Peter Belanger: The Man Behind Many of Apple’s Iconic Product Images

You know those iconic minimalist product photos for Apple gadgets? Have you ever wondered about how they’re shot and who shoots them?

One of the people behind the photos is San Francisco-based photographer Peter Belanger. The video above is a behind-the-scenes look into how Belanger photographed the iPhone 3GS for a 2009 issue of Macworld magazine.

The video steps through three major stages of the production: the photography, the Photoshopping, and the design. Since it’s a time-lapse video, every 30 seconds shows about half a day. What you don’t see are all the meetings and planning sessions that the team held.

Belanger shot the images using a 4×5 Sinar X large format camera with a 65mm lens and a Phase One P65+ digital back.

Here’s the resulting Macworld cover featuring Belanger’s photograph:


Belanger started out in his career as a freelance photographer for advertising agencies that worked with Apple. As Apple began hiring Belanger’s connection within those agencies, he began working directly with Apple for their promotional shots.

Here are some of the other photographs Belanger has created for Apple (you might recognize some of them):







If you want to learn more about Belanger’s life and work, The Verge has published a terrific interview with the photographer in which he sheds some light on how he shoots.

You can also find a selection of his work in the portfolio section of his website, and follow along with it on his blog.

Image credits: Video and photographs by Peter Belanger

  • Henri

    I thought these were 3D images.

  • Bas

    Yes, they’re properly executed product photos and yes, they do have a certain aesthetic about them. However I fail to see what’s so iconic about them. They’re (good) product photos, just like many others.

  • 4324324234

    why not just render them.
    they have the 3D models anyway.. and it loosk like a rendering anyway…

  • Tim Burton

    exactly, why photo then retouch it to death until it looks like a render

  • pixelbombmedia

    Because there is nothing like the real thing.

  • 4324324


  • TSY87

    seriously… Had I not seen a behind the scenes product shoot for an iphone some time back, i would have just assumed they were all renders.

  • Renato Murakami

    Not to be an Apple hater or anything, but it’s truly weird.
    I mean, when the screen is fake, and they even retouch the metalic parts…
    For comparison’s sake, if I wanted a perfect almost unnatural photo of something like crystal glasses, a render would be perfect for it.
    Perhaps workflow wise it’s still better to take pics? But I don’t really think so.
    Out of curiosity: I think a graphic artist specialized in photo realistic renders plus equipment would be more expensive. But then again, considering for the shots you need medium format cameras, studio space, and a certain ammount of time to prepare, take the pic, give it some treatment…
    Maybe considering Macworld artist would have to build the whole thing from scratch himself, it’s not cost effective.
    I was thinking that perhaps Macworld covers could take portraits and other studio settings and this was an exception, but then a quick google image search shows me it’s mostly products and art or iconics photos (old Steve Jobs photos) that were not taken by Macworld photographer himself.
    There must be a reason behind it.

  • Mukul Burman

    hmmmmm good to know :-)

  • Nick

    all that gear setup,to take a picture and use photoshop to create what the i,ages are. this is far from photography but it is good art.

  • Hil

    No different than what they do with human models, or anything else for that matter.

  • clipper

    HOW much??

  • chunnicutt

    Surprised he didn’t just use an iPhone to take the picture. I guess there is still a place for real cameras…