Professional Fashion Photo Results with an iPhone 3gs


Have you ever felt that your digital camera is holding you back and that if only you could afford to buy the latest and greatest DSLR that your images would get that ‘Pro’ look that everyone strives for?

If you feel that way – you’re not alone. I hear those types of comments all the time. If that’s you – the following video is one you need to view. It’s about trying to get great results – shooting with…. an iPhone 3Gs.

The video is from the team at fstoppers. It’s creator, Lee Morris, explains:

“I created this video to simply show that you should not be limited by your camera. Obviously there was a lot that went into this shoot including a professional model, hair and makeup, a studio, lighting, and a retoucher. We may create another video in the future where we shoot with only natural light but this video is simply about the camera. There are so many photographers who are obsessed with noise, sharpness, color, dynamic range, megapixels, chromatic aberration, moire, distortion, etc. So many photographers get wrapped up in the technical side that they forget how to take compelling images. This video is for them.”

Check out some of the images taken in this photo shoot here (both edited in photoshop and unedited versions).
Yes – the images were taken with pro lighting in a great studio, with a great model who was professionally made up… and the images were photoshopped – but so are most pro shots taken with a top end DSLR. Food for thought!

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • anonymus

    Try using E-5 + 14-35 F2.0 or 35-100 F2.0 before saying anything about Olympus SLR.
    They are really outdated by Canikon and even sony models, but they sure produce damn good results.
    Although i shoot Canon 1 Series, i still do have a lot of respect for Olympus SLR’s. Too bad they got shit corporate leaders.

  • I have met so many really cool photographers doing smartphone photography, but it does gets tricky in low light situations.

Some Older Comments

  • anonymus November 9, 2011 12:49 pm

    Try using E-5 + 14-35 F2.0 or 35-100 F2.0 before saying anything about Olympus SLR.
    They are really outdated by Canikon and even sony models, but they sure produce damn good results.
    Although i shoot Canon 1 Series, i still do have a lot of respect for Olympus SLR's. Too bad they got shit corporate leaders.

  • anonymus November 9, 2011 12:45 pm


  • jenny October 27, 2011 08:45 am

    You are an insult to all professional photographers. You want to fool all the pro photographers around the world with your sh*t and with your stupidity by making this trash video. You just created hatred with your foolishness.

  • Hayley July 18, 2010 04:14 pm

    Entertaining and intersting (definitely made me smile) but did miss their own set up point a little. If somebody had shown me this saying "Look they're going to shoot an enitre fashion shoot on an iPhone" then I would have thought this was the best thing ever, no questions asked. But because I was told I was going to get taught how to shoot a fashion shoot without thousands of dollars worth of equipment, I was kind of sat there looking at the lighting and the make-up and the model and the retouching and thinking "Erm, hang on.....".

  • Caroline Barth July 16, 2010 01:27 pm

    Why can't you people just enjoy this little experiment and not be so critical?

  • dukydaf July 13, 2010 05:47 pm

    Ok, so the question is why is this video on DPS ? I am here to enrich my skills with a PHOTO-camera, and from all your little polls we learn that you have many DSLR owners on this site.
    I agree that a phone will take good shots in good conditions, but take it in low-light, low-contrast situation and see what you get.
    I didn't see any of the sports photographers taking shots with a phone at a football game. They don't need the equipment, right ?

    As for me, I was forced to take photographs with my phone and p-s camera. And though the photo was there I did not have the tools to capture like I wanted. If I got one good shot I still would have to spend a good deal of time in photoshop.

  • Mikel Daniel July 12, 2010 07:41 am

    You're absolutely right...I don't need the latest camera body...I need several thousands of dollars in lighting equipment! Fact of the matter of the matter is, while you're limited only by your own creativity in envisioning great images, capturing those images WILL require a certain level of expenditure.

  • TwitchingEye July 10, 2010 11:45 pm

    As they say... "it's not the camera, it's whose behind the camera"

  • Aaron July 10, 2010 06:00 pm

    I agree that its the person holding the camera, but I also agree that its the equiptment. Only with both combined together can photos with that WOW factor trully happen. A crap vision with the most expensive equiptment money can buy will not produce that amazing photo that people stare at lost for words. Just as a brilliant vision with rubbish, cheap equiptment will also not succede.

  • Karen July 10, 2010 04:57 am

    I appreciate the point the photographer was trying to make, but I think this old article from DPS made the point much better:

    10 Cameraphone Photographs that Rock

    The images from the above DPS article demonstrated that you not only don’t need a DSLR to take great photos, but that you don’t need ANY expensive equipment. Each of these images relied purely on the skill and creativity of the photographer.

  • Derp July 10, 2010 04:18 am

    Soooooo, as long as you have hundreds of dollars of lighting equipment and a photoshop expert.... Even my POS Olympus DSLR can take good pictures? Is that what I'm to take away from this?

  • Steve July 10, 2010 02:32 am

    This has to be one of the most ironic things I've seen in a while. A video largely driven at demonstrating you shouldn't be technology obsessed that'd done in a full professional studio with thousands of dollars of lighting equipment. I mean yeah great, you were able to get decent shots off an iPhone, but what does that prove? That if you spend enough money on technology you can make even and iPhone look good? :)

    Look I get that photography is more about vision than it is about technology and I gather that's the point here. But for the average photographer, the technology is a more central focus because the technology is often the limiting factor to their vision. If you like shooting sports, you can certainly shoot sports with an iPhone. However, to get the shots you probably want to get, you'll want a decent DSLR and some serious glass. That's not technology obsession, that's trying to get the right tools for the job. It's a lot easier to talk about gear not being important when you've got all the gear you could ever want.

    I know there are some technology fetishists out there who do the whole "my lens is bigger than your lens" thing. But I suspect they are actually a rare if vocal minority.

  • Nadine July 10, 2010 01:49 am

    Thanks for the inspiration and BTW as an Olympus owner - byte me

  • Elia July 9, 2010 11:46 pm

    Kinda like comparing the Mona Lisa to a (postage) stamp of the Mona Lisa. All the detail and and beauty is there...just smaller right?

  • Elia July 9, 2010 11:45 pm

    Kinda like comparing the Mona Lisa to a (postage) stamp of the Mona Lisa.

  • Elia July 9, 2010 11:42 pm

    All I'm saying is that photography is like 80% about light. Undoubtedly its a great image but whats the point of a great image if you cant get a decent print? it's just a phobia i always have of shooting the perfect image but its only 300 by 120 pixels!

  • Simon July 9, 2010 11:29 pm

    Well to me that video didn't prove anything. He says at the start that the readers are complaining about not having enough equipment and goes on to say that this isn't about knowing all the fancy software out there...

    Well firstly he is using top lights and a detailed setup and he has a lot of knowledge to get the best out of lighting which a lot of people watching this video wouldn't know... Doesn't sound like hardly any equipment to me...

    You then see that it's the software that really makes the images although I thought on a few they weren't bad and some edits didn't look as good... but again it's relying on the software which with Photoshop is still very expensive, plus the knowledge to be able to know what to do with the program to get the results he did...

    found it very contradictory... although it was funny about the Olympus camera and the phone call ha ha!

    Good results but not done in the way the video suggested they would be achieved...

  • DannyBoy July 9, 2010 09:36 pm

    Its great to see that but what those people complaining about the equipment need to understand one thing of course its not only about the camera!!!! but its about the studio lights... renting a studio.... having a pro model..... a pro make up artist..... and paying for the service of a retoucher how much does that cost!!?????
    Its about having the means to pay for all this!!! you might have the camera with the lenses but if you work in a home made studio cuz you have no means to pay for a real one....if you have only two studio lights for example(we've seen that the shots with only 1 toped beauty Dish only did not really pro looking and fr that thanks to the pro model and also the make up!!)now lets come up with a pro model! every photographer knows that a pro model makes a big difference on the final result mainly in fashion shoots by allowing you to have a more clear mind on what you have to do and thinking of lighting and framing instead of having to direct the model all the time and also on saving up time!

  • James July 9, 2010 08:52 pm

    They look great, i'm impressed. I guess lighting is king after all...

  • Radu Damian July 9, 2010 06:09 pm

    Dude... you only proved the necessity of professional lighting and models... could you take some fashion shots with available light... without even a reflector and then we talk about how much the equipment matters... it matters!!! But the human factor also matters...

  • Bruce July 9, 2010 12:16 pm

    "It aint the size of the wand, it's the skill of the magician."

    Of course it's a lot easier when you have a stunningly beautiful model,
    a good knowledge of lighting and posing, and you can cut, edit and
    add high fidelity music to the video of the shoot.

    Come on guys!

  • Jeff W July 9, 2010 11:31 am

    Sorry, these aren't great shots. The composition and lighting are great, but as Danferno said, enlarge them and see the softness and noise. Yes, if all you want are small images suitable for the web, go for it. But I think these examples do a great job of showing that you do indeed need better equipment if you want photos that will be printed in large versions or shown on-screen large and in hi-def.

  • Iris July 9, 2010 11:15 am

    Marvelous shots - great message. Thanks for sharing!

  • Joel July 9, 2010 10:51 am

    Great exercise, it's not so much about praising the iPhone in particular because of it's abilities but rather because of it lack of abilities to be able achieve acceptable results. Knowing the limitations of whatever equipment you have is a great asset also knowledge of composition as well as lighting. Having all the ingredients to a recipe and the best cookware are not much good if you don't know how to cook you will not achieve favorable results.

  • Alma July 9, 2010 10:08 am

    Ok "Danferno" and others. I think you missed the point. Those were amazing shots, he has some great skill and knowledge base to be able to come away with those types of images from a sensor smaller than my pinky fingernail!!! Inspiring video. Thanks for posting it DPS.

  • Angela July 9, 2010 09:35 am

    Delia I think you missed the point. Read the quote under the video; "Yes – the images were taken with pro lighting in a great studio, with a great model who was professionally made up… and the images were photoshopped – but so are most pro shots taken with a top end DSLR."
    The point was to show an ordinary camera can give just as good results as a superduper camera...the theory being if you can equal it WITH fancy lights, you can also equal it without them

  • Pillow July 9, 2010 09:03 am

    Thanks for such a great video!!!

  • Delia July 9, 2010 08:41 am

    cool...but with all that lighting equipment cost and photoshop knowledge...I don't know if that really proves the point entirely. The masses don't usually have access to all that equipment. If I had a choice to spend all that money on a nice camera or all that lighting equipment first I would choose nice camera. Just saying.

  • Peggy Kline July 9, 2010 08:21 am

    excellent info. loved it!

  • Nikki July 9, 2010 05:14 am

    Cool. This would make for a terrific weekly assignment -- all entries must be shot using a cell phone camera. Talk about stretching the limits of one's skills!

  • Nando Tampubolon July 9, 2010 05:08 am

    hundred percents agree,,we shud not be limited to our camera. Explore the creative side,,

  • Igor July 9, 2010 04:52 am

    Hahaaha Hahaahaha “am in the middle of the photoshoot I need my camera back!”
    I am in the photo school right now, this is so inspirational!!!

  • Tirzah July 9, 2010 04:04 am

    This was great! Thanks guys!

  • Valerie July 9, 2010 03:58 am

    I agree with Elia. I also feel that he used an iPhone just because it has been in the news a lot with the launch of the new iPhone 4. Its almost a pointless exercise if you're using thousands of dollars or equipment. I thought the message would be it is all about composition and vision. So why not just go shoot outside and show people what you can do with a $200 phone or whatnot? Using an iPhone with all that studio lighting is like saying, yeah my old 1990 Dodge isn't as fast as your Ferrari but wait let me add in this new engine and suspension system. Sure we aren't really limited by our cameras but hey we are limited by our disposable cash. Since most of us can't replicate this shoot, I find this photographer and video to be just annoying and a desperate cry for PR.

  • Donny Lightspeed July 9, 2010 03:46 am

    You're right about the noise- wonder how the quality would be with the newer 5mp iphones?

  • daveconrey July 9, 2010 03:41 am

    I full subscribe to this point of view. The equipment doesn't matter as much as the creative mind behind the camera. That being said, maybe the camera phone was cheap, but all the lighting definitely was not. He goes into serious detail about what he's using for lighting, and I'm sure that setup cost at least a couple thousand dollars. I would have been more impressed if he shot some nice stuff in natural lighting to show even more that the equipment is less important than the creative vision.

  • Elia July 9, 2010 03:38 am

    The lighting makes it a good shot (aesthetically) unfortunately the technical quality (resolution, noise, etc) will be impacted by using the iphone or any other lower range camera. A good exercise now would be to get a high end camera and use cheap lighting and then compare the results.

  • Jai Catalano July 9, 2010 03:37 am

    Thanks for that video. It helped me out a lot and just reconfirms what I have been feeling for a long time. LOVED IT>>>


  • Brian Mull July 9, 2010 02:59 am

    So I can still use my Olympus too, right? :)

  • TimeLord July 9, 2010 02:28 am

    It's not about the camera, it's about the post-processing.

  • Danferno July 9, 2010 02:21 am

    Also, you should look at the images at "full size" for a second (full size being 768x1024). Look at all that noise. And that's with perfect lighting.

  • Danferno July 9, 2010 02:17 am

    Of course you can take decent images with an iphone under perfect conditions. And if you know how to photoshop to the same extent as these guys, they can be great. Just like anyone can make a decent picture of a beautiful woman.

  • Stefano July 9, 2010 02:15 am


  • negativefeeling July 9, 2010 02:12 am

    Agreed with Tyler. So much.
    This video is great.

  • Aman July 9, 2010 02:10 am

    just wow! would have been even better just with the new iPhone 4!

  • Tyler July 9, 2010 02:04 am

    I loved this video. I've read a lot of positive and negative comments on it and I just wanted to say that the main purpose of this video is that you can create great images with any camera if you have the photography know-how. I especially enjoyed this video because I started a mini-goal for the month of July in my Photo 365 goal, pure iPhone photography. I decided to do this with the intent on improving essentials such as composition, using available lighting, etc. I've decided that if I can improve my photography in that area by limiting myself to a camera phone then when I move back to my Canon 7D my pictures will be of much higher quality because I will have improved those fundamental skills that make the greats who they are. Thanks for sharing this video.

  • Calle Hackenberg July 9, 2010 01:55 am

    Mhh i said it already on other blogs - this video is just another silly hype for the iPhone. The whole image that is showed afterwards is just good because they have a lightningequipment for 10ooo us-$ and very good photoshop skills. All in all just ordinary crap

  • DVS July 9, 2010 12:47 am

    Its funny how he said that you don't need fancy and expensive equipment, yet he has a gazillion dollars worth of lighting and studio equipment. Sure with that kind of gear, I could probably take pics with photo-paper glued in cereal box with a hole housing the bottom of a broken coke bottle. :P

    The real challenge would be for him to do the same by using the same iPhone and nothing else. THAT would be more impressive.

  • Scott July 9, 2010 12:39 am

    How can you say this:

    "There are so many photographers who are obsessed with noise, sharpness, color, dynamic range, megapixels, chromatic aberration, moire, distortion, etc."

    When this was important to the setup:

    "Obviously there was a lot that went into this shoot including a professional model, hair and makeup, a studio, lighting, and a retoucher."

    Now photographers can obsess less over the camera and more on attaining pro models, makeup artists, studio lighting, and finally photoshop.

    Take all that away and you still just have a camera phone.

  • Eric Reichbaum July 9, 2010 12:33 am

    You say that this isn't about what camera equipment you have, yet you are using thousand of dollars of professional lighting. Of course you're going to get good results at 2x3" on an iphone with great lighting setups. This is bullsh**. I'd like to see you get the same results with a D3 in a studio without the lighting. Everyone knows photography is all about lighting, not about mega pixels. What a waste of time this video was. I hope no one watched this and fell for your BS.

  • Stefano July 9, 2010 12:16 am

    you can do great shots with any camera, not just the iphone!

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