Pro Photographer Using His iPhone To Photograph the Olympics

Pro Photographer Using His iPhone To Photograph the Olympics

Here is something I never expected to see in the biggest sporting event in the world: Guardian's Photographer Dan Chung is covering the Olympics using only his iPhone 4S. When you think of photographers who are shooting events like this, you think of guys with suitcases filled with camera bodies and huge lenses. You think of many D4s and many MK IV aimed on the best athletes in the world. What Dan is doing is truly amazing, and i'm sure all the photographers around him look at him and think he's crazy. Check out his crazy results!

As someone who's photographing many big sporting events - from NBA games to College football or European basketball finals - I always wanted to show up one day bringing only a cellphone or disposable camera and sit next to all the other photographers with their 400mm lenses. I never had the balls to do it. It's really great to see someone who's doing it, and doing it so well. On the biggest stage in the world.

Dan is using his iPhone 4S, Canon binoculars, few add-on lenses, and Snapseed app for post processing.

Check out many more of his Olympic iPhone photos here .

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Previous comments
Mike Kelley's picture

lol no kidding. no journalist is keeping 100% of the shots he takes, or anywhere near there. i'd bet less than 10% make it to be published in any sort of public capacity.

PatricioU's picture

It's not about publishing 100% of the shots, because no one does that; it's about your own capacity to not miss the moment your are being paid to photograph.

The better your equipment is + the better you know it + the more practice and experience you have = the higher the chance you won't miss "the money shot".

Noam Galai's picture

so shooting a gymnast jump 10fps is 100% success rate for you because you got the right frame? or is it 10%? :)

 You miss the main purpose of photojournalism and it is not art... it s about witnessing an event and share about it. History proves that the fastest in this profession are the winner.

In your first point the exact terms would be " anyone who knows his gear well would get near 100% of shots perfectly right"... anyone here can buy an expensive camera, and get a professionnal license number ... and still do crap.

You should do a little research on this site to see the iPhone photoshoot and other related videos...

PatricioU's picture

Art and photojournalism aren't mutually exclusive, they fit perfectly together.

The problem is what passes as photojournalism these days, it has fallen a lot since the introduction of entry-level DSLRs. Now you see often a journalist with a Nikon 3100 (fully on auto mode) making a blurry photo for an article because the newspapers want to save money on paying a photographer to go with the journalist like it used to be. The collapse of printed newspapers has led to many newspapers to fire their photographers and just give a cheap DSLR to the interviewer.

A lot a photos being printed today would have ended in the garbage bin 50 years ago.

Of course, I know what you say about having the most expensive gear and still making crap: I've seen other photographers working next to me with top cameras and still using the wrong camera settings and wondering why their photos don't look right.

The only difference between pro and amateur photographer is the size of his dustbin :-)

These shots are stunning for an iphone, and while i wouldn't make large prints of these files, they look great on a newspaper print or gallery.  I won't argue that this is going to replace an SLR (it really doesn't) it certainly is capable in many situations, but an SLR is certainly more practical, specially for us/those that can't get to close 

Jeremy Cupp's picture

He did better than that silly fuck who took the worst shots in Olympic history. :)

Cliff Workman's picture

Some of those shots are really tight. Wonder how he was able to get in that close to the athletes with his iPhone??

Jon McGuffin's picture

Hmmm..  So all this really tells me is that had these photos been posted and I didn't know they were taken with an iPhone I would probably "why are these photos even posted?"  The reason is that they simply aren't really that great.  I view this, shrug my shoulders and say "nothing special".   A few are blurry and the color in quite a few (despite obvious post processing) are poor...

Since these photos really aren't great in their own right, they are only impressive because they were done on a phone...  and if it's a "gear doesn't matter" message, than the entire point of this post falls a part because these do nothing but show even a great photographer with a $500 phone, probably $1000 worth of addon lenses, can really only produce a mediocre set of images....  Great, for the price of that phone and the addons he could have had a DSLR with a kit lens and probably destoryed these..

Looks like he wasted his own time and ours... (Ok, kind of harsh but seriously... those pictures wouldn't grace the cover of any legit mag in this country)...

George Socka's picture

I agree with the comment that the iPhonne hs the ability to publish a photo instantly. In 2012, yesterday's photo isn't news anymore. A perfectly lit/composed/focussed photo that does not reach its audience is not the worth taking. Not sure why Canon / Nikon havent figured out how to add instant upload capability without needing some other computer device to make that happen. But there is hope - they just figured out how GOS works. And Canon has face tags on it sPS...

PINCPN's picture

Would have liked to see more on the how he took these captures with the equipment he had...

Cracking pics - just shows you how well lit these events are for being able to use an Iphone!

Good enough for online.

I would not want to see this printed full spread in SI on the times... But who reads print in 2012 right?

Nathan Hamler's picture

i wanna know how he got such high shutter speeds in low light....i'm a little skeptical..... 

I could do this with my iPhone.. Nastiness because of the fact that you don't have to be a professional photographer to take great pics with it, of course its to do with the device AND everything else - the free apps to download, enhance, make it more vibrant which gives the stunning colour, sharpen etc..clearly it helps the photographer make it this perfect.. also bear in mind the excellent timing in these pictures.. It ALL works TOGETHER... Right down to the software... Stop feeling so threatened guys.. :)

Maria Martinez's picture

It amazes me how defensive people get because someone chooses a piece of equipment over another. I am a photographer but I use my iPhone most of the time. I understand all it takes to take a photo with my DSLR. I in no way get offended when someone using and iPhone calls themselves a photographer...why??? Because there is not one person in this world who has a right to tell someone who has the passion and drive that they are not photographers! There are different levels, but don't under mind or belittle people for getting creative with their camera phones, that just shows your ignorance. I've seen photos taken with iPhone/Samsung that are quite spectacular. Because I do not have full manual control, I have to learn and be even more creative with lighting and timing which has actually sharpened my skills. There are apps now where you can manually control ISO and Shutter, obviously not the Aperture because it's fixed, White Balance, exposure etc. etc. (which I use), I also have some attachable lens for macro shooting which come out amazing.

To be honest, I applaud those who can master the art of using a camera phone to do their photography because it takes a lot more concentration etc. And the majority of DSLR photographers do post processing, so there is nothing wrong with those that do when they use their camera phones and use an app for post processing, it's like using Photoshop or Lightroom on a computer.

So when I'm out taking a Sunset photo with my iPhone enjoying the moment of peace and smiling about it because I chose not to carry my DSLR that day and then get laughed at my someone who has a DSLR and told that's not real photography and my moment gets crushed, I quickly rebound and say to myself it is those types of people who live inside the box in their world who will not have the chance to fully see and experience the beauty that all types of photographers bring to the table and appreciate the craft that it is meant to truly be, and with that, I have sympathy for them, and just smile.