Now, I'm not sharing these #ShotOniPhone Challenge winners just to give them attention, though certainly they're rad and they deserve it. But, they're already getting compensated and they're already going to appear on billboards and in stores. And, that's going to give them a ton of attention.
No, I'm sharing these #ShotOniPhone Challenge winners, and some quick thoughts on them, for inspiration. Not just for you but for me. Seeing great work is a hell of a motivator to do great work. To do better work. And that's what I want to do. Every damn day.
Rather watch than read? Hit play on the video above!
Alex Jiang from the US, Shot on iPhone XS Max
What I love about this is the layers. You're looking through the basketball court, through the perfectly, symmetrically framed white hoop, at the rainbow colors of the apartments beyond, stacked like multi-hued lego bricks, but real and full of all these different people living their different lives. It looks simple and tranquil at first glance but that just hides all the bustle that really going on around and inside.
Blake Marvin, from the US, Shot iPhone XS Max
This one is black and white, fur and bark, and all shades of black in between. And it's captured at the perfect moment too, like you and the raccoon have just come face to face, but neither of you have decided what to do about it yet. Back away, fight? That's for the next moment to decide. And the high dynamic range, swirls it all together like yin & yang, and really ratchets up the drama and tension, especially that look in Rocket's eyes. Yeah, it's on.
Darren Soh from Singapore, Shot on iPhone XS Max
This is so great. You think you take it all in on the first glance but then you look again. And again, trying to reconcile just what exactly it is you're seeing… and how. You have the warm yellows and oranges of the building, along with the purples and browns, just cut off at the knees by the cooler blues and grays. But it's the different realities that make it. The precise, geometric order of the modern, all squared off, lined up, reflected in the bubbly chaos of the puddle.
Nikita Yarosh of Belarus, Shot on iPhone 7
This could have been a very boring, very straight forward, very level and symmetrical shot, but by tilting down and angling in, it cuts out the world, eliminates all the context and color, and forces you to focus on the geometry rather than the scene. But that's exactly what makes it much more interesting and dynamic.
Dina Alfasi from Israel, Shot on iPhone X
This is an amazing shot. You've have the bleak, discarded loneliness of the road, the perfectly framed puddle blue heart in its center, and the perfectly framed silhouette of a person just walking across it in the center of that, only a glimpse of the world beyond behind them. It starts off feeling cut off an lonely, but then makes you feel like, if you hurry up and follow, there's hope waiting. Oh, wow, I just got way too corny there.
Elizabeth Scarrott from the US, Shot on iPhone 8 Plus
This one is picturesque in a way that almost looks like classic period painting, a piece of frontier Americana preserved like, I don't know, as much in spirit as in image and time. Neither the grass nor mountain are bokeh'd out, so obviously they're not hated like Jacob. But the colors from the blue sky and snow capped mountains to the sunnier, warmer field are still captured in a way that amplifies rather than distracts from the subject. Lesson learned: Walk until they're framed by the pine trees.
Andrew Griswold from the US, Shot On iPhone XS
I don't know. This one is all blade runner to me. Bright neon, cold backgrounds, all seen through the infinite lenses of rain. No idea how the artist captured it so perfectly, every pattern reflected in every drop, but it makes you experience the image as a whole first, and then almost tickles your brain stem as you realize all the depth. Great color, great contrast, great layers, great framing.
Bernard Antolin from the US, shot on iPhone XS Max
By all rights, this should be a simple landscape… er… portrait. But, both the choice to use both portrait and black and white, make it less of a static shot and more of a dramatic experience. You have the brooding, almost oppressive clouds on top and dark hills on the bottom, but with the hope of brighter, more sliver clouds on the horizon… rolling up, almost cut across like a window shade.
LieAdi Darmawan (US), iPhone XS
What really sells this for me is the scale. Yeah, the sky is on fire. The mountains look like something out of Mordor. But, by going portrait rather than landscape, it encourage you to glance down see all the tiny little elements in the foreground, all captured so perfectly and distinctly, that you start to realize how truly massive everything else is. And then you look back up, and… whoa.
Robert Glaser of Germany, shot on iPhone 7
There's so much acceleration in this shot, almost like you're superman or woman, flying across the fields, then turning and just lookin back, the wind racing around you, the clouds and plains stretched out. And it's the color and the framing, tree cut off, later after layer of clouds, that make it so visceral.
So those are the winners. But, and hold onto your cheesiness alarms, really, we all are.
We live in a time where so many of us can capture images like this, not with some giant rig, but with the phone in our pocket. We can go from photon to packet — seeing a moment that inspires us, to capturing it, literally in as much time as it takes to reach, lift, frame, and tap.
And sure, you can do so much more with settings and apps, but increasingly, right out of the box, these smart cameras can capture tack sharp, crisply detailed, perfectly textured, smoothly graded, widely exposed, completely color managed, and make them immediately available to share with anyone or everyone, from anywhere to anywhere.
What's interesting this year is that there aren't any portraits included, no pets, not many people in place, not many still lifes, and not a single brunch or burger. Thank Odin. Not a lot of traditional heart stoppers or breath takers at all. But is that a sign of the times or an opportunity of next year?
So, that means it's your turn next. Get out and shoot!
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
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