Win A MacBook For a Snapshot: The Best Camera Challenge


Hi friends. I’ve ranted for years how mobile phone photography changed my outlook on a bunch of things…creativity born from constraints, the immediacy of the moment, digital sharing, the democratization of creativity, and on and on. As you may know, the ideals and the principle that ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you’ certainly captured my attention, led to my app, a book, a community, etc

But here’s a question: have YOU actually made any cool pictures with your mobile phone? If so, I want to see them. In fact, so does the world and PDN Magazine. So much is the case that the nice folks at PDN have put together a mobile phone photo contest called The Best Camera Challenge.

Entrance fee: $1/image, or 7 for $5. Enter as many as you like.
Categories: People, Places, Things
Prizes: an Apple MacBook for the Grand Prize and lots of other stuff for category winners. Winning images will be featured on PDN. (and I’ll laud you with praise in my social channels too…)
Enter here: at

You have one week to enter from today. Deadline is January 31. Details after the jump and at

Judges? I will be judging, along with the esteemed Jodi Peckman (Dir of Photography – Rolling Stone), Hali Tara Friehling (Sr. Photo Editor – Details), and Amber Terranova (Photo Editor PDN). Heck yes.

What are the guidelines? While the contest is certainly called The Best Camera Challenge, please know that’s only a reference to the idea that the best camera is the one that’s with you. As much as I’d hope that you dig my award winning iphone app Best Camera (and the slick new site we’ve been testing in beta for a while – check it + sign up), it has nothing to do with the contest. The contest is for any mobile phone. Use any mobile app or combination of apps. Just submit a bunch of cool photos that you shot with the phone in your camera. [Don’t be the kook who submits a shot from your Nikon D3 processed in Photoshop. Keep it real, please.]

What are we looking for? Think of the medium… The goal here is not to make an image that looks like you shot it on the world’s most expensive camera. The goal is to make an image on a mobile phone, capture a vision, a moment, a story. And to have fun doing so.

Go forth. You have one week. Please tell your friends.

73 Responses to Win A MacBook For a Snapshot: The Best Camera Challenge

  1. Bruce Layman January 24, 2011 at 10:42 am #


    For clarification, do the images have to be shot within the one week time frame? Or are images shot on a mobile phone from the past acceptable?

    Thank you,
    Bruce Layman

    • chase Jarvis January 24, 2011 at 11:38 am #

      Can be shot any time, just gotta be with a mobile phone. Enter asap. Thx!

  2. Danielkphoto January 24, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Wow, really cool contest. I can’t wait to see the results. Unfortunately I don’t have a phone with a descent camera, so I’m afraid I can’t enter :-( Good luck to all of you who can enter!!

  3. John Kanon January 24, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Photography challenge? This is a business. Since when do you pay to enter a photography contest? They get sponsored, pay part of the prizes with the entrance fees, and go off with the remainder. Seems like some smart guy got he idea of surfing on the self-importance wave that’s so strong at the moment. Really Chase, I can’t believe you even want to be associated with this!

    • Scott Rinckenberger January 24, 2011 at 11:49 am #


      Every major photography contest in the world has an entry fee per submission. Comm Arts, PDN, International Photography Awards, PX3, ASMP, APA, the list goes on. There is a cost to administering a competition. Beware if you see a free one, it’s more likely than not an attempt to grab the rights to your photos. This competition is an inexpensive way to compete for a great prize in front of some very well respected judges and spearheaded by the magazine that has set the standard for looking out for photographers.

      • John Kanon January 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

        Thank you for curing me of my ignorance. I honestly didn’t know, and took the one from “Photo” (French magazine) as a reference. Apologies for my harsh words.

  4. Sunira January 24, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Awesome! I will be entering shortly. Mobile phone photography has totally consumed me these past few months!

  5. Keri January 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Is this open to US residents only like the Sandisk one or is it open to everyone ?

    • chase Jarvis January 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

      PDN tells me its open to worldwide participation.

      • Keri January 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

        Cheers Chase, I’ll get ploughing through my photos :-)

  6. Joanna January 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    can we put the photos through photoshop? or do we have to send them in as … virgins…?

  7. Eduardo Mueses January 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Is it open to everybody? US Residents only? Please specify…

  8. Malc January 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Again with the “everyone or US only” question.

    Also, any software limitations e.g. I can use Instagram on my iPhone etc?

    • Eduardo Mueses January 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      I could say the same: “Again with software limitations”….

      It reads: “The contest is for any mobile phone. Use any mobile app or combination of apps. Just submit a bunch of cool photos that you shot with the phone in your camera.”

  9. Ben January 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Done and done. I chucked 7 up – I WANT that Macbook! just gotta hope one of them is good enough. Hey – if you all vote for me, I’ll let you come around and touch the macbook. I may even kiss you on the mouth. Depends how often you vote.

  10. Humberto January 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Hey Chase! I finally got your app, now…. I’m in Mexico, is this open to everyone or is it just the US?


  11. Chad latta January 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    After reading the rules, I am a little confused. Do you require model releases for images of people? How strict is that? What if the person is not clearly recognizable?

  12. Concerned January 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Where dose all the money go? $1 per you could pull 25k off this MacBook!

  13. Joseph W Nienstedt January 25, 2011 at 6:27 am #

    Done & done – Thanks Chase, this is an awesome premise for contest. I like that there are pros voting separately from the people’s choice. I always feel that public internet voting is more of a popularity contest than a contest of artistic merit or skill, so this seems very fair.

  14. JasonChart January 25, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Wow, it was about time someone to think of it!
    I’ve shot better pictures with my iphone than any of my DSLR’s!
    It’s not the cam, its the moment!

  15. Steven January 25, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Thanks for posting this. Some friends and I drew inspiration from you and started a blog where we upload a mobile image on a daily basis for a year. We all do it for our own reasons and have our own goals in mind. However, the comon thread is that we see this project as a means for encouraging creativity. I am amazed at what these guys are doing with just a phone camera.

    • Steven January 25, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      Sorry, the website is http://www.

  16. John C January 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Can i use a photo taken with my phone enhanced in photoshop? I used photo shop to stitch a pano and adjust colors…

  17. jeff heinz January 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    “Just submit a bunch of cool photos that you shot with the phone in your camera.”
    I am heading to the model shop right now and figure out how to get a phone inside my camera!
    playin by the rules

  18. Kev January 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Sounds like a great project, the price of entry doesn’t bother me but ownership rights to the images long term does (concern me).

  19. Far January 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Hi Chase,

    I got the Best Camera app, but when I synced my iPhone to my computer, it just disappeared.

    Not sure where it went. It’s not even in the iTunes app backups.

    Anyone else complain about this?


    • Dartanyon January 27, 2011 at 9:42 am #

      @Far, We’re you using the same account on to purchase on the iPhone, as the account you were syncing to in iTunes? That’s the only reason I could think that might happen. If it’s all the same account, just download it again, once you’ve paid for it iTunes keeps track of all that and you can re-download anything you have already paid for.

      • Far January 28, 2011 at 1:22 am #

        Hey Dartanyon,

        Yeah i used the same account. I didnt try to re-download thinking i have to pay again. I’ll give it a shot.

  20. GASTON January 26, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Hey Chase!

    Last night I entered the comp, It took me almost 30 min to summit my 1 photo, and at the moment of payment I saw that the website use it for payment is not a trusted one. Anyway I made the payment and now, this morning, when I woke up I saw a email from my bank here in Australia, saying that my credit card has been blocked as the Manager of Fraud Transactions detected something not usual going on?
    Has anyone been in the same situation?

    Chase love your photos!

    Hopefully next time there’ll be a comp run by you guys.



    • Ben January 27, 2011 at 6:42 am #

      Don’t worry – this is standard practice for banks if you are making “unusual” transactions. And small change transactions to foreign accounts count as unusual. The site has an outdated security certificate, but isn’t corrupted to my knowledge. You’ll just have to talk through any transactions you made with the bank, and it’ll all be cleared up.

      • Anonymous February 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

        Thanks Ben,

        Finally I got my card to work again


  21. Mark January 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    @Far – If you go to buy the app again, iTunes will tell you that you’ve already purchased the app and prompt you to download it, as long as you are logged into the same account that you purchased it.

  22. Kleppy January 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Blackberry fail….I have a sadface.

  23. Aaron Versiontwo February 7, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    My little camera has internet to immediately post to my websites and share with others, It has countless ways to process images and allow me to creatively edit my photos without using a computer… Oh and I guess it makes phone calls too. hmm.

    Anyway my little iPhone is good enough to capture moments I see every day and can creatively process them and post them within minutes. I have taken so many photos that I love with my little phone that I created a blog JUST for iphoneography. Sometimes I leave my big heavy 5d at home and snap snap snap.

  24. Gage Thompson March 1, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    When will the winners gallery be up ?

  25. TerriG March 8, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Hey! When will The Best Camera Challenge winners be announced? Did I win???

  26. Max Berkowitz March 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    When will the finalist’s be announced and where? Thanks Chase.

  27. Gage Thompson March 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    If the contest was in some way canceled. Where about could I go for a refund of my money? Thanks man.

    • Chase March 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

      hi gage – i received the initial submission from PDN today with their apologies for the delay. should have the images edited and winners announced next week after i return from the current gig im on.

      thanks for you patience!

      • Gage Thompson March 24, 2011 at 8:10 am #

        Awesome thanks man! Just wanted to know what was going on. Good luck on the gig!

      • Gage Thompson April 13, 2011 at 9:16 am #

        Hey just wondering what the status is on the contest.

        • Jack April 20, 2011 at 11:25 am #

          Any update on the contest?

          • Gage Thompson April 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

            Hey Jack. I talked to a guy over at PDN and apparently they got much more photos submitted than anticipated. I’m not sure who is going through the submissions. But I’m sure it’s a mess. I don’t know if they will ever finish.

          • Gage Thompson April 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

            Talked to PDN again they should be up very soon.

  28. R Twomey April 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Got an email today saying I’m a finalist and requesting some info on the image. The address provided bounces, it’s an account. Anyone else?

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    The Best Photo My Camera Took For Me

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    The Best Camera Challenge Latest: 6 months ago … to win a cool MacBook along with a chance to showcase your best photos among the best

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