Photography studio, gallery and training complex

Leaving The Camera At Home: My First iPhone Studio Shoot

Jo Walter, shot and edited by David Rann on an iPhone4

Regular readers will know how much I value my occasional “fun shoots” where I try out new models, new lighting, new looks, new ideas etc. A couple of weeks ago I decided to bring in a model and challenge myself to leave the camera in the bag whilst conducting the whole shoot with just my iPhone4.

I put out a casting call asking for volunteer models for an “experimental” shoot and this was answered by the intrepid Jo Walter, sculptor/artist/model – and friend from my MA course.

Jo Walter, shot and edited by David Rann on an iPhone4

Without the ability to hook up to the studio flash, I was relying on the relatively low light provided by the flashes’ modelling lights only. The iPhone’s camera is notoriously pants in low light and so this was the real challenge of the shoot. In addition, the slow file saving/writing time plus the awkwardness of composing the images on the phone, meant that the shoot was a slower, more considered affair than my usual shoots. But I rather liked this way of working. It reminded me somewhat of working in medium format film.

Jo brought along a great collection of vintage – and I mean genuine vintage original outfits from the 1920’s/30’s onwards – and this inevitably inspired the way I lit the shots and the treatments I had in mind for the post-production.

Jo Walter, shot and edited by David Rann on an iPhone4

After a “normal” (ie. DSLR) shoot, I might spend no more than ten minutes on any particular image. But with the bewildering choice of apps on the iPhone plus my unfamiliarity with most of them, I found that I could easily spend two hours on a single image.

The apps used were (in no particular order): Snapseed, TtV PS, Grungetastic, Squaready, Instagram, NoirPerfectPhoto and Resize Photo… and probably more that I can’t remember.

Jo Walter, shot and edited by David Rann on an iPhone4

Hopefully you’ll like the resulting images as much as I do but whether you do or not, I’m sufficiently inspired to have arranged a second iPhone-only shoot next week.

Jo Walter, shot and edited by David Rann on an iPhone4

Maximum thankings to thank my trusting, patient, and fearless occasional muse, Jo Walter, for her help with this little project. 


7 responses

  1. Brilliant photo’s David, you would never guess that they we taken on a iphone!

    November 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm

  2. Really love these pictures David, the effect are staggering, although I’m not sure I would have the patience to spend 2 hours with iphone apps per picture.

    It occurs to me though, a 20’s/30’s style shoot with DSLR’s in the studio/location would be great.


    November 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    • Thanks Jeff, I’d like to think I’m getting a bit faster every time now that I know my way around the apps a bit more.

      But I do like the shoot idea – in fact that was going to be the original theme of the Electric Cinema shoot. I’ll see what I can do, thanks for the suggestion!

      November 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    • PS. The old eyesight’s fading fast.

      November 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm

  3. They’re lovely shots but I have to ask why? Just to see if you can make good pictures with a phone? I occasionally pull out a film camera for the nostalgia and sound it makes, I get a different character from B&W film, is this the sort of thing yu were after? All best


    November 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    • Pretty much, yes. I know exactly what I can do with my DSLR and even my film SLR but this is a new medium to me and I want to see what I – and the medium – are capable of.

      But now I like it as a capture medium in its own right, just as I do with my old film cameras, Holga etc. What began as curiosity has developed into a more serious respect for its intrinsic qualities, as well as the challenge of its limitations.

      November 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm

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