What happens when you put a pro-grade smartphone camera into the hands of a world-renowned photographer? The short answer: an explosion of colour, styles, and creativity.
As one of the world’s most sought-after portrait photographers, who counts a long list of celebrities as his subjects, Rankin is no stranger to making iconic images. Together with rapper Stefflon Don, the fashion photographer put the Galaxy S21 Ultra camera to the test ahead of its launch. Empowered by the creative tools on the device, the duo playfully reimagined the vibrant spirit of the ’80s in an exclusive series of photographs, videos, and content for social postings
Q: Could you tell us about the concept behind the photoshoot?
Stefflon Don is an amazing rapper and singer who is stylish and also makes a lot of fascinating videos. The concept was to take her back to the ’80s and create content that’s inspired by the culture of that time. We wanted to show people on social media how great the Galaxy S21 Ultra works through the iconic styles and aesthetics of that era.
It was brilliant working with Stefflon. She is such a powerful person to be around and also really collaborative. And to be able to create some special video was great.
Q: What was it like to do a photoshoot with just the Galaxy S21 Ultra?
At its heart, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is built to help you with making content. In pop promo or commercial shoots, the cameras are normally massive. But the Galaxy S21 Ultra is physically really simple to use and it allows you to get in very close and intimate with your subjects. It can also get you into different angles easily.
In terms of image quality, it exceeded my expectations. Not only is it the most professional phone camera I have used, but it also inspired me to think about what I can do with it next. Can I put it on a drone? Can I make a music video with it? It provides so much potential.
Q: Was it easy getting to grips with all the different features?
The interface of the device is really intuitive. It’s designed to teach you how to use not just different features but also how to be a better photographer and filmmaker. Director’s View, in particular, is very refreshing. When you start recording a clip, it shows you the view from all three lenses. This means you can select the best shot with just a tap. It’s literally like having a film school at your fingertips.
The Galaxy S21 series caters to all levels. For me as a professional photographer and filmmaker, it’s got everything I need to make films and images with. But even for someone who is not especially confident with photography, it will make your footage and photos look great. The devices really do democratize photography and filmmaking.
Q: Were there any other features on the Galaxy S21 Ultra that surprised you?
The image quality from the 8K videos is stunning. But what was even more amazing was 8K Snap. It allows you to take a high-quality image straight from 8K videos. During the photoshoot, we actually did a side-by-side test with a photo taken on a camera. We couldn’t really tell the difference between the snap from the 8K video and the photo from the camera.
I was also impressed by the versatility of the camera. With Super Steady, I could move around and still get crisp and clear footage. The device’s flexibility will definitely help me come up with better creative solutions and also inspire me to try out new ideas.
Q: Finally, any advice for people who are looking to get into photography?
Just start shooting with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. It has all the tools you need to take great photographs with. All the features are there to teach you different techniques so simply shooting with it will help you learn about photography.