Ive always thought it would be cool to photograph the cover of Macworld magazine using an iPhone as my camera. When the new iPhone 4 was released with the 5MP camera, the editors at Macworld were excited to see if it could be done. What better way to showcase the phones new camera than to have an iPhone take the photo of the iPhone on the cover?
Normally when I shoot the cover of Macworld Magazine, I use a Phase One P65+ which is a 60 MP digital camera. It has twelve times the megapixel count of an iPhone 4. This was going to be a very challenging task for the iPhone. My goal was to photograph the cover using only the iPhone and any available app for the iPhone (I couldn't use Photoshop on my Mac!)
For the most part, my strategy for photographing the cover didn't change from how I normally would photograph with the Phase One digital camera. I still had my normal set with lots of lights, flags and stands. I did have to change my light source from strobes to tungsten lights because the iPhone can't sync with studio strobes. I did end up making my own camera mount for the phone to go on my tripod (monopod). I hadnt seen one that would do exactly what I needed (even if I did I didnt think it would ship to me in time) so I picked up some parts from the hardware store and rigged one myself.
Normally when I photograph the cover I use my Mac to add the iPhone's screen, clean up dust, scratches and any other imperfections. I wasn't going to have that same control on my iPhone so I had to ensure the photo looked good and close as possible to final in-camera. During the shoot I would send the image files over to the art director at his computer so he could drop the image into layout. We needed to be sure the scale and crop was perfect.
The iPhone's Retina display was truly awesome. I was really able to see the detail in the photo as I was shooting. It made me wish Apple produced all their desktop monitors this way. The final photo was dust-free and looked great. I was extremely impressed with the detail that the iPhone was able to capture. For post production I used two iPhone apps: PhotoForge and Resize-Photo. PhotoForge was used to remove a slight green cast from the photo. Resize-Photo was used to increase the photo from 216 dpi to 290 dpi in order to meet printing requirements. One app that I wish had been available when I was photographing the cover was Camera+ 1.2 with separate touch exposure and touch focus.
Also check out the Editor's Desk inside the magazine where Jason writes about me and my process for creating this month's cover or view online here.
The digital version of the magazine is out now on Zinio. The printed version should be on newsstands soon. See what you think: