Former ABC10 News “Teacher of the Month” Paula Turner now has a few more awards to brag about.

Her photography students won 53 prizes at the state fair, up from 31 prizes in 2016.

“I didn’t know I could take pictures as well as these,” student Jane Singley said. Singley won one of the “Best of Division” prizes this year.

Jacob Pluckebaum also won a “Best of Division” prize with a self-portrait. He pixilated his face using Photoshop.

“Originally, it was a self-portrait. I did it to represent how personalities change,” Pluckebaum said.

ABC10 News talked to the teens about learning how to use larger digital cameras in an age where smartphones enable many to have access to high-quality cameras in their pockets.

“I choose the camera because it’s more sharp and makes me feel like I can take way better pictures. On my phone, it just feels very different,” Singley said.

Pluckebaum says he takes pictures for both Instagram and Facebook. He says social media platforms give him more of an opportunity to develop an audience for his work.

“It’s free, and it’s also free to share, and free to give to everyone,” Pluckebaum said.

Turner says she thinks it’s great that her students share photos on Instagram.

“I think the value is the quality of the photograph is going to be better [with a camera], but in reality, as long as you have something to take a picture with you at all times, you’re going to get a good photo,” Turner said.

Ultimately, she said photography – no matter what type of camera – enables her students to better express themselves.

“It’s that person’s opportunity to not only identify how they see things, but show others how they see the world,” she said.