Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

It’s here: our first phoneography challenge!

To kick this off, grab your phone and head out the door. That’s right — get on your feet and go outside to explore — and document — where you live. I want to see your neighborhood: The path you take for your daily morning run. Your local coffee shop or dive bar. The nearby alley of street and community art. A shot of the intersection that perfectly captures the bustle of your own corner of town. Or a serene landscape view of your village:

path view

The countryside path to my mother-in-law’s home in Kent, England. Taken with my iPhone 4s.

For this inaugural phoneography challenge, document where you live with just your phone. I’ll leave it to you to decide how best to capture it; you can post a shot like the one above, or get creative with angles. Maybe you want to get low, as suggested by our recent guest photographer Christopher Martin, as shown in this street shot in Oxford:

Low-angle street shot in Oxford. Taken with an iPhone 4s.

Low-angle street shot in Oxford. Taken with my iPhone 4s.

Or perhaps you want to zoom out and show us a view of your entire city from a favorite spot, like this shot of Los Angeles from up high in the Los Feliz neighborhood at the Griffith Observatory:

Wide shot of Los Angeles from the Los Feliz area. Taken with my iPhone 4s.

For this challenge, I really encourage you to use your camera phone to snap a picture, then create and publish a new post from your app. (I covered mobile app basics in Wednesday’s “Blogging on the Go” post, so take a peek if you need a refresher and download the app you need to get started.) But ultimately, use any camera you’d like for this and future phoneography challenges — we won’t disqualify your submission if you simply can’t stay away from your regular camera.

In addition to your image, type some text in the editor screen, too — tell us about the snapshot and more about your neighborhood, town, or city:

A post preview in the WordPress for iOS app.

A post preview in the WordPress for iOS app.

You can publish a single image in your post, but if you’re looking for an advanced challenge, upload multiple photos and tell a story with a mini photo essay — created entirely on your phone.

In a new post created for this challenge, share a picture that reveals your NEIGHBORHOOD.

A few tips to consider:

  • Get lost in the details. Capture details particular to your neighborhood: Brick wall exteriors of nearby buildings. Rare plants on the path to the park. Storefronts. Road signs.
  • Capture a panorama. Want to capture your city’s skyline at night, or the creaky wooden bridge at the edge of town? Take a wide establishing shot. For example, on the iPhone, click Options at the top to use the panorama setting. Or on the Android, select the panorama mode and touch the green button to pan across the area you want in your image.
  • Select a focal point. Let’s say you post a photo of a street corner, or apartment building, or wall inside your favorite café. Lead your viewer to the image’s focus. On some mobile apps, like the iPhone and Android, you can tap the part of the image you’d like to focus on; on the BlackBerry 10, drag and move the cursor on the screen to change the focal point. You can also run your photo through a camera app, like Instagram or Focus Camera, and manually focus. (We’ll give you bonus points for choosing an off-center or unexpected focal point that reveals something interesting about your neighborhood!)
  • Experiment with motion. At the end of the day, your camera phone is a mobile device — which means you may not be able to avoid movement. Place your phone atop something to keep it steady as you shoot. Use the iPhone’s grid option (accessible via Options) to create a level horizon in your composition. Or if you’ve got a BlackBerry, enable stabilization mode if you’re on the move. But sometimes unexpected movement creates a cool picture — try taking a photo of street traffic at night and see what you come up with, or experiment with an app like Motion Camera for your Android and see what beautiful blurs you can capture.


cheri lucasLooking forward to seeing what you come up with!

— Cheri

New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in our Weekly Photo Challenge to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in Post a Day / Post a Week. Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. You can also link to this post to create a pingback here and to encourage more people to participate.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.

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  1. Too bad I don’t have a phone at all, let alone a smart phone (at the moment since some months) 😦
    I’ll cheat a bit and take my old crap camera which I often take out at times with me usually in one of my pockets, similar to it.


      1. So this is in place of the “regular” challenge then? I have no problem either way, just want to know if I’m writing two photo challenge blog posts this week.


    1. Hi Jeff — yes, this is the photo challenge for this week. We’ll be doing “regular” challenges too this month, but ultimately — whether a phoneography or normal challenge — you can participate regardless of your device of choice.


  2. My nane is Phonie.
    I am Android.
    Waywardspirit is my master.
    A challange for me.
    Sidekick does the work.
    No glory.
    Till now.

    It shall be done.
    Master WordPress


      1. Some of us do both, camara/ smart phone and paint.
        Sometimes we can afford the data, sometimes we can’t.
        These photo challages are always fun though!
        Part of the adventure is managing however the heck we can.
        You are awsome WordPress and
        WordPress Community!


    1. I’m in the tiny minority of people who still walk around with a cell phone that only makes phone calls or texts messages… hahaha, fortunately, we still can use the regular camera… oh wait, I still don’t have a new regular camera!!! I’m skrewed, I’ll have to go into the archives again! 😉


      1. Do not worry, I wonder how some photographs will turn our from our older camera with film-roll. (Though we also have a digital camera in the house.)


      2. hey amiga! that’s funny! it’s refreshing to know others who are content with what they have, yet yes, an upgrade now and then will be nice! my camera has a cataract, which brands all images about bull’s eye middle! i have to shoot with that in mind and crop it out.
        well if it’s ok to use images taken from a normal camera, we can join the party!


      1. except, every so often something frustrating happens when i cannot log back onto an account (like email or youtube) and they prompt for a telephone number for them to call or text a code. duh, i live in a remote area and always wonder what happened to backup email for that solution!


  3. Bit unfair if you don’t have a phone that will do this (and don’t need one if you have a camera on hand all the time), and it’s dark where you are…….


    1. And not everyone can afford the data package for all these apps that require access to the internet from ones phone. It’s not really fair and we shouldn’t have to keep explaining that we aren’t able to do this their way. A little sensitivity folks?


    2. Hi there — I mentioned in the post that ultimately, you can use any camera you’d like — we won’t disqualify your submission. We’ll be mixing in phoneography and our normal photo challenges this month, but you’re free to experiment with any device of choice for any of these challenges.


      1. Though we can use our phones, there is a problem. I do feel it’s a tad insensitive, though not intentionally so. We non-smart phone users do feel like 2nd class citizens with this.


      2. I do not like this challenge at all. I thought we were all supposed to be photographers. Professional or amateur. Smart phones are NOT cameras. I am going to skip this week. This was not a good idea, in my opinion.

        Here I was, each week improving my skills and learning new things so that I could be better each and every week.To me, taking a photo with a smart phone is NOT a challenge.

        Very disappointed.


      3. I agree with MYLIFEINFOCUSBLOG and SMKELLY8 and all the people who don’t like this challenge. I know the challenge mentions you can use your regular camera, but I don’t see the need to specify a “phoneography challenge” when many of us don’t have smart phones. Why not just continue with the regular photo challenge, which we all LOVE!! Why mess with a good thing?? I really don’t see any point to it.


      4. My gosh, people are having such strong reactions to this one! I have to defend the WP team here, I think it’s a great challenge, whether you choose to use a phone or a regular camera. It’s clearly up to the photographer either way.

        As for what MYLIFEINFOCUS and others said, I personally disagree. A phone camera IS a camera, and there is definitely an art to capturing photos with your phone, if you choose to look at it that way. In addition to the content, there is composition, angle, movement, etc. That’s part of the challenge, and what the Weekly Photo Challenge is all about! Being creative under different circumstances using suggested guidelines.

        I also want to add that some of the most popular photos on our gallery have been taken with phone cameras and you would never know! We strongly believe that art is art, no matter what tools you use.


    1. Hi there — yep, this is this week’s photo challenge. We’ll be mixing in phoneography and our normal photo challenges this month, but you’re free to experiment with any device of choice for any of these challenges.


  4. Doesn’t anyone at WordPress think it’s a little insenstive to those of us who cannot afford mobile data packages or phones with quality photo capability? Some of us would like to participate without having to repeatedly explain our financial problems to the whole world. A bit more sensitivity to other people’s situations folks?


    1. Teepee, while I can understand your frustration, I did notice that Cheri Lucas mentioned in the original post as well as comments above that you can submit a response using any camera, not just a phone camera. I look forward to checking back to see what you captured!


    2. Hi Teepee12 — I mentioned in the post that ultimately, you can use any camera you’d like — we won’t disqualify any submissions. We’ve mentioned this week that we’ll be mixing in phoneography and our normal photo challenges this month, but you’re free to experiment with any device of choice for any of these challenges.


  5. This is counting on people who have such smart phones where they can have many applications on. I still have to do with an older generation mobile phone, but one which can already take pictures. 🙂 (And I must say I am not so handy yet to publish photo’s or video’s in the reply spaces. (I keep forgetting the html codes for doing so many things.)