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New Billboard cover features photo shot with Apple's iPhone 7 Plus

The cover of the latest issue of Billboard Magazine —showing Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello —was shot on an iPhone 7 Plus at the request of the magazine, a report said on Thursday.




"The photo editor was like, can you shoot the next cover with the iPhone 7 Plus?" according to photographer Miller Mobley, who spoke with Mashable. Mobley has previously shot photos of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Ryan Gosling.

"I had never shot [professionally] with an iPhone. It was a cool idea," Mobley continued. "I'm all about embracing new technology and not being afraid of it, so I was totally up for the challenge."

The photographer normally relies on high-level professional gear, such as a Mamiya 645DF+ medium-format camera or a Canon 5D Mark III, supplemented by other tools such as lighting systems. The 645DF+ alone costs about $5,000 with a single 80-millimeter lens, whereas an iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769.

The more expensive cameras were also used on the shoot, and Mobley noted that there were some limitations to using the 7 Plus, such as poor low-light performance that forced him to add extra illumination —with the extra challenge of the phone not syncing with pro lighting systems.

He also had to spend more time on composition, since the phone's 12-megapixel camera offers less resolution for cropping. iOS additionally asks that shooters be within 8 feet of a subject for previews, and even then they may not register.

"These were more thought out images than me taking more casual snapshots," Mobley said. "I wasn't rapid firing shots. It was moments here and there...the speed of shooting —you have to slow down, especially with Portrait mode."

The photographer also suggested that Apple's software needs work, since it can occasionally produce odd results, like cutting out hair and making it look like a mask. Post-production, however, is said to have differed little from usual procedures except for using JPEG files instead of RAW, and some color correction to match Mobley's style.

The iPhone 7 Plus is Apple's first device with a dual-lens camera, which enables its special Portrait mode. Data from both lenses is used to analyze the background and deliberately blur it, separating it from the subject. Unlike a professional lens, though, this effect is simulated, helping to explain some of the artifacts created during the Billboard shoot.

Nevertheless, Apple has been heavily promoting the 7 Plus and its camera with advertising in the U.S. and abroad. This even includes Brazil, where the 7 Plus starts at the equivalent of $1,314.