An iPhone is not a Professional Camera

I’m going to preach from the pulpit today so I’m going to need the congregation to gather closer and listen. Dearly beloved we’ve gathered here to share in the undeniable fact that an iPhone is not a Professional Camera. Again for those late to today’s sermon, an iPhone is not a Professional Camera.

I guess the reason for my sermon today is that it’s getting really frustrating to have professional sports photographers continually lose money and/or credentials to people who are standing on the sidelines of the biggest games holding their iPhone or just holding this point and shoot by their side. But for the purpose of this blog post I’m going to go after the iPhone crowd.

Apple’s marketing is so good they have you believing that your phone can make movies and if you use their software to cut and edit your movie it will be making it’s theatrical release within 6 months. They’ll tell you the cameras on their phone will make you a professional photographer. Damn those pesky DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras, all you need is an iPhone to be a pro.

Don’t forget to hit the portrait option on the settings and really watch the real magic happen.

Does Apple make great products? Sure for the most part. How are those people doing with their MacBook Pros with no ports? I digress.

The reason for my frustration was that I was hired as a photographer to shoot the friendly match between Argentina and Honduras. Simple enough gig. I take photos, I transmit the photos, I get paid. I applied for the photography credential on behalf of the people hiring me and received an email saying my credential had been accepted. Sounds like a win for me right? I’ll let Charlie Murphy sum it up:

I show up to the stadium on the day of the match and grab my credential and head to the photo workroom with all my gear. I walk up and and show my credential and ID to get a photography bib and the guy working informs me I have the wrong credential and mine was only for the Press Box. Well that has to be some mistake right? So he lets me leave my gear there so I could go get the right credential. Hey, accidents happen.

I walk back out to Will Call and talk to the guy in charge of the credentials and say there must be some mistake as I applied for a photographer’s credential and got approved. I explained I’m here to photograph for so and so and I need to switch the credentials to get the photographer’s bib.

He told me that he did approve me for a credential, but he switched it to a regular press pass and I could still take photos after the game. I kindly explained again that I was approved for a photography credential till which he replied that he was in charge of who gets what credential and I should be grateful he gave me one. As the young kids say, “No cap.”

Now I’m pissed. I asked why would they approve me for a credential only to switch it and not tell me. They could have saved me from wasting my time. He told me he felt I was being combative. I told him how would you feel if someone wasted your time and took money out of your pocket because they felt that the slightest scintilla of perceived power they think they had went to their head and changed what credential people applied for and not notify them.

He is like you can take the credential or go home he didn’t care either way; he wasn’t changing my credential. I was like whatever and walked back in to grab my gear. Oh and the kicker is that this promotional company in charge of the event has hired me before to shoot for them for other friendly matches.

I grab my gear and head up to the Press Box. I sit down in the front row because I wanted to see who had photographer vests on. And I spy with my little eye people with vests not holding cameras but iPhones. They didn’t have a camera on them, just their iPhone. And the irony is that this is what is stated on the back of the credentials:

Media credentialed with a photographer credential are required to use professional equipment. Use of equipment such as ‘point and shoot’ style cameras or mobile telephones that are not considered professional equipment will result in access being restricted or rescinded.

Now I’m even more heated not only because people are there with iPhones on the field, people in the Press Box are openly cheering for Argentina. I’ve always said in sports it’s not what you know it’s who you know.

At the half I decided to leave because there was no need for me to waste any more of my time. I reach out to a Hard Rock Stadium grounds crew employee who found my lens cap I lost at the last football game and coordinated to meet up with him down by the photography workroom. Not surprisingly I see people walking from the Press Box down to the hallway and wait for their “buddies” to come and give them their vests so they can go out on the field even those they don’t have a photography credential. And all this done in front of a security person who didn’t even bother to care to stop them.

If you watch any game closely you’ll see more and more people either on their phone on the sideline or just watching the game or matches with their photography vests on.

I know that a lot of leagues and teams use iPhone video for certain things and there is nothing wrong with that. It translates better for social using iPhone video for certain things. Now you might be thinking if I’m saying that an iPhone is not a Professional Camera why is ok for them to use it for video? And my response is photography and videography are not the same thing.

The thing is you can not take a sports photo with an iPhone zoomed all the way in no matter how many commercials you see these “creatives” throwing their phone in water or across the street and think they’re getting professional photo content. What they’re and what you’re getting is a marketing gimmick that Apple’s phones can do this or that and you don’t need professional photography equipment to claim to be a professional.

Let me know how that bride feels when as a professional photographer you show up to her wedding with your iPhone and some TikTok filters. Let me know how that interception looks at 10X magnified from the back of the endzone.

Again and probably not for the last time: an iPhone is not a Professional Camera.

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