One result of the recent advancements in technology is a huge amount of people around the world are now able to own modern mobile phones that have ever-increasing capabilities and uses. One particular brand – arguably the most well-known of them all – is the Apple iPhone. As of November 2018, a staggering 2.2 billion iPhones had been sold worldwide.
Every year, Apple holds the “Shot on iPhone Challenge,” where photographers around the world are invited to submit their best snaps of remarkable moments or scenery captured by what’s been dubbed as “the world’s most popular camera” – the iPhone camera. Innovations such as smart HDR and depth control have made it possible to create genuinely professional-looking images using just your phone – and this article highlights the best as determined by a panel of judges.
The 10 selected winners are featured on billboards in selected cities, in Apple retail stores, and online. This year, the winning shots came from a range of iPhone models, from the 7 to the XS Max – showcasing the quality of the cameras across the line. The winning photographers came from countries including Singapore, Germany, Belarus, Israel, and the US, which highlights the global community of iPhone photographers that participated.
An Unknown Building in an Unknown City
This photograph, taken by Alex Jiang from the US, is of an average apartment building in an unknown city. The iPhone XS Max that has been used to snap the photo has captured not only the vivid colors in the scene but also the people.
Zooming in, you can see the details of each person and family, which adds depth to the photograph – there’s a lot more going on than you initially don’t notice. One judge of the competition, Annet de Graaf, states that it symbolizes “narrative in architecture.”
Caught in the Act
This incredible photograph required a lot of patience – and great timing – from Blake Marvin, who is from the US. He used an iPhone XS Max, and with this phone’s zero shutter lag and smart HDR, both the raccoon’s eyes and the shadows inside the log have been captured.
Previously, this would have been almost impossible using only natural light. Judge Phil Schiller says: “A nice use of black and white, the focus on the raccoon, and the inside of the hollow log provides an organic movement frozen in time.”
When Two Worlds Collide
Darren Soh from Singapore took this extraordinary photograph using an iPhone XS Max. This beautiful reflection in water looks more like a painting – something judge Phil Schiller states make it seem as though “two worlds have collided.”
It’s an incredibly surreal photograph, with the location completely unknown. The bird flying in the corner provides a single sign of life in an otherwise lifeless scene of distortion and reflection at a strange angle.
The Crack that Keeps You Thinking
This photograph was taken by Nikita Yarosh in Belarus using an iPhone 7. Everything about this photograph is simple – the subject, the light, the composition, and the details. However, it is the inclusion of the one small line – which looks like a crack – that provides the thinking point.
Judge Luísa Dörr states that this line “looks wrong and makes me think what happened, where is this place, who was there.” She proceeded to say that, for her, a good image makes you think about it — and keep thinking.
The Heart-Framed Subject
This beautifully simple photograph was taken by Dina Alfasi in Israel, using an iPhone X. The heart-shaped puddle of water perfectly frames the subject as they walk past, providing a contrast between the stillness of the puddle on the ground and the fast-paced world we live in.
Although it’s not completely clear how this photograph was even taken, judge Brooks Kraft states: “The depth of field that iPhone has in a regular mode made this image possible – a DSLR would have had a difficult time keeping everything in focus.”
The Wonderment of Childhood
Elizabeth Scarrott from the US, who used an iPhone 8 Plus, has managed to combine a beautiful scenic background and a stunning portrait of a child without making the photograph too busy or distracting.
Judge Brooks Kraft sums it up by stating that this is “a portrait that captures the wonderment of childhood in a beautiful setting. Great composition that shows both the personality of the child and the experience in the surroundings.”
The Captivating Water Droplet Pattern
This is clearly a very well thought out photograph, which was taken by Andrew Griswold in the US using an iPhone XS. It’s incredibly creative and uses different depths to highlight both the pattern in the background and the water droplets.
Additionally, the repeated smaller versions of the background pattern in the water droplets create a lot of visual interest, according to judge Jon McCormack, although the pattern itself remains unidentifiable.
The Simplicity of Black and White
Although the location of this photograph is unknown, the photographer is Bernard Antolin from the US, who used an iPhone XS Max. Although it’s a relatively simple scene, the use of black and white gives a distinctly eerie, almost lonely feeling.
Also, the lack of specific color helps to bring out the dramatic contrast in the clouds and the surrounding landscape, according to judge Kaiann Drance. A truly mesmerizing scene.
A Stunning Array of Textures
Lie Adi Darmawan from the US used an iPhone XS to capture this stunning landscape photograph. There are not many colors present, but instead, different variations of yellows and orange found in the rocks that have been reflected in the clouds.
There is also a fantastic contrast of textures in this photograph – the wispy clouds stand out against the almost wrinkled texture of the mountain, which in turn differ from the rough, dusty ground.
The Beauty of the Country
Robert Glaser from Germany has captured this beautiful photograph of country scenery using an iPhone 7. There’s detail throughout the whole photograph, including the trees and plants, the meadow itself, and the sky, which is full of clouds.
The textures of the different aspects of the photograph, as well as the colors, also combine to create a particularly pleasant feeling overall. Judge Kaiann Drance adds that the photograph captures a “gorgeous dynamic range.”