Are you wondering how to be a professional photographer with an iPhone? Can you be one?
Well, in my case, can you be a professional boudoir photographer with a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra? This is a popular search term on Google, and I wanted to find out for myself. Are the newest and best smartphones availability today worthy of you ditching your heavy and expensive professional camera gear for something that can fit in your back pocket and make phone calls? The answer may surprise you.
About a years and a half ago I was doing a maternity photo shoot with my Canon 5D Mark II. I have been using that camera for nearly 10 years. It is a workhorse and an excellent camera for boudoir and maternity portraiture. After the photoshoot my clients husbands asks me if I seen the iPhone 12 Pro Max and said it takes amazing pictures. I replied, no I have a Samsung Galaxy S9 and its camera is horrible.
Shortly after he show me a few photos he took with his iPhone. They looked really good. He was gushing over a nighttime photo that he took of his house and how colorful and bright it looked for being taken at night. I agreed with him, it did look cool. A HRD photo that was overly saturated and brightened quite a bit, but it did look cool for a photo from a phone. He said that iPhone cameras are the next biggest thing and will be replacing DSLR cameras and put professional photographers out of business because everyone will be a photographer now.
Maybe he was right?
My camera, although old, still takes amazing high quality photos, but is it becoming a dinosaur with the advancement of cameras in smartphones? Maybe I do need a new camera? Ten years using the Mark II has been a long time and maybe technology has passed me by. I looked into upgrading to a new smartphone to see if he was right, but I just couldn’t do it.
About six months ago I met a fellow photographer who was talking about his new mirrorless Canon RP camera and how amazing it is. I did some research and the Canon RP is perfect for the boudoir photography I shoot. Plus, I already have Canon lenses so all I needed to buy was the camera and a lens adapter. So I finally updated my camera. The Canon RP is a great mirrorless camera for portraiture work, however, it does take some getting used to switching from an old DSLR to a new mirrorless camera, but I’m glad I did.
A couple weeks ago Samsung just released the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Now I really wanted to update my phone because it was getting old and Samsung says that the cameras on this phone are amazing! I thought now is the perfect time to see if what that man a year and a half ago is true, that you can be a professional photographer with an iPhone and that smartphones will put photographers out of business.
Not so fast.
I asked a friend to come to my boudoir photography studio in Las Vegas so I could test out my new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra to see if I need to sell my photography gear and close my studio since everyone with a phone will be a photographer.
I am not going to go into detail all of the camera specs since this is not a review of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. You can easily find them on Samsungs website or countless YouTube videos answering the question, is the Samsung S22 Ultras cameras any good? They will talk about every lens and their features. I watched a few and that is what made me want to buy this phone.
My purpose was to see if the S22 Ultras camera could actually be used as a substitute for a professional camera in a studio environment.
First let me explain that the installed camera app has many modes, and each mode has countless options and settings. There is also pro camera app that is not included on the phone and had to be downloaded (Expert Raw).
The modes I used are my test were 108MP JPG, Pro mode which captures a RAW and a JPG, and Expert RAW. I also used my fairly new mirrorless Canon RP to capture the same look and compare its photo to that of the S22 Ultra.
I scheduled our photo shoot around 5:30 PM. This is the perfect time for photographers to take photos outside during this golden hour, but a terrible time for me as the daylight coming through my studio windows is disappearing by the minute. By the time we were actually ready to start the shoot there was very little daylight left, so I used my studio strobes for lighting.
There is no way for the smartphone to trigger the strobes when taking a photo, so those photos where shot using only the modeling lights. The S22 Ultra was set to auto mode, including auto white balance for each camera mode.
I had to really get close on some of these shots because the camera modes limit your zoom. For example, the 108MP JPG gives you the option of 1X, 2X, 4X, and 6X zoom, but both of the RAW camera modes give you 1X, 3X, and 10X zoom. Ideally as a professional photographer you want to shoot in RAW mode so you have more control of everything while editing your photos. This shot really needed a 2X zoom because I had to get extremely close with 1X zoom and had no space to move back to accommodate the 3X zoom. 2X zoom would have worked perfectly, but the RAW modes do not offer it.
Just so you know there were no color, exposure, lighting, ect. adjustments made on any of the photos. The RAW photos were loaded in Lightroom with their specific color profile and then exported as a JPG.
Here is a rundown of how I compared the cameras.
Looking at the photos you will notice that they all look very different. The auto mode on the Galaxy S22 Ultra does a terrible job at auto white balance as there is still a very present yellow tint from the modeling lights. The Canon RP shot was lit by the studio strobes and not the modeling lights. Since it is a true camera it has that ability to trigger the strobes to go off when taking a picture, unlike the smartphone. It was shot in RAW using auto white balance. Just like the S22 Ultras photos, it was loaded in Lightroom and exported as a JPG.
Winner of best color: Canon RP
Not really sure what happened here with the S22 Ultras auto focus. In the 108MP JPG shot it looks as it it focused more on the pillows than the models face. In all of the phones photos it seems as if it it automatically applies a portrait or softening filter to the images as nothing appears sharp. Maybe because the wide angle lens I used on the phone has a very shallow depth of field of f/1.8 or f/2.4 but nothing is in focus very well. There is also no way to change the aperture on the S22 Ultra. 1.8 or 2.4 is all you get and it is automatically selected depending if wether you zoom in or not. The Canon RP is a professional camera and has a full manual mode that lets you adjust everything, including aperture. The Canon RP’s was shot at f8 allowing you to select what you want in focus (the models face) and what you don’t want in focus (the pillows).
Winner of best focus: Canon RP
Sure, a sharp focus will give you better detail, but what about when you enlarge in? How far can you go before that amazing shot begins to look like garbage. When you look at a picture taken with a smartphones camera it will look great because you are viewing it on a screen the size of your hand. Most people will “edit” their photo on their phone as well by applying a filter or two. A professional photographer will use an editing program on a computer to truly edit the photo. Programs like Photoshop allows you to zoom in on a photo so much that you can edit a specific pixel in the image. A phone lets you zoom in a couple finger spreads, which really isn’t much.
In this example I used the S22 Ultras Pro-RAW photo because it is the only photo from the phone that had the eyelashes looking somewhat sharp in focus. I then loaded both photos into Photoshop and zoomed in to 204%. This is not even close. The Pro-RAW photo from the S22 Ultra is a mess, while the photo from the Canon RP looks great and still holds lots of detail.
Also, the entire Pro-RAW photo is full of noise, but the duplicate shot that the phone converts to Pro-JPG, removes the noise and actually makes it a better looking photo. Just don’t zoom in on it.
Winner of best detail: Canon RP
If you look and compare every photo, the Canon RP’s photos are far superior. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra appears to automatically soften the skin, which amounts to a blurry mess.When taking fun photos with your friends or posting some selfies to social media that would be a great feature to have, but doing that automatically for a professional photo shoot is a complete fail. There is very little detail left in the skin and it just looks bad.
What I am really confused about is how the 108MP JPG file size (23.1 MB) is over two times the size of the Canon RP file size (10.2 MB), but looks sooooo much worse? Isn’t bigger supposed to better? I zoomed 204% into the 108MP JPG photo and it a muddy mess.
If you are still want to know if you can be a professional photographer with an iPhone 13 Pro Max, a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, or Google Pixel 6 Pro, the answer is absolutely NO. You can not be a professional photographer with a smartphone. If you truly want to be a professional photographer, use that smartphone to search online or actually CALL a camera store to buy a professional camera and a couple of lenses. The difference in quality is night and day. I used the Canon RP in experiment because it is the camera I am currently using in my studio. It is not a high-end or top of the line camera. In fact it is actually considered an entry level mirrorless camera and perfect for my studio work and boudoir photography.
However, if you want to be a photographer using an iPhone or any smartphone, you definitely need a professional website to display your amazing photos. I am using Weebly to customize my professional website and you can save 10% when you subscribe to a paid plan at Weebly using my link.
What are your thoughts? Are you a going to upgrade your old smartphone to the iphone 13 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and start a new career as a professional photographer? Do you use your phones camera for paid photo shoots or just for fun?
If you enjoyed this post, please comment below and share. I will try to answer whatever questions you have. Thanks