mobile photo contest: the winner (and loser)

sometimes, guy photographers like a good mental push-up that tickles the frontal cortex in a visual iphone kind of way. for inspiration, chase jarvis did his part. kevin von qualenthen pushed it one step further and came up with the idea of a “guys’ lunch mobile (iphone) photo contest.”  the premise was simple: we judge each other’s work.  and in the event of a tie, the waitstaff at a local lodo’s shall offer their input. nothing like a peer-to-peer review to rev up the creative juices.

we all submitted our favorite, unaltered, cell phone photo by email to be printed and then anonymously voted.  the bounty?  the owner of the photo with the most votes receives their photo printed on a 16 x 20 gallery wrap,  courtesy of moi).  eligible voters were all boys’ lunch invitees that submit a photo, and the waitstaff.

photos were printed sized 5 x 7 at target one-hour photo to level the playing field on print quality. keep in mind, less can still be more.


1. the contest was only open to all boys’ lunch invitees, present or not. boys lunch invitees that submitted a photo but not in attendance, were email the photos to submit their vote electronically. winner was announced after all eligible votes are received.

2. one email submission was allowed per person, no prints accepted.

3. all submissions were received over email.

3. image had to be taken by the photographer with a cell phone camera, and the image must be straight from camera phone…no photoshop, no iphone editing apps.

4. image could NOT be a screen grab taken from a movie file

6. you couldn’t vote if you did not submit a photo.

7. you couldn’t NOT vote for your own photo.

8. if any of the rules are broken, the violator had pick up the beer tab, and disqualified.

henceforth lies my three iphone photo possibilities, with the first being my contest entry (decided after two glasses of wine).

1. snapped at a colorado rockies game.  i liked the juxtaposition between the beer holder (should have had a foaming beer in there for effect), the lights, the rails, and the lines of the grass, and the player.  i liked how the lines of the grass and fence aligned with the corners of the frame… a happy mistake, i admit.


2. the squirrel was shot candid.the vertical plane with the spider-man squirrel contrasted nicely with the “normal” background.kern_photo_iphone_03.jpg

3. digital bloom makes me curious.shot this straight into the sun just to see how the camera would meter and expose.  turns out the lighting effect from the sun creates a “digital bloom” effect in house the light in recorded on the camera sensor.  even high-end digital hasselblads do this, so it was no surprise that my iphone wouldn’t do the same. the image was taken from the patio of our old condo looking toward a church tower.

i’d be curious to hear read votes and reasons on YOUR favorite images & why.

fast forward a few days… the result came in and, alas, i didn’t win.  te winner in between a three-way tie was determined by the waitress serving the cold, frothy beverages.  i take losing graciously, and extend a “kudos” to matt walker for winning image. matt’s 16 x 20 gallery canvas wrap is on the way, as i type.


this creative exercise re-affirmed three things that has been bouncing around in my head lately:

1. the best camera is the one that is with you. a hasselblad or a nikon d3x is useless if  left at home. that’s the beauty of the iphone.
2. the photographer makes the image, not the camera. keep in mind the images were judged by 5×7 at target one-hour photo, there is only a slight, slight difference at this size between a 2 megapixel camera and a 24-megapixel camera. megapixels really don’t matter.

3. creatives do well to motivate other creatives. nothing like a little peer pressure and trash-talking to up the ante in fostering the courage to create. everyone who had the courage to submit an image was a winner in my book. competitors included: andrew schaefer, chris humphreys, bryan rowe, james christianson, eric bakken, gino siller, jason grubb, matt walker, and jared wilson.

if you are interested in joining the group, give me a shout out. also, be sure to check out the group on mile high photographers.

live outside denver? reach out to our photographer friends and encourage each other to create more with less.  it’ll be worth it in more ways than you can count.

4 Responses to “mobile photo contest: the winner (and loser)”

  1. Kevin Von Qualen — September 1, 2009 @ 4:04 pm (#)

    you got my vote & Jason’s vote. wish you saw yours printed as it’s easy to miss on screen…we all commented on how the ‘coors field’ on the cup holder socially & subtly sets the location…not just an anonymous ball field.

  2. Andrew Schaefer — September 9, 2009 @ 11:36 pm (#)

    This was such a great idea and it was a lot of fun…I can’t wait to do it again. I’m going to post some of mine on the blog soon but thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Cameron — September 10, 2009 @ 5:18 pm (#)

    Nice! This looks like a blast RJ. Add me to the list for the next time you do this. I’m always snapping with my iPhone. I’ll be in Colorado in October and February. Let’s try to meet up one or both of those times.


  4. Jess Elysse Photography — November 12, 2011 @ 3:14 pm (#)

    These are fun pictures! Thanks for the post.

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