Critique the Community

Cell Phone Images

Submit your best image taken with a cell phone for a chance to win a free Fstoppers tutorial.
  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 19 Sep 19 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

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The best camera is the one you have with you, or so the saying goes. However, just because it's easy now to grab a quick picture with your cell phone doesn't mean the shot is portfolio worthy. See how your best cell phone images match up to the rest of the community by submitting them below. 

Over the next week, we invite you to submit two of your best images taken with a cell phone for the community to review. The entrant who submits the highest rated photo will receive a free Fstoppers original tutorial as will one other randomly selected entrant. You'll have until September 18 at 11:45PM to upload your images. 

Once you've uploaded your best shots, scroll through the rest of the submissions and assign them a number based on the Fstoppers rating scale below. If you see an image that could use a little work, go ahead and leave an encouraging comment detailing how you think it could be improved. 

  • Submission Deadline: Thu, 19 Sep 19 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 506 people have cast a total of 24,729 votes on 801 submissions from 535 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results


I find it surprising that you don't wait for the new iphones with this specific contest ?! or is that another double whammy like with the money generating photos ?

A new phone is not going to give anyone an interesting subject and good composition.

the new iphones redefine what is possible with a smartphone. from having 3 cameras to ever improving ways to use artificial intelligence and machine learning for photography.
It is only a question of time until someone develops an app that creates a 3d model of a picture and allows to position artificial lights in the scene just like in a studio. the new iphones are the first smartphones that have the technical means to do that, which is in my opinion a game changer.
this and the fact that Lee and Patrick released a video about the new Iphones a couple of days ago is why I posted this comment.
other than that I agree with you :)

The new iPhone isn't state of the art and they aren't doing anything others haven't already done long ago.


I am aware that everybody and his cat are very critical of the new iphones, but I believe that that's only part of the truth. For me the A13 processor is mainly what is state of the art and that it will allow for stunning AI and ML goodies.
If its not now, I'll have spent 1400€ for my first iphone which I am sure I'll enjoy much more than the S7 Edge I have been using until now. And AI and ML are going to be a game changer for photography whether we like it or not. Btw, this is not limited to photography. A lot of things that we take for granted will change and some of them we are not going to like. There was an interesting article just one or two weeks ago here on Fstoppers about AI and ML ...

My interpretation, opinion and comprehension of your first comment was that you're mad that a photography contest didn't wait for you to have the newest iPhone. Not just any new phone coming out, specifically the new iPhone. In the hopes of what, to give you an edge of other photographers?

Now I'm pretty sure fstoppers didn't have a board meeting specifically about not waiting for the new iPhone just to make people mad. Or not waiting for any new phone technology to come out for that matter. I'm sure it was just this

"-Hey what should we do for the next contest?
- Idk, cell phone?
- Yeah sure."

If you really want to understand why your opinion is not popular, it's because it comes across as pompous, naive and really just a lack of self awareness.

At the end of the day it doesn't affect anyone here. Some of us submitted images we took with what we have worked with so far. Some are really fantastic and much better that what I have. Was this because they had a better phone? No, because honestly it doesn't matter. Photography has always been about the subject, story and how you get the viewer to understand that with a single still.

With all that said, this contest is on a pretty level playing field and it didn't need to be contested.

Well, I am glad that you have been able to get this out of your system.
However, your interpretation doesn't make sense to me.

Without any doubt, the release of the iphone 11 pro is THE big event in terms of smartphone photography until the end of the year probably. Fstoppers certainly deem it important enough to have published two videos about the iphone since the apple keynote a week ago.

That is the only reason why I am astonished about the timing of this contest. Certainly it would have been interesting to see what people can come up with with the iphone's extended capabilities.

Also I have sympathy for people feeling threatened by emerging new technologies (which I suspect is the true reason behind the somewhat unfavorable reception of my contributions to this forum), but since there is nothing we can do to stop them, my position is rather to embrace the new technologies.

This isn't the iPhone 11 contest.

Thanks for providing my first really negative experience with photography since I started about a year ago. It was overdue I guess.

Your opening thesis was that the contest timing is too soon because the iPhone 11 isn't out yet. Like Fstoppers had made a gotcha moment just for you.

Not everyone here will get an iPhone 11. They just had a limiting contest and they immediately backed it up with contest criteria that almost 100% of people here can post to. Pretty solid contest running, honestly.

They'll do another camera phone Contest and you can submit your iPhone 11 photo to that one.

If you think this was a negative encounter you are in for a rude awakening in the photography world. Your post came off incredibly obtuse and I still can't sympathize with your position.

My opening thesis was that in the given context, I am surprised about the timing of this contest with regards to the new iphones coming out the day after the deadline. This was due in part to my excitement over the new iphone and my decision to buy one. That's how easily excitable I am, sorry for that.

And it was in part due to the fact that Fstoppers certainly seem to think that the new iphone is an event, having released two videos about it in 5 days. I won't apologize for that.

Therefore I reject the idea that my intent was to elevate myself over others through purchasing power and that the timing of the contest in any way aggravated me. It was just surprise, not more not less.

@rude awakening: People in sports are no different than people in photography. There are the purists who condemn all those who try to improve their performance with better gear and there are the ones who look down on those who don't have the latest gear. Same in music production.

Edit: And of course there are what I prefer to think of as the vast majority of those who see the value of better gear but are still grounded enough to understand that better gear not always makes sense and that better gear doesn't automatically make a better person.

And I still don't feel the need to apologize for leaving a false impression because nothing what I said substantiates the negative perception if you take what I said at face value.

You called this contest a double whammy after the $2000+ revenue photo contest...

If you are walking that back, fine.

maybe it is just a language problem, but in my understanding, a double whammy can also be something that occurs twice (e.g. two goals by the same player within 5 minutes in an ice hockey match).

I even googled it and what I found seemed to confirm this understanding of the phrase. English is not my native language.

Anyway, the money for photos was such a contest. first money in general and then >2000$ for photos. and I speculated that there might be a general smartphone contest and one with the new iphones afterwards, following the same pattern.

I really didn't think this through a lot, it is just something that came to my mind.

I don't have anything against this contest in its current form, it even is the first contest where I can rightfully participate since I have subscribed to Fstoppers, and I fully support the idea to have contests with less restrictive access criteria.

Whammy is a negative word. A double whammy is bad for the team that received it. I often say, "No whammies!" when gambling.

Glad to hear it was just a language mix up.

Thanks for helping sort this mess out.

And I'd like to apologize for causing disharmony in the forum. Sorry for that.

It’s probably a language barrier thing. A “whammy” is a sudden unexpected bad or unfortunate thing that happened. It carries a negative connotation that you may not be aware of. So a “double whammy” would be a bad thing that happened twice in a row.

And if you wait for the next iphone, then it will be the next google phone, then the next samsung phone, then the next......

We do these contests all the time. Just because the iPhone 11 is coming out tomorrow doesn't mean you will suddenly have amazing photos to submit in the next week or so. We will do another cell phone critique again.

great! looking forward to that.

ps: I can garantee that my iphone pictures will be better than my s9 pictures because the only things I shot recently were whiteboards full of bad handwriting and parking spot numbers.

EDIT: I came to my senses. It's a fun idea but it doesn't work in this community. Instead of supporting each other we tear each other down.

This f stoppers rating is a joke. Either Contest or Not !!

This should be an interesting one haha

what's the rule ?
straight out of the smartphone ?
Or taken with a smartphone and then sent to Photoshop or any editor, post-processed w/all the tips and tricks, masking, filters, etc... ?
or both are ok ?

After this "shot with a cell phone" theme, the next contest should be "shot with a pre-WW2 camera." That would be very cool :)

Sumbit your best pin hole camera photo.

That would be cool too! Or let's go even further: Cameraless pictures! :)

First time here. Question. How many images do we have to rate? I found an explanation of the ratings but not of how to apply them. Thanks.

You can rate as many or as few as you'd like. No limits.

Just be sure and judge harshly, Then compare your vote to your peers and when you see you were too generous, edit your vote down one star from your initial vote. That way you'll fit right in.

I just scroll down to find ones I like and then award them 3, 4 or 5 stars (since I already chose and like them) I like to think I am being positive in a rather negative online group. Stay positive...

The only flaw with this contest is a pro/semi-pro shooter will NEVER use a cell phone to take a shot that will be considered higher than 1 or 2 stars by this rating system. A “planned well thought out” shot will always be taken with a proper dedicated camera by non-ameteurs.

Not wholly true. The photo I submitted was indeed thought out. I didn't have a camera to hand but I had someone who wanted my photographic style for their shoot and they loved the idea of shooting on a phone. I got the shots and my client was thrilled. The tools don't make the photographer.

the tools don't make ... come on. that's such a banal truism.
how would your photos have turned out in that particular case if you had shot them with a regular camera ?

I photograph with my aesthetic in mind, the camera I use is secondary. If I'd shot with a regular camera, I'd have higher resolution, sharper images that would be much the same in all other aspects.

you are saying this as if I'd claimed the opposite, which I didn't. I am just a little guy being excited about a new toy.

Sure, the tools do not make the photographer, but if given the choice, I think almost everyone will opt for the "better" tool. Given that, finding a "great" phone shot is difficult for a semi/pro, aside from your unique situation.

I agree with that. It is what is in the mind and how you make it happen with what you have. That is what I was taught using film in 2006 in my first photography class.

that is true 99% of the time, the rating system on cell phone images should be different but then again, whatever, it's just a fun little thing

Jesus why is everyone being so harsh on this.
It's a fun simple contest that gives the opportunity for amateurs to share the pictures they are proud of, and to see how they compare to a pro with the same tool.
Phone cameras are really good these days and everybody has one, let's enjoy that.
The rating system is fundamentally broken simply because people aren't fair voters, wich makes it so that some pretty amazing photos have surprisingly low ratings, but hey its fun nonetheless.


Personally not even an iphone user. I had one once and it gave me such horrific issues in just the first two weeks that I will never purchase one again. Even despite the camera quality, I'll live without one. I'm also the person who doesn't go out and get the newest thing.
But I'm grateful for this contest. I had fun and the picture I submitted was one I took on a walk one morning when I didn't have my regular camera on hand. I was happy to capture it still and I think a lot of people experience the same thing. This contest is for those moments.

Lee and Patrick, how do you deal with all this nitpicking and whining? People turn these simple contests into the umpteenth level of literal thinking. People, read the rules and decide if you have an image worth sharing. If not, there must be forums on politics or religion where you can post your opinions.

Double post

Same emotions. Every time, every bloody contest looks the same. A bunch of names poppin up in irrelevant discussions slightly derailing the whole point.

lol based on the ratings on some of the images, im convinced that there's a bunch of haters here that are mad cause they can't get their regular shots to look as good as some of these mobile shots OR y'all have ZERO taste. cause some of the shots here that are solid are getting "needs work" or "snap shot". a damn shame haha

Contest Submissions

Click on the thumbnails below to comment and vote on each image.

Click here to learn about the Fstoppers rating system and what each star value means.