Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is – Big iPhone Prints

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is – Big iPhone Prints

The full-frame mafia will probably want to take a hit out on me, but I’m old and can’t live forever so – well – here goes.

I have been advocating for people to use the camera they have with them, whatever it may be, to make images that tell a story or represent a memory or show a personal point of view.

In my case, I have been using my iPhone almost exclusively (outside a few cinema jobs where I have to use specific cameras according to a production agreement) and I remain constantly impressed with the quality of the images I can capture using nothing more than a smartphone.

I am working with a gallery – (more on that later) to do a show of my iPhone images and when I mean show I mean gallery-quality, big prints. 30 to 40 inches on the longest side – and yes – from an iPhone.

I will eventually be selling these prints in very limited editions of 25 each and using the proceeds to help fund wildlife conservation. But for now I will talk about the process.

I am working with WhiteWall printing service located in Germany. They are the gold standard for gallery printing and I trust them to bring my images to life in the form of very high-quality prints.

I got the first test print back from them and I am impressed with what they can do. 30 to 40 inches on the longest side on photo paper? Most people don’t think it can be done. Most people are wrong.

Lots of people print big on canvas. That is a secret that I openly share. Printing big on canvas is easy because it hides a lot of flaws. But printing on photo paper. . . under glass? That’s a whole different animal.

I put the 25″ x 40″ print on my reading chair to give you a sense of scale…

The first image in the set is shown here. It’s called “Tranquility At The Flight Deck Pond” and it is of course from Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge.

I am having a set of prints made from images I took using one of my iPhones. These images will all be between 30 and 40″ on the longest side. They will all be gallery quality. They will be exposed using the latest laser technology and then traditionally developed before they are printed using a photographic process on Fuji Crystal DP II paper. They will then be set behind acrylic glass with a durable silicone seal. This protects against bubbles or flaws caused by changes in temperature or humidity. It’s much more expensive than the adhesives used in most American photo labs. The acrylic glass has built-in UV protection and is nearly unbreakable.

The prints are ready to hang with sturdy aluminum Dibond backing and have mounting hardware suitable for any type of wall mount.

This process is detailed, extensive, by-hand, and expensive. It shows my commitment to treating images made with the iPhone in the same manor I would treat any of my serious photography.

I will publicize the gallery showing 60 days before it takes place, hopefully before the end of 2022 but certainly early in 2023 at the latest. There will be seven images in the entire collection. Each one made using the exact same process I just described.

Stay tuned for more. Remember, to get “professional results” out of your iPhone, treat it like a “real camera.” And that also goes for the prints you make from the iPhone too.

8 Responses

  1. THANK YOU Scott for doing this! Let’s show the full frame mafia that much of their hype is just hot air bully talk! In addition, please do a few larger prints, comparing them to other camera sensor sizes- amd let people “pick their favorite “ and see if they can tell which is best! In addition, some photographers will snub their noses at prints on canvas. Nonsense! Canvas has been used to display art for hundreds of years ! I personally can’t wait to see you and Jefferson Graham tackle this on your podcast!

    1. Thanks Jay – the problem is that unless I am in the room with you – you will not see ANY difference in the prints from a large or small sensor. It simply doesn’t translate online. For those who used to go to the big photo conferences like Photo Plus Expo, in New York – when I was an Olympus Visionary, Olympus put nine-foot-wide pictures up from the Olympus cameras I used. People actually didn’t believe me when I said that they came from the M43 sensor and I am sure some won’t believe me now when I say these come from an iPhone. Nothing I can do about that.

      And actually, years ago, I did tests like this at PPA’s convention. A VERY long time ago, I did a print comparison from film and digital and asked people to pick which was which. And that was from VERY small sensors and yet, folks couldn’t tell.

      The bottom line is that if you’re able to make a good, sharp, well-exposed image – using the iPhone’s RAW image format, and you can afford to send that to a professional lab like White Wall, you can print up to 50″ wide – even on photographic paper – and it still looks good.

      I also agree that there’s not a thing wrong with canvas. In fact – the vast majority of the photos I’ve sold in galleries were on canvas. I was merely pointing out that printing on canvas is more forgiving. We will be talking about this on the podcast for sure.

  2. Yes, agree 100%! The prints would make a funny video, similar to what you did at the PPA convention. The full frame mafia has done an amazing job fooling everyone to the contrary.

  3. I am always amazed at the “must have [insert high MP here] sensor” crowd. Most of the them they really have no idea. They get pleasure from viewing their images at 100% on a monitor. Something no one else will or can do, so in terms of getting appreciation for your shots it is completely moot. As you say, large prints are possible from surprisingly low resolution sensors. Most people never print anything, and they just need the psychological crutch that says, “I could print this up to 60 inches, if I wanted”, when they have never done this and never will. This spurs them on to pay more and more for their gear.whose capabilities are never needed.

  4. I have tried to take an iPhone 11Max photo through DeNoise and Gigapixel AI then back into LR to increase the size of the image to A3 without losing quality, but have not had much luck so far. Any guidance on your process would be well received.

  5. Would be great to know what steps you take in the preparation for printing. I have tried unsuccessfully to enlarge an image from my iPhone 11Max using DeNoise AI and Gigapixel AI, without an awful lot of success. Any guidance would be most welcome.

    1. Hi Keith a couple of things. 1. This print is NOT a result of that process. This print was made using a hardware RIP (Raster Image Processor) and then made using a special technology that actually relies on photo paper. Also, this image is from an iPhone 13 Pro shot in Apple’s RAW mode. So it’s not an apples to apples comparison – all that said, if you are shooting in anything but RAW mode, you will have trouble getting good results depending on how big you go. How large are you trying to go in Gigapixel? I don’t recommend going past 2X. You should go to Gigapixel first and DeNoise (then Sharpen AI if you use it) last. The order of things mention. And of course there’s the old GIGO thing. Garbage in garbage out. You have to start with a well-exposed image. Also since iPhone sensors are so small, they don’t perform as well in low light as cameras with APS-C or M43 do. Lastly, the iPhone camera is much improved from 11 to 13 and that could be a factor in your inability to get good results. I hope this has at least partially answered your question or given you some ideas to try. Good luck.

      1. Thanks heaps Scott, that all makes sense. My iPhone11 soldiers on brilliantly and I cannot justify adding to the scrap pile yet, so that 13 or 14 will just have to wait😇. Love the podcast, you lads take care. Best regards, Keith

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