Cooperative of Photography

Breaking down the categories of Red Bull Illume and how to enter


The Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 is an imagery contest made up of 11 different parts – the categories. They are influential in the judges’ selection – so choosing the right one is essential! Your image could be a winner in one category, but not even make the finals in another. So, let’s break down each category to help you decide which one best fits your photographic style before you submit!

Best of Instagram by SanDisk

BOI, © Jeremy Bernard / Red Bull illume© Jeremy Bernard / Red Bull illume

This year Red Bull Illume introduced the opportunity for you to submit your images via Instagram. Starting ahead of the main contest submission phase, four out of five monthly winners have already been chosen. Unlike the other categories, this is your last chance to enter! Submissions close on June 14th at midday (CEST) – so find out how to submit here!

Innovation by Sony

innovation, © Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Illume© Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Illume

A new category: Innovation by Sony. Nowadays with so many photography websites and apps available, we see more images each day than ever before. So how can you find something truly ‘innovative’ to submit to this category? Read more here and submit!

Creative by Skylum

creative, © Teddy Morellec / Red Bull Illume© Teddy Morellec / Red Bull Illume

Creativity doesn’t end in-camera. The Creative by Skylum category is the only one that allows image manipulation and total creative freedom in your post-processing endeavors. Anything goes, so let your imagination run wild in this one!

Masterpiece by EyeEm

masterpiece, © Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume© Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume

This category speaks for itself, submit your best shot! Show us your artistic skill, your personal best, your unique style, submit now!

Moving Image


Images are no longer standing still. The Moving Image category is an open playing field for video sequences between 5 and 30 seconds. Ready… set… action!

Emerging by Red Bull Photography

emerging, © Olaf Pignataro / Red Bull Illume© Olaf Pignataro / Red Bull Illume

A fresh approach offers new angles. The up-and-coming category is for rising talents to compete on similar footing – submissions accepted only from photographers 25 years old or less. No video, no image manipulation. Show us your greatest capture!



The key points here are that images must be straight out of the camera! Composition, exposure, lighting done in front of the lens and in the scene, not behind a screen. That’s the RAW category – un-cropped, un-touched, no filter!


energy, © Sterling Lorence / Red Bull Illume© Sterling Lorence / Red Bull Illume

Images that demonstrate the force that powers an action and show the energy, speed and strength required for an athlete to perform.


lifestyle, © Jody MacDonald / Red Bull Illume© Jody MacDonald / Red Bull Illume

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.


playground, © Vincent Perraud / Red Bull Illume© Vincent Perraud / Red Bull Illume

The Playground category is a dedicated category for epic images showcasing not only the athlete, but the landscapes, locations, platforms, and environments in which they play.


wings, © Micky Wiswedel / Red Bull Illume© Micky Wiswedel / Red Bull Illume

Images that capture the point in a performance in which the athlete jumps, catches air, free falls, soars.

So, what does it mean to win Red Bull illume? Well, the 64 finalists will earn a place at the Winner Award Ceremony in November 2019; a gathering of the most influential photography people in the world. They’ll also gain immense exposure as their images tour around the world in the Global Exhibit Tour and be featured in the limited-edition Coffee Table Book.

In addition, the 11 category winners and 1 overall winner will share a bundle of prizes worth over €100,000 including the latest cameras from Sony, storage solutions from SanDisk, COOPH apparel and accessories and much, much more!

Now you've picked the best category for your adventure and action sportsimage, it's time to submit to the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019! 

Written by Lukas Schulz

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