2020 virtual EDITION

November 2020 JUDGES 








judges round 3.jpg

2020 virtual EDITION  july 2020 JUDGES 

2020 virtual EDITION May 2020 JUDGES 


Priyanca Rao

Priyanca has an incredible eye for the unexpected, and her images are bold and emotive, whether she's documenting a family or a shooting a wedding.


As one of the top wedding photographers in New York City, she runs Priyanca Rao Photography, travelling worldwide to deliver epic images to her lucky clients.


When she is not photographing weddings, you can find her on the streets of New York City, photographing people. She also enjoys mentoring, and is an educator who is passionate about helping other photographers refine their art.


Jeff Cooke

Halifax photographer Jeff Cooke has a cinematic eye. He appreciates mood-shaping lighting, unique compositions, vivid colors and jawdropping visual effects ... elements of a film that layer together to create a beautifully constructed scene that compliments a story. Great filmmaking is just one of the many things that inspires him as a visual artist. 


Jeff says, "It took me years to be comfortable with the idea that I could be different, do something extraordinary, and simply be me, embrace my weirdness and my quirks, and the right people will be attracted to that."


gabriel c. Perez

Gabriel is a Venezuelan-born and American-raised photojournalist living in Austin, TX where he produces photo and video for the local NPR affiliates KUT News, KUTX Music and the Texas Standard. 


His background in visual storytelling lies in photojournalism - he received an MA in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a freelance photo/video journalist prior to becoming staff at Austin's NPR stations.  Photojournalism has the power to appeal to us on aesthetic and emotional levels as well as through the stories of the people, communities and news around us; in his work, Gabriel's goal is to share those stories responsibly.

2020 virtual EDITION March 2020 JUDGES 


Megan Allen

Sony Alpha Female Creator in Residence Megan Allen is the creative force behind Studio 22 Photography. A total creative powerhouse. Megan is a wizard with inventive lighting and mag mods, and has the ability to create jaw-dropping images out of everyday surroundings. Not only an impressive photographer, she is truly an adventurer at heart, and her infectious enthusiasm and love of creative photography is a great match for Photo Fantastico.

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 6.54.09 PM.png

Jeff newsome

California wedding photographer Jeff Newsom is known for his unique perspectives and unexpected lighting solutions. He keeps his business simple and his marketing minimal to focus on the most important aspect of being a photographer - making better art. He's a devoted dad and fun-loving guy, and he will surely bring both light-heartedness and thoughtfulness to his role as a Photo Fantastico judge!


Ilana Bar-av

Madison wedding photographer Ilana Bar-Av has got fun down to an art. Her lively wedding and portrait photos embody this spirit, and, as a big part of the team behind the Friends of Fearless Conference, she knows a thing or two about uniting people in photo fun. Ilana has been a participant in both 2019 and 2020 Photo Fantasico events (her team won the 2019 contest). Her sense of humor and keen eye will entertain and enlighten us al!

2020 Austin JUDGES 

They're talented, they're smart, and fun. Thank you to our 2020 judges!



Running a photography community of thousands of the worlds most talented photographers must not be easy, but Huy does it with dedication and a smile.  Through Fearless Photographers, Huy unites a community of engaged photographers all over the world through enlightening conferences and workshops. He has also created the world's best-loved resource for matching discerning couples with their dream wedding photographer. As a photographer, Huy's images emphasized quirky, candid moments that constantly surprised his clients. Through education, inspiration, and community, Huy continues to share his belief in environmental responsibility and high-quality learning experiences with photographers around the world. 




Jenny Jimenez is a high-kicking, karaoke-singing, camera-slinging badass. A photographer, feminist and speaker from Seattle, Jenny began her career documenting the nightlife, music, and street beats for her city's alternative weeklies. Today she is one of Seattle's most celebrated editorial, lifestyle, portrait, and event photographers. Jenny champions self-expression, love, and laughing your ass off. She looks for the humor in life as well as the beauty and finds that they often go hand in hand. We are stoked to hear from Jenny at Photo Fantastico this January!





Inbal Sivan has a gallery labeled "Party" on her website. And if that's not enough for you, she has a gallery called "Party Hard." One glance at her work, and it's obvious that this Isreali-born ex-New Yorker is a connoisseur of fun. An insanely-talented wedding photographer, her images sparkle with joy and levity, belying her playful personality. We are thrilled to have Inbal judge Photo Fantastico 2020.


inbal sivan.jpg

Thank you to our 2019 judges,

Kirsten Bethmann Lewis, Jonas Peterson

& Ryan C. Jones

Creative Director

Olivia Vale

 A true believer that one should have as much fun in life as possible, Creative Director and Austin photographer Olivia Vale envisions Photo Fantastico as a playground of photographic creativity; a community where unfettered inventiveness is celebrated, where there is no such thing as "clients." In the process of experimenting with the art of photography all over again, Photo Fantastico participants often find themselves falling in love with their craft like they haven't in years. 

As part of a winning team in 2010 for a similar photo event in Vegas, Olivia swears that running around a new town with a camera and three friends was the most fun she's ever had in her life. While FOMO-ing about it, and wondering why there was not anything similar happening in the world of photography, she concluded that her next big life calling was to recreate that magic for other photographers.


Photo Fantastico's only mission is to reconnect professional photographers with the sheer thrill of creating for themselves again, carrying this joy forward into their work. Photography is a magical gift, and Photo Fantastico is here to remind you of that.