Other phone cameras may have bigger sensors or more megapixels, but the iPhone's combination of reliable image processing, speedy performance, and vast selection of editing apps have made it the choice of countless photographers — and it's a big reason why This Is My Next considers the iPhone 5S the best smartphone to buy. There's no better illustration of this than the annual iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS), and the winners for 2014 have just been announced.
The photo you see above is from Julio Lucas, who was named IPPAWARDS Photographer of the Year. It was taken at Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. "I generally try to stay away from using filters in my iPhone pictures," says Lucas, noting that the iPhone's image processing often results in "bold, beautiful" colors. "I want my photos to take on a more traditional form and grant the capture moment to tell the story rather then a manipulation of the moment by the use of too many filters."
Each IPPAWARDS entry can only have been shot and edited on an iOS device — no Photoshop post-processing allowed. We've selected our favourite shots from each of the award categories, but make sure to see the full lineup at the IPPAWARDS site.
- Russian photographer Elena Grimailo won the Landscape category. "Despite the fact that I've been taking photos all my life, I'd never participated in any competitions," she says. "I haven't posted my pics much either, because I didn't find them interesting enough. I guess the iPhone helped to change my mind."
- Chicago-based Cocu Liu was very well-represented in the results; he took first place in the Seasons category, second place for Trees, and third place for Architecture. But this second-placed shot in the Others category is our favorite of his submissions. "Snapping photos with the iPhone is easy and quick — I don’t need to spend much time struggling with focal length, white balance, and exposure time," says Liu. "By getting rid of those basic techniques from digital cameras, I’m more focused on the moment and story in front of me."
- Yilang Peng of Madison, WI won the Architecture category. "iPhone photography has changed the way of producing photographs," he says. "It is about improvisation and experimentation. Embrace the life and good photos will come out naturally."
- San Francisco musician Aaron Pike won first place in the Trees category. He says he is "always striving to create shots that inspire others to get up, get going, and enjoy the natural beauty around them."
- Athena Tan's portrait was the second-placed People photo.
- Florida's Brandon Kidwell won the Lifestyle category. "My iPhone gives me the tools to do my best to capture the world around me as I see it," he says. "Whether it's a moment I want to freeze, a story I want to tell or a scene that I want to create from my imagination or saw in a dream, my iPhone is always at hand."
- Gerard Collett, an opera singer and street photographer in London, won first place in the News/Events category with this shot. "The ability to take street photographs with the iPhone is an immense addition to the street photographer's tool kit and provides unique expressive opportunities," he says. "If used judiciously, genuinely beautiful and meaningful moments can be captured on the streets that would otherwise be lost in front of the lens of an imposing DSLR camera or similar. An iPhone's focal length forces the photographer to get in close and minutely observe and be a part of the scene that he or she is hoping to depict and share."
- Alexa Seidl, a photographer from Washington, DC, won the Food category. "My eyes (and lens) are most often drawn to symmetry, colorful architecture, nature, and my favorite people," she says.
- Danielle Millar won second place in the Sunset category with this shot.
- This image from Roberto Pastrovicchio was deemed the second-best Panorama.
- Naomi Wu's photo was placed second in the Animals category.
- This photo by Lee Atwell took second place in the Flowers category.
- Sergey Korshunov's third-placed Travel entry.
- This photo by Alexis Chartrand took third place in the Seasons category.
- Melisa Barili's third-placed Children shot.
- Cara Barer's third-placed Still Life photo.
- Erika Brothers won second place in the Nature category.
All photos courtesy of IPPAWARDS.