EyeEm Awards: Founder of Red Bull Illume Ulrich Grill Tells Us What Makes a Great Shot

By Guest Author - 4 min read

Expert in adventure and action photography Ulrich Grill knows a thing or two about what makes a photo catch attention. As one of this year's EyeEm Awards jury members Ulrich shares his advice on capturing outstanding moments and epic landscapes.

Ulrich’s vast experience in creative direction and visual storytelling equips him with industry insights that’ll make all the difference when you’re creating an epic shot–whether it be sports photography or landscape photography.

Having founded Red Bull Illume over a decade ago, Ulrich has become familiar with the power of imagery. He has worked on campaigns with global brands such as Braun, Leica, Gore-Tex, Yodabashi and many more, through his advertising and communication agency – Zooom Productions. Keep reading to hear Ulrich’s ultimate tips for making your photos stand out from the crowd.

Enter your photos to The Great Outdoors awards category to not only win €1000 and a but also automatically become a Red Bull Illume Image Quest Finalist!

How to Capture ‘Greatness’ in a Photo

My photographic career started in the great outdoors – actually, high above it! – taking pictures from my hang glider. So you could say when it comes to ‘The Great Outdoors’, I have a pretty good view point. As a judge for this year’s EyeEm Awards category, it’s worth noting that I’m not going to be looking just for drone shots – far from it.

“if it makes me feel like I am already there, then it’s truly an incredible image.”

Man standing on dc-3 airplane against aurora borealis at night

So, what am I looking for?

There’s a lot of things that go into making a great photo – sharp focus, great light. Composition is incredibly, incredibly important – your photo can have all the right parts, but if they’re not in the right place, it’s not going to be a compelling image – period. You don’t have to follow the rules – although if you’re going to break them, you’ve got to do it right.

View of volcanic landscape against cloudy sky

1. Chase After a New Perspective

What I’m looking for is a new perspective and honest, authentic, storytelling – and in the best case, both of them together. I want to be surprised and inspired.

When it comes to nature photography, a photo is great if it makes me want to be right there, right now – but if it makes feel like I am already there, then it’s truly an incredible image.


Don’t forget the subject matter – the world is full of places. Sure, some fantastic photographers can make something incredible out of the mundane – but honestly, that’s not what this is about.

“Use your feet – put yourself in places people wish they could get to, having experiences they want to have.”


2. Look For Something Epic

It’s about the great outdoors. It’s a celebration of all that’s amazing about our planet earth and the adventures people have in it. So don’t hold back! Go out and aim – literally, aim your camera – at something truly epic. Make it stunning, show-stopping, breath-taking…and make it great.

Rock formation seen through window
Scenic view of clouds over mountain

3. Move Your Feet

Shooting outdoor and nature material requires you to be incredibly creative in your composition, planning, angles, location. In the studio, you can adapt your light and subject matter however you like – but you can’t move a mountain or cut down a tree (really, you shouldn’t cut down a tree) just for your photo, so you’ve got to really work for it! My advice to photographers looking for that shot? Use your feet – put yourself in places people wish they could get to, having experiences they want to have.

Scenic view of sea against sky

Maybe that means an early start to catch the sun rise, or waiting for the light to fall on the far side of the valley at just the right moment in the late evening, or hiking to the top of a mountain, but from what photography has taught me about life – even if you don’t get a contest-winning image, it’s always worth it!

See the full brief and submit your photos to The Great Outdoor awards category to get more exposure for your photography, win cash prizes, and become one of Red Bull Illume’s Image Quest Finalists!

High angle view of snow covered land
Low angle view of snow on mountain against sky