New Challenge: #pixlr #inception

Last week’s #pixlrstylize challenge was really quite spectacular. People made some lovely photos even lovelier by focusing on using the Stylize options in a subtle manner. Absolutely beautiful images were shared. Truly inspiring. This week, we hope you’re up for some experimentation. This week, we want you to take photos of your phone taking a photo. Say what? We’re calling it #pixlr #inception.
Every once in awhile, we’ll stumble across someone who takes really great photos of their hand holding their phone at arm’s length. It’s frame-within-a-frame photography but without a tripod or camera. You can easily take this kind of photo with two phones and a little experimentation with the angle that you hold the phones. Obviously, you’re going to need another phone — which probably means you’re going to need to borrow one from a friend. But this is where it can also be a bit more fun because you’re certainly not limited to taking photos of yourself holding a phone. Here are just a few ideas and tips for you….
Blur out the background
You can take a photo of just about anything like we did of this 3D printed Patrick Buddha, this sign on the wall, and this chair sitter. But what we did after that makes it more interesting. We used the Blur option in Adjustments to blur the entire photo. Then, we used the History Brush to wipe away the blur from the phone and hand area. You could also use Focal Blur to do this in a quick way. Using blur like this really, really puts the focus on whatever it is you’re photographing:
Set the phone by itself
If the phone you borrow has a flat edge — or a case that has a flat edge — you can simply prop the phone up on either side and take a photo like we did of these peaches. We then added some old scratchiness with a border to give it some extra character.
Find optically interesting places
Tunnels, bridges, stairs — any area that has a lot of architectural details can be made extra interesting in this way. For maximum trippiness, try to find places where lines converge into the center of your picture-within-a-picture. Stairs, in particular, work great.
Choose a very unexpected angle 
After walking around our office at Pier 9 and taking photos for this challenge, we realized there is a spot we didn’t think of but that works great — the ceiling of our foyer. This chandelier is gorgeous, but it won’t really work for this type of photo except from below:
Include people! 
This challenge almost begs for collaboration. If you have a friend who likes to take selfies, take a photo of them taking a selfie. Or, shoot over the shoulder of a friend who is taking a picture of something picturesque. Or, just borrow someone’s phone and take a photo of them like we did with Andy (below). You can then send them a copy. You’ll have a killer entry for this challenge, and they’ll have a unique photo of themselves. We had a lot of fun talking to folks in our Pier 9 maker space while we experimented with this idea. Special thanks to Andy who had some great ideas for this challenge!
We’ve given you a ton of ideas — now it’s your turn
We know that this challenge is actually pretty challenging. It requires you to borrow a phone and experiment a bit, but we’re almost certain that you’ll find — like we did — that this challenge will really open up your creativity. It makes you really think differently about how you take and frame photos. Please give this challenge a try with us and tag your submissions with both hashtags #pixlr #inception. We’ll be scouring Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Flickr to find great examples to share with our followers. Speaking of which, we just crossed the 175,000 follower mark on Instagram! We’re so grateful for all of your participation and support. We love seeing what you make so please join us this week for a shot at being featured.