Apple's iPhone 6 Plus captures Christmas at the White House

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2014
The iPhone continues to make inroads into the world of professional photography, with one White House cameraman selecting Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus as his weapon of choice when chronicling the unveiling of this year's Christmas decorations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

A shot of the official White House Christmas tree by Brooks Kraft. Source: Time
A shot of the official White House Christmas tree by Brooks Kraft. Source: Time



Freelance photographer Brooks Kraft told Time that he chose to shoot with a mobile device in order to get a different perspective on the event, which he has covered numerous times before. Kraft also noted that mobile devices are less distracting to subjects than larger cameras, making it easier to capture candid moments.

"I notice that people just don't react the same way [when you're using an iPhone]," he said. "If you are looking to capture something candid, people are so used to seeing mobile devices that their reaction time is slower. You have a better chance of getting the shot, and that was the case at the White House."

Kraft shot the event using the "square" picture mode on an iPhone 6 Plus. He chose the larger model primarily for its optical image stabilization, but added that the increased display size helps to frame shots.

"The iPhone has a lot of depth-of-field, which allows me to shoot the [picture] and move around quickly, which worked in this situation because we were sort of ushered through the rooms and didn't have a lot of time," he added. "I wanted to photograph most of the spaces with few people in them, so the window of opportunity in which to shoot was brief."

Apple has put significant effort into the iPhone's camera in recent years, efforts that have not gone unnoticed by the photography community. Recently, photographer Austin Mann took the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to Iceland, praising the handsets' ability to capture light as well as their resolution, color accuracy, and focus speed.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    I'm not impressed with this photo.

    Maybe AI has compressed it down a lot, but it still looks very blurred.

    Having said that, the cameraman made an interesting point about how people don't respond so obviously to cameras on phones compared to large cameras; that's an advantage that I hadn't thought of.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    But other phones have more pixels and are therefore, better. Pixels are the only thing that matter... ... ...

    /s
  • Reply 3 of 47
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,743member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    I'm not impressed with this photo.



    Maybe AI has compressed it down a lot, but it still looks very blurred.

     

    I agree. I'm not a pro photographer or anything like that, but it looks very amateurish to me.

     

    It looks like some photo that an average tourist walking by could have taken, in other words, not impressive at all.

  • Reply 4 of 47
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    That's as close as he can get to the tree. The iPhone 6 Plus won't fit through the door.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,001member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    I'm not impressed with this photo.



    Maybe AI has compressed it down a lot, but it still looks very blurred.



    Having said that, the cameraman made an interesting point about how people don't respond so obviously to cameras on phones compared to large cameras; that's an advantage that I hadn't thought of.

     

    I think AI compressed it down so it didn't take so long to load (they already have issues with photos loading as it is!). That being said, it does look kinda dark for my tastes. 

  • Reply 6 of 47
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,521member
    The picture of the tree is mostly a framing exercise, what with all the geometry involved. The big viewfinder helps enormously in these situations.

    Not much color or other visual interest in that subject though. Fir trees look better in the woods, especially when there are red mushrooms under them, which is what all this Yule stuff is originally about.
  • Reply 7 of 47
    Meh.
  • Reply 8 of 47
    The 6 Plus' active optics stabilizer is pretty impressive. I have a similar feature on my old Canon camcorder: it makes it possible to zoom in and capture steady video without a tripod. On the 6 Plus the stabilizer makes low light photography possible without motion blur, compared to the 6.
  • Reply 9 of 47
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,417member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    I'm not impressed with this photo.



    Maybe AI has compressed it down a lot, but it still looks very blurred.

    The tree just wouldn't sit still...

    Also, there's a discernible difference in clarity between the doorframe/flag and the tree,

    which tells you something about the focusing capabilities at different depths...

    although I thought the phone's camera was supposed to account for that

    by using different parts of its burst...or however Apple described that...?

     

    >Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

    >Having said that, the cameraman made an interesting point about how people don't respond so obviously to cameras on phones compared to >large cameras; that's an advantage that I hadn't thought of.

     

    I've noticed it too, but I hope no one explains it to the DoJ...

  • Reply 10 of 47
    Have any of the photo apps incorporated my idea of an on-screen focus ring yet?
  • Reply 11 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    I'm not impressed with this photo.



    Maybe AI has compressed it down a lot, but it still looks very blurred.



    Having said that, the cameraman made an interesting point about how people don't respond so obviously to cameras on phones compared to large cameras; that's an advantage that I hadn't thought of.



    I couldn't find a gallery on whitehouse.gov for the actual pictures:

     

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house/holidays-2014

     

    I did however find out that they had a White House 3D-Printed Ornament Challenge:  

     

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/03/announcing-winners-first-ever-white-house-3d-printed-ornament-challenge

     

     

     

    EDIT:  The original article has a gallery with a small fullscreen button.

  • Reply 12 of 47
    I'm not impressed with this photo.

    Maybe AI has compressed it down a lot, but it still looks very blurred.

    Having said that, the cameraman made an interesting point about how people don't respond so obviously to cameras on phones compared to large cameras; that's an advantage that I hadn't thought of.


    How 'bout this one?

    1000
  • Reply 13 of 47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Have any of the photo apps incorporated my idea of an on-screen focus ring yet?

    Pro Camera 8 has manual focus. It's an on-screen slider. It actually works pretty good. 

  • Reply 14 of 47

    This photographer didn't do something right with the photos.  They're almost all too dark and muddy.  I get that it can be challenging shooting in a building with stone walls, as the light doesn't behave as you expect, but I would not have shown any of those photos to friends, let alone to a magazine.  

     

    He didn't note whether he was using HDR or not, but guessing from the shots, he didn't.  Which was a mistake.  I'm sure, as a photographer, he figured he could do better himself, but there are lots of times when you just need the help digitally to get the lighting correct, so the photographer can focus on the art of the shot.

  • Reply 15 of 47
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,198member
    One minor annoyance with the iPhone 6/6+ photo shooting is the placement of the sleep/wake button. On more than a couple of occasions I've seen something that really wanted to capture in landscape format, pulled out my phone out of my pocket, quick launched the camera app, flipped the phone over on its side - and click, the phone goes to sleep because the relocated sleep/wake button is exactly where I hold the phone with my right hand. Doh! Grrr. Missed the shot!

    I appreciate Apple's good intentions to make the sleep/wake button more reachable but in retrospect I'd be a lot happier with it back on top. With the sleep timeout set to 1 minute I seldom use the sleep/wake button anyway. Missing the shot is worse than having to engage a second hand.
  • Reply 16 of 47

    Just to do a basic test, I took a shot inside my condo, using HDR on, with my 6+.  I have to say that I think Apple's got the mid-tone levels set too dark.  In iPhoto, I need to lighten up the mid-tones in order to have it look more like what the naked eye sees.  With HDR off, the mid-tones are a bit less pronounced, but still requires lightening to get the photo to look more natural.  I know what I'm trying to do is a bit more complicated as I'm shooting in a dark-ish space, yet lit by big windows to the front and side flooding the space with natural (albeit gray and cloudy) light.

  • Reply 17 of 47
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    The photo is rife with compression artifacts, the website poster didn't do the photographer any favors.

    Looks like it was sized for smartphones: now there's an irony for you.

    ETA: Nope, not all that great on my iPhone 6 Plus either.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post

     



    I couldn't find a gallery on whitehouse.gov for the actual pictures:

     

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house/holidays-2014

     

    I did however find out that they had a White House 3D-Printed Ornament Challenge:  

     

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/03/announcing-winners-first-ever-white-house-3d-printed-ornament-challenge

     

     

     

    EDIT:  The original article has a gallery with a small fullscreen button.




     The photographer in the piece is a freelance, not the official WH shooter (Pete Souza) so the WH wouldn't have his images: he doesn't seem to have those shots on his website either: http://www.brookskraft.com

  • Reply 19 of 47
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,752member

    Not impressed at all with this pic.  I'm a heavy user of a Canon 5DM3 dSLR and I don't see why carrying that camera with one good lens is not as good, if not better than an iPhone camera.  I love the camera on my iP6+ don't get me wrong, but when it comes time to take pics that will really pop, there's just no comparison.



    A camera phone has the advantage is true portability, and not being so obvious though.



    Picture is too dark, details are fuzzy.  Not his best work I would think.

  • Reply 20 of 47
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    Not impressed at all with this pic.  I'm a heavy user of a Canon 5DM3 dSLR and I don't see why carrying that camera with one good lens is not as good, if not better than an iPhone camera.  I love the camera on my iP6+ don't get me wrong, but when it comes time to take pics that will really pop, there's just no comparison.



    A camera phone has the advantage is true portability, and not being so obvious though.



    Picture is too dark, details are fuzzy.  Not his best work I would think.


     

    The iPhone was a 'been doing this holiday shoot for ten years' pro trying something out of the box. Like I'll sometimes go somewhere I've shot forever with just a 50, or 20 or whatever on my camera, to push me out of my shooting comfort zone.

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