Using a Smartphone for a Bridal Fashion Photoshoot

Using a Smartphone for a Bridal Fashion Photoshoot

How many times have we had moments where we wished we had brought our camera with us? Luckily, the technology is advancing fast and far, and our smartphones are becoming more capable of substituting our cameras, at least as a back up for those one-off moments that cannot be always revisited. Wedding Photographers Marko and Vanja, who didn't have their gear with them, luckily had a Samsung Galaxy A5 when all the stars aligned to give them the perfect photo opportunity.

Both photographers were taking part in a wedding fair in Pula, Croatia. The city lies at the bottom of the Istria peninsula, also known as "Terra Magica." The wedding fair was located at the equally beautiful House of Croatian Defenders, which is filled with plenty of elegant backgrounds for a photoshoot. 

As they got talking to Vesna SPOSA fashion shop, who were showcasing their gowns, an idea arose to create a quick mini-campaign for the bridal shop. After all, they had the location, the models, the dresses, even a make-up artist and of course a new client, who's after some new images. Unfortunately, they hadn't brought any of their cameras along.

Quick thinking on their feet, and Marko was left to man their wedding fair booth, while Vanja pulled out her Samsung Galaxy A5 and jumped straight into shooting for the bridal shop. Although they both admit that the quality of images doesn't compare with their trusted full-frame DSLRs, it can still act as a decent replacement when there's no other option.

Bride with a wedding dress in a manor.

Brida with a long wedding dress on a staircase.

Bride with a wedding dress in a manor.

Bride with a short wedding dress near a staircase.

All images were shot with the default Samsung camera application, and then finished off in Snapseed, a free mobile photo editing software. Their editing process in Snapseed followed the same steps, namely:

  1. Select "pop" in styles, after opening the image.
  2. Go to tools and tune the image: raise ambiance, lower highlights, lower shadows, raise warmth.
  3. Select grain film L03, lower the noise, and lower style strength to +40.

Although they wouldn't use these images for a professional job, such as billboard ads, Vanja and Marko do believe that they would work nicely for something on a smaller scale, such as an Instagram-based campaign.

See more of their work on their blog. Have you ever made do with your phone to create something for a client?

Images used with the permission of Marko and Vanja.

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20 Comments

Matthew Saville's picture

It's quite simple, really: many fashion photographers don't rely on shallow DOF to make dramatic, editorial images. Neither do they ever need to worry about a print being any larger than a magazine cover, or a two-page spread.

Thus, a smartphone image of a well-lit scene, processed by a professional editor who is a master of tonal and color management, and it really will be hard to tell whether the shoot was done on an iPhone or a medium format digital camera. Because the biggest dead-giveaway in those comparisons is always shallow DOF and shadow recovery anyways.

I love examples that prove it's the photographer and not the camera that makes a good picture. A good camera helps a photographer just as a good kitchen helps a professional chef, but it's not a guarantee that anyone can make a good meal or take a good picture.

In every single one of these, to me click baity, articles no one ever mentions this only works in PERFECTLY lit situations. If you even get a slightly overcast or night scene the phone camera is horribly grainy.
i take my phone and sony rx100 IV all the time and its great when things are well lit, frankly no noticeable difference from my main canon but at night they are pretty much useless

Matthew Saville's picture

Yeah, but that's what a lot of fashion photography is. PERFECT lighting, even if the look you're actually going for is overcast or stormy.

Look up some of the BTS photos / videos of an Annie Leibovits shoot, or any high fashion shoot, and you'll see that even if you are using a $30,000 camera, you probably also have even more $$$ worth of lighting, "grips" for that lighting, ...and other stuff going into the shoot.

So, it' decently fair to compare the cell phone camera in ideal, perfect conditions.

I think the point is that the article doesn't mention anything about lighting, so it's wholly misleading. I would be EXTREMELY surprised to hear that these were all shot with with natural light, given how dark the backgrounds are and how you can see the highlights reflecting off of the columns, dress, etc. So yeah, pair a smartphone with $1k of LEDs and you're in good shape. I like the idea of doing a quality photoshoot with a smartphone, but I question the exclusion of those details. That reads like an ad for a smartphone camera vs. a proper tutorial.

Marko Solic's picture

They were all shot with 100% natural light. We hadn’t even brought our cameras to the wedding fair, of course we didn’t bring any lights. :D
But the huge windows of the venue certainly helped. ;)

You're likening your phone's camera to a Sony RX100 IV?

Saying a Sony RX100 is "pretty much useless" at night is also ridiculous.

I agree that the RX100IV isn’t good in low light.

Actually he said "pretty much useless."

Depends on how you use it. ISO 800 (1600 in a pinch) + F/1.8 + OIS can go a long way.

"they had the location, the models, the dresses, even a make-up artist and of course a new client, who's after some new images. Unfortunately, they hadn't brought any of their cameras along." - sounds like some fairy tale...

Marko Solic's picture

It was! :D

But why? Who comes to commercial client unprepared?

Marko Solic's picture

It wasn't even a plan to come to a commercial client. We were at a wedding fair, and had no plans to do any shooting. That's why we didn't bring our cameras.
But after the fashion show part of the fair we got into talking with the designer and one thing led to another. :)

Anete Lusina's picture

I think the issue is people don't always read the whole article before they comment because it was outlined they were there only for the wedding fair and as such didn't have their gear.

It wasn’t problem with me. I read it twice, went to their website, read it again. Then asked for the real reason. May be client told “we want it to be as close to snaps made by the guests” or "we tried to reach rental houses but all of them were closed on weekend".

Anete Lusina's picture

Sometimes life can be like one :)

Right? Suspicious minds think alike.

This is a cool concept. It's inspiring to see just how good of a result you can get from so little gear. This article brings it back to what's fun about photography instead of getting bogged down in technical details like we tend to do.

Real photographers KNOW this wouldn't work in bad lighting, but so what? That's not the point.

Anete Lusina's picture

Exactly.