Choosing the Right Category
With only a couple of weeks until submissions open, we take a closer look at the different categories to help photographers decide where to submit their images. Below, we describe each one, and also provide a gallery with prime examples from the 10 categories.
Images that visually capture the creativity of the lifestyle, music and culture that surrounds action and freesports, or represents what happens before, between, and after the action.
Images that showcase the landscapes, locations, platforms, and environments in which athletes play.
Images that demonstrate the force that powers an action and show the energy, speed and strength required for an athlete to perform.
Images that portray the spirit or personality that athletic performances produce, as well as the pain, emotion and struggles that go along with trying to achieve one's goals, whether due to injury, failure or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Images that show extreme detail of one or more aspects of an athletic feat: a tight shot of the action, the equipment, the body, the face, etc.
Images that capture the point in a performance in which the athlete jumps, catches air, free falls, soars.
Images that tell the whole story in a single frame and capture the progression of an action at every stage.
Images that reveal a unique angle, a visual idea, a different format, light and flash effects... something never seen before! It's the purely creative image without digital alterations.
Images that have been enhanced digitally or in the darkroom through alterations made in the production or digital editing process.
Images that illuminate your artistic skill, your personal best, your unique style; this is an open category so anything goes - give us your best shot!
Check out the gallery below for some examples from each category...
Read the latest stories
The Illume Effect: Jody MacDonald
In a brand-new series leading up to Red Bull Illume 2016, we sit down with notable former finalists and photographers to find out more about the impact the contest has had on their careers. First up is adventure sport photographer Jody MacDonald, who had two images in the Top 50 and another in the Top 250 in 2013. Here's what she had to say:
Has Red Bull Illume made any difference to your career?
"The great thing about Red Bull Illume is that it validates you as a professional photographer to the outside world. People definitely perceive you more as a professional and because of that you’re simply more inclined to get more work."
Did you get more assignments?
"I would most definitely say it did! It gave me a lot more exposure. I did a lot of interviews and it got more people interested in featuring my work. But what it really does? It catapults your photography into the mainstream in a way that’s hard to do otherwise. Red Bull has such a broach reach."
Can you give an example?
"It’s not a quantifiable thing but Red Bull Illume has definitely had something to do with a couple of projects I’m working on, including a trip I’m about to go on."
Tell us more…
"I can’t! I signed an NDA but it’s a trip in Africa."
What’s your view on Red Bull Illume photography as a whole?
"I’m a photographer. It’s candy for me! Over the years the caliber has gone up and up. It’s the best of the best."
So will you enter again?
"Yes. I have one image that I know for sure I’ll submit."
What’s the secret to an image doing well?
"It has to be well thought through. It can’t just be a lucky shot, that percentage is so small now. It has to be one of the best shots of your entire career! It’s like that quote; ‘you’re lucky if you take 10 great shots in your lifetime’. Those are the ones that go into Red Bull Illume."
Lastly, what’s your own favorite image?
"That one where you got to see the whole dune. That photo encapsulates that whole experience in Mozambique. I love the colors, and it has a bit of meaning for me."
View some of Jody’s images in the gallery and find out more about her work on her website or Facebook page.
The world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest is back and better than before with the addition of a new mobile category. Find all information here and mark Dec 1, 2015 on your calendars! That's when submissions open.
Visit the Red Bull Illume Facebook page for regular updates.
Scratching the Serfas: Shooting Red Bull Joyride 2015
Legendary Red Bull action photographer Scott Serfas recently headed to Whistler, Canada to shoot mountain biking’s biggest contest – Red Bull Joyride. See how he went to work.
Combining elements of slopestyle, dirt jump and North Shore-style mountain biking, Red Bull Joyride fuses together rough natural terrain with man-made elements to create one of the most challenging slopestyle courses on the planet.
"Being able to shoot this event is an amazing opportunity. All the best guys from all over the world are here, and it's the contest that means the most to them, so it's definitely cool to be a part of it."
With an event like Red Bull Joyride, Serfas likes to let the athletes do their thing, while during other events, there's a lot more coordination between the athlete and the photographer.
“Every event is different. During a competition like Joyride, I don’t say anything to them – they just want to win, the last thing they are concerned about is getting a good photo. I'm just there to document what happens," says Serfas.
“But then for another event like Uncontainable, Drew and I spoke a lot about what angles were good and what kind of tricks he should think about doing. I'll offer up some suggestions but leave it in the athletes' hands to make the final call. We work together to create a great shot."
Joined by photography partners in crime, Jussi Grznar and Mason Mashon, Serfas and his crew scoped every possible vantage point to find the best angles to capture the 2-hour event.
“I try to put the athletes in a good spot in the frame, and shoot from an angle that represents what they are doing in a proper way and then make an interesting photo around that. I really try to emphasize what they are doing – I am not doing abstract art."
With a sea of 25,000 fans, the biggest tricks and pure athlete emotion on display – the event was a real challenge to shoot. But with the skilled Mr. Serfas behind the lens, the results look amesome.
Check out the image gallery to the right or take a peek at the video here.
Scott Serfas is also a former Red Bull Illume Image Quest Category Winner – find out more about Red Bull Illume 2016.
You can also head to Scott’s website for more of his work.
In A Flash with Leo Rosas Morin: Bringing Skateboarding and Light Painting Together
In our first video for the brand-new 'In a Flash' series, photographer Leo Rosas Morin takes you through combining the worlds of light painting and skateboarding photography, with a little help from skateboarders Philipp Josephu and Max Geiselbrechtinger.
The Art of Shooting Underwater Portraits
In our latest Throwback video, photographer Jean Luis De Heeckeren visits Austria and tries something new – an underwater photo shoot with Red Bull kayaker Viktoria Wolffhardt. Supported by Red Bull photographers, De Heeckeren steps outside his photographic comfort zone and tests out some new concepts. Watch the BTS from the shoot and see how he handles it!
Jimmy Chin on capturing moments no one else can
“I had this sense that life is really short… even when I was young, it just seemed like I didn’t have that much time. And there was this urgency to live in a meaningful way – in a way that made sense to you.”
What made ‘sense’ to Jimmy Chin, was to become a world-class climber, adventure junky and extreme photographer. Check out this behind the scenes video of Jimmy as he talks about what drives him to tackle the world's most difficult expeditions with his camera in hand.
You can also visit Jimmy’s website here, or follow him on Facebook here.