Yes, Pro Photographers Use iPhones Too

Derrick Story
3 min readMay 19, 2022

The hall was at full capacity, and the audience hummed with anticipation. They were ready for the fashion show to begin. I was there as the hired photographer to capture it all.

My starting position was on the left side of the runway — what a great angle. I surveyed the room for where I might move next as I waited for the first model to appear. My 80–300mm lens had already found a composition that included the crowd, but provided a clean opening to photograph the entire length of the dress being debuted. I felt totally prepared for this assignment.

Then, without warning, the program director strode on to the stage directly off my shoulder and behind me, just a few feet away. She had a wireless mic in hand and appeared ready to make an announcement. I had absolutely the wrong lens on my camera to properly frame the shot, that is, unless all we needed were her eyebrows. Wasn’t this supposed to happen after the runway?

I pulled the iPhone 12 Pro Max from my front pocket, tapped the camera, and chose the ultra wide lens. I was able to record a half dozen frames before the director exited the stage, followed by music, and then the first model appeared at the end of the runway.

I put the iPhone back in my pocket, whirled to my right, and fired off a dozen frames with the zoom as she approached. What a fabulous dress.

Later that night, as I was culling the images on my MacBook Pro, I was delighted that the ultra wide shots had turned out OK. The iPhone had managed, in its HDR-like magical way, to balance the lighting on the program director with the brightly illuminated projection screen behind her.

Good thing, because in that moment, I didn’t have time to figure out exposure for the shot. I only knew I had to capture it. I simply framed the picture and let the iPhone figure out everything else.

There was no shortage of smartphones in the room. So why did they hire me? Even I had one in my hand for a few moments.

The answer will make sense to anyone who shoots events. The bulk of the 200 frames I delivered were recorded at maximum aperture with a fast zoom lens that softened the background and was able to record high quality RAW files at 10 frames a second. It’s exactly the type of rig…