Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign

Also in this issue...

Explore Sri Lanka with a National Geographic Photographer!
The Dress that Blew Up the Internet
Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign
The Friedman Archives is Hiring!
And more...


Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign

A licensable shot taken with a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone.  Good light, strong composition, no distracting background.  Smartphone cameras do great in ideal conditions.
Apple is currently running a major ad campaign called "Shot on iPhone 6" which, not surprisingly, shows off some pretty impressive images, all shot with the camera on their iconic smartphone.  (If you haven't seen it, here's a link to Apple's World Gallery.  Worth a peruse!)

Upon viewing these images, Apple wants you to say, "Wow, the iPhone 6's camera must be great!".  And in fact, I'm sure most people seeing the photos will say this very thing.  The pictures are quite good, after all.

But without meaning any disrespect to the camera,
the problem with this ad campaign is that it capitalizes on the public's ignorance about the role the photographer plays in making of a great image.  It's the same mindset behind the infamous "Gee, those are great pictures!  What kind of camera do you have?" question.

One only has to look at the other 99.99999999% of iPhone 6 images on Flickr to see that the iPhone can take crappy pictures too.  In fact, people make crappy pictures with it most of the time.

Zakim Bridge in Boston.  This was taken on the way to the airport with an HTC Aria, as my bigger cameras were packed away in the trunk.
So what must we conclude, then?  Yes, modern smartphone cameras have come a long way and are very good now, however these pictures are exceptional because there was good light and the person behind the camera had a vision in their mind before they even turned the phone on.  As I've been saying for well over a decade, if your Light and Composition are good, the kind of camera you use becomes less important - even today's smart phones will do a great job.

This makes a perfect segue to my next topic. :-)

Next seminars

Light and Composition are so important in the Friedman Archives High-Impact Photography Seminars that I devote the entire first day to that very subject!  Without needing to endure anything technical, you can learn the secrets to taking "Wow!"-type photos even with (yes, you guessed it) your iPhone.  And if you continue on to Day 2, you'll understand why the more serious you get, the more control the bigger cameras give you and you might just become eager to upgrade.  :-)

The next three seminars are:

Boston - May 2-3, 2015
Nashville - May 30-31, 2015
New York-ish (haven't decided whether it will be Philadelphia or New York) - September 19-20th.  Send me an email and ask to be put on the waiting list!

In the Pipeline
  • This Summer - something big is in the works.  Watch for an announcement soon!  (Just sayin'.)
  • Olympus E-M1 Spanish version (including update for Firmware version 2.0)
  • Fujifilm X100T by Tony Phillips
  • Using Back-Button Focus with your Sony Mirrorless Camera by Ross Warner

That last title was a direct result of many threads from online discussion forums showing a great deal of confusion regarding the myriad of options for configuring your camera to work this way.  If only someone, somewhere could write a straightforward guide that cuts through the confusion and make this variable-laden topic understandable!  Well, Ross has heard you and he will deliver.

If you'd like to be put onto the notification list for any of these titles, drop me a line at Gary at Friedman Archives dot com.

The Friedman Archives is Hiring!

Olympus has just announced their new camera, the E-M5 II, and I'm looking for an articulate and tech-savvy Olympus fan to help adapt my E-M1 ebook for this camera.  Interested, or know someone who might be?  Please get in touch for more info!  Will also be interested to talk with anyone interested in writing about Panasonic's next Lumix camera(s).

The Dress that Blew Up the Internet

Fake newspaper cover first appeared at https://twitter.com/tomtomorrow/status/571154405862588416/photo/1
This is old news now, but actually relevant to photography.  And I've seen plenty of scientific opinions on why this image was so polarizing (like this lightweight one - interesting chessboard optical illusion there.)  To me, this serves as an excellent example of why auto white balance in your camera is so hard.

Let's start with the truth: Not all light is made up of all 7 colors of the rainbow, and our eyes and brains do a wonderful job of adapting in the real world.

Auto white balance can be easily fooled under everyday conditions.
Cameras?  Not so much.  If you were a camera pointing at that dress, would you assume it was a light blue dress illuminated by white light, or a white dress illuminated by light-blue light?  It's impossible for the camera to know.  Which is why every advanced camera has the ability for you to override the auto white balance and tell the camera "I'm shooting under Incandescent" or "I'm shooting in open shade!".

My experience with the dress' particular shade of blue is that is is often the result of a camera balanced for tungsten light but actually illuminated by sunlight.  Or a camera that is balanced for daylight but is actually shooting in open shade - both of these scenarios will make a white dress look like that particular shade of blue to a camera.  And a blue cast to any image can make gold look darker, which helps explain a lot.

Explore Sri Lanka with a National Geographic Photographer (and some other guy)!

Here's a treat for you.  Have you ever wanted to shoot an exotic country alongside a National Geographic photographer?  (And not be intimidated?)

Michael Yamashita has shot for National Geographic longer than any other photographer, yet he's one of the most wonderful and down-to-earth human beings you'll ever meet.  (And he shoots with Sony!)  He and fellow adventure photographer Jock Montgomery have assembled a photo expedition designed for the unique needs of photographers.  It will be taking place October 31 - November 13, 2015, and you're invited to join them!

The trip site is worth exploring, if nothing else to view the video which will acquaint you with Michael Yamashita, his work, his thought process, and the stories behind some of his most iconic images.  (Spoiler alert: He officially feels that he gets paid to be lucky. :-) )

Will I be joining them?  Probably not this time due to schedule conflicts.  But you'll be in good hands!  If you're interested in going, send an email to jock@jockmontgomery.com and tell him Gary sent you!

Until next time...
Yours Truly, Gary Friedman


  1. The blue tint on the dress (and every outdoors captures) is also produced because of the parts of a subject in the shadow are often indirectly illuminated by the blue sky. The blue tint is also stoked by the contrast with the adjacent gold (yellow/orange): adjacent colors tend to separated themselves on the chromatic circle.

  2. Would you have a tutorial for Back Button Focus for the a77?

    1. Hi, Susan!

      There are fewer such options on the original A77, making a book just for this camera slightly less compelling. :-(


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