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Red Bull Illume

The photographer as the artist. That’s the thinking that drove us to create Red Bull Illume – the most well-renowned imagery contest in the adventure and action sports world. As these incredible athletes earned their place on the world’s stage, so should the people who tell their stories – the photographers who go to the most extreme lengths possible to create images that grab your eye and capture your imagination. Every edition brings out the most captivating images on the planet that celebrate the passion, lifestyle, and culture of this world and the people that play in it.

zooom has been there from the beginning, but like… right from the very beginning. Red Bull Illume was started by our founder Ulrich Grill in 2006, and together with Red Bull it has become like the ‘Oscars of adventure and action sports photography’. We’ve been creating everything from concepts, to graphics, text and video assets, building media relations and doing the event organization. We run it from A to Z.

Over the last decade, Red Bull Illume has evolved to become so much more than an imagery contest. Content creators from all around the world submit thousands of images and videos from which the best ones were crowned at the unique Winner Award Ceremonies. It is also a cultural event with incredible exhibitions, as the winning images travel the world, displayed on 2x2m lightboxes in some of the globe’s most incredible cities.

The contest returned in 2023 for its seventh edition and Australian photographer Krystle Wright took home the overall winner title for her extraordinary picture of a climber illuminated in a crack deep within Long Canyon, Utah, United States.  Wright was the first female photographer to take home the Overall Winner Trophy and join the illustrious list of Red Bull Illume Winners.

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Overall Winner 2023 © Krystle Wright / Red Bull Illume
red bull illume overall winner 2021
Overall Winner 2021 © Will Saunders / Red Bull Illume
red bull illume overall winner 2019
Overall Winner 2019 © Ben Thouard / Red Bull Illume
red bull illume overall winner 2013
Overall Winner 2013 © Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume
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Overall Winner 2016 © Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume
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Overall Winner 2010 © Chris Burkard / Red Bull Illume
red bull illume overall winner 2007
Overall Winner 2007 © Fred Mortagne / Red Bull Illume

Submissions from all over the world

Image Quest 2023

Content creators could submit their work into ten categories, each with their own criteria which were submitted via redbullillume.com or on Instagram by tagging @redbullillume and #rbi23submission. There were 10 different categories for creators to submit to, showing the variety of adventure and action sports photography. From the mind-blowing submissions to Innovation by MPB, to highlighting younger photographers in Emerging with Canon to the quieter moments in the Lifestyle by COOPH category, there is a category for every creator.

A judging panel of 52 renowned photo editors and photo experts selected the 50 finalists, 10 category winners and the overall winner which were unveiled at the Winner Award Ceremony in Sölden, Austria.

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Unprecedented level of exposure

Winner Award Ceremony

Red Bull Illume is considered ‘the Oscars of adventure and action sports imagery’ – and there‘s an Oscars-level party when it‘s time for the unveiling of all the winners. It’s the event that content creators get excited about as everyone gains immense exposure while their work is shared with the world. It is also a gathering of the most influential people from the industry and in past editions business relationships and close friendships have been forged. 

In 2021 the pandemic forced us to hold a virtual Winner Award Ceremony that’s why we wanted to make the 2023 one extra special. The 3-day event took place in the world-famous ski resort Sölden, Austria, from November 28 – 30, 2023, and the top 50 photographers, judges, athletes and selected media were invited.

There was an action-packed schedule including interactive workshops hosted by our partners, inspiring talks by previous winners, and social get togethers. For the creators it was a unique opportunity to be with their peers. Creating can be a solitary experience, with hours in the field shooting and behind a monitor editing, so when the finalists had the chance to meet, share ideas and inspiration they made the most of it. 

We at zooom have experience hosting events in one-of-a-kind locations. Previously, we held Winner Award Ceremonies in Aspen, Dublin, Hong Kong, Chicago and in LUMEN – Museum of Mountain Photography at Kronplatz in South Tyrol. So the snow-capped peaks and stunning vistas of Sölden were a fitting venue for the Winner Award Ceremony. The finalist images were displayed in the resort village on the unique outdoor lightboxes until the end of December 2023.

zooom news 2024 red bull illume behind the scences image contacts reached
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impressions from the past
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red bull illume winner award ceremony 2019
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impressions from the past

Indoor & Outdoor exhibit tour

After the Winner Award Ceremony, all finalist images are presented around the globe, travelling to capitals and cultural hubs as part of a unique and standalone exhibition. The top 50 images are presented on 2x2m lightboxes as a unique way to experience such breathtaking photography. The Exhibit Tour kicked off with an outdoor showcase directly after the Winner Award Ceremony in Sölden, the Berlin Travel Festival and Hangar-7 were the next stops. In 2024 the world’s best adventure and action sports images are presented in 15 SES Spar European Shopping Centers in Austria, Italy and Slovenia. 

On top of these tour stops, there is a permanent exhibit in the Red Bull Media World in Lucerne, Switzerland and in the LUMEN – Museum of Mountain Photography in South Tirol. Then in 2024 the images will go on tour, illuminating venues across Europe and beyond. In the past we have exhibited the finalist images at venues across the United States such as Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, CO and Miami Beach, FL as well as Baku, Azerbaijan and Tokyo, Japan.

We are still planning more tour stops for the most recent edition of the contest. Interested in hosting an exhibition with the finalists of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2023? Reach out to us now!

Prepare to be inspired by the world's greatest adventure and action sports imagery.

Making great images go global

Digital distribution

The Red Bull Illume Image Quest is the ultimate opportunity for adventure and action sports photographers to gain international recognition for their captivating images. With that in mind, zooom strategized a communications campaign that targeted everyone from the seasoned pros to the novice content creators through social media and the press – specifically within the photography, adventure and actions sports, and news communities.

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Contest Portal, Content Hub

A website for an event like Red Bull Illume isn't just your regular website. It's an exercise in complex data asset management, user experience, and community building. And that's not even getting technical. 

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Key Features

  • Designed for still and moving images
  • ­­­­Manage unlimited contests in one ­­place
  • Add unlimited categories and phases to your contest
  • Customize your voting process
  • Single-Sign-On capable
  • Bulk submissions, CSV and assets bulk download
  • Customizable to your needs
  • Detailed KPIs overview and CSV download
  • Integrated e-mail system
  • Different built in voting types
  • Simple and advanced search features
  • End consumer, judges and editor interface


Limited Edition photo book

On top of organizing the entire contest, the Winner Award Ceremony, and the exhibit tour, zooom designs and distributes the limited edition Red Bull Illume Photobook for each edition. The high-quality coffee table book, each individually numbered and stamped, features the top 250 images including the stories behind the incredible images and biographies of the top 50 finalists.

There are still limited quantities left of the 2023 Photobooks available at store.cooph.com.



We’re full of ideas and ready for any challenge; no matter how big or small to fulfill your brands needs in the industry of adventure and action sports photography. Jump onboard and together we’ll make great things happen. We have in the past partnered with renowned brands from the photo, tech and sports industries such as SanDisk, broncolor, Lenovo, Yodobashi, EyeEm and Black Diamond. To name a few.

Reach out to us and see how far illuminating imagery can elevate your vision.
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