The Capture Awards 2023: Winners announced

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of The Capture Awards 2023.

Showcasing exceptional work by Australian and New Zealand professional photographers, the inaugural competition attracted more than 700 entries.

Thank you to all those who took the time to share their work over the six categories: Advertising & Fashion; Documentary & Street; Landscape & Environment; Portrait & People; Wedding & Event; and Video & Film.

Winners and runners-up share in $26,000 worth of prizes, including $10,000 cash and products from our sponsors OM System, SanDisk Professional, Godox, Synology, Leofoto, MSI and Kudos Cameras

You can see more images from the competition in the latest issue of Capture, including the Top 10 finalists from each of the still-image categories. The magazine will be available to subscribers and in newsstands in the coming days, or digitally at now.

Winners and runners-up from the six categories appear below.


Michael Oulton 'Geoff Toogood' – winner of Portrait & People category
Michael Oulton, 'Geoff Toogood' – Winner, Portrait & People.

Winner: Michael Oulton
Entry: Geoff Toogood

Melbourne-based photographer Michael Oulton captured this photo of cardiologist Geoff Toogood while on a job for mental health advocate Beyond Blue.

 “I was there to get some portraits and behind-the-scenes images for a short documentary they were creating with some of their ambassadors. Geoff has an incredible story working as a cardiologist, battling his own mental health issues and using ocean swimming as part of his toolkit to manage his mental health.”

“As much as I like to plan and consider lighting, this was a case of being in the right place at the right time, so we used a reflector as a bit of fill but that was it. While the documentary crew were shooting, I was noticing that at certain points the sunlight would hit his face in a certain way and catch in his eye. Once the film crew finished, I jumped in and asked Geoff to face a particular way to catch the light I had seen earlier.

Rebecca McMillan 'A Royal Family Portrait' – runner-up in Portrait & People category
Rebecca McMillan, 'A Royal Family Portrait' – Runner-up, Portrait & People.

Runner-up: Rebecca McMillan
Entry: A Royal Family

For New Zealand photographer Rebecca McMillan ‘A Royal Family’ was a dream commission. The shoot was part of a 50th birthday celebration for Dairne (right hand, brown suit) who wanted to mix up the gender roles for a family portrait inspired by Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums characters.

“The project was a collaboration between stylist Daisy Marcuzzi, and makeup artist Amy McLennan, and of course Dairne’s family who all agreed to the vibe of this shoot,” says McMillan.

“The biggest challenge of project managing this shoot was sourcing a bird, and I have a new appreciation for the craft of taxidermy and the community of collectors in Wellington! I love that this portrait feels like a hybrid of a family photo and a movie poster: A Royal Cinematic Portrait.”   


  1. Michael Oulton – Geoff Toogood
  2. Rebecca McMillan – A Royal Family
  3. Forough Yavari – Serenity
  4. Sacha Stejko – Jima
  5. Klint Collier – John the Carpenter
  6. Forough Yavari – Lily
  7. Heidi Margocsy – Reverie
  8. Jasmine Skye – Metamorphosis
  9. Brian Cassey – Voices: 100 Years & 3 Weeks
  10. Mauro Cantelmi – The Ray of Life


Gavin Libotte 'Opera' – winner of Documentary & Street category
Gavin Libotte, 'Opera' – Winner, Documentary & Street.

Winner: Gavin Libotte
Entry: Opera

“I noticed a person posing to have their photo taken and they were lit up by a beam of sunlight,” says Gavin Libotte, winner of the Documentary & Street category. “I immediately ran over to the scene and framed the subject in the Opera House sail. Fortuitously, a group of three people in the background started dancing which gave a bit of drama and a new perspective to the layering.

“When people are engaged in an activity they don’t notice you. This technique of focusing on the audience has been developed by Martin Parr and provides a wonderful insight into a world that we usually don’t notice.

“When I shoot street, I prefer a 28mm as it lets me fit more elements into the frame. I am constantly developing my technique to get closer to subjects and still remain unnoticed, trying not to disturb people or the scene.”

Luke O'Shea 'Two Stories, One Shot'– runner-up in Documentary & Street category
Luke O'Shea, 'Two Stories, One Shot' – Runner-up, Documentary & Street.

Runner-up: Luke O’Shea
Entry: Two stories, one shot

“Trail and ultra running has experienced a huge surge in popularity this year,” says Sydney-based sports and event photographer Luke O’Shea.

“The Western States Endurance Run has garnered a huge amount of media attention – every brand or media outlet had someone capturing the action, and it was a challenge to find a different viewpoint from the rest of the media pack. I love this image as it not only captures the semi-dispassionate media scrum but also the heart-warming image of Anthony Costales being tackled by his daughter after crossing the line in third place.”


  1. Gavin Libotte – Opera
  2. Luke O'Shea – Two Stories, One Shot
  3. Tebani Slade – Bubble Fun
  4. Melissa Crisa – Coming & Going
  5. Gavin Libotte – First Wave
  6. Melissa Crisa – Cart Mania
  7. Daniel Hassett – Swanston St
  8. Clement Chua – Melbourne
  9. Tebani Slade – Bangla Road
  10. Aiden Williams – Skyward Serenity


Forough Yavari 'Lily' – winner of Advertising & Fashion category
Forough Yavari, 'Lily' – Winner, Advertising & Fashion.

Winner: Forough Yavari
Entry: Lily

“’Lily’ is from a collection of images from a fashion concept that delves into the impact objects have on our bodies,” says Melbourne-based portrait and fashion photographer Farough Yavari.

“These objects act as both shields and enhancers – highlighting beauty while also concealing or revealing aspects of youth, health and life experience,” she says.

“By using sculpted forms that mould to the body shapes, we celebrate the interplay between ourselves and the material realm. This allows us to redefine how we perceive ourselves through fashion and embrace the interconnected nature of existence.”

To create these objects Yavari used different materials, shaping them around the subjects, each with a unique and distinctive form.

Benny Capp 'Carlo's Cabin' – runner-up in Advertising & Fashion Category
Benny Capp, 'Carlo's Cabin' – Runner-up, Advertising & Fashion.

Runner Up: Benny Capp
Entry: Carlo’s Cabin

“This was from a campaign called ‘Fractures’ for Dairy Australia,” says Advertising & Fashion Runner-Up Benny Capp. “It focussed on the importance of seniors getting enough dairy in their diet to keep their bones healthy and strong.

“For Carlo’s set, the brief was to create a fisherman’s cabin. My set decorator Marty Manca and I decided on a light-coloured wooden slat wall that wouldn’t be too dominant and would make the dressings and our hero sing. Hues of blue and brown were used for the elements, which we pushed slightly in post to offset the rest of the muted tones. This gave us a hyper-realistic look that treads the line between a set build and a real life location.

“The lighting was straightforward – a large 180x120 soft box overhead, punching through a one-stop scrim on a 12 x 12, then balancing the soft light with a harder light from a beauty dish and grid to give Carlo’s face specular highlights and dimension. I shot on a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II D with a Phase One IQ180 digital back. Manually focusing with bellows is incredibly slow and finicky but the end results are always beautiful.”


  1. Forough Yavari – Lily
  2. Benny Capp – Carlo's Cabin
  3. Vaughan Brookfield – Weather Anything
  4. Tanja Bruckner – Louis – New Face
  5. Benny Capp – Big 4 Holiday Parks
  6. Forough Yavari – Calla Lily
  7. Kane Feaver – Beige
  8. Damon Cameron – The Unquieted
  9. Catherine Black Il – Dolce Far Niente
  10. Benny Capp – Drive Your Dad to Tears


Paul Hoelen 'Interlaced' – winner of Landscape & Environment category
Paul Hoelen, 'Interlaced' – Winner, Landscape & Environment.

Winner: Paul Hoelen
Entry: Interlaced

Paul Hoelen captured this image through the open window of a Cessna 182 on a recent trip to Iceland’s wild southern coast.

“I’d been waiting 20 years to get a chance to photograph it,” says Hoelen. “I’d spent months researching locations, flight plans and finding the right pilot, but when it finally revealed itself after waiting through eight days of unflyable weather conditions, it was well worth the wait!

“The milky blue glacial melt meandering over the dark volcanic sands of the broad southern river deltas provides arguably one the world’s greatest platforms for abstract aerial imagery.

“Good communication with the pilot, spatial awareness, and timing are critical, as you only have a second or two at the relative ground speed to nail your composition. On most Cessna’s you’re shooting through wing and wheel struts, as I was here, and I find a 50mm focal length shoots through the gaps nicely. I always photograph out of an open window or door to maximise optical clarity, but the pressure of the wind speed roaring past the open window at 200km/h is intense – so you need a firm grip and a fast shutter speed, and in a cold area like this – some very good gloves! Settings wise, I usually aim for 1/1600-1/2000s when I can, f5.6 or above depending on how oblique the shot is for depth of field and then adjust ISO as needed.”

Rebecca Kempton 'Last Light' – runner-up in Landscape & Environment category
Rebecca Kempton, 'Last Light' – Runner-up, Landscape & Environment.

Runner-up: Rebecca Kempton
Entry: Last Light

“We were driving to Hawkes Bay and we turned a corner on a hilly descent to see the most incredible light and layers in the landscape,” says Rebecca Kempton recalling a recent family holiday in New Zealand. “My family are very used to me now shouting out to pull over, camera already in my hand, and running to get the perfect place to capture the scene. 

“I only had about 10 minutes before the magic disappeared. I knew I wanted to photograph the landscape using movement but only minimally so as to maintain the flow and shape of the hills, while keeping the texture in the grass valleys and sky.”


  1. Paul Hoelen – Interlaced
  2. Rebecca Kempton – Last Light
  3. Mattia Panunzio – Bungin Island
  4. Martin Leitich – Boardwalk
  5. Paul Dodd – Cabbage Crop
  6. Meike Boynton – Folded Earth
  7. Carly Soderstrom – The Edge of Golden Hour
  8. Paul Hoelen – Pierced
  9. Shaz Spannenburg – Melted Ice-cream
  10. Julie Kenny – James Price Point


Chris Jallard 'Sunset Kiss' – winner of Wedding & Event category
Chris Jallard, 'Sunset Kiss' – Winner, Wedding & Event.

Winner: Chris Jallard
Entry: Sunset Kiss

The weather had not promised much before South Coast wedding photographer Chris Jallard captured this shot. “We had the most dreadful day with wind and rain”, he recalls. “Later, inside at the reception we watched the storm pass us by and we had only a few minutes to escape to get down to the beach for portraits before the sun set. Initially the sky was a bit drab and lacklustre but it changed right on cue just as we stepped poolside. 

“Normally I’d prefer something like a good reflection in the water of the couple, but this swimmer was doing his laps and I thought, ‘What could be more iconic than someone swimming at one of our ocean pools with surf breaking in the background.’ It’s so unmistakably Australian. It was just down to timing to get the composition right, the swimmer in a good position and breathing the right way and Emma and Tom finally having their moment.”

Mauro Cantelmi 'The Accidental Photo' – runner-up in Wedding & Event category
Mauro Cantelmi, 'The Accidental Photo' – Runner-up, Wedding & Event.

Runner-up: Mauro Cantelmi
Entry: The Accidental Photo

“I’ve always loved working with light and harsh shadows,” says Melbourne-based wedding photographer Mauro Cantelmi. “Using the corridor, I was able to funnel a hand-held light to highlight the groom by using his shadow only. I had noticed the door was half open, so I fully opened it to catch the double reflection.

“I knew from this moment it needed something more so I asked the groom to take his jacket off, placing it on the light fixture. Then I finessed the image by asking the groom to rotate his body so I could get the perfect silhouette. It almost goes unnoticed, but there is also the element of the groom holding the wedding rings.


  1. Chris Jallard – Sunset Kiss
  2. Mauro Cantelmi – The Accidental Photo
  3. Lucy McGoldrick – Shake that bottle and make it pop!
  4. Mauro Cantelmi – The Kiss
  5. Briars Atlas – Reception Moment
  6. Mauro Cantelmi – Our Little Baby
  7. Briars Atlas – Wedding Prep
  8. Melissa Crisa – Captured
  9. Hank Paul – Women's World Cup
  10. Mauro Cantelmi – The Kings


Jeff Livingstone, 'Cumulus Kununurra' – Winner, Video & Film
Jeff Livingstone, 'Cumulus Kununurra' – Winner, Video & Film

Winner: Jeff Livingstone
Entry: Cumulus Kununurra

Gavin Libotte, 'Burbujas' – Runner-up, Video & Film.
Gavin Libotte, 'Burbujas' – Runner-up, Video & Film.

Runner-up: Gavin Libotte
Entry: Burbujas


Across the board your submissions were fascinating, beautiful, insightful, unique, emotive and sometimes funny. Thank you to all those who took the time to share their work.

Thank you too to the incredible international photographers and industry experts who comprised this year’s judging panel: Howard Schwarz, Susan Stripling, Scott Johnson, Cinzia Bruschini, The Kitcheners, Ron Haviv, Christina House, and Matthew Joseph. We strongly recommend you check out their work at the links above.

We’d also like to thank our sponsors for their incredible generosity and commitment to supporting Australian professional photographers. Thanks to OM System, SanDisk Professional, Godox, Synology, Leofoto, MSI and Kudos Cameras.

The Capture Awards will open for entries again in mid-2024.

The Capture Awards would not be possible without the support of these companies.

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