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Photographer to shoot 50 weddings in one day with his iPhone

168
After a long career in photography and editing, Kevin Kuster found new inspiration in mobile photography. Despite his new assignment to shoot 50 weddings in a day, Kuster is not usually a wedding photographer. Most of his work is commercial or editorial.

Kevin Kuster is a veteran photographer — he has been taking photos for over 20 years and spent 18 years with Playboy magazine, leaving as its Senior Photo Editor. When he was first exposed to the concept of mobile photography, he wasn’t convinced. 

“At first, I didn’t get it,” Kuster told Connect. “I thought it was silly. I was a professional snob – I looked down on it.”

After watching a few instructional videos, Kuster decided to buy an iPhone 4S and has been hooked on shooting with his smartphone ever since. The longtime career photographer says that his iPhone has reinvigorated his passion for photography.

Kuster, who lives in Chicago, was recently approached by the charity Watts of Love to help with an interesting photography project that seemed a perfect opportunity to make use of his newfound love of mobile photography.

Watts of Love raises money to send solar-powered lighting to remote locations around the world. By providing people with safe and sustainable lighting, Watts of Love hopes to reduce the number of deaths caused by dangerous kerosene lamps and boost local economies by enabling children to advance in their studies through being able to do schoolwork at night.

Kuster explained his interest in Watts of Love: “Photographers are all about using light and these people don’t have light.”

Kuster's current portrait subjects tend to be gruff American types. His upcoming trip to the Philippines will give him a chance to capture an entirely different culture.

Watts of Love’s first mission is to the island of Ilin in the Philippines. On top of lacking a reliable, sustainable source of light for the majority of its inhabitants, the remote island has not had a pastor or priest visit the island in quite some time. As a result, there are at least 50 couples that are waiting to tie the knot. 

Watts of Love's partner, Missionaries of Mother Mary of the Poor, asked a pastor to come to the region to preach and perform the ceremonies.

When Kuster discovered that his visit coincided with an upcoming visit from the pastor, he couldn’t turn down the idea of shooting the event. But instead of just photographing the service for Watts of Love, Kuster wanted to give the couples something to hold on to.

“Most of these people have never owned a photo of themselves,” Kuster said. “This will be an amazing wedding gift.”

Kuster will be taking portraits with his iPhone, printing the photos from a Canon Pixma mobile printer and placing them in acrylic frames.

When asked why he will be using his iPhone instead of one of his DSLRs, Kuster explained that a large DSLR camera can build a barrier between the subject and photographer.

“(Subjects) let more personality come out in front of an iPhone,” Kuster said. “Instead of staring into a DSLR lens, they can look at my face. I feel like it’s more personal.”

At recent photo shoot of Civil War reinactors, Kuster primarily used his DSLR but also took some shots with his iPhone just for kicks. At a photo conference, he showed an audience the DSLR/iPhone photos side by side and they overwhelmingly preferred the iPhone images.

According to Kuster, this DSLR photo doesn't reveal as much of the subject's personality as the iPhone portrait (left).
Kuster believes that iPhone photography allows portrait subjects to let their guard down becuase they are not looking at an intimidating DSLR.

"It’s never about the quality/grain structure," Kuster explained. "Technical was out of the way, it was about the aesthetic."

Kuster leaves on Februrary 8th and will try to update his Instagram (@kevinkuster) throughout the trip. Those interested in donating to Watts of Love can do so here: $10 buys a solar-powered light for a person in the dark.

We will be talking to Kevin Kuster again after he returns from the Philippines and can’t wait to hear about his 50-wedding iPhone photo shoot.

Comments

Total comments: 168
12
CollBaxter

I wonder.
Are the children of those 50 couples going to ask this in the future "Dad did you not have any decent cameras in you days ? And why do you look like you lived under dim lighting. Mom you skin is so rough it looks like it needed sand papering , you also look very old for your age . " I could go on and on.

You can take a high quality original and and turn it into a carppy time zoned / grained / aged / grainy / saturated picture , but you can't revers the process.

How many people out here wished they had the digital tech we have today out there when they had major events like getting married. It would be great as you can change the feel of those pictures if you wanted to ,as to the current tastes of the day. But you need to start with a good true original. Watch the movies they never clone the fat ugly guy.

The photographer will obviously have a back up shooter with a proper camera.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Magnus3D

If a so called 'professional photographer' came to my wedding with a bloody iPhone only i would kick his ass then sue him for not delivering the highquality work i demand from a professional on such a important day.

It's an insult, that's what it is!

10 upvotes
Kevin Kuster

Man hope I never have to shoot your wedding. If I do I will have to figure out how to wear boxing gloves and press me trigger button on my camera.

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf

In summary, he shot for Playboy and he's gonna shoot 50 in one day...

5 upvotes
Rage Joe

He probably shot 50 playmates a day with his own lens.

1 upvote
cinemascope

i think the key word here is hype and that is what is getting people upset. the ones calling people close minded are just not bothered by the hype... i does bother me...
hell it even bothers me to see parents taking photos of their kids with nothing but these junk cameras... by the time these kids grow they will have nothing but crappy jpegs to look at (that is if they are lucky enough that their parents would backup the photos off the phone before they get stolen anyday)
being lazy is the coolest excuse these days... sorry kiddo... dad was lazy cause that was the cool thing to do...

3 upvotes
JadedGamer

Funny, I thought "proper" cameras like DSLRs were just as likely to be stolen; and the need to do backups is not tied to the camera in use.

Your argument is akin to "I refuse to eat food cooked over an open fire instead of on a modern induction stove". The shot getting taken at all matters far more than the device used. But keep being a tech geek instead of photographer if that is your chosen POV.

0 upvotes
JadedGamer

... but iPhone photographers automatically get their photos backed up in iCloud... as long as they have enabled that of course...

0 upvotes
Sannaborjeson

Ooo... so many haters.
But it is what it is. These photos just have more character compared to those 'true colours just from camera'.

Personally I love Instagram. I shoot with it a lot and I am using
Instagram presets for lightroom (http://reallyniceimages.com/index.php/instagram-presets-for-lightroom-the-ultimate-collection) to make Instagramy hi-res from my DSLR, especially when shooting both выдк and iphone for a client.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8382/8455751614_219f0a41c3.jpg

Is it bad or good?
Up to you. But for me it is just different from what photography was before. And it makes me happy and more creative.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Digitall

Will be competing for the Guinness Book?

Photography these days for the masses, is like fast food. It is beautiful to see, but it has a plastic taste.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Marfinites

It's not total plastic. He's not using a DSRL so he can avoid the typical smile and non-natural poses people do to be good at photos. With the iphone photos they are natural. I think it would be nice to have a service where you have a DSRL and an iphone. That way you could cover quality, good looking people staring at the camera (or just making something to look good) and also cover the worst-quility, but natural photos (it's never that natural, people are at a wedding... But it's more natural than the scary DSRL.

0 upvotes
Marfinites

Yes... If they see the iPhone. But is easier to hide it from them. IDK. I just think that it's not that impossible for a person to make movies with an iphone. I've already tried to make a short with one. If you have the right apps you can strike some cool shots.

0 upvotes
EmeraldM

I think the fact that he is going on a humanitarian trip to bring light to thousands without electricity is getting lost in the battle of the iPhone/DSLR . As far as photographing the mass wedding, I can assume that these couples will be beyond grateful that someone is going to document their very special day. Remember, they aren't bridezillas choosing china for their registry, they are celebrating love when in fact, that's what they have the most of - and it just so happens that Kevin, who has proven himself in 'real' photography is taking time out of his own life to share his talent, and educate those of us who are interested in mobile photography. Safe travels, Kevin and I can't wait to see those beautiful photos!

1 upvote
Stepherzme

Well said Em...These comments are sickening to see. It's hateful. The most important point of the whole project, Watts of Love. How many have actually taken the time to view the photos of his trip with the organization? Also, he didn't go there to shoot the wedding, he went with WoL and was asked to do it. Not everyone can afford fancy cameras; does that mean we aren't allowed to be creative? Kevin is a very talented man with a heart that i am sure is way bigger than their inflated heads. Its not an Apple ad, he's not making money for it... Can't there still be good people in the world who want to bring a better good to others? I love the project for what it really is and i think that the article brought on a lot of the negativity. The focus was way off but what can you expect from a Digital Photography Review? Not a bad article, but still. Before talking smack, those "professional dslr'ers" should maybe take the time to take a closer look into the project as a whole.

0 upvotes
Stepherzme

...and i'm not even on Apple, I use Android... Samsung Galaxy S3 to be exact. There is soo much that you can do as the technology with phone camera gets better with each update. Because i shoot my life with a phone does not make my photos any worse than anyone else's because the fact of the matter is that they are real. In the moment. Candid. The passion shared is the same... because anyone who takes the time to shoot, edit, and/or share stands on the common ground of all photogs. ...a love for Photography as a whole. You don't see hardly anyone here downing dslr, the article just may have came across that way.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
nanoer

It sounds to me like he is just getting into the Lomography!

0 upvotes
VadymA

Ok, some snob eventually discovered something that millions of ordinary people do everyday, that is taking good pictures with a cellphone. How is that a big news?

3 upvotes
riknash

I don't think he's a snob. Why can't a long time photographer become bored with DLSR's and just want a simple tool that doesn't distract his subjects? It may not produce the technically best photos but it sure can deliver photos only limited by the talent of the photographer.

1 upvote
VadymA

I still think he is a little bit a snob. Compact p&s cameras with identical specs existed for almost a decade now. But they weren't inspirational enough for him. Yet, I've seen thousands of brilliant photos taken by those uninspiring cameras. And now, all of the sudden, he is the big news like he is a pioneer who made a great discovery or something. I just don't think he deserved a credit for it, that's it. I certainly respect him as a photographer, just don't like the tone of some superiority in this article and wanted to point that what he discovered is rather old news for many of us ordinary folks.

4 upvotes
Zdman

I think you hit the nail on the head there Vadyma. Notice these articles are always about the iPhone which is a prestige product and not a Nokia phone or Canon compact which would be just as portable. I think Apple is funding these little trips behind the scenes. All these people talking about moving with the times clearly aren't aware that there are compact cams smaller than phones. I have no problem with a professional choosing to use a small camera because its unobtrusive but don't tell me an iPhone being stuck up to take a photo is any less intrusive.

0 upvotes
mauijohn

we got to understand his concept that he is not like others that counting pixels by pixels. but by the people caught off guard by unknowingly someone took picture at them.

0 upvotes
DonM999

What's next? How about shooting a major motion picture on an iphone! (I'm glad the Beatles never recorded on cassette tapes.)

3 upvotes
ryanshoots

I've long been a fan of different sized cameras, sensors etc. I believe a photo need not be technically perfect to be good. It's art after all.

I shoot with a phone for fun and enjoy it, but the endless stream of epiphany cum infomercials is starting to get a little out of hand. As others have said, is there no other brand of phone on the market today?

Or maybe it's just that it's a hot meme right now, so pros are jumping at the chance for some exposure (no pun intended). Given the state of photography these days, can't much blame them in some ways as it's harder and harder to earn a living they are going to greater extremes to reach the masses. Democratization of photography is good for the masses, not the pros.

If the iphone is great, it will really blow your mind when you pick up a compact camera with nice controls.

BTW, I heard a lot of the highest rated photos on instagram are not done with phones but rather dslr's and then run through the app.

5 upvotes
BruceBorowski

agh yes.... americans and brits choose their cameras much like their politicians... all hype and no action......... It's obvious not too many brain cells were used to write this infomercial to woo the witless. The only thing really stirred were to rouse the emotions to provoke consumers make rash and witless decisions with the wondrous new technologies say much like choosing a useless president like obamwa..... Oh are we to believe that the tiny dimnutive camera in the iphone is some new and fabulous technology or is it just more junk made in china by slave labor? Talk about manipulating the masses..........

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Illumina

This whole iphone thing is really getting overexaggerated..
I love mobile photography, but i know when to use my mobile, when to use my dslr..
Using mobile to shoot
wedding is like joining a race, and race with city car, not with a race car..
I will not shoot my wedding client with a mobile.. I respect my client..

5 upvotes
emilygomez

Well I figured there'd be some negative reviews regarding iPhone photography but blatant ignorance? Geez. There's a reason film changed to digital...because technology advances. Move with it. Go with the flow. Let your hair down. Give it a try. I was actually just asked to shoot an entire wedding love, via my iPhone and Instagram this coming April. By the bride. Times are a changing.

And as for the "we like our photos to look vintage" comment regarding instagram, you've clearly not explored instagram at all.

Can't wait to see the spectacular results Kev. I know you'll kill it!

3 upvotes
emilygomez

Or rather, why film made a large shift to digital. Not saying it's eradicated or anything at all.

1 upvote
vodanh1982

The brides do not know much about photography. They only know iPhone/iPad because it is famous and popular . I understand that you must follow the customer request but at least it is your responsibility to advise your customer to the best. Even your iPhone photos are good, do you think they will be better with a larger sensor camera with a better lens? Did you advise them yet or you keep silence?

3 upvotes
Mike Oo

You're joking, right? I have had brides ask for cross processing. They know film and they want film, because they prefer to the look, and I'm happy to charge more for it (and they seem happy to pay more for it).

1 upvote
vodanh1982

How do you compare your case with the case of the OP. Do you mean "They know iPhone and they want iPhone, because they prefer to the look" ?

0 upvotes
Frank Nocode

Very well said!

0 upvotes
BruceBorowski

oh and by the way using an apple iphone is not a new technique and what you said makes no sense at all... nothing factual or enlightening at all............. just like the infomercial

2 upvotes
Mishobaranovic

Bruce, just because you say something five times over doesn't make it truth.

1 upvote
BruceBorowski

No one is closed minded to new techniques just apples propaganda.............

3 upvotes
Mishobaranovic

Apple doesn't pay people to promote their camera feature. The propaganda is in your own head.

0 upvotes
snackwells

I would not put anything beneath an apple that has fallen off its tree!

2 upvotes
Zdman

If apple is promoting it I (I still believe this is possible) its still a bad case of Apple fanboism. There are many alternative small camera's a phones that are just as discreet and cost less but you can be much more of a snob with an iPhone.

0 upvotes
allijames

I'll never understand how people can be so closed minded to trying new techniques. Everything evolves or changes. Not everyone has to adapt to every medium, but there is no need to be insulting to people who are open to trying new things.

No one is suggesting that a DSLR and an iphone will yield the exact same results. What they are suggesting is that it's another exciting tool to add to photography.

Can't wait to see some photos from this amazing and beautiful adventure.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Frank Nocode
0 upvotes
photopoet55

oh really! thats what apple is saying he will get the same results.wake up

0 upvotes
happypoppeye

The equipment is only as good as the photographer ...looks like a lot of people here are still trying to justify what is "best" for everyone.

Thanks for articles like these ...keep em' coming.

1 upvote
Shunda77

Good subject isolation for the brides then? 50 ruined weddings more likely, I hope they have someone else shooting a proper camera too.

9 upvotes
DrWhom

I feel like the faux-nostalgia of instagram and other silly filtering treatments is bound to eventually fade... We get it - you like your photos to look "vintage". Funny that this technique became popular when quality dipped due to sensor limitations

4 upvotes
BruceBorowski

thankfully we dinosaurs don't brainwash as easily as you

2 upvotes
BruceBorowski

apple must really be losing market share to Samsung in order to dream up something so stupid and far fetched as this ridiculous infomercial excuse for photography and I use the term loosely

11 upvotes
JadedGamer

Of course, anyone who states they use an iPhone is paid by Apple to say so. *rollseyes*

By the way, how many posts do you really need to post complaining about the same thing?

0 upvotes
javidog

This is becoming fun to read this section because it brings out all the angry birds. Photography is closing on you and your closed minds. Thankfully you dinosaurs will become extinct soon so you can get out of the way of technological progress. You all sound like the alarmists who said sound would kill movies or color will kill photography or TV will kill movies or digital cameras will kill photography and on and on.... Haters will always be haters.

4 upvotes
Kevin Kuster

Good insight and comment.

0 upvotes
tongki

I see it now !

using iPhone, you will not get the details on ugly faces,
the man in the picture look more HANDSOME with shiny face compare to DSLR output,
people do likes HANDSOME GUY, right ?

He ask to audience full with girls and woman ???

1 upvote
tongki

"DSLR is intimidating the subject",
he claim himself a photographer by saying that stupid words ?
is this a joke ?

I found quite boring opening dpreview nowadays,
no innovation about "real camera", mostly about playing with TOY CAMERA or STUPIDPHONECAMERA

7 upvotes
Rage Joe

"DSLR is intimidating the subject", LOL!

I-phone is irritating the subject :(

1 upvote
jcmarfilph

Tsk...tsk... Photography is degrading each day because of this non-sense "I will shoot it with iPhone too." Can't you replace the word iPhone with SmartPhone?

4 upvotes
vodanh1982

The next level = hidden camera on the eye glasses.

2 upvotes
DavidMaven

Make the iphone shot with the DSLR camera at the same distance, perspective, lighting, and photoshopping (i.e. Instagramming ) and the DSLR shot will probably be as good or better.

I think only results matter, and if the photographer gets better results with same or less effort with iPhone, then good for him. Technique and experience make a photography into a reliable and valuable artist, journalist, etc. Otherwise, he's just a lucky spray and pray snapshooter.

And we know that's not the case. I'm glad his creativity and motivation have been improved by his new tools; let's face it, cheap photographic tools have improved their image technical quality over time, but camera and software are just tools that can be used well or badly, predictably or randomly. The choice belongs to the photograher

0 upvotes
Managarm

What is dpreview up to lately? - "Digital photography review site to post 50 articles full of iphone product placements in one day?"
Are Amazon's iphone sales really dropping that much?

Please quit this connect nonsense and use the extra manpower for reviewing more real photography gear again instead of wasting resources on things that also happen to have a lens built into them.

16 upvotes
DavidMaven

There's more to photography than gear and measurbating.

1 upvote
h2k

Agree with Managarm. In the last week or so, the "iPhone" head lines scream left, right and center. If at least they'd write "smart phone".

I don't easily complain, but the number of "iPhone" appearances on DPR gets ominous and doesn't seem justified. I'd cover it with a more conservative approach and simply ignore the more weird or obsolete iPhone-related stories. Not everything that's done with an iPhone is newsworthy just because it's done with an iPhone.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Lars Rehm

well, in this case it's an iPhone. If it was a galaxy S3 we'd say that, if it was a One X we'd have no problem saying that as well.

Also, this article is placed on Connect, our platform for all things related to mobile photography. You can filter Connect stories form the dpr front page using our filter system if you;re not interested at all.

0 upvotes
Managarm

..."There's more to photography than gear and measurbating."...

Yeah, and thats why these shots are only possible with an iPhone 4S mentioned in every single sentence I guess...?

I agree that gear is only a small part of photography, one of the reasons why Luminous Landscape is one of my all time favorite photography sites online. They have a wonderful mix of technical and artistic parts of that craft.

But dpreview, as the name suggests, is about reviewing gear and since they hardly ever did anything else than sheer measurbating, thats what they should stick to. And because they do it good and thoroughly, they are renowned for this skill, and definitely not for the artistic part of photography.

Lars, thanks for the hint about blocking Connect content. I'll do so as it is really getting annoying lately.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
JadedGamer

How many times do you people need to be told that
1) You can filter out Connect articles if you do not like them
2) The site does not take away resources from the main site

It gets boring when elitists keep chewing the same cud in these threads every day. Go out and take pictures instead if you actually are photographers.

1 upvote
vodanh1982

I will never hire this guy.

7 upvotes
javidog

Maybe he will never hire you so it cancels out.

1 upvote
CosmoZooo

>According to Kuster, this DSLR photo doesn't reveal as much of >the subject's personality as the iPhone portrait (left).

LOL...really...I looked at that photo and was like, this looks great, no way this is iPhone and sure enough I look at the captions. Now granted the iPhone photo to the left is not bad, but the DSLR is so much better,

The lines on his face, the stubby rough hair...the eyes and the expression, the sharp focus and shallow DOF...come on really the iPhone one is better....no way...no way.

For portraits I love that detail and shallow DOF. It makes you see the person in details that I do not perceive when I look at the live. iPhone...descent camera comparing to many point and shoots, but it doesn't hold a candle to that DSLR shot.

People can convince themselves of anything they want. I have an iPhone too but I only recently decided to get a real camera coming from P&S (NEX-6) and let me tell you....there is a world of difference there. ..

3 upvotes
David Hurt

Who cares?? I am NOT a fan of Apple. I am Samsung all the way. Why not take along something like the Olympus
OMD-5??

4 upvotes
JadedGamer

... if you were Samsung all the way, you would be proposing taking along an NX camera surely?

0 upvotes
tkbslc

"Kuster believes that iPhone photography allows portrait subjects to let their guard down becuase they are not looking at an intimidating DSLR."

So why not use an LX7 or rx100 or something? Even a GX1 with a 20mm f1.7. The iphone offers nothing special in this regard.

9 upvotes
acidic

The iphone has photo apps.

0 upvotes
vodanh1982

On a wedding, people are busy enough that they don't even notice any stranger. It's not street photography.

0 upvotes
M Jesper

Stranger with a D4 or 1D, that they do notice.

1 upvote
welshman2004
1 upvote
DrWhom

Plus with an iPhone, you get that awesome quality of everything needing to be brightly lit if you want to avoid motion blur and crazy noise. It's a tool - a shittier tool than most of us have, not a panacea

2 upvotes
dodgebaena

If he has the talent for shooting weddings and events (as opposed to paid models in a studio), he should be able to capture the essence of his subject with any camera.
We're also assuming that his subjects are techno-illiterate. I don't think they are. I've been to places in the Philippines without indoor plumbing, regular garbage collection, and intermmittent electrical power supply where the population was more technically savvy than your average Westerner. Same is true for materially-poor places in Vietnam, Thailand, etc.
This is more Western voyeurism of the poor.

1 upvote
Total comments: 168
12
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