If you’ve been following the picture perfect advice of our many photography experts this year, your smartphone shots should be looking pretty polished. Find out how to share those stunners with the world at the 2017 Mobile Photography Awards…

Photo credit: Rodrigo Vieira

Entries are now open for the annual Mobile Photography Awards (MPA). It’s the world’s longest running international competition for mobile photography and a great way to share your shots beyond your Instagram account.

Keen to get involved? We caught up with founder and organiser Daniel Berman to find out how you can be in to win this year’s $3,000 USD (£2,253) grand prize. But hurry! Entries close 11 December. Read on to find out more…

How did MPA come to be?

As a filmmaker by trade, Daniel says it wasn’t a stretch for him to start playing around with an iPhone camera, and the MPAs were a natural progression.

“I had a lot of fun shooting and editing my photos with an iPhone 3G in 2009. But there wasn’t even a way to focus then! There were just a handful of relatively simple apps to add some post-processing spice. Then I found people on Twitter and Flickr sharing iPhone photos – there were some very early bloggers writing about iPhone photography – and it all just came together. The MPAs were an extension of my interest,” he explains.

The first MPAs were held in 2011 and attracted 1,500 entries. Last year, Daniel says they received just over 7,000 entries from 85 different countries, demonstrating the growing popularity of mobile photography around the world.

Photo credit: Laurence Bouchard, taken on iPhone 7

How does MPA differ from other mobile photography competitions?

Daniel says, at its heart, the MPAs are different because it’s all about phone photography – no other cameras need apply. They also provide a way for mobile photographers to showcase and sell their work due to their unique competition/gallery model.

“Part of our core mission is to host gallery shows and facilitate sales of limited edition prints for our winning artists,” Daniel says. “The MPAs are an opportunity for people to bring attention to their work at the same time as we bring attention to the work of the community as a whole. So the amount of press and interest we generate outside of the mobile world is a result of presenting a set of fine art exhibits and bringing them to new cities every year.”

What are the current trends in mobile photography?

“The latest devices have raised the bar so high for image quality,” Daniel says. “It’s no longer a ‘lo-fi’ hobby – phone cameras are the real deal, and we see that every day.

“Back in the day, mobile photography was never about pixel peeping; people kind of expected the cameras to be pretty low end. Now people definitely want phone cameras to get better every day – both via hardware and continuously updated photo apps.

“People are starting to turn out portraits of a much higher quality than just a few years ago. This is largely due to Apple’s efforts to give us a ‘portrait mode’, which creates the illusion of a shallower depth of field.

“Street photography is also a popular genre for mobile phones because of the ubiquity, stealth and spontaneity of the devices.”

What are the judges looking for?

And now for the most important bit – how can you make your shots stand out in 2017? According to Daniel, the best photos tell a story, and this year’s jury of 20 journalists, teachers, artists and leaders of the photography, mobile photography and art worlds will be hunting down the narrative in every image.

The best photos tell a story – this year’s jury will be hunting down the narrative in every image.

“That story might be about time, a place, a person, an interaction, an accident, a special quality of light… It can be anything really, as long as the viewer can follow the story.”

Daniel’s final words for budding mobile photographers?

“Take photos because you love doing it. Learn more about photography, because the deeper we dig the more enriching our experience. When learning a new craft, time is our friend.”

And don’t forget, you won’t win if you’re not in! Entries close 11 December, 2017. Visit the MPA website to find out more, submit your best shots and follow all the action on Instagram at @mobilephotoawards.

Find even more opportunities to share… Here’s how you can start selling your smartphone photos online.

Where to next?

Show me last year’s MPA winners

Show me how to enhance my shots with lighting