A Fine Art Print in Sheep's Clothing

Recently a friend and customer came into the frame shop showing off a photo she'd taken on her iPhone. She and the family had visited a farm and she had left her photo gear at home. Under "the best camera is the one you actually have with you" rules, she used her phone to take shots for the day. Since I print all my own work, she asked if I would try to print her favorite of sheep looking through a fence. Usually I would decline, but I was intrigued to see what would happen. I told her  not to get her hopes up, but I'd give it a try.

I imported the shot into Lightroom and did a little tweaking -- mostly just an increase in contrast. The first print I made was on a Lustre finish paper at 8x12 inches. Result -- stunning! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I judged it against my gallery of 8x12s and found it looked as good as anything I'd printed and I've used everything over the years including full frame Canons and Nikons. I showed it to an employee along with some others of my own and asked him to pick out the iPhone shot. I gave him eight photos to look at and he never picked it in six tries!

Next I printed it at 16x24 inches. Again -- stunning! It looks as good as any shot with a "real" camera.

Granted, the lighting conditions were ideal, and the sheep are lovely, but even so I didn't expect these results. I know low light would be a different story, controlling depth of field is not a phone feature, and the only zoom control is my feet. But easily 80% of the shots I sell are landscapes taken in light like this. If I blow it up on the computer, I can see the quality is not as good as my other gear. But in the real world of a print, it is simply beautiful. Here's the shot, and by the way, she's matted and framed it in the large size to give as a gift and show in her portfolio.

I'll be increasing the size of the print in the next few days to see how big I can get it before it fails. I'll keep you posted.



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