Shooting Challenge: Use Your Smartphone

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Use Your Smartphone

A new wave of smartphones is here, with a new wave of powerful optics behind them. (41 megapixels, anyone?) And to both celebrate and document the new wave of phone photography, we want to photos that have been shot and edited on nothing but your phone.

The Challenge

Take and edit a photo on your phone. (Make it great.)

The Method

Now look, I know, some of you have expensive dSLRs and thousands of dollars of completely legitimately acquired post production software. And to all of you, I can only urge you to see this challenge as a Boy Scout might. Lost in the wilderness with just a gold iPhone 5s, it begins to rain. Would a scout cry that he forgot his matches. Hell no. He'd use his phone and the forest's vast LTE network to download a tutorial on how to start a fire. Then he'd realize that, better still, he could just call 911, get 'coptered out of there, and be playing Xbox by lunchtime.


So use your phone. Use its apps. And use its camera. Be resourceful to create a great mobile photo by any means necessary.

The Example

Our lead shot is by Zach Heller Photography. It looks like an SLR photo, right? All that petal detail? That bit of wide angle distortion? In reality, it's a Lumia 1020 shot.

The Rules - READ THESE

0. No watermarks. They're so ugly.
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a native resolution sized shot in email. (if you need to resize these on a computer rather than phone, no biggie)
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, November 11th at 10AM Eastern to with "Phone" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnamePhone.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnamePhoneWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!


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I never take my DSLR with me anymore. I took this while hiking a couple weeks ago. Carrying the camera while doing steep trails would be annoying, but the iPhone (5) is perfect.