Smartphones cameras are still at their core cameras. This means that the rules of photography and composition all still apply to it, and if used correctly, it can achieve some pretty stunning photos. It’s just like how you could give an amateur a $10,000 Leica camera and lens but still walk away with a subpar image.
That being said, it seems that Sports Illustrated wants to prove this point when they hired photographer Michael J. LeBrecht II to take a photo for the cover of the December issue of the magazine, featuring none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson known for his time in WWE, as well as acting in movies like the Fast & Furious franchise, and most recently the animated movie by Disney, Moana.
LeBrecht was given a Moto Z handset and the Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod to take the photos. Speaking to PetaPixel, the photographer said, “I began to familiarized [sic] myself with the menu settings and started testing immediately. I first shot with available light, and then used continuous lighting and found the images to be very good. Knowing I would produce much more power on set, I had confidence going in the image quality would hold up.”
From what we could tell from the cover image and some of the sample photos, you’d be hardpressed to believe that this was shot on a smartphone and not some fancy DSLR used for studio work. Granted LeBrecht had access to a ton of other equipment like lighting, but it’s still an impressive feat all the same.