The Most Beautiful iPhone Photos of the Year

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It’s an exciting time for amateur photography IPPAWARDS

It’s an exciting time for amateur photography. Never before has such a large proportion of the global population carried a camera around in their pockets, able to capture moments that would have previously passed by unrecorded.

The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) are dedicated to showcasing the very best of the world’s iPhone snappers, and the 2018 competition winners have been announced.

Bangladeshi photographer Jashim Salam scooped the top prize for his photograph of a crowd in a Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhiya.

The strikingly-composed photo, in which the members of the tightly-packed crowd appear fascinated by an unseen film projection, is a moving depiction of one of the world’s worst contemporary crises.

Other entries come from as far away as Iraq and Taiwan, and depict everyday life, nature, local culture, architecture and more.

IPPAWARDS’s founder, Kenan Aktulun, said that “iPhone users have become very fluent in visual storytelling. This year’s photos were technically impressive and many of them were very personal.”

Previous competitions were just as diverse. The 2016 winner depicts a Chinese man nuzzling an eagle, while other winning subjects include icy tundras and a traditional Polish accordionist. The competition has been running since 2007, the year in which the first iPhone was released.

Although editing on desktop software such as Photoshop was banned, entries could be tweaked on in-phone apps, and add-on lenses were permitted.

In this slideshow, we’ve included the top three images from each competition category, along with the photographer’s information. We’ve also included their iPhone model, to give you an idea of what photographic feats your phone is capable of—and perhaps even inspire some of next year’s entries.

Grand Prize Winner, Photographer of the Year: Displaced by Jashim Salam, Bangladesh
“Rohingya children watching an awareness film about health and sanitation near Tangkhali refugee camp in Ukhiya.”
Location: Ukhiya, Bangladesh. Shot on iPhone 7
IPPAWARDS/Jashim Salam
1st Place, Photographer of the Year: Baiana in yellow and blue by Alexandre Weber, Switzerland
“The picture was taken in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, spontaneously, after a truck drove by. The woman with traditional clothes of a “baiana”, was looking after the truck, during her work break.”
Location: Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Shot on iPhone 6S
IPPAWARDS/Alexandre Weber
2nd Place, Photographer of the Year: Eye to eye by Huapeng Zhao, China
“I met this boy while walking at the seaside. When I was trying to take a picture of him, he put the fish he caught in front of his eye.“
Location: Yantai Shandong province, China. Shot on iPhone 6
IPPAWARDS/Huapeng Zhao
3rd Place, Photographer of the Year: I want to play by Zarni Myo Win, Myanmar
“A young boy who lost his leg was watching his friends play soccer, and he said he wanted to play soccer if he could.”
Location: Yangon, Myanmar. Shot on iPhone 7 Plus
1st Place – Portrait: Salamah by Scott Woodward, Singapore
“Moken village elder, Salamah, wearing his hand-carved wooden dive goggles on the beach at Au Bon Yai, a tiny island community of about 300 sea gypsies off the coast of Phang Nga, Thailand.”
Location: Ko Surin, Thailand. Shot on iPhone 6S
IPPAWARDS/Scott Woodward
2nd Place – Portrait: The Tibetan Woman by KuangLong Zhang, China
“Every year, there are a lot of Tibetans going to Lhasa in Tibet for pilgrimages from distant places. It takes a very long time to reach Lhasa, several months or even several years. After arriving in Lhasa, some people have no money to return to their hometowns.”
Location: Lhasa City, Tibet. Shot on iPhone 7
IPPAWARDS/KuangLong Zhang
3rd Place – Portrait: Women of Gavoi by Marina Spironetti, Italy
“Part of a long-term project about century-long traditions in the region of Barbagia. Barbagia is the inland-most region of the island of Sardinia, Italy—an area proud of its heritage and still faithful to its costumes and traditions.”
Gavoi, Sardinia, Italy. Shot on iPhone 8
IPPAWARDS/Marina Spironetti
1st Place – Animals: “Django” Old man baby dog by Robin Robertis, United States
“Django is a Shaolin Temple Terrier, born and raised in a Buddhist monastery in the northern province of Hunan China. Django likes long walks on the beach and listening to Miles Davis.”
Location: Carlsbad, California. Shot on iPhone 7 Plus
IPPAWARDS/Robin Robertis
2nd Place – Animals: 0 to not-quite-Seagull-speed in 60 seconds by Katie Wall, United Kingdom
“Enjoying a near empty beach on a particularly windy day, our whippets were enjoying the wide open spaces to zoom around us in huge circles, chasing distant seagulls.”
Location: New Brighton, Wirral, UK. Shot on iPhone 7
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3rd Place – Animals: Smiling Fox by Erica Wu, Taiwan
“This fox was sleeping inside the box and poked his head out to enjoy the sunshine during the snowing season.”
Location: Miyagi Zao Fox Village, Japan. Shot on iPhone X
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1st Place – Architecture: Rampage by Massimo Graziani, Italy
“A stair ramp from Rome in Via Allegri.”
Location: Rome, Italy. Shot on iPhone 7 Plus
IPPAWARDS/Massimo Graziani