iPhone Fashion Shoot

Posted by Scott

Lee Morris from Fstoppers did a fashion shoot using only an iPhone 3GS. As you can see, the results were nothing short of incredible considering the equipment being used. But I think this is less about the camera and more about how powerful quality lighting can be in photographic work. Of course, for a phone, the iPhone has an exceptional camera built in, but with good lighting a great photographer can make any camera take good pictures. Which takes us back to the idea that you shouldn’t ever blame your equipment, just ask this guy.

I personally don’t buy whole-heartedly into this concept. Yes, a professional with the right equipment and a lot of knowhow can get great output from almost anything. But better cameras do make a difference, they make it easier to get good results and many times are just easier to use from an interface / usability standpoint. I think this is all the more important for those of us who are primarily graphic designers. We often don’t have the budgets to hire professionals when we need photo work for projects. But we also might not have the background and expertise that a full-time photog would have. A camera like the 5D or D700 put professional results within the grasp of us mere mortals, because I’ll tell you right now, not in a million years could I get a iPhone to output the stuff you see above. But I shot a 7D last weekend and got the best pictures of my life in a living room under natural light.

But seeing Morris’ results definitely makes you think the whole thing over again.

31 Comments Leave A Comment


Adam says:

July 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

We recently got a 5D, merlin steady cam, vest, and all kinds of other gear, at work. All that stuff is great to have. But I wanted to see what an iPhone 3GS and a skateboard could do.

So I did this little music video/experiment, which was to shoot and do all of the post in one weekend. Came out better that I expected.



Shelby says:

July 8, 2010 at 4:36 pm


The 5mp camera on the iPhone 4 has definitely impressed me. Namely the ability to shoot photos that have some DOF.

I’ve gone back and forth between buying new cameras and I just can’t justify purchasing a new one unless I’m getting truly great results from the current. That though, lies in myself and not the camera. This shoot with the iPhone 3GS is really a prime example of that, but there is always something to be said about high-end pro gear.


John says:

July 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm

They used the worst possible camera and still got good shots. That is saying something. You could get a $250 D50 and a kit lens and make fine prints up to 12×18 (I know that because I’ve done it.) Honestly, it is about the light. It’s always about the light. That’s what photography is, light, then composing with it.

You can get a great photo with any camera. You can take amazing photos with a fucking $5 disposable camera. Don’t believe me?

Oh yeah, and here’s another iPhone photo without any professional lighting:

The only thing you need a better camera for? If you’re printing large, fine art prints. The only reason I ever upgraded from my D50 is for the resolution. I was one of the few people that needed the resolution, because I’m printing and selling 16×24’s and 20×30’s and I refuse anything below 180dpi (and that’s really stretching it. in an ideal world, I want to print at 300dpi all the time).

Regarding more quality at the same resolution? You’ll get more quality out of buying a better lens than by buying a better camera.


NAVIS says:

July 9, 2010 at 12:06 am

I use a 30d still and so far it’s been rock solid but I feel very limited by the cropped sensor. I can usually tell when people are using full-frame versus cropped-frame. It’s just a whole new world with a full frame. I can’t wait to get my 5dmkII. Hopefully this year.

Also, people are not mentioning the importance of a quality lens. Yeah, that’s cool some people take pretty pictures on accident but when you gotta deliver consistent, quality images to a client that are sharp and clear… you want good equipment.

Oh and also helps to be good at Photoshop.

Pictures are cool though. I just don’t like the second one. Her eyes are way too dark – not sure why they didn’t adjust the lights for that.


Nick Craig says:

July 9, 2010 at 1:15 am

Others have said it but I’ll repeat it here – it’s always always always about the light and nothing more. I was at a shoot recently where there were a variety of cameras in use in a studio environment – a Pentax k10, Nikons D90, D300s, D700, Canon 30D, 400d and you genuinely couldn’t tell the difference between the output.
Granted the higher-end pro cameras have more features, focus a little faster, are more robust but for the vast majority of enthusiasts it makes no difference whatsoever.


Simon CV Bohm says:

July 9, 2010 at 4:30 am

I guess this proves what most professional photographers know, and most young and aspiring photographers aching for new equipment / technogeeks doesn’t know; It’s not the camera that takes good pictures. It’s the photographer.


Ivan says:

July 9, 2010 at 8:29 am


Very well done. This is something I see for the first time, but the idea is universal. He is right, a good photographer does not need good equipment or a camera to do a good job. It also applies to artists who think they cannot create something beautiful with a pen. I totally agree with him.

Great post.Will come back here more often.


Sion Fullana says:

July 9, 2010 at 8:48 am

I’m glad that this video and initiative puts the iPhone and iPhoneography in the spotlight a bit. But I find it almost insulting that they claim the iPhone is the worst camera out there. It is DEFINITELY NOT!

The other comment many people had was that it was easy to get such results with professional hair and make up, thousands of dollars of light equipment and an army of Photoshop retouchers.

If you want to check what can be done with an iPhone for portraiture (including some fashion shots), with ONLY natural light and processing ONLY on iPhone, check my iPhone portraits album here:


Sameet Rajguree says:

July 9, 2010 at 8:59 am

Wow, who is the model in this shoot??

She’s stunningly beautiful…


chris says:

July 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

There’s a lot to be said about post processing as well. I’m sure these photos aren’t straight out of the camera. Photoshop or Lightroom will make a big difference.


Kevin A says:

July 9, 2010 at 11:41 am

Sorry guys, but these images do not prove that a good photographer can create good images with any equipment. I’m not saying that’s not true, I’m just saying that those pictures certainly don’t prove it.

You take any random guy off the street and put him in front of that girl, in that light, with an iphone and he’ll get shots at least that good. Sorry, but it’s true.

Equipment matters, period. Light also matters, arguably more. The photogarpher matters too, surely most of all. But it all matters. And gimmics like the one above only prove that you can take that particular picture with an iphone… any experienced photographer could rattle off a dozen scenereos where the iphone couldn’t get the shot.


mp says:

July 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Let’s also not forget (the often overlooked) professional makeup and of course the model.


Anders P says:

July 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Kevin A. (comment 16), well said and I do agree 100%.
Every details of the set-up matters.


dc says:

July 10, 2010 at 9:15 am

It’s okay that it was shot with a cell phone camera… as long as you have professional retouchers, make-up artists, and about $10,000 worth of lighting equipment at your disposal.

And to be honest, to the trained eye, the photos are not THAT spectacular. They’re good, but the lack of quality in the camera is apparent. There’s fuzziness, a lot of noise, artifacts, washed-out highlights, etc.

It’s a good lesson but not something to live by. Professional-grade equipment exists for a reason.


Zelina says:

July 12, 2010 at 4:35 am

I always say that it’s not about the camera and I believe it’s true. As long it’s about 6Mp it’s fine for smaller prints too.

With that being said the main aspect of getting quality pictures is lenses and lighting equipment. I reckon this doesn’t show that you can use ANY equipment. I mean he’s using lighting equipment for $10 000.

Take a camera like 400D which is pretty OK and fit it with 18-55 and you won’t be that satisfied with you pictures but take the same camera and fit it with a 85mm F1.2 L and you’ll start to see some magic.


brad says:

July 13, 2010 at 1:44 am


That’s what I thought, too. To say it’s not about the equipment, and then bring in a massive octabank, various softboxes and striplights, and all the stands, etc. to make them do what you want — it just seems a little disingenuous. If lighting gear isn’t equipment, what is it?

I was going to add post production software and computers, but I actually like the out-of-the-camera images better, so I’ll let that slide.

@Kevin A:

I’m not sure what you’re saying. You’d have to be in a pretty special place for you to be so confident that a guy off the street could set those lights up that successfully. On the other hand, provided with this setup, a guy off the street with a Nikon D3 isn’t going to achieve much better pictures. Any camera will provide good images if you learn to live within its restrictions. All that better gear does is push those restrictions out further.


Kevin A says:

July 14, 2010 at 9:30 am


You’re right, I assumed that the lights were already set up for our random stranger. I also assumed that the model would know where to stand and how to pose, and how to make that slightly confused deer in the headlights look… this one obviously would.


Jacques says:

August 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

I think it’s awesome. Yes, we can all go on talking about the high end gear vs the (crappy) cheap gear, but at the end of the day i rate this shows we live in a world where great captures are becoming a whooole lot more easier to come by. Some might complain that it means everyone can take a good pic (same goes for alot of music applications) and we are watering everything down, but then I think of that story where the one side of the art class was asked to produce quantity over quality and the other side vica versa, int he end the quantity section produced the most beautiful vases learning through trial and error.

I personally see this almost as (and bare with me if i become too esoteric here) that if everyday people have the tools to make better looking photos, or art for that matter, by accident/fluke then there’s a greater chance of them getting in contact with this crazy world that we (designers, musicians, photographers, artists etc) live in and appreciate so.

It’s like Sesame Street from the 70’s where Phillip glass does a segment on counting to ten vs today’s child education programs.


Amber Roy says:

September 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Just goes to show… iPhones are an incredible device. And Blackberrys suck. That’s it, that’s all.

Amber Roy
Calgary Web Designer


Poma says:

October 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

What do I have to say? This proves it has nothing to do with the camera, anyone can be a goddamn photographer these days lol.

Also, she’s just a model, calm down guys. If you actually paid attention, this is a FASHION shoot, not a masturbation aid. This is one of the reasons fashion can’t be taken seriously. Yall focus on how pretty she is and not why she’s actually modeling. And if you can’t do that, why post a goddamn fashion shoot on this website?


Ron says:

December 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

I think high end photo cameras will be gone within the next ten years. Of course, professional lighting did it for Lee’s fashion shoot, but he’s made a real point here: you really don’t need a high priced camera. I think I’ll put my D3 (just ten months old!) up for sale on eBay and only do iPhone 4 (with even far better quality than the 3G Lee used) shoots. And don’t forget: You don’t need to buy expensive lights. Just rent a studio for a day. Cheers.