Understandably, you miss the iPhone 14, but the iPhone Photography Awards 2022 has just landed to prove that you don’t really need that alleged 48MP camera to take amazing photos.
An annual competition that has been held independently of Apple but has been going on for 15 years now, it has just announced its impressive list of winners. And it’s not dominated by the latest iPhones at all, with the winners reaching as far as the 2015 iPhone 6S Plus.
We did some counting and 44% of the winners actually ended up on models from the iPhone 11 or earlier series. That said, by far the best represented phone is the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which ranked behind 23% of the competition’s award-winning photos.
The IPPA 2022 Award Policy states that photos “should not be altered in any computer imaging program like Photoshop”, so how is there such a varied range of styles in different categories, from “abstract” to “travelers”?
This is because the policy allows you to “use any iOS apps” meaning some of the best photo editing apps and the best camera apps are almost certainly behind some of the shots you can see in our gallery below . That said, many of the photos are likely “off-camera” as well, and together the set shows what is possible with iPhone cameras, regardless of the model you have.
Analysis: Find a topic and learn the basics
Besides emphasizing that you don’t need the latest iPhone to take great photos, the lesson of this year’s iPhone Photography Awards is that you only need two things to take a great photo: an interesting topic and an understanding of the basics of photography.
You will notice that effects like portrait mode and filters are clearly absent in the photos below. Instead, the winners show knowledge of the main principles of composition, a sense of good light and an openness to looking for new points of view on familiar topics.
We’d bet most of the winning entries were shot using the iPhone’s main camera rather than a telephoto or super wide angle lens. IPPA rules state that “you can use extra lenses for an iPhone,” so it’s possible that some people have used some of the best iPhone lenses for extra coverage. But in general, a little bit of light editing is enough given the touching topics.
If you’d like to enter next year’s competition, check out our guides on how to take professional portrait photos with your iPhone and how to take epic landscape photos with your iPhone. For now, however, we present a gallery of this year’s iPhone Photography Awards winners (use our navigation bar on the left to navigate to your favorite category).