Portrait Mode

It’s amazing how a phone can create images that look more and more like they where shot with a DSLR. That and instant sharing .. It’s truly a revolution. Especially considering looking back at the original iPhone, it’s a wonder how far we have come. Pictures that can rival DSLR shots!

iPhone, 2008
iPhone 7 Plus, Portrait Mode
Nikon D5
iPhone 7 Plus, Portrait Mode

Another day, another iPhone shot

In the fall of 2015 I shot the entire campaign for Visit Hasselt in less than a month in the most horrible of weather conditions. Not just that, it was a breakneck paced shoot, visiting over fifty locations in just under three weeks.

Of course, as those things do, I was enjoying a rare moment of free time in the city. I didn’t carry my camera with me, I mean, why would I? I wouldn’t be shooting for another few hours. But just on that exact moment, the sun broke through, bathing the main shopping street with nice afternoon sunlight. It had people shopping, still some green on the trees. Precisely the kind of images the client needed.

So I followed Chase Jarvis‘ advice: “the best camera is the one that’s with you”.  I didn’t hesitate, and shot the scene that was unfolding in front of my eyes with my iPhone 6 S. Just a few snaps. I hesitated for a second if I could run home and get my camera, but before I would even reach the end of the street, the clouds took over again, and wouldn’t show itself until the deadline of the assignment had passed.

But, I’ve had my shot.

Campaign image. iPhone 6 S

The great thing is, they didn’t only run the image: today I found out they re-used it, and made it a full page picture. And it looks pretty damn great! No-one would ever guess this was a lucky moment, shot on a phone. Damn.

iPhone and RAW

With RAW capabilities coming to iOS 10, I tested this out with my iPhone 6 S during a South African sunset, in the town of Graskop.


This is the RAW file, straight out of camera DNG. And remember, this isn’t cheating: RAW images are by nature flat and without details. It’s so they capture many more details than a regular JPG file. Just like a film negative has to be developed, burned and dodged until the artist is satisfied with the result.

A new member in the family.

I’ve been an Apple user since I was 15, and got introduced to the old OS 8 and OS 9 systems at school. I liked it, and when the eMacs came out, and our school bought 20 I was the one to install all software with the teacher. Yet at home we’ve had a windows computer, and my dad bought me a Compaq II. A crappy low bow, which I tweaked to hold 3 displays and various drivers. It ran Windows Me. Yes. Millennium. Every other week I had to reinstall windows because of the missing NTLDR. It became very quickly clear to me, that my future and Windows didn’t lay together.

Yet, the budget didn’t allow any computer that was over 100 euro or something like that. Horrible! I did get an iPod.
In between, a collegue bought himself an iMac, and I got to use it for those moments that I could. I loved every second of it. When at work we finally made the switch to mac, I updated everything too. My contacts, my music, my files. I got myself an iPhone, and everything worked great. I synced at work, and just used my home notebook for some surfing.

When I got my notice, I had the choice, going back to windows exclusively again, or just bite the bullet, use my savings and my last pay check, and buy an iMac. And so I did. A 20″ iMac, that stayed with me for quite a bit time, before I sold him, and upgraded it to the latest generation iMac. Still 21.5″, but I don’t need more screen estate.

In between, a new iPhone, and of course the iPad joined my device family, followed closely by the family-adored AppleTV, an Airport Extreme and two Airport Expresses. My dad also got himself an iMac, and a quick stint gave me access to a MacBook for some months.

I love my iPad, it’s a great way to read news. Be it papers, RSS, twitter, Facebook or just some casual mailing and browsing. It’s a funky little device. It can even do some basic image editing, what I really do need.

But now the time has come that I need a lot more mobile work than earlier. I need to capture, edit and upload images from location, collaborate with people on websites, and other such mobile projects. Also, since a few months, I’ve gained an addiction to Coffee bars. Not just for the coffee, but a place where you can drink, sit, and enjoy free WiFi. So an iPad is too light, an iMac too big. So, enter the latest generation MacBook Air.

First of all, I’m not sure how it will work in my device family, once the new-factor has worn off. Will I stop using my iPad, will I quit my iMac? I remember when I used my old MacBook, I mostly used that device everywhere, and rarely was on my iMac. Yet, things are different now.

My MacBook Air has only 128 GB of SSD memory, so I won’t keep full Aperture libraries on this machine, nor will I have music or much pictures on this feisty little thing. This is good however. While this is a small, movable animal, like a Leopard or a Panther, while my iMac is ferocious Mountain Lion, with 12 GB of RAM, and 7 TB of storage space. (See what I did there with animal analogies). My iPad is a different thing, it’s a thing to cuddle up in bed or the sofa, and read.

I think I’ll start to draw some lines, to have my MacBook Air to create things on the go, iMac to create at the desk, and use my iPad to consume, and take some times off.

We’ll see.

Using natural light

When I came home, and I opened my door I saw this amazing bit of golden light shining on my door, and only my door. The rest of the street was covered in shadows, except that little golden square. Perfect for a quick self-portrait.

No models, no filters or anything fancy. Just me and my phone.


Shot with the front-facing camera in the regular Camera.app, edited with Instagram.

Lighting diagram of the the biggest reflector in my kit. ;)


I think basically, just use what is out there.


Dit is de set-up over heel het huis ongeveer. De 10 TB aan harde schijf ruimte heb ik er maar niet bijgetekend. Het alarmsysteem ook niet ;).