A picture may be worth a thousand words. But it’s priceless when it comes to bringing back beloved memories of past travels. The power of award-winning travel images in particular is amazing. They convey the excitement and mood of a destination.

Each year Virtuoso invites its travel advisors around the world to share their finest photos and videos. The ninth annual Virtuoso Advisor Photo & Video Contest attracted 1,638 entries.

A second contest recognizes excellence in travel photography and videography by clients of Virtuoso advisors. The fifth annual Virtuoso Traveler Photo & Video Contest drew 815 submissions. Enjoy this visual celebration of the joys of travel with the four top finishers from each contest.

Virtuoso Advisor Photo & Video Contest: Award-Winning Travel Images

award-winning travel images: couple in London underground station in black and white

Grand Prize

David Ourisman, Brownell Travel

“Couple in the Waterloo tube station, London” – London, UK

Ourisman snapped this while waiting for a train in the Waterloo tube station in London. He comments, “This couple was standing next to me, waiting for the same train, sharing a moment of pure joy.”

First Place

Jim Bendt, Pique Travel Design

“An African Safari – through the eyes (and mouth) of a 10 year old” – Zimbabwe

Bendt shot the music video starring his daughter (and lots of wildlife) at a variety of locations during a trip to Zimbabwe. “Inspired by actress Kristen Bell’s famous lip sync video of their African vacation, my 10-year-old daughter felt inspired by the wonders of Africa,” he elaborates.

award-winning travel images: polar-bears in snow in Canada

Second Place

Pamela Hartman, Protravel International

“Mother and Cubs” – Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada

Hartman was one of a very limited number of people to visit northern Manitoba to see the animals. She explains, “Wapusk National Park is the home of the mother polar bear dens.  Between mid-February and mid-March they emerge with their three-month-old cubs.”

award-winning travel images: hot air balloons over bagan myanmar

Third Place

John Oberacker, Montecito Village Travel

“Balloons Over Bagan” – Bagan, Myanmar

“Sunrise in a balloon over the beautiful ancient city of Bagan and its glorious temples is something not to be missed,” observes Oberacker.

Virtuoso Traveler Photo & Video Contest: Award-Winning Travel Images

award-winning travel images: photographer taking shot of grand canyon

Grand Prize

Dennis L. Hammond

Advisor – Geri Jacoby-Smith, Adelman Vacations

“Last Shot” – Grand Canyon, Arizona

Hammond captured the image of a photographer at the rim of the Grand Canyon, setting up his last shot before sunrise. “I hope he got a good one,” he comments.

award-winning travel images: little boy wearing gho in bhutan

First Place

Julie Floyd

“Rocking the Gho” – Paro, Bhutan

Floyd snapped this image of her 8-year-old son on his birthday, on a suspension bridge loaded with prayer flags. She recalls, “He begged to buy and don a gho, which is the national mandated dress for men in the Kingdom of Bhutan.”

award-winning travel images: child snorkeling in french polynesia with yellow and black fish

Second Place

Amy Goetsch

Advisor – Annie Humble-Gougler, Humble Travel Service

“Fishies” – French Polynesia

award-winning travel images: boy inside icelandic ice cave

Third Place

Jen Helzberg

Advisor – Angela Schoenhard, Huffman Travel

“Ice Cave Thrill” – Iceland

Helzberg and her family had more excitement than anticipated at this “magical” ice cave, part of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. “My husband took this pic of our 13-year-old son … and seconds later … we heard an earth-shaking rumbling … and my husband yelled ‘earthquake!’ It wasn’t one — but a massive amount of snow and ice came tumbling through the hole in the ceiling of the cave … but luckily our son had run out of the way and was fine.”

Snapping Your Own Award-Winning Travel Images

After viewing all these, you’re likely inspired to take a trip soon and to capture it with amazing images. One of Virtuoso’s travel experts can help you plan the perfect trip to a photo-worthy destination.

Did these whet your appetite for more award-winning travel images? If so, check out the 2014 and 2015 winners.

Which shot is your favorite?

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