‘Bon Appétit’ Shot Its March Issue on the iPhone 6s

Native advertising or just getting down with the food bloggers?

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Early in 2016, Apple relaunched their “Shot on iPhone 6” marketing campaign from the previous year. This time, expect an amalgam of pros’ and Joes’ photography, on the 6s instead of the 6. The campaign photos have been displayed (or will in due time) on billboards across 85 cities in 26 countries. However far-reaching their billboards are, Apple seems to have just scored some superior advertising — for free. Yesterday, Bon Appétit announced that 43 pages of its March Culture Issue were shot on an iPhone 6s/Plus.

Native advertising? It would appear not. Bon Appétit, a well-respected food publication with base of 1.5 million subscribers, is simply catering to its readers, many of whom are food bloggers (professional or otherwise) who take photos with their smartphone. “Food culture has gotten a lot more democratic. We can all snap a photo, post a blog, it’s become more inclusive instead of exclusive,” says Adam Rapoport, editor of Bon Appétit, to FastCo. “And the smartphone has had a tremendous amount to do with that. We’re so immersed in that culture, we thought, what if we shot the whole feature well with an iPhone?”

The 43 pages were shot by several professional photographers, all of whom had to problem-solve. Things like depth of field, light consistency, working with less-sophisticated autofocus and keeping the phone steady were all much more challenging on iPhones. Most also purchased accessories, like tripods, selfie-sticks and auxiliary lenses. “Because the iPhone lens is approximately equivalent to a 35mm lens on a DSLR,” says Michael Graydon, one the issue’s photographers, “we bought a few accessory lenses, one of which made the camera more like a normal lens of around 50mm. Another was a wide-angle and the third was so good for close-up shots, it would’ve been better suited for taking photos of ants.”

If you didn’t know beforehand that the final shots that made it to print were taken with an iPhone 6s, it’d be hard to tell. True, all were edited with software, like Capture One, during post-production. And it’s unlikely these photographers will ditch their DSLR’s anytime soon. (Plus, shooting with a camera phone doesn’t look professional.) But if there’s one takeaway from Bon Appétit‘s “experiment,” it’s that all of us could stand to up our Instagram game.

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