I started my photography career early in my teens at my high school in the U.S.A. where I was the photo editor on the student annual and photographer for the student newspaper. I had a head start with photography as a boy as my father was a sports and travel photographer. After moving to Europe on a study abroad program I landed a job with Reuters news agency as a freelance photographer in Madrid, Spain in 1989. In 1992 I was offered a staff job with Reuters in London where I worked as Photographer/Editor, covering news and sports. In 1996 I became the Chief Photographer for Reuters in Italy where I was in charge of coverage and covered news and sports. In 2001 I returned to Spain where I was based as Chief Photographer Iberia for Reuters and lead the team of photographers covering news and sports.
A total of 50 world-renowned photo editors and digital experts from international publications in the news, photography and sports industries will choose the finalists – sorting through over tens of thousands of images to do so.
Each judge will vote in three rounds – first for the five finalist images and then for the one Category Winner in each of the eleven categories. From the eleven category winning images they will vote for the Overall Winner.
Judges will base their decisions on a mix of composition, technical superiority, creativity, impact, artistic flair and overall qualities of photographic excellence.
Andrew Clurman is the CEO and President of Active Interest, a media company comprised of more than 50 internationally renowned print, digital and social media brands, a state of the art video production company, and first-in-class events.
He says: "Photography provides a window to the soul of people, places and stories."
His philosophy on how to win: "When everyone's looking to the right, look to the left."
Evgeny Tchebotarev began photography in 2002 and since then he has spent the entirety of his professional career dedicated to the betterment of visual creativity, focusing on photography and design.
In early 2004, before Facebook and photo-sharing sites, he created a community for photographers to meet, share photos and information. He named it 500px.
In July 2018, he joined Skylum Software as VP of Growth Asia, applying years of hands-on expertise of working with Asian companies to expand Skylum’s award-winning products to the Asian markets.
He is an active photographer and has been honoured to judge many world class photo contests, including the previous edition of Red Bull Illume.
"For me, photography is the ultimate experience. Especially action sport photography. The amount of work, precision, and accurate timing that goes into that resembled more a scientific lab experiment rather than an action sport photo shoot.“
Graduate in the Faculty of Humanities at University of Milan, departement of Visual Arts, I’m photo editor at SportWeek, the saturday supply of italian sport daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, a weekly magazine in depth, with interviews, reportages and inquiries about world of sport, not only football, not only Italian but all over the world. We’re also very interested to adventures and newest cool styles of life. We like to show to our readers unhespected sides of sports.
I am a member of photo editor’s italian association (Grin) that promotes press photography in our country with exihbitions, meetings, and the photographic Award Amilcare G. Ponchielli. I’ve been part of contests juries, portfolio lectures and international photo festivals.
She says, "A great adventure and action sports image is a picture of big emotion and strongness, for extraordinariness of action and landscape and for the power of the light and the composition."
About 14 years ago I started as a Graphic Design-intern at “Funbox”, a publication covering extreme sports and lifestyle, which in 2006 evolved into “Salt Magazine”. It turned out that I easily find or pick up the best images with the stories our editors have in mind, so my job naturally became more and more about image editing than the design job that I went to school for. Photography is very important in my job. You can have the best writers and stories, but an image still says more than a thousand words.
Her biggest piece of advice: “Just don’t take the shot that has already been shot a thousand times before.”
Tips and tricks from Laura: "A great photo needs to be ‘just right’. I can’t just name one thing. The composition, the light, the focus should be the best for the subject that you are photographing. You can take 100 pictures of a scene and have 95 technically good photos, some crappy ones, but just 1 might turn out to be perfect. I think that luck and timing add a great deal to make a great photo."
In 2005 I moved to New York to study at the International Center of Photography (ICP). I worked for as an assistant to a photo journalist and then as an assistant photo editor at GEO Magazine in their New York office. In 2011, I returned to Switzerland and started working at the Sonntagsblick Magazine – and now I work with all of the online and print publications at Blick Group. We focus on domestic as well as international news; in addition, we cover entertainment, lifestyle, and sports.
Creative risks often are what sets great photography apart from just good, or average photography.
Share what is in your head, produce it - don’t be afraid to take creative risks. Old fashioned face-to-face networking is a great way to meet people, share ideas, see what is trending and talk about who you are and what your work means. Get out there and see what people are doing – give and receive constructive criticism. Be inspired, and in doing so provide inspiration for someone else. In addition, I also think social networking in the digital world provides great ways to promote and share your work – but get educated about sharing your work online and be knowledgeable about copyright laws and the pros and cons that come with networking online. Don’t rely on one form of communication with your audience – but find the balance that works right for you.
I'm a professional editor and writer with more than 20 years experience in print and online formats. For most of my career, I have been based in Hong Kong, an ideal base for an inveterate traveller as I can live in a green, hilly backwater on the island of Lantau while also having one of the world’s most connected and efficient airports just 30 minutes away by taxi. There I am editor-in-chief of Action Asia, a regional adventure travel magazine that has charted – and I hope also helped inspire – the rising interest among locals as well as expats in active ways to enjoy the wild outdoors. In addition, I freelance for a number of other local and regional magazines, mostly concerned with travel of one sort or another.
Photography at is best is not simply eye candy. A shot may evoke wonder with is spectacular setting, vivid colours or high impact, but the truly great images cause us not just to 'stand back’ and admire but to 'lean in’ and ask about the inspiration that brought the photographer to that point in time and place, how the scene was anticipated or imagined, the mechanics of its capture and perhaps a serendipitous collision of circumstance that elevated the final image.
Within this there is a tension between the quest for authenticity and a creative's desire to push their skills in new directions. Much of the best work seen in past illume contests has seen photographers play with expectations, providing unusual perspectives and juxtapositions. Last year’s winner shows how this doesn’t have to mean 'bleeding edge’ technology, prodigious post-processing or complex storyboarding. It can be as simple as faultless execution of a beautifully simple idea.
"After having spent over 20 years as editor-in-chief and photo editor of several adventure, travel and leisure magazines, I can say one thing: photography is the lifeline of all my past and present endeavors. Photography says it all. And it says it even better when it catches your breath in a split second. This is what 30° magazine is all about: getting your attention and making you ponder. How on earth did he get that shot?"
On picking the right photo: "Being a photo editor isn’t always as fun as it sounds. To find the right picture, you may need to sort a 1000 of them. And go through a zillion photographers. I’m lucky enough I’ve hade opportunities to work with the best out there. The more daring. The more imaginative. The more profound. I’ve become very selective."
Some advice: "Technique is a given: you need to know how to handle your camera. Not just think you know. Then, practice sets in. Shoot, shoot, shoot. And shoot some more. Once your eye is sharp, then we begin talking."
Hideko Kataoka has been director of photography at Newsweek, Japan, since 2001. She joined the magazine as a photographer in 1991, covering national news, social issues and portraiture of world business and cultural leaders.
As director of photography, she oversees and directs photography both for the printed and digital editions of the magazine as well as its special issues. In 2004, Hideko launched the Picture Power section in the magazine, a weekly photo essay that captures underreported topics around the world.
Hideko is a lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University, does portfolio reviews and has served as a juror at international photography festivals and competitions, such as World PressPhoto and FotoFest, as an External Review Committee Member for Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.
"I am fascinated about the ability to capture intense moments of the human experience, and beauty of human body and activity."
For 25 years co-publisher and editor-in-chief of 7sky Magazine, 'skate, surf, snow, eco and awareness’. Since a few years founder 7sky.life, beaming the spirit of nature and beauty, evolution and consciousness on the of the collaborative media platform. My biggest pleasure is to connect people on heart level. And to tell and spread stories that can change the world in a positive way.
A great adventure & action sports image for me is when I feel an emotion looking at it. In these picture I always sense a love-story as well, the love-story between the photographer and its object.
Just connect to the object, find a nice, original and attractive angle, and click…
Born in 1972 I touched my first camera at 6 years old during a family vacation in Greece. I started taking pictures for a local newspaper at the age of 14 and went pro in 1990. I am staff photographer with Reuters since 2007 based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1851, Reuters is one of the leading news agency covering the world for its media clients with text, photo, video and graphics. It employs 600 photographers worldwide.
His thoughts on what makes on a great photo? “I am looking for a wow effect, a picture has to cause a strong emotion. Personally I prefer to take pictures of moving action where you only get one chance of getting the shot.”
As for advice to anyone wanting to submit, Balibouse is unequivocal. “Shoot, shoot, shoot, look at others for respectful inspiration and then go out to shoot, shoot and shoot more.”
"I've been striving to build something that genuinely gives a voice to people around the world who are passionate about nature and the outdoors. The outdoors transcends borders, yet existing media has tended to skew towards specific nationalities or cultures. We're breaking down barriers, with the ultimate purpose of protecting wilderness across the globe."
What makes a great image? "A great image must transcend the mundane and capture the spirit or essence of the moment, capture time, or capture the emotion of the photographer, as much as or even instead of the subject."
Some advice for anyone submitting: "Think before you shoot. Don't lean on the fact of having a zillion gigs of space on your card to fill it up with a lot of bad shots that you'll have to sort out later. Think differently - what angle are you not seeing? Think counter-intuitively. Shoot into the sun at the right hours of the day to use it as backlight, or while using a natural feature as a scrim. Shoot as wide open as you can so you have the bokeh. Shoot motion blur. Emotion is more important than tack sharp lines."
I have completed a master’s degree in communication studies and was a film critic before entering the world of photography. I have been writing about photography and photographers since the 1990s and have been editor-in-chief of fotoMAGAZIN in Hamburg since the beginning of this year.
fotoMAGAZIN is the oldest and most renowned photo magazine in Germany (since 1949) and it is published monthly. Once a year (in September) I produce the XXL - Fine Art - booklet fotoMAGAZIN EDITION.
A great action and adventure sports photo shatters our habits of seeing or imagining and shows us the action from a new, surprising perspective. The image is supposed to dynamically enhance the sport shown.
On how to win Red Bull Illume: "Think out of the box! Get inspired somewhere else and don't copy stuff. Go outside with your camera and try new things. And stick with it; don't get discouraged when an idea doesn't work out and the job gets frustrating."
I've worked for photography magazines and websites for the past 20 years and have been editor-in-chief of Shutterbug for the last five years. Shutterbug is the leading resource for anyone seeking to learn how to shoot better photos. With a broad audience of amateurs, photo enthusiasts, aspiring pros, and working professional photographers, Shutterbug.com offers a collection of the web's best photography how-to-do’s, tutorials, photo gear reviews and industry news.
The two most important things for me with adventure and actions sports images are timing and composition. Dare to try something different but don't forget the human element.
Udi Tirosh is a Photographer, a relentless entrepreneur, a dad. Order of items is subject to daily changes.
He is also the editor of the industry-leading photography blog DIYPhotography.net - A one-stop shop for the photo and video industry.
He recommends: "Bigger and better said it before me (looking at you Robert Capa), If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough. Or if that is not an option, go really, really far."
Florian is the Co-Founder and CEO of EyeEm, the world's premier photography community and marketplace connecting its more than 22 million creators with brands. The platform is powered by its patented computer vision software that automatically understands the content of an image, and curates millions of visuals, surfacing the best results for their global customer base. The idea originated after his digital SLR camera was stolen in a New York subway while working as a professional photographer. He has been featured and exhibited in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Wired Magazine among others and is an avid speaker on technology, entrepreneurship and the future of the photography industry.
Florian says, "It’s all about the decisive moment. Clean and simple backgrounds that shape all the attention to your subject. Knowing your auto-focus inside out. And good light!"
I am the CEO of 500px, a global community for photographers with over 15 million members from 195 countries, whom have shared 120+ million images to date and growing. Photographers, from hobbyist to high-profile professional photographers, and everything in between, come to 500px to discover and share incredible photos, gain exposure and get paid for their work and skills. The platform provides a variety of products and tools that motivate and help photographers to improve at every step of their creative journey.
A truly incredible image is one that captures the relationship between the action or surroundings and the emotion felt. Whether it’s the emotion of the subject or the emotion that you want the viewer to feel, this is the secret sauce that makes an image stand apart from the rest.
Evaluating and learning from your past work are key to improving your results. Look at what you were producing last week, last month, last year on a regular basis and push yourself to experiment and try new things - you’ll see the difference in your results.
I moved to Boulder 10 years ago because of its status as an adventure hub, and it has not disappointed yet. I’ve been working at BACKPACKER for 3 years where we try and encourage readers to participate in a growing revolution: in a society that assumes that progress and everything associated with it is to be embraced, we encourage people to slow down and enjoy the simple of walking in the woods. Although I primarily work with editorial content I still view photographs in terms of “making” vs. “capturing.”
To me, making a great photograph requires the same intentionality as a sculptor needs to create a statue; you will surely get lucky snapping away at a scene, but if you want to make great images again and again then it’s helpful to approach it as a construction.