The past 12 months have been a fantastic journey. Along the way I have had the privilege of meeting many talented mobile photographers and have been inspired by so many more.

As we approach the festive season I thought it would be interesting to invite 24 mobile photographers who have inspired and supported me in one way or another and ask them to offer an insight into their photography, to reflect on their year gone by or plans for the coming year ahead.

Each day until Christmas Eve we will be featuring one photographer in a sort of online advent calendar so to speak.

Today’s featured photographer is Emil Pakarklis.

Emil Pakarklis is an iPhoneographer and iPhone photography blogger from Latvia and the man behind the fantastic iPhone Photography School. Not only does Emil contribute to sites like and the Mobiography iPhone Photography Digital Magazine but he has become a good friend since I had the pleasure of interviewing him recently for part of the Mobiography Talking iPhoneography series.

The Photo I am Most Proud of is…

Photo by Emil Pakarklis

I have to start by saying that picking just one photo out of everything I did this year was not an easy task. As I went through my photo library, I wanted to choose a photo that not only looks good, but also teaches a few important lessons about mobile photography.

This photo was taken on the beach near my home on a beautiful fall evening. Occasionally small sand peninsulas appear on the beach, and they provide amazing reflection photo opportunities whenever other people walk on them. When I noticed a family feeding birds on one of these peninsulas, I immediately knew it would make a great photo. Since this photo was taken in the evening when the sun was already quite low, there was a strong backlight and the subjects were turned into silhouettes. The sun is actually right outside the frame on the left side of the image.

The defining feature of this photo is of course the reflection. By placing the iPhone just an inch above water – which is something I often like to do – I was able to make the reflection more prominent while also eliminating everything but sky from the background. And did
you notice that the reflected part of this photo takes up more space than the actual subjects? I did that on purpose to emphasize the reflection over the rest of the scene.

I tried to edit this photo in several ways, but ultimately I settled for a very simple Snapseed edit. After a bit of cropping I increased ambience to something around +60, which helped me bring out more detail from the sky. Then I opened the B&W module, where I converted the photo to black and white and made small adjustments to brightness and contrast.

And that’s it. The best edits are often simple.

Finally, there’s something you couldn’t know just by looking at this photo. I’m talking about all the other photos that I didn’t share with you. I think I took about 50 photos of this family, constantly adjusting composition and trying to capture the right moment. For every great photo that gets shared, there are at least ten others that don’t work out so well.

I chose to share this photo in particular because of how it portrays motion. You can see the little girl jumping towards the birds, which are taking off because of that. It’s rare that you can find so much motion in a simple silhouette photo like this, and I could only capture it because I took so many photos trying to get the most out of this scene.

Connect with Emil Pakarklis

iPhone Photography School | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter.