Can you really take a professional-quality photo with a camera phone? To answer this question, Chuck Jackson created his own “Camera Phone Challenge”, utilizing only an HTC One X to complete an entire fashion shoot. Like other professional photographers, Jackson typically uses high-end camera equipment to capture the fine details and subtle lighting in his shoots. If the quality of the original photos aren’t good enough, not even his artistic photo-editing could hide the deficiencies of a camera phone.
“My objective was to show that you don’t need a $2000 DSLR [Digital Single-lens Reflex] camera to shoot professional looking photographs,” said Jackson. “If you are creative enough, and have the drive, you can shoot with anything. I wanted to shoot close-up photos that would really show off the quality of the image”.
While his photos seem to speak for themselves, we recently caught up with Chuck to get more details about his experience with his HTC.
LM: As a professional photographer you have access to top-end photography gear, why did you want to try this using a camera phone?
CJ: I’m an artist and photographer. I wanted to challenge myself and see how far I could go using only a camera phone. I’m always striving to improve at my craft and see where I can rank amongst the other photographers in the world. I figured, why not try to match their look and quality while only using the cellphone I carry around in my pocket.
I also thought this might be an inspiration for anyone who doesn’t have the funding to buy an expensive camera. I guess you could say the project was for my confidence and for the young photographers as well.
LM:What was the hardest shot to take with a One X and why?
CJ: Well, I don’t want to make this sound too easy, but every shot was extremely easy to take. There were times when the camera was very sensitive to light, which gave me some overexposed areas. But, there are easy-to-use settings under the menu. It was easy to make a few adjustments and bring the shots back to normal. During the whole shoot, the only thing I had to wory about was my model. The camera was fast and the shot quality was accurate. All I had to do was compose the shot and take the photo. Everything was that easy. I pushed the One X to its limit and it never blinked.
LM: How much editing did you do to the photos? Did you edit photos on the smartphone or did you use other software?
CJ: I didn’t use the in-camera software to edit. Because I shot at my studio, which has a very large green-screen, I needed Photoshop to be able to select that background and change it to what I needed. The editing process was very extensive and there aren’t any phone apps that can handle this type of professional editing at this time.
LM: What are the most important elements to getting a great shot?
CJ: The initial set up is the most important part. Make sure you create the best base-image before any editing software touches the photo. And lighting is very important. Lighting gives the image character. You can change pretty much anything in Photoshop, but, you can’t change the way the light hits the face, how shadows roll across the lines of the body. Make sure you get the lighting right, this is the most important part of a shoot.
LM:What is your favorite type of photography?
CJ: Fashion and Editorial are my favorite types of photography. I love people and I love mood setting. Sometimes I’m in the mood to go out and shoot something for the front cover of a magazine. Sometimes I want to go out and have this dramatic and emotional storytelling type of shoot. Fashion and Editorial give me plenty of opportunities truly explore my creative side.
LM: What are some tricks you learned to get the best shot with the HTC One X?
CJ: First off, I made sure to set the ISO to 100 in order to get the cleanest shot possible in my well-lit studio. In fact, I didn’t leave any of the image adjustments set on “auto.” I took advantage of all the image settings and manually adjusted thesettings to ensure the settings were ideal for the environment. When I am using my DSLR I always shoot using manual settings as well. The ability to do this with the One X was a big help and increased my comfort level with the photoshoot.
LM: Anything else you’d like to share?
CJ: Well, some people will say my opinion doesn’t matter, but this is what I do for a living. And to me, the HTC One is better than the IPhone 4/s for photography. I recently took part in a shoot where everyone took photos behind the scenes using their cellphones. Once everything was sent back to me and I could review all the images that were shot that day, the HTC One X and S took significantly better images. I’m not saying this was a scientific test; it was simply an ordinary, every day use in the same location, with the same subjects and lighting. In my opinion, the HTC One X and S blew the iPhones away.
Chuck Jackson is based in Orlando, Florida. See more of his work on his Facebook page.