White House photographer used an iPhone to snap Presidential Christmas decorations

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Christmas decorations at the White House, as captured using an iPhone 6 Plus. Photo: Brooks
Christmas decorations at the White House, as captured using an iPhone 6 Plus. Photo: Brooks Kraft/TIME

President Obama might not be allowed an iPhone for security reasons, but an iPhone 6 Plus did make into the White House recently — to photograph the Presidential Christmas decorations.

“If you are looking to capture something candid, people are so used to seeing mobile devices that their reaction time is slower,” said photographer Brooks Kraft in an interview with TIME magazine. “You have a better chance of getting the shot, and that was the case at the White House.”

Because the pre-Christmas event is less formal than many occasions at the White House (the President isn’t there for one thing), Kraft said he seized the opportunity to “try out new gear that I might use later in more news-oriented environments.”

And what better gear to try out than an iPhone 6 Plus?

According to Kraft, he selected the larger “phablet” iPhone primarily due to its image stabilization technology, which helps filming in low-light situations.

“Some of the rooms are quite dark, and I used the 6 Plus for that. And the larger screen also helps. There were situations when I was holding the camera above my head to try to make vertical lines more parallel on the edges of the frame, and in that case having the larger screen helped me [compose the shot].”

Kraft also made the decision to shoot using the iPhone camera’s square format:

“I thought that format would work well with the formality of the architecture in the White House, and it was a different way to look at this event — compositionally.”

Overall, the award-winning photographer, who regularly shoots for TIME, says that, “the new iPhones do a really good job of balancing colors right out of the camera,” and that, “The iPhone has a lot of depth-of-field, which allows me to shoot the [picture] and move around quickly, which worked in this situation because we were sort of ushered through the rooms and didn’t have a lot of time.”

A gallery of Kraft’s photos can be seen here.

This isn’t the first time an iPhone camera has been used for professional filming, of course. In late 2013, Burberry used an iPhone 5s to shoot one of its fashion shows, while the Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man was partially shot using that same model iPhone. Earlier this year, automaker Bentley also made the decision to shoot its “Intelligent Details” ad using an iPhone, while the commercial was edited with an iPad.