument but one I don't think you're making and isn't what is discussed)

Forgive me if I find your random quote nothing more than a non sequitur   

Chris Warkocki's picture

Subpar photographers shoot with gear that highly experienced and well established photographers can't afford or don't own themselves all the time. The photographer using the camera is far more important than the gear in hand. I can rock a wedding with a D5000 and a 50mm 1.8 any day. I prefer my larger gear only for the fact they are more reliable and wedding photography comes with some unforeseen circumstances. I did some fashion soots with a D7000 and even used a D70s in published work because it gave me the ability to sync flashes at 2000th without a using special gear. 

In the future I hope photographers stop being stupid, like this gentleman in the article who is purely looking for publicity, caddy, because they seem to whine all the friggin' time, and  be more understanding of others since obviously we are an aggressive creature that just needs to be right all the damn time.

tyrohne's picture

okay?  maybe you meant to reply to someone else?

Paul S's picture

Poor couples: so their lifetime memory will be a mediocre quality photo taken by a device designed for making phone calls.

And just because the "photographer" decided to make a PR stunt because just going to an island taking wedding photos is not enough anymore to get people's attention.

Not even questioning how long these on-site printed photos will last. Wondering if printing in a decent lab at home and sending the whole package back to the island for the islanders to sort out would have been a smarter way.

RUSS's picture

I aint gonna judge the guy or his plans.
I'll wait to see the end results, then i'll judge the hell out of him... hehehe :-)

There is a problem I find with this philosophy of photography and, to me, it seems like many experienced photographers use it to make one point... "Im so good, no matter how i shoot my photos, they come out amazing." I have worked with wedding photographers who ONLY shoot JPEG and their reasoning is "Its faster and I compose my shots the right way every time." While this may be fine for fashion, advertisement or promotional work, for any live event this is the stupidest thing i can imagine. Yes they will get good shots. Yes they might come out amazing but the problem isnt the shots your are getting, its the ones you are missing. For example, with the Raw Vs JPEG debate, yes you can get the same shots but lets just say there is one shot you have of the bride coming down the isle. She is tearing up and makes the perfect face for a beautiful image, but just then you have a harsh light streak hit her face. With raw it can still be a saved image and yet with JPEG its a loss. Yes the image right after might be acceptable but that doesnt mean great. Same thing with the iphone, while you will get good images, you might miss 1 due to the cameras constraints. It is a disservice to your client and to your portfolio not to shoot with the best equipment available  (not saying you have to buy everything, but use what is at your disposal) in order to shoot the best wedding you can.

Malcolm Debono's picture

Just saying: the shots that most photographers miss aren't due to the RAW / JPEG issue

While I agree with your point, it doesn't sound like this is the case here. As others previously said, I think it's more of a PR stunt more than anything else. Besides, I don't think this guy usually shoots weddings.

Merek Davis's picture

Kevin's a buddy of mine. Chatted with him numerous times. Great guy and has enough life stories from his life to fill books upon books. He has a great heart. I read through the comments, and I'm saddened.. I doubt any of them would go and shoot 50 weddings for free.... that amount of time, and dedication to a cause that would not otherwise be captured.... it seems like there are those that are quick to judge..

They're calling it a P.R. stunt? Good for him for raising awareness for a charity.... This is no different than Jeremy Cowart posting stats for Help Portrait, or any other "celeb photographer" who does p.r. stunts for their organizations. Nothing wrong with that! He obviously is getting no monetary gain out of this. 

I'm just utterly sad that instead of the photography community rallying around this guy and helping support him, they shoot him down, and essentially rip on him for providing a service to these people that might not otherwise have the means to get these portraits. Where are the photographers, who disagree with him, jumping up and offering to go and help him?? Anywhere? No, they sit behind their computers screens, passing judgement, instead of offering the helping hand.  Sad.

Note: Trevor, he does not ever call himself a professional photographer anywhere on his site, blog, Instagram, etc..... Photographer, yes, but all of his work is iphone, and iphone related. You should probably update your article when you reference "professional photographer" and then list all the other professions using substandard equipment...when he does not call himself that. To make it fair, you should list hobby professions, and then substandard tools. "....someone who loves to cook, using a microwave." It's a bit unfair to hold him accountable for something he does not claim to be.

Glenn Orion's picture

“Most of these people have never owned a photo of themselves,” Kuster said. “This will be an amazing wedding gift.”
The article on Dpreview says he'll be shooting on a remote island that hasn't had a priest or pastor visit in "quite some time"—hence, the 50 couples waiting to get married. I don't think the people on that island will care if he uses an iPhone or flagship DSLR.

Jay Gough's picture

Iphone Images are WAY better than NO images...this gentleman is blessing them with a gift. PR stunt or not. We should be behind him!

I agree Jay the iPhone images are better than no images. I guess I just figured he had a camera already - so why not use it. If it's a PR stunt for publicity - welp... he got it. I wish the guy well on his journey and hope that he shares images with us when he gets back so we can see how the adventure went. He might just amaze us all and change the face of wedding photography... I guess I need to upgrade my Android. :)

Paul S's picture

If he'd happened to stumble into this situation with nothing else on him than an iPhone - yes. Planning the whole thing and just taking the iPhone despite having a decent camera on hand - just disrespectful and a shame.

18 years into the business of photography and all the sudden he claims the iPhone is the best tool to do photos. This is a joke. If "blessing" these people with a gift would be his intention, he would pack his best camera to be his best.

Timuçin HIZAL's picture

maybe 50 wedding same time, and do not allowance none of the dslr shooter(not photographer). maybe someone wants to shine like a diamond on internet arena. adwords is never enough.

Todd Elliott's picture

Hey... he's a pro so i'm sure he's going to shoot some killer shots.  I'd feel slighted if my wedding photographer was running around with the same type of iPod my auntie is using 2 rows back from him but that's just me. My problem isn't so much of him doing it, but rather the news of pros shooting with consumer devices.  It's already an uphill battle trying to convince people why they should hire pros.  This type of messaging gives consumers the fuel to dispute pricing and validity of our claims of needing a pro.  But hey... can't win'em all.  Keep shooting!!!  Even if it's a shoe box with a pin hole in it.  Just keep the line in the sand that separates amateur from pro very visible.

That is a perfect point Todd360. 

Lauren Jonas's picture

great article!

Tamara Beery's picture

I am not won over by photographs taken with my ipad or ipod touch, (haven't used an iphone) Not really an appropriate medium to shoot a wedding, even as a single shot.  Most any stand alone camera will do a better job than a phone camera.  Great that he is helping out, but I think he can do better.  If you are going there to do a great thing, use a REAL camera. 

Erin B.'s picture

I think some of the commenters here are missing the subtext of this article. The article does bring this guy down for a PR stunt, but the larger point is to the counter culture of "artists" out there that go to great lengths to prove "the gear doesn't matter". I don't know if they got tired of people telling them that their photographs are good because they use expensive cameras or what. I think the FS community has had their fill of these guys. 

Yes - this is a good cause and he should be commended for his effort. He can do the same with a DSLR shooting jpeg. The iphone bit is PR stunt.

Celestial Meeker's picture

I'd be more impressed if he were doing it here in the US. I think it's a tragedy to do a shoddy job when it's charity. It begs the question: Why did he decide to go to the Phil to pull this stunt?? Why? Because no one here would be OK with having their wedding shot like that. What a bummer. I'm sure he'll get some great shots. I just wish He put a little more care into the outcome.

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