The adventure of urban ski shoots - Felix Rioux

"One of the maintenance guys saw us and instead of kicking us out, he was super stoked! He was a big X-Games fan and even offered to turn on the lights."

© Felix Rioux

What have you been up to lately?

I’ve been busy focusing on my photography career. Ever since I started photography, I always had other businesses that would take most of my time. In the 90’s it was a clothing brand and an events company, and then in the early 2000’s I co-founded D-Structure Proshop, which was the first 100% freeski shop at the time. After that it was iF3 (International Freeski Film Festival), which I sold about a year ago. All these projects would take 80% of my time and I never really got to properly develop my photography business. I also have a family now, and after spending the past 20 years mostly on the road, I’m happy to stay home and see them grow up. 

Have you been working on any adventure and action sports projects?

Last season I spent 10 days on an urban shoot in Quebec with skiers JF Houle, Emile Bergeron and Jules Bonnaire. They were shooting a mini film for the french clothing brand Picture Organic.

What were the best moments from the trip?

I think for me it was the session we did at the Chateau Frontenac slides. The set up was amazing and took place at dawn at a historical landmark. The guys had already done most of the set up days ahead working on the take off and landing. One of the maintenance guys saw us and instead of kicking us out, he was super stoked! He was a big X-Games fan and even offered to turn on the lights under the slide’s arches.

What are the most challenging aspects of these kind of shoots?

Definitely the cold, when it’s -20c celsius without the wind factor, it’s really hard to be focused and creative. You’re just trying to keep warm and your gear is not always working properly, especially lighting strobes. Then snow can get really hard and icy, which makes it difficult when shovelling.

Do you think your background as an architecture student influences the way you photograph urban environments?

Absolutely. I learned about composition and vanishing points when I studied architecture. It’s also where I got my style. I like symmetrical lines and making sure everything is nice and level. A few years ago I started shooting action with landscape/architecture panorama techniques. It consists of using a special panorama tripod head and shooting really tight on your subject, then shoot your overall composition before stitching the images in post. This gives you unique perspectives that your usual lenses can’t offer, you can shoot very high ISO without all the noise downfall and the final file can be printed in a super large format.

What do you prefer? Shooting in the city or shooting in the mountains?

I have to say both. The city gives you so much diverse material to shoot, while the mountains are such a peaceful and majestic environment. However, a lot more work, planning and energy goes into shooting in the great outdoors.

Does your camera set up change depending on whether it’s an urban or mountain shoot?

Since that shoot was in Quebec, I was able to load up my car with as much gear possible. I prefer having it easily available, instead of needing something specific and not having it with me. However, it’s quite different when going on a long distance trip. Weight and space is a big factor. I’ll bring mainly zoom lenses instead of all my prime lenses and more speedlights instead of bigger strobes. 

You do a lot of commercial work too, what kind of projects are you doing?

Yes, that is my main occupation now. I’m super lucky to be working in-house for m0851, a high-end lifestyle and fashion brand based in Montreal. I cover all their photo and video needs from studio work and social media to ad campaigns. It’s a part-time gig that has allowed me to open up a whole new style in my portfolio.  I still do sports work with brands like lululemon, TNF, Picture Organic plus national retail chains MEC and Sports Experts. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of architecture/design photography. 

How big of a role does commercial work play in your photography?

Pretty big, probably 90% of my time. Since I don’t spend half the year on the road anymore, I don’t get to shoot action sports and make a living from it like I used to. When I do, it’s more for my own pleasure than anything else and a chance to hang out with my friends.

What is an important lesson that photography has taught you?

To be a citizen of the world.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

Find work as photo assistant. Learn from senior photographers about how they run their business. Then find your style. That’s something I wish I had done when I started out.

Like what you see? Check out the video from the urban shoot here, or find more of Felix’s work on his website and Instagram.

Images © Felix Rioux

Read the latest stories

In their own words: April Top 25 (part 1)

With 25 images to choose between each month of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category, voting for a winner isn’t always easy!

This month to help persuade the public we decided to give the photographers a line each to describe their image and how it was created to help voters make their decision. So check below to find out more about the story behind the shots!

Once you’re ready to vote for the April winner, click here! 

© Yhabril / Red Bull Illume

Oreo´s Wrath - We climbed the mountain very soon that morning looking for another shot we planned days before , but when we saw that wind lip we decided to go for this shot.  I decided I wanted that angry face on the right of the mountain in my frame, so I had to climb the mountain in front of that one. Oreo is the god of the mountains in Scandinavian mythology, in the image, the mountain is looking with wrath to the human that profanes it’s sanctuary.

© Tristan Shu / Red Bull Illume

This photo was shot as part of a photoshoot for Elinchrom. The team pulled another crazy stunt in Turkey and turned air into their own playground. You can see the full behind the scenes here.

© Stefan Mahlknecht / Red Bull Illume

I've seen this crazy rock formations years ago. I knew that there has to be done something special, so I asked my buddy Benjamin if it would be possible to install a highline there. After getting some local permissions we finally did the project on a pretty cold fall day. I was totally blown away by that scene, so it took me some seconds to get the first shots. 

© Sam Strauss / Red Bull Illume

In summer 2018 I was part of a wakeboard winch project we called “Falling Rocks“. We spent 12 days in this quarry to try something new in the world of wakeboarding. On the last two days of the production Timo Kappl, our friend and one of the most talented youngsters around, showed up after we invited him to ride a nice special feature. This was one of the very last photos i took after shooting non-stop close to two weeks.

© Sam Bié / Red Bull Illume

Climbers love what is beautiful to climb, easy or hard, high or short... In the south of France, in a small forest, we found old quarries with surrealist lines where the perspectives deceive the eye and the artificial aesthetic surpasses the natural. Arno Catzeflis on the first climb of the “Diédrissime”, 6a at the quarry of Beaulieu, France.

© Ryan Moss / Red Bull Illume

This photo is called 'Night Sky'. Boulder Problem: C.C.D.V.A. Rating: V10. Special thanks to the climber Justin Ridgely!

© Phil de Glanville & Ren McGann / Red Bull Illume

The shot was taken at The Right in Western Australia’s South West by Ren McGann and edited by Phil de Glanville. The surfer is Chris Shanahan

© Nitish Waila / Red Bull Illume

I was waiting for the Supermoon to rise above my home country India and missed one chance. I was tracking the lunar calendar since then and in March 2019 just 10 days before the Super worm moon, the last supermoon of this year, I went on to a ninja mode to plan and execute this shoot. After a few days of recce in the burning summer heat of Hampi, we finally found the right boulder to climb and that's when things started to turn in place and eventually landed me this shot.

© Matthias Fritzenwallner / Red Bull Illume

The shot is from our Japan (Kiroro Resort) trip last winter. We were four motivated Austrian guys who wanted to explore the backcountry and awesome powder of Hokkaido. On our search for the perfect spot, we found this huge tree. I tried to find the right angel to capture the perfect moment and get an artistic and unique photo when Dani Maurer jumped through the tree.

© Marjan Radovic / Red Bull Illume

Three wakeboarders pulled off a first with a twist for their sport, using a crane to shift them over a floating course made up of obstacles and kickers created entirely out of shipping containers. German duo Dominik Gührs and Felix Georgi, and Austrian Dominik Hernler were inspired to come up with the project after watching a water skier being put through their paces in a YouTube clip!

© Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume

It was actually one of those days, where you think if it even makes sense to go up on the mountain. It was foggy, cold and hard to see any contours. But after 3 cups of coffee, we had enough and gave it a try. We navigated through the fog and built a jump. Austin Smith gave it a try tweaking it.. And just 5 minutes after I got the shot, the fog got even thicker and we barely found the lift station on the way back!

© Jimmy Schaffrath / Red Bull Illume

This spot is actually in my hometown. It had been on my spotlist for over 7 years but couldn't find anyone who would try and jump it. The runoff has several poles that you need to land in between. On that particular day Jack Niereath came to my city to film for his video part. As he got a sick clip on another spot I took him to this one while the adrenaline was still pumping. I scrambled to get my camera and angle, couple minutes later we were high-fiving and filled with pure joy.

© Jason Halayko / Red Bull Illume

Had a fun shoot with Tokura under some amazing Sakura trees here in Tokyo. Always love these relaxed / fun shoots and now that it’s finally getting warmer I want to head out more! Thanks Tokura!!

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.. and don't forget to vote!

Red Bull Illume… now with video! The Moving Image category is here.

The content-creation industry is evolving – and so is Red Bull Illume. This new Moving Image category opens up a whole new world.

Did they land the trick? Some of the action from Red Bull Illume has been so incredibly unbelievable, you could absolutely be forgiven for asking. Now, we’ll be able to answer that question – at least for submissions in the brand-new Moving Image category for the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019.

This new category promises to bring in incredible new stuff from new athletes and new contributors – from jaw-dropping action to stunning scenery, we want it all – and (almost) anything goes. There are just a couple guidelines for submission.

Clips must be between 5 – 30 seconds long

Simple as that. You can cut between camera angles of the same trick or sequence (and the same attempt at that trick or sequence) or play around with retiming the videos. Slow-Mo? Absolutely!

You can film the most epic scene, take a quick snap, follow the action or show us an epic POV.

No digital manipulation of action, no sound track

Use your common sense here. Color correction: OK. Making an athlete appear to jump higher than they actually did: not OK.

A word about audio: it’s all about the environment. Natural sound is killer – but dubbed stuff, sound effects or Foley, or background music: no go.

How to submit:

You’ll need to register at Red Bull Illume and submit your video just like you do for all categories other than Best of Instagram by SanDisk.

What we’re looking for

Super-shareable, attention-grabbing action that stretches the limits of belief. Other-worldly, is-this-from-our-planet locations. Heartfelt, raw emotion. Here’s a couple clips we love. Now show us what you got!

Check out this video for some Moving Image inspiration!

For more information on all Image Quest 2019 categories click here!

How to break into the Top 25!

The Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category saw a first for any Red Bull Illume Image Quest; the public choosing each monthly winner via a community vote. The public votes for their favorite from a shortlist of 25 selected by our internal judges, but what are the judges looking for in a Top 25 image? We asked them…

Two months have flown by and two of the five monthly winners have now been chosen by the public, but before your image can reach this stage it has to catch the eye of our internal judges. The judges are all photographers, but that doesn’t mean they always agree, so what does it take for your image to get unanimous approval and make it into the Top 25? Here are six images from February and March with explanations on why the photo was picked:

1. Aidan Williams

"Color and composition are what was interesting in this picture. Although what really spoke to me above all else, is that this image was captured at the critical moment."

2. Leo Zhukov

"The lines obviously! Glowing lines with the brightest part in the center and the light fall-off to the edges make this a compelling picture. It looks like a photograph that was really made, not just taken. Let's call it 'dynamic lining'!"

3. Tristan Shu

"I liked the composition and the change of perspective. You are looking at the shadows of the real world. Furthermore, the red dot provides great contrast to the white-blue hue of the rest of the picture."

4. Riley Seebeck

"Black and white images always help to set the focus on the object, without distraction from an array of colors. Here this is enhanced and magnified. The flashlight and the few white spots we can see create great dynamic, it grabs your attention and forces you to look again!"

5. Lorenzo Mittiga

"The moment here is given even more impact by the mystical setting. The water, fish and rays of light combine for a natural composition, this can’t be reproduced easily. Many things have to come together to make this shot, but as a photographer, luck is definitely earned and not given!"

6. Dean Barnes

"Playing with the depth-of-field creates the unexpected. The photographer looks underground to create action below the surface. The element of surprise is always refreshing when you are judging a group of thousands of super high-quality images with little to separate them.“

Want to see your image break into the Top 25 this month? Submit to the Best of Instagram by SanDisk April Category NOW!

New for 2019: The Emerging by Red Bull Photography Category

We are pleased to introduce Red Bull Photography as the title sponsor of the new ‘Emerging by Red Bull Photography’ category. If photographers under 25 years old needed any more incentive to enter this category, then look no further; as the category winner will now also be invited to take part in a ‘Red Bull Rising Talent’ workshop.

© Miriam Lottes / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Photography stands for authentic and absorbing imagery telling real stories. Their global education program ‘Red Bull Rising Talent’ has a mission to promote upcoming, Gen Z photography talent which has lead them to become the new title sponsor of the Emerging by Red Bull Photography category for the Image Quest 2019.

Alongside all the benefits of being one of the 11 category winners, the Emerging by Red Bull Photography category winner will now also win an invitation to a workshop with ‘Red Bull Rising Talent’. Participants receive an interactive program full of inspirational lectures, social media training, photography workshops, team building activities as well as a surprising photo challenge.

The winner of the challenge is awarded with the funding of a personal photography project to be produced in cooperation with Red Bull Photography. The ‘Rising Talent’ of 2018 was none other than Miriam Lottes, who was invited to bring her dream project ‘BMXplore Santorini’ to life. To understand the magnitude of the prize, we spoke to Miriam to find out what this meant to her:

"For me personally, it meant a lot. It was the very first time that I got such a positive response and helpful feedback for my work from experienced people in the industry. They showed me that my dream job isn't unachievable and gave me a lot of motivation I honestly have to say, I think learned more in those 4 days than in two years of studying photography!”

The project saw Miriam travel to the Greek island of Santorini for some BMX flatland action with Matthias Dandois. She is now looking forward to entering the Emerging by Red Bull Photography category:

“I'm 22 years old and yes, I'm planning on submitting pictures for the Red Bull Illume. I’m just having a really hard time to decide which ones could have a chance!”

The Emerging by Red Bull Photography category seeks a fresh approach offering new angles. It offers the chance for the next generation of adventure and action sports photographers to make their name heard on a global stage.

If you’re an aspiring talent under 25, get ready to submit your image between May 1 – July 31, 2019 on

For more on Red Bull Photography check out their website.

The March Best of Instagram by SanDisk winner is…

Baptiste Fauchille, with his black and white BMX shot at the bowl of Fillinges, a small French town in Haute-Savoie has been chosen by the public as this month’s winner!

UNICORN WE ARE LEGENDS / Photo by Baptiste Fauchille

© Baptiste Fauchille / Red Bull Illume

The second month of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category saw thousands of submissions, and 25 amazing images were chosen by the Red Bull Illume internal judging panel. The phenomenally high quality of the submissions saw much activity in what turned out to be an incredibly close voting race!

There could be only one winner, and Baptiste’s picture is now confirmed as one of the 55 finalist images of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019. Baptiste has booked his place at the Winner Award Ceremony and is in the running to win the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category, and could even be the overall winner!

So, how does that feel? We asked Baptiste to put it into words:

"Winning seems unreal to me as the other photos were incredible! I will continue to explore my region and take pictures of my friends. And why not try my luck again!”

About the winning shot:

“We were a team of riders, photographers, and videographers, leaving for the very first trip of the new BMX clothing brand linked to the BMX: ‘Unicorn, we are legends’. We travelled for 5 days in the middle of summer, through different spots in different cities; it was a buddies trip with a business goal.

“This photo was taken at the bowl of Fillinges. I remember the heat was insane like it rarely had been in the Alps. When I arrived on the spot the first thought I had in mind was to make a top-shot video with the drone: a fixed plan with a rider who makes his line with the intention of creating a loop. Then I realized that the bowl was really clean: no tags, no dust. I was able to have the rider and his shadow to come out well. I asked Alex Bibollet — one of the riders — to do what he did best, and I immortalized this moment!”

With so many epic submissions in March, huge congratulations go out to Baptiste. Check out a select few in our gallery below, and see all of the Top 25 Images here.

Submissions for April begin Monday April 1, 2019 at noon (CET). Make sure to submit your most-gramworthy moments to the category by simply tagging @redbullillume and #rbi19submission on your post

Emerging Photographer: Dasha Nosova

She may have just made Red Bull Illume history as the first monthly winner of the new Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category, but the success of Dasha Nosova has been building for some time. We spoke to Dasha to find out more about the person behind the pictures and for any photographers out there looking for inspiration, this is a must read!

© Dasha Nosova

Give us a small intro about yourself – who’s the person behind the pictures?

I’ve been living in Moscow, Russia all my life, but I was born in Kazakhstan. I mostly shoot in the US or Europe because the industry and all the right people are there. Whenever I’m in Moscow I either hang with my friends and just rest in between trips, or I shoot some random stuff if I’m the city for longer than a week. Sometimes I don’t even take my camera out the backpack when I’m home. That’s weird. Lack of inspiration, I guess.

So, you just won the Best of Instagram Category in February, how does that feel?

I’m really excited that I have reserved my spot in the finals! I’m now looking forward to submitting my photos to other categories in May, to test them against the judges as well.

Do you use Instagram for your career, or more to have fun and share experiences?

I’d say my Instagram account is a mix of everything. It’s obviously made for fun first and to show all the beautiful locations I get to travel to. I don’t mind posting photos of myself and sharing stories of my friends partying, though I’m pretty selective with what I post.

You made the top 275 of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 at the age of 23, what impact did that have?

Well, it didn’t make me instafamous or anything but it sure did give me some needed motivation to keep doing what I do and gave me a better feeling of what judges are looking for. Also, having a photo printed in the Red Bull Illume book alongside other 274 amazing images simply made me happy. Some friends of mine and people who I didn’t even know would tag me in their stories or send me photos of themselves with the book every once in a while, which was pretty fun.

How did it feel taking on so many established adventure and action sports photographers at such a young age, were you nervous?

I didn’t really stress about other photographers’ submissions. I mean, I expected all those photos to be insane so I just wanted to see how people from a non-snowboard industry would react to my work. Also, I almost blew the submission deadline. That was ridiculous actually. I was on a trip in the mountains when I got a phone call and the guy said ‘Hey Dasha, we saw that you’ve signed up but we don’t see anything submitted from you. And just for your information, we extended the deadline for another 12 hours’. Of course, that was the first thing I did when I got back down to the hotel! I wasn’t sure if any of my photos would make it through, especially when I made a selection so chaotically, but somehow one of them did.

What advice would you give to young photographers that are thinking about entering the new Emerging Category?

Don’t compare your work to other people’s.

From your experience, would you recommend the Image Quest 2019 to young photographers as a way to get noticed?

For sure. Starting with motivation and inspiration that you would get from taking part in this, then some social media hype, and ending with a possible exhibition traveling around the world is all together a great exposure and experience.

Did you choose snowboarding or did snowboarding choose you?

Good question. I’ve never been asked about snowboarding this way. On the one hand, it’s me because I was studying at university and was trying to go snowboard once a month and eventually I escaped and combined snowboarding with photography which led into having a job as an action sports photographer. On the other hand, I didn’t know snowboarding existed until I was 16 years old or so. I quit playing tennis and fell in love with snowboarding after randomly watching some of the snowboard movies and magazines and actually trying to ride down the hill outside of Moscow.

Are you excited to see women making big moves in the sport, both in front of and behind the camera?

Always! Especially in front of the camera. The girls are seeending it these days. So much progress within this winter season, it’s crazy!

Describe a typical day shooting…

I’m gonna describe one of the days from our trip last week; Landed in Sochi, Russia, took a car and drove it across the border to Abkhazia at 7am, just over 2 hours later we were at the lake at the bottom of the mountain, then we got picked up by two sleds where we had another 18km ride deep into the mountains, reached the base at around 12pm. After lunch, we grabbed our snowshoes/splitboards and went up to explore the mountain, got a couple shots and rode back down to the base at 6PM. Then we made a stove, ate dinner, went to bed. We had no hot water due to low water level in the river the whole time we were there so that was quite a challenge. We were seriously in the middle of nowhere with no phone service for 5 days, but I loved it!

See more from Dasha.. follow her on Instagram!

Want to join her in the finals? Submit to Best of Instagram by SanDisk

February Best of Instagram by SanDisk Winner Announced!

The first month of the new category is in the books, the community has voted and we are more than happy to announce the winner: Dasha Nosova! Dasha tells us everything about her shot, and what it means to be the first of the 55 Finalist Images of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest!

© Dasha Nosova / Red Bull Illume

While it’s quite the honor, it’s no surprise for the talented photographer from Moscow, Russia, who focuses mostly on snowboarding. Dasha´s image is now guaranteed to be one of the 55 finalist images from the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019, and she will receive an invitation to the Winner Award Ceremony. She also has the chance to become the category winner and to win the overall contest with this very image.

Check out Dasha's winning image on Instagram:

About the shot:

“We traveled to Folgefonna, Norway for some summer snowboarding, which is kind of a tradition for many of us. That summer it was raining a lot. We were there for seven days and it rained for five days straight, so we basically only had the last two days to shoot anything and just one day to make this jump session happen. 

“This shot was taken during a short one or two-minute window when some light finally broke through the clouds. It was around 11:30pm which is sunset time at this time of year in Norway, so I set up a flash behind the jump to make the rider really pop. Orange and pink skies are pretty typical when shooting at this location, so in the end I was pretty excited to get more of a unique look with the dark clouds in the background. I’m thankful for the stormy weather, and to the guys for still wanting to hit the jump!”

The first month of this category was a success and the new concept is a total hit – there’s already so much incredible stuff to see. From over 3,500 submissions, 25 amazing images were chosen by the Red Bull Illume internal judging panel – including photos shot just a few days before being submitted. See the full shortlist right here!

Submissions for next month begin tomorrow, March 1, 2019 at noon (CET), and the submission phase will last two weeks, followed by a one week voting period.

Want to join Dasha as one of the five monthly winners of the Best of Instagram by SanDisk category? Make sure to submit your most-gramworthy moments to the category by simply tagging @redbullillume and #rbi19submission on your post

The New Red Bull Illume Best of Instagram by SanDisk Category Starts Today!

Submit your most gram-worthy adventure and action sports images on Instagram by tagging @redbullillume and #rbi19submission now!

Photographer: Corey Wilson Red Bull Illume 2016 Category: Spirit Athlete: Mick Fanning Location: O'ahu, Hawaii, USA

Photographer: Corey Wilson Red Bull Illume 2016 Category: Spirit Athlete: Mick Fanning Location: O'ahu, Hawaii, USA

Red Bull Illume, the world´s greatest adventure and action sports imagery contest, returns for a fifth edition with the entirely new Best of Instagram by SanDisk category which starts today! This category is for photographers most gram-worthy moments of show-stopping adventure and action sports submitted on Instagram. This category begins on February 1, 2019 which is three months earlier than the submission phase for the main contest and each month a winner will be chosen by the community. However, and this is important, the category is an essential part of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 and is not separate to the main contest.

From February to June 2019, photographers can submit their images within the first two weeks of each month, from noon on the 1st until noon on the 14th (CET). They only need to tag @redbullillume and use the hashtag #rbi19submission in the caption on their Instagram post. After the submission phase a shortlist of 25 images will enter the public vote (link to page) which is open from noon on the 15th until noon on the 22nd (CET) of each month. The monthly winner will be announced at the end of the month.

Best of Instagram by SanDisk is considered as an official Image Quest 2019 category; the five monthly winning images will automatically qualify as one of the 55 finalist images of the overall contest and will be on display at the Exhibit Tour. Winning photographers will also be invited to the Winner Award Ceremony at the end of November 2019 and have the chance to become the category winner as well as the overall winner of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019.

Remember, Best of Instagram by SanDisk means exactly that; the Best of Instagram.  If a photographer has a great image that’s not best suited to the Instagram category, no problem. From May 1 until July 31, 2019 this image can be submitted to the main contest with 10 other categories that make up the Image Quest 2019.

So, whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer it’s time to submit your images!

Make sure to tag @redbullillume and #rbi19submission to enter!

Red Bull Illume is back! And it’s easier than ever to enter

Red Bull Illume begins again – the contest that was already at the pinnacle of adventure and action sports photography is taking things even higher.

© Chris Burkard / Red Bull Illume

Good news, photography fans: Red Bull Illume returns – and it’s better than ever.  The adventure and action sports imagery contest has evolved – but it’s still the ultimate window into the world of outdoor athletes and the incredible lives of those who document them.

Two incredible new submission categories
There’s two great new categories (yes, including one for video) that bring new challenges to image creators everywhere – and inviting a whole new world of incredible action into the Red Bull Illume ecosystem. The next new category brings some of the best news – it’s easier than ever to enter! For the new Instagram by SanDisk category, with just two tags - @redbullillume and #rbi19submission -on your most gram-worth shots, you’re in – it’s that easy. Learn more here – and start submitting your best Insta stuff ASAP!

Submissions start May 1 – but Instagram by SanDisk starts sooner

For the general contest, the submission period opens on May 1, and ends July 31. As in years past, just register here at to submit your images for the contest. But for the contest category Best of Instagram by SanDisk, you can start tagging and submitting as soon as February 1 – more on that here.

New Partners arrive, good friends return

A contest of this scale simply wouldn’t be possible without some help from our friends – we’re happy to say that Sonyis on board as a major sponsor, specifically for the Innovation by Sony category – as well SanDisk standing strongly behind the Instagram by SanDisk category.

Other sponsors include Skylum – producers of next-generation photo-editing software – and photography accessory and apparel brand COOPH.

The categories of competition

One of the defining marks that set Red Bull Illume apart as a photo contest was the unique categories for submission. These carefully chosen themes helped shape the atmosphere of the contest, challenged photographers, and helped judges narrow down their selections from thousands of incredible images.

2019 Categories

  • Creative
  • Energy
  • Innovation by Sony
  • Playground
  • Wings
  • Spirit
  • Masterpiece
  • Moving Images
  • Instagram by SanDisk
  • Raw
  • Emerging

A quick note: Raw is a category for images is aptly named after industry term for files ‘straight out of camera’ – RAW. Distilling the requirements means no post-processing – so it’s all about it getting the shot, in camera. Composition, exposure, timing. How good can you get?

The Emerging category is something we’re particularly excited about – it’s for content creators aged 25 and under, who we believe bring a fresh new look to photography and imaging.

Red Bull Illume – now every two years & global exhibitions

2019 marks the fifth edition of the contest, which began in 2006. We’re happy to announce that Red Bull Illume will now happen a little more regularly – with submission phases opening up every other year, with exhibition years following. Exhibitions will be more global than ever before, with three tours running in parallel, including both the famous nighttime outdoor exhibitions, and the new indoor exhibitions – all touching down in capitals and cultural hubs worldwide.

The best Red Bull Illume yet

With all these changes – plus all the stunning images Red Bull Illume photographers have been shooting over the last 2.5 years – we’re absolutely confident this will be the best Red Bull Illume yet. So, don’t waste any time – start shooting and gathering your images for submission now – and maybe drop a couple into the Best of Instagram category right away!

For up-to-date information on the Best of Instagram, make sure you're following Red Bull Illume!

Infographic: Your guide to Red Bull Illume 2019!

The Red Bull Illume Image Quest is back for more! With new categories, new submission dates and more. To help you keep up, we have put everything you need to know in 2019 into one handy infographic!

For up to the minute updates - follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Youtube!