Mobile Photography Contests: How to Enter and Win

Mobile photography contests are competitions designed specifically for photos taken with smartphones or tablets. These contests have specific themes, rules, and judging criteria. Some are open to everyone, while others may target specific demographics or skill levels. This article explains how to participate and win a mobile photography contest, as well as tips, research, data, examples.

Mobile Photography Contests

Mobile Photography Contests

Mobile photography contests have emerged as a platform for showcasing talent, providing opportunities, awarding prizes, and even career advancement. Prizes can range from cash prizes and photography equipment to publishing opportunities and exhibition showcases.

Research and Data:

The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPA) is one of the most prestigious mobile photography contests. With categories ranging from abstract to travel, it offers a wide variety of themes. Past winners have gained significant exposure and their work has been featured in major publications and exhibitions.

How to Choose the Right Contest?

Choosing the right contest is important. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Reputation: Research the contest’s history, judges, and past winners. Reputable contests often have experienced judges and a track record of high-quality entries.
  2. Theme: Choose contests with themes that align with your strengths and interests. If you specialize in landscape photography, look for nature or travel themed contests.
  3. Rules and Criteria: Make sure your photos meet the technical and thematic requirements. Understand the contest’s rules, submission guidelines, and judging criteria.


According to a survey conducted by the Mobile Photography Awards (MPA), the largest competition for mobile photography, the number of participants has increased by 50% in the last five years. The MPA receives thousands of entries from more than 70 countries annually.

How to Prepare Your Entry

1. Quality: Make sure your photos are of the highest quality. Use your phone’s camera to its full potential by using features like HDR, portrait mode, and manual controls.

How to Prepare Your Entry for contest

2. Storytelling: A compelling story behind a photo can make a big impact. Write a short description that adds context and emotion to your image.

3. Editing: Post-processing enhances your photos. Over-editing can diminish the natural beauty of an image. Apps like Snapseed, VSCO, and Adobe Lightroom Mobile are popular for on-the-go editing.

Case Study:

At the 2021 IPPA, a photo titled “The Blue Window” by Sharan Shetty won first place in the People category. This photo, taken with an iPhone, depicts a poignant moment between two individuals through a blue window. The simplicity, emotional depth, and effective use of natural light stunned the judges, demonstrating the power of storytelling in mobile photography.

Tips for capturing winning shots

Tips for capturing winning shots
  • Composition: Use composition techniques like thirds, leading lines, and symmetry to create visually appealing photos.
  • Practice: Your skills improve with constant practice. Challenge yourself with daily or weekly photo projects to hone your abilities.
  • Perspective: Experiment with different angles to add depth and interest to your photos.

Research and data:

A study published in the Journal of Visual Communication and Image Representation found that photos with strong composition and lighting were rated higher by judges in photography competitions. The study analyzed over 1,000 entries and identified the key elements that contributed to winning photos, emphasizing the importance of technical skill and artistic vision.

Mobile Photography Contests: Case Studies

Case Study 1: Dan Liu – 2020 MPA Grand Prize Winner

Dan Liu’s photo, “Night City,” won the Grand Prize at the 2020 MPA. He researched locations, studied the city’s light patterns, and waited for the perfect moment to capture the shot. The photo captured a stunning view of the city at night, with vibrant lights and reflections creating a stunning visual effect. He relied on his intuition and quick reflexes to capture the moment, creating a powerful and dynamic image that the judges loved.

Case Study 2: Dimpy Bhalotia – 2020 IPPA Photographer of the Year

Dimpy Bhalotia’s black and white photo, “Flying Boys,” won the 2020 IPPA Photographer of the Year award. Bhalotia emphasized the importance of spontaneity and capturing candid moments. The use of long-exposure techniques on his smartphone added a professional touch to the image.

Common mistakes to avoid

Common mistakes to avoid in mobile photography
  • Ignoring the rules: Not following the contest rules and guidelines may result in disqualification. Always read and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Over-editing: Excessive editing can make your photos look unnatural. Aim for subtle enhancements that improve the photo without changing its authenticity.
  • Lack of originality: Avoid copying popular styles or trends. Strive for originality and creativity to make your photos stand out.

Research and data:

The most common issues include not following submission guidelines (20% of entries), over-editing (15%), and lack of originality (10%). A report from the Mobile Photography Awards highlighted common shortcomings among contestants.

Feedback and learning

Feedback and learning

Participating in a mobile photography contest is a learning experience. Even if you don’t win, you can gain valuable information and feedback.

  • Reflect and improve: Reflect on your work and identify areas of improvement. Continuously hone your skills and experiment with new techniques.
  • Seek feedback: Participate in online forums, social media groups and workshops. Connect with the photography community and solicit constructive feedback from peers and mentors.
  • Analyze winning entries: Study the winning photos and understand what made them stand out.


Participants can learn from the judges’ comments and apply the insights to future competitions. The MPA provides detailed feedback and critiques for finalists. Many past winners have found this feedback to be crucial in their growth and development as photographers.

Top 5 Mobile Photography Contests

1. iPhone Photography Awards (IPPA)

1. iPhone Photography Awards (IPPA)

The IPPA includes several categories: Abstract, Animals, Architecture, Kids, Floral, Landscapes, Lifestyle, Nature, People, Portrait, Series (3 images), Still Life, Sunset, Travel, and others.


The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPA) is one of the most prestigious mobile photography contests globally. Founded in 2007, it celebrates the creativity and skills of iPhone photographers.


Winners get: Gold bar for the Grand Prize winner, various Apple products, and their work is featured in major media outlets.


2. Mobile Photography Awards (MPA)

Mobile Photography Awards (MPA)

It has been running since 2011 and attracts thousands of entries from around the world. The Mobile Photography Awards (MPA) is the largest competition dedicated to mobile photography and art.


Prizes include cash prizes, photography equipment and exhibition opportunities. Winners and finalists are also showcased in a curated gallery.


3. Sony World Photography Awards – Mobile Photography Category

Sony World Photography Awards – Mobile Photography Category

This competition recognizes the best images taken with mobile devices in various genres. The Sony World Photography Awards is a renowned photography competition that has a dedicated category for mobile photography.


Winners receive cash prizes, Sony digital imaging equipment and global exposure through exhibitions and media coverage.


The overall competition has several categories, but the mobile photography category is open to all genres and disciplines.

Website: Sony world photography awards

4. National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest – Mobile Photography Category

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest – Mobile Photography Category

The National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is a prestigious contest that includes a dedicated mobile photography category. The contest celebrates the best travel photos taken with mobile devices.


Winners will receive cash prizes, publication in National Geographic Traveler magazine and global recognition through National Geographic’s platforms.


5. EyeEm Awards

EyeEm Awards

The contest includes categories such as cities, nature and people, with a special emphasis on travel-related images taken with mobile phones.

This is one of the world’s largest photography competitions, open to both amateur and professional photographers. It includes a specific category for mobile photography.


Prizes include cash prizes, photography equipment, global exhibitions and the opportunity to be featured in EyeEm’s publications and partner media.



Choosing the right contest, preparing high-quality entries, and taking advantage of feedback can help you increase your chances of success. Participating and winning in mobile photography contests requires a combination of technical skill, vision, and planning. These contests offer the opportunity to gain recognition, improve your skills, and connect with a global community.

Leave a Comment