Samsung just added another entry to its list of dalliances with fashion and beauty: For the debut of its latest smartphones on Wednesday, the South Korean tech conglomerate touted a new night mode with an “after-dark” fashion photo shoot using the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The company enlisted “Selling Sunset” star Christine Quinn to produce and Marilyn Hue, season one winner of the Samsung-branded “Exposure” Netflix reality series, to shoot it. Production was set in Joshua Tree National Park, and Quinn took to Twitter and Instagram to share the results.
According to Samsung, the images and videos were completely unedited, so people can judge the new “nightography” feature and unretouched visuals for themselves.
“Our vision was to create an experience that could showcase the incredible nighttime photo and video capabilities of the new devices,” a Samsung spokesman told WWD. “Fashion shoots typically require sophisticated lighting, so we decided to create our own shoot after dark to highlight the incredible results the camera can produce in low light settings.”
Quinn and Hue are both members of Team Galaxy, Samsung’s name for its VIP content creators.
The company apparently hopes features like nightography will set the S22 series phones apart — and, in the case of the stylus-packing S22 Ultra, perhaps convince critics that it’s not just a clone of the retired Galaxy Note devices.
The campaign launches just ahead of New York Fashion Week, where low-light photo capture might actually come in handy. Nightography is possible, the spokesman explained, because of new lenses, sensors and an updated “pixel-binning” process for high-resolution photography — which essentially melds data from multiple pixels into a smaller number of higher-quality ones, as needed, allowing more adaptability in different lighting conditions.
Those technical details don’t come cheaply, however, at a starting price of $1,200 for the S22 Ultra. For the money, customers will get a 108-megapixel main camera, the latest processors from Samsung and Qualcomm and as much as 12GB RAM, when the device ships on Feb. 25. Preorders start on Wednesday.
Of course, Galaxy fans can go with less wallet-busting alternatives, the S22 ($800) and S22+ ($999), instead or shop the company’s latest tablets, the Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra, which range from $700 to $1,100.
To inspire customers to do exactly that, Samsung has been increasingly looking to fashion and beauty. Over the years it struck partnerships with everyone from Under Armour for smartwatches to Modiface for augmented reality beauty tech in earlier phones. Most recently it has been working with designer Thom Browne and Maison Kitsuné on special editions of Galaxy products.
The tech giant has a history “of empowering creators in a variety of passions, including fashion,” the representative said.
“Samsung recognizes consumers want products that reflect who they are…so the company is constantly looking at ways to offer consumers options to make their device suited to their needs and style,” he added, pointing to the company’s Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition as another example. The service lets consumers choose their own color combinations of bezel and front and back plates.
The strategy seems to be working. Sort of.
Although Samsung has led the global smartphone market for years, and still does, according to IDC, it may not like where its momentum is heading. Amid a crucial comeback for the smartphone sector, the company shipped the most units worldwide in 2021, with its 20.1 percent share beating runner-up Apple, at 17.4 percent.
But in 2019, Galaxy phones notched 21.6 percent, and even its latest figures were only incrementally better than 2020’s 20 percent. Meanwhile, iPhones have steadily grown from 13.9 percent and 15.9 percent in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Faced with the prospect of stagnating or even eroding interest, Samsung knows its devices have to resonate with consumers. Talking about pixel-binning and nightography can only go so far. But fashion can play an important role, and Samsung already seems to realize that, setting up great potential for a higher priority on brand partnerships, designer-led collaborations and creator efforts.