iPhone Vs. Pro Camera Challenge

Patrick and I decided to create a video series where we compete to see who can come up with the best image based on a set of randomly chosen rules. This week, one of us got to use an iPhone and the other had the entire studio at their disposal.

Because I won the official "rock, paper, scissors" competition, Patrick was forced to shoot on his iPhone while I reached for the Nikon D850 and Tamron 70-200mm

Patrick certainly could have used any sort of cheap lighting, but we didn't have any around so he used the modeling lights on our Profoto D1s. To spice up his shot he added a bit of smoke that added an overall mood and accentuated his hair light. To top it off, Patrick added an extreme color grade which I'm sure will cause some debate.

For my shot, I decided to use strobes. I knew I was going to be moving lights all over the place so I decided to use our wireless B1s. Being that I was making this up on the spot, I decided to start with a single beauty dish off to the side and then build up the lighting after that. After adding a grid to the dish I added a giant fill card on camera left. I then added a strip box for a very faint hair light, and finally, I added a third B1 firing into the ceiling to fill in some of the dark shadows and add a bit of light to my background. I was worried that Patrick had created a really funky looking shot with his smoke so I decided to choose a final shot that had some over-the-top hair. 

So now it's up to you guys to decide who won this competition. Click on each image and give them a star rating and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. If this video and post get a lot of engagement we will continue doing these sorts of competitions.

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Michael DeStefano's picture

I'm pretty impressed with Patricks final shot.

Lee Morris's picture

Well screw you too! ;)

Patrick Hall's picture

Yeah that guy's photo is pretty badass!

Michael DeStefano's picture

Clearly because it was shot on an iPhone

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Yeah I'm throwing my dslr off a cliff lol

Gabrielle Colton's picture

I am impressed with Patricks too, I love the colors and the mystery of the smoke, it does look like a photo of a singer. Lee, try the foam waved slower so the hair doesn't move so much lol, slow steady motions, I usually go one way or the other, not up and down continuously and it works great.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Also with thin hair like hers, it helps to go from below her with the wind, wave up just barely and it will pick her hair up

Vitaliy Latanskiy's picture

omg.. Patrick nailed it. It really awesome to see that creativity really pays off

Cole Messina's picture

I actually liked Patrick's shot without the red color gradient better, but I think his photo still wins. It has more mood, in my opinion. However, I might be biased because I am impressed that he was able to get that out of an iPhone. Lee's is still a great shot, but I wish the hair was just a bit less crazy. Still a great challenge, please do more!

Adam Ehhhh's picture

The title of this post made me roll my eyes, but the actual video was very enjoyable. Watching you guys create an image from scratch while thinking out loud should be a regular thing. More challenges, just with better titles.

Adam Ehhhh's picture

Make it a common challenge. aaaaand i guess I'll say Lee's shot. Sure, why not.

Patrick Hall's picture

What does a common challenge mean? We actually had a ton of challenges in the hat...this one was kind of predictable but it was the first one we happened to pick.

Adam Ehhhh's picture

Sorry, weird choice of words oh my part. Make these challenges more common. A reoccurring segment. Do more.

Matthijs Bettman's picture

The red gradient killed it for me, so I'm going for Lee's shot in the end

Ben Moore's picture

Lee's shot is a banger' the hair looks awesome. I could imagine a series of these photos with more models and their hair being blown in an extravagant fashion. Good work guys keep it up. B.

Espen Grimstad's picture

Nout to do with what gear was used, rather choice of pose and post. Sorry Patrick, hands down - Lee's photo was best

Jeena Paradies's picture

I put my vote on Lee's picture, it's much more alive.

Ludvig Yttergren's picture

I am sure an Android phone would have helped....either way I have to go with Lee´s photo. More personality and I prefer the edit to Patrick´s. (sorry Patrick, you are still way cooler than Lee :))

Hans Rosemond's picture

Awesome. I have a suggestion for a fun challenge: large format! Get someone to coach you both together for 1 hour, then you each have an hour to do a shoot with a 4x5. Could be fun...for us. ;)

Joe Black's picture

Add film development and hand printing. So plus one more hour :D

Hans Rosemond's picture

Haha. Could make for some hilarious and bleep-filled outtakes.

Patrick CN Wong's picture

I vote for Patrick. Sorry Lee. lol

One keypoint that I'd add to Lee's photo its to add a bigger specular highlight on her eye either by retouch or actually get a bigger light. On the other hand the specular on Patrick's photo its perfectly land on the right place on her eye which gives so much life to her.

Patrick Hall's picture

Preach it brother Pat!

David Lapierre's picture

Both shots are great. For the motion of the hair, I vote for Lee. Cool video, more like this please.

Tombo Annonamous's picture

I think i prefer Patrick's previous image with different color

Benton Lam's picture

Patrick's photo has that vintage vibe, which I really dig.

I did like the hair in Lee's photo.

I like Lee's photo just a bit more, but secretly thinking what would happen if it has that smoky feel in Patrick's photo...

Ugo Filion's picture

I think there would be no questions asked if Patrick would have used a third party app and shoot in raw. Anyways both great shots!

Patrick Hall's picture

I see a lot of comments like this and it really makes me wonder what you guys think the raw file would have afforded me? Obviously the final file could have been cleaner but viewed small on a desktop or mobile device, I'm not sure there is anything I would actually have wanted more out of the file.

Stas F's picture

Color balance

eric Gallant's picture

If the red was toned down in Patrick's photo it would be the winner, I have to go with Lee's

Patrick Hall's picture

It's funny...this is the toned down version haha! The original vibe I was going for was sort of a Rihanna album cover (don't know the name of it) and it was super red. I still stand by my decision on the post production though :)

GI PAMPERIEN's picture

dang, you guys look like you could be ready to slop the hogs back whar i cum frum....

GI PAMPERIEN's picture

yuh, iphone looks ok, even maybe as good as a dslr on a little screen, but what about bumping it up? huh? for real?

filmkennedy's picture

That was a fun comparison!

You should come to FL and compare it to my red ;)

Alexios Pappas's picture

As much as I love Patrick's intuition on creating awesome lighting conditions, A. Lee you took an amazing almost commercial/fashion photo & B. Lets be honest we would never leave a mobile phone camera to win over our cameras (it is just not there yet) :P

Tam Nguyen's picture

I'd like to vote for Patrick's second image, the one that has the cooler feel to it. That one was legit.

Patrick Hall's picture

Is no one going to comment on Lee's edit of this youtube featured image? Why is our skin magenta? Don't act like you don't see that!

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I actually see a magenta skin on lots of the videos recorded on that gray wall. At least it's a deemed a fashionable color combination :)

David Friend's picture

Patrick i think wins.

James Bailey's picture

Great shot from both. I prefer Lee's shot, it's the hair and body position that did it for me.

Brad Delaney's picture

I like Lees Shot better. Its just different with the wild hair. Id be interested to see which one the model likes better. I think she might go Patricks because it makes her look younger and its not as wild. It really depends on the purpose and what they would be used for ultimately ?

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Neither were pushing the envelope, both shots are well within any camera's capabilities.
But I prefer the top one, in the second one due to the pose or maybe the angle or the flying hair her head looks too big compared to narrow shoulders.

iPhone and model lights - 1
Nikon with strobe - 0

Alex Armitage's picture

I liked Patrick's original shot better, but it's very possible had I not seen it, the red wouldn't have bothered me so much. Then again you likely thought she looked too warm because you were physically there during the shoot and she likely wasn't as warm. I personally liked the warm look. Funny how much seeing the actual scene influences style choices.

I'd like Lee's shot just a bit better if the hair on the left wasn't as crazy. Like if the only part in movement was the section below her mouth.

These are very critical responses and I actually liked them both. Kinda cheated with lights that cost more than the phone though :P

Neikesa Samuel Yalie's picture

I liked Lee's shot on the larger context.

Joseph Bolanos's picture

Normally, I would choose Lee’s photo because it appeals to me visually. But, because I believe in the “less is more” mantra, I greatly appreciate Patrick’s end result in having used a simple iPhone 7. Both images are good. And quality wise, Lee’s “stands out”, but how could it not with the gear that he used.. But all pro studio lighting aside, I think that Patrick maxed out the iphone’s range very well.
So, Patrick takes this one. Sorry, Lee.
To better days!

Dom Stevens's picture

I'm going to go with Lee's shot. I really like the way the hair is wacky, but the model's expression is almost serene. I also like the details and the colour treatment. Nothing wrong with the way Patrick's shot is set up, but it's a little too soft for me and the eyes have lost a lot of detail.

Gyana Mangaraj's picture

Patrick pretty well done but finally dslr win with great lighting

Tyler Finley's picture

I think Patrick took this one but I do prefer the "blue" edit to the image a little more. I think the hair in Lees was a little much but there had to be some the in the series that had enough movement in the hair but not over the top. Question, why not use something like the Lightroom mobile app to shoot on the iphone? can control focus, WB, exposure ect a lot better then the native camera app.

Michael Bernhard's picture

In the video, I was much more pleased with the natural colors on both images. But that's just me. ^_^
(Watching all your cool vids and registered just now to vote.)

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