Just a few days ago, the 2014 iPhone Photography Award winners were announced. Looking over the entries, it’s clear to see that a skilled photographer can make any rig or gear work for them (within reason). Entrants are not allowed to manipulate their photos on a computer at all but can only apply effects or filters through iPhone/iPad apps such as Instagram.
Still, even with that limitation, the winning entries are stunning. I think my favorite this year is the one of the sky at twilight reflected in water by Littel Su of Taiwan. The colors are very rich and smooth and it takes a lot of skill to be able to get a properly balanced image in a darkened environment on a smartphone. The smiling fox is also adorable and would have required a photographer who is skilled at dealing with wildlife and quick on the draw — something that is difficult with smartphones since the least little wiggle will cause blurring.
While the IPPAs showcase the skill and talent needed to be a truly great iPhone photographer, the fact that mobile photography continues to grow and evolve means that camera manufacturers will need to make a lot of improvements in their point-and-shoot cameras if they want to continue to stay relevant and ahead of the trend of using cameras built into other gadgets as the first camera of choice for instant photography.
— da Bird