I am a writer at heart, and as such, I tend to get a little wordy. Fair warning… today is one of those “wordy” days, and I think the words are worth sharing. If you read through all my wordiness, I promise more pretty pictures like the one below wait to reward you for your patience…
Have you ever gotten a really great haircut? I mean, paid a little more than you thought you were going to, but come away knowing it was 100% worth it, because your hair looked FABULOUS and you had a great experience at the salon?
Hopefully you have, because it’s awesome.
But if you have… I have another question for you: As you were leaving the salon, did you turn to your hairdresser and say, “What kind of scissors do you use? I want to get some so I can cut hair just like you.”
Of course you wouldn’t say that! Just like you wouldn’t ask a chef what kind of knives will make you a professional level cook, or attribute a painter’s masterpiece to the quality of brushes he was using. Everyone recognizes that hair stylists, chefs, and painters can make it work no matter what supplies they’re given… the talent isn’t dependent upon the tools.
I’m sure by now you can see where I’m going with this… the same analogy hasn’t yet been extended to photographers. At least, not if the multiple emails per week I get asking, “What kind of camera should I buy so that I can work for myself and have a super-fun job like you?” are any indication. And while it really gets under my skin, I also don’t want to sound like a jerk when I say, “The $9K I’m wearing around my neck at any given moment is pretty useless without me.”
This style shoot is borne out of that frustration. Every single image you see in this blog post was shot with the iPhone 4s. It may be the best camera currently available on a cell phone, but it’s still a cell phone camera. We didn’t have any fancy lens attachments or programs. We used no artificial light. To top it off, I didn’t practice using the iPhone camera before this shoot. I was learning how to focus and compose with a completely new tool, completely on the fly.
It was also important to me that we not just shoot a portrait session with the iPhone. I wanted to fully invest in this as a style shoot, just like we would do for any other concept we hoped to get published. We spent money, and time, and lost sleep making the details come together on time. And I refused to even pick up my “real camera” during the shoot… there was no backup. It was iPhone or nothing.
Additionally, no shot has seen more than 3 minutes of retouching, and the vast majority of them were in Photoshop for about 60 seconds. No compositing of shots. Just basic sharpen & color correction, and a slight wash to match the theme of the shoot… the exact treatment I’d give to an image I shot with my regular gear.
For a photographer accustomed to shooting at very low apertures on prime lenses, this was an awakening for me. I had to tweak my idea of what is acceptable, and be even more vigilant about the light and the moment. Knowing I couldn’t make a ton of adjustments in Camera RAW meant I had to be as close to perfect Straight Out of Camera as possible… even though I had less in-camera control than I’d ever had.
Ultimately, I am sosoSO pleased with what our team was able to produce. Three weeks ago, I had this idea that we could use the new iPhone to prove a point… to prove that a photographer is not defined by the camera around his or her neck. I wanted to have proof that I could create something beautiful without relying on state-of-the-art equipment. I can’t remember the last time I was so nervous to shoot… worried that I’d find out I HAD been relying on the gear. The images I’m about to share with you are validating to me personally, but I hope to find that they’re important to every photographer who sees them.
To the photographer… do not let people define you by your tools. You are the artist. You have worked to learn to create what you are producing for your clients. Be proud. And don’t be afraid to step outside the box. You’ll be amazed what you might find.
All the pictures in this blog were taken by me (Chelsea). Mack took some great “behind the scenes” images that we’ll share on Facebook next week, so be sure you “like” us there and don’t miss those! I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Mack with a big ole internet kiss on the mouth for all his marvelous support. My constant partner.
As always, our favorite designer was there to bring my vision to life. Meagan of MegBDesign is my left arm. She shopped and baked and listened to me try to explain what I saw in my head. She also did Katy’s hair and makeup. Thank you, Meagan, for believing in my crazy ideas!
A great deal of our props came from RentMyDust Vintage Rentals. Rita has some truly amazing pieces in her collection, and I would encourage any bride in the DFW area looking for furniture or props for an upcoming event to go visit her.
Our models for this experimental shoot were Kyle & Katy Davis. Katy was one of my best friends in high school, and it was so nice to see her again after a few years. Katy’s lace dress is from Rue 21 (I found it for $20! Woo hoo!), Kyle’s suit is a piece he owned from Zara. The second outfits are a collection of pieces the couple brought with them, and stuff that Meg & I added to the mix.
Thank you all SO much for the part you played in helping me prove this point… first to myself, and now hopefully, to the world.
Blogosphere… (breathe Chelsea)… Enjoy the McGowan Images iPhone Experiment!
We did it!
Blogstalkers and first-time visitors alike, I’d love to hear what you think! Obviously, we know this isn’t our usual style. And no, we aren’t going to start incorporating iPhone coverage into our regular client packages.But if you like the concept and the message, we’d be honored if you shared a link to this blog post on Facebook or other networking sites. It can only help the industry to remind people that there is an artist with a brain behind that expensive camera, and the ARTIST can’t be confined!!