When a couple in San Francisco got married a few weeks ago, they entrusted the task to photographers Kim Thomas and Cole Rise. The photographers shot the event entirely using the iPhone 4S at the couple's request. Thomas then used Instagram filters and posted the gorgeous images to the service, where Instagram picked up on it and told the rest of the world.
The Next Web's Matthew Panzarino wrote a piece today in response to Instagram's blog post, saying that while an iPhone is an excellent camera for on-the-go opportunities, don't have it be the only camera you go to for special occasions. He rightfully makes the point that there are just some deficiencies the iPhone will never overcome when it comes to color gamut, light sensitivity and depth of focus. Thomas herself admitted that she took a tripod in case San Francisco City Hall, where the wedding took place, was poorly lit. The images she shot were gorgeous.
Like Panzarino, I take a DSLR and my iPhone when I have a chance to plan where I'm going to shoot. I was lucky enough to go watch filming of BBC's Doctor Who in New York City in April. The DSLR captured shots from a distance that I couldn't get with my iPhone. By shooting in RAW mode, I was later able to go into Aperture and get decent photos of the actors recording a scene in Central Park. But one of the takes had Matt Smith, the current Doctor, running through the crowd, and I happened to be just a couple feet away from him. That I managed to capture on my iPhone 4S thanks to HDR mode. It's my favorite picture from the day, but it's still obvious that it's an image shot with an iPhone.
The iPhone 4S is an amazing camera, and it's now my go-to camera if I need a point-and-shoot. At my day job, reporters are equipped with iPhones, and the images they shoot now with those iPhones are far better than the point-and-shoot cameras they used to have. TIME and Sports Illustrated have had photo spreads where all the images were shot via mobile phone (usually the iPhone) and then processed through Instagram. But like Panzarino, if there's a special occasion, I want my regular camera as well.
If you do use your iPhone as your sole camera, don't take the photos just using Instagram filters. If you do, make sure the option to save the original photo is on in Instagram. It should be on by default, but check just in case. Otherwise use the regular camera to get a shot, then run it through Instagram. That way, if you don't like the end result, you haven't lost the entire image.
Shooting with the original camera also lets you do some post-processing on the image before you apply the Instagram filter, which can lead to some better photos overall. Invest in good processing software for either your Mac or your iPhone/iPad. My favorite iOS app for this is Snapseed ($4.99), which is far easier to use than the iOS version of iPhoto. On the Mac, I use either Photoshop or Aperture to handle post-processing.