Wedding Photographers: Ditch Your Gear, the iPhone Is Here

Wedding Photographers: Ditch Your Gear, the iPhone Is Here

Like any other genre of photography, there are everyday frustrations that one must overcome. For wedding photographers, this is no different. Between Uncle Bobs with their constant ability to somehow always be in the frame or bride or mom-zillas who get amped up over the most minuscule of details, it can make for a long stressful day. Toronto-based Wedding Photographer Barb Simkova, working for Tara McMullen Photography, recently gave herself an additional wedding day challenge: photograph the wedding with nothing more than an iPhone 8 Plus, and the pictures speak for themselves.

Camera sensors and optics on mobile devices have come along way in the past few years. With the recent release of Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus and the new shooting modes, like portrait, it’s getting easier and easier to take exceptional images that many cannot distinguish whether or not it was made utilizing a DSLR or the phone in their back pocket. This has certainly challenged my preconceived notions of images taken with cell phones. I transitioned from a Nikon full-frame kit to mirrorless with the announcement of the Fuji X-T1 several years ago with many colleagues shaking their heads saying the quality would suffer and I’d regret the move. I can count on one hand the number of times I have said “if only I had my Nikon D800”; it has been once. I needed a true 1:1 macro lens, and the Nikon 105mm was a workhorse of mine, but with the latest release of the Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens, I’m set. But I digress. The point I’m trying to make is maybe we should be open to more change, challenging our talents and embracing new technology like Simkova did, we may surprise ourselves in the process.

We all know that person who drags their iPad everywhere and they swear it takes the best photos. Heck, maybe their on to something. While I don’t foresee a day in where I’ll be breaking out my iPad Pro to snap a wedding photo, I can perceive utilizing my iPhone for photos during the big day. If it gets the job done, why not? Maybe one day in the not so distant future I can downsize again, this time leaving my XT-2 and GFX50s in the bag while my iPhone does all the work.

Does anyone in our Fstoppers community utilize mobile devices to capture parts of big events? We would love to see your comments below.

Check out more of Tara McMullen’s work on her website.

Images used with permission of Tara McMullen Photography.

[via Wedding Bells]

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18 Comments

Dallas Dahms's picture

Annnd cue the hysteria.... :-)

There are photographers who are into photography for the gear and there are photographers who are into photography for the photography. The end result is all that matters. How you get there is entirely irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.

Elan Govan's picture

There is a saying, " One swallow does not make a summer". But good luck to those who dare to venture.

While the photos posted above are good, weddings seem like one place where an iPhone is truly a bad choice.

1) You aren't going to be respected as THE photographer potentially, meaning guests are less likely to give you space to take an important photo

2) Low light factor

3) While these look good on a screen, would they blow up to larger sizes well? Especially in portrait mode, a large print would really show off issues that may not matter on a small screen.

I'm all for calling a phone a good and useful camera, but I wouldn't want even the best wedding photographer to shoot my wedding with ONLY an iPhone (feel free to use it as part of your kit though).

While some of these shots look great, the one with the Bride holding the bouquet just screams awful bokeh, cringeworthy stuff. Overall I am impressed, the shots are nice! That being said, I would be more afraid my client would be insulted if I showed up with just an iPhone. Low light will be a pain, and this also limits you to natural-light only. While I applaud a challenge, to say the iPhone will replace a proper toolkit is laughable, at best.
If this were a friends wedding, I would be happy to challenge myself like this, but I would never put the biggest day of a clients life at risk like this.

Reginald Walton's picture

Pretty much a "click-bait" article and yes I clicked. LOL Yes camera phones are amazing these days, but not to use as an exclusive tool of choice, that is unless you're right up in the bride and groom's face the entire wedding. It has it's uses, but get real.

Chris Kennedy's picture

So how could I justify charging my rates to anyone if I’d shoot on an iPhone?

I haven’t shot/don’t shot weddings anymore but this just shows how times are changing

Me reading the title: "Oh no... not again this empty debate"

While I agree that smartphone camera quality has tremendously increased in the past 5 years or so, I always feel this kind of comparison completely misses the point of having a DSLR (or mirrorless camera): A camera is not only a sensor and a chip to interpret the data from the sensor. In smartphone VS DSLR comparison, people never mention the body.

When I bought my first DSLR, I bought the Nikon D90 while the cheaper D5000, that has the exact same image quality due to the same sensor and chip, was already out. I was ready to pay the few extra hundred bucks only to have two selection wheels for the aperture and exposure instead of having only one wheel for the exposure on the D5000, which impose you to go through painful menus to make other adjustments. Comfort and ease of use were priceless, and 8 years later I still feel the same. I played a bit with a D5100... what a pain. It ruins the pleasure, you spend to much time looking at the screen, not enough looking through the viewfinder.

Plus, on a DSLR body you can change lenses (don't even bother comparing the cheap "lens" you stick on the iPhone lens), and you can plug flashes and other accessories to the hot shoe.

Why professional and passionate photographers won't ditch their gear for an iPhone 8 or even an iPhone 20 in the future ?
Because of the body.

And then it got dark....:P

Jozef Povazan's picture

As a personal project these are shot every year with new phones out there :) it is good bait click idea on blogs, no doubt good photographers can take nice pictures with these little cameras yet you would sacrifice lots of missed moments, low light quality and consistency on the wedding day if you started to make living just with phone camera... the story would be there for sure but could look better specially once printed if it was shot on better camera :) but everyone knows this so these to me are simply annually stunts by people who want to show they did it :). She is a great photographer so a nice playtime from her side :) I bet she enjoyed it... Happy shooting guys :)

Brett Martin's picture

I have used my iPhone several times professionally. I used to use a GoPro for some B and C cam shots but now I just use my iPhone, sometimes with a Moment lens. Works great for time lapse, slow motion, and splicing in static transition shots when I and running solo. I spliced in iPhone 6+ footage with my Fuji 4k footage and it was fine. Blah blah cameras are tools, use the tools you have to do the best job you can. Sometimes the iPhone is a good enough tool.

You can get good shots with a phone but only certain shots. Those requiring a DSLR or Mirrorless won't get taken.

Dan Watson's picture

Let me see the 20x30 print for their wall

Mihael Julius's picture

Maybe if you're one of those "natural light" photographers, but how about off camera flash for low light and creative situations? Are we there yet?

Charles Lynn's picture

Brides pay for big cameras, definitely not for photoraphy.
Henri Cartier-Bresson with an iphone, and an Amateur with Canon 1DX, guess whom gonna be hired?

David Love's picture

Ah so instead of hiring a photographer for thousands of dollars, just get all the guest to spend 1k on a phone. And then learn how to take a proper image. Let that magic iphone software auto blur everything and slap an instagram filter on it for priceless photos. I can see it now, all the beautiful images of people holding phones, taking pics of each other. I dig it.

I have a wedding coming up and I will be placing a speedlight on slave next to the alter so whenever someone takes a pic, their flash will signal mine and everyone will get nice blown out pics of light. Should be fun.

Not nice David.

I thought this was click bait... Anyways, faux-DOF may be okay for backgrounds but having blurred foregrounds will balk at computative imaging.