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Heike Willers

Contest Judges

Our international panel of judges consists of the most influential and distinguished figures in the dog photography community. This esteemed group includes world-renowned photographers, ambassadors, and industry professionals, all selected for their exceptional qualifications and expertise.

Audrey Bellot

Photographer / Educator

Audrey Bellot is a dog photographer based in France. Through her lens, she captures the innate elegance of dogs set against breathtaking scenery. Audrey's photographs beautifully combine simplicity and sophistication, creating images that evoke a sense of serenity and grace. Each frame tells a compelling story, showcasing the simple yet powerful allure of dogs in their most magnificent form.

In 2021, Audrey creates the Dog Photography Awards competition. Drawing upon her own experience and expertise, she sought to create a platform that celebrates the artistry and love for dogs through the lens. The competition garnered great popularity, attracting photographers from all corners of the globe to showcase their talent and portray the beauty and charisma of dogs in diverse settings.

Claudio Piccoli

Educator / Nikon Ambassador

Claudio is from a beautiful village in Italy called Ivrea. He has a border collie named Leep, who is now 8 years old. Claudio trained Leep himself, and she accompanies him to his workshops whenever possible.

As a professional photographer specializing in "dog photography," Claudio is a Nikon Ambassador for Italy and a Nikon School Master. He collaborated to create the "Master di Fotografia" with Corriere della Sera, Gazzetta dello Sport, and Nikon.

Recognizing the challenges in dog photography, Claudio decided to share his knowledge through photography workshops worldwide. He transformed his hobby and passion into a career. Claudio aims to convey the depth of the world behind dog photography, especially in action, during his workshops.

Claudio devotes considerable time to conceptualizing and executing new photography projects and frequently travels. He has received several awards in prominent international photography contests such as Oasis or SIPA, and his work has been featured in various media, magazines, and newspapers worldwide.

Emilio Cuenca

Photographer / Animal Activist

Emilio Cuenca, after working as a press photographer for 12 years, has embarked on this new project, in which he has been working for 8 years (7 with his photography studio opened in Madrid). He's now 100% dedicated to dog photography: 85% of his work is done in the studio and 15% on location. This project was born with his dog Fina with whom he shared his life from 2008 to 2020. She was and still is one of his driving forces, just like his other dog who still accompanies him today: Bala. Following an illness of his dog Fina, he focused on the value of photography as an indelible memory of those beings that only accompany us for a short time in our lives.

His work has been presented in national media, magazines, TV, radio... but it has also had an international diffusion. Emilio has been exhibited in various places in Spain through a documentary project called "Rescued" which has brought the public closer to the work of people dedicated to the rescue of abandoned dogs and to the reality of abandonment in his country. His studio work has also been exhibited, notably in Seoul, at Korea International Photo.

Iza Łysoń

Photographer / 500px Ambassador

Iza Łysoń, a 27-year-old photographer with a profound passion for capturing the essence of dogs, has been immersed in the art of dog photography for many years. Recognized for her exceptional talent, she proudly holds the title of ambassador for the 500px photography website since 2017.

Over the past six years, Iza has dedicated her lens to photographing dogs against the backdrop of breathtaking landscapes. Her remarkable series caught the attention of the photography community, with one of her photos Shortlisted in the Motion category of the Sony World Photography Awards.

In her private life, Iza is the proud owner of two border collies, Opium and Tramal, who are both companions and muses for her creative endeavors. Despite pursuing a major in sciences, Iza's heart lies in the humanities, reflecting the diverse facets of her intellectual interests.

Seizing every opportunity to pursue her passion, Iza cherishes moments of free time by embarking on journeys across Europe. Accompanied by Opium and Tramal, she seeks out the perfect shot, capturing the beauty of the dog spirit against the diverse landscapes of the continent.

Heike Willers


Based in Germany, Heike Willers started with experimental photography with a friend, in 1994 (analog). Some years later they ran a very small gallery in Wiesbaden and organized some exhibitions. Heike came into Dog Photography in 2011 through her own dog MOLLY, a Jack Russell. Molly was her Master! Learning patience, learning how to have fun during the shootings and learning when to stop - these were the most important things she thought her!

Soon she noticed that she was addicted to "Dogs In The City" but also "Dogs In Studio" has always been a big part of Heike's photography. Meanwhile Heike found her own unique style in Dog Photography. She loves to shoot fine-art photography as well as she loves to create artistic images. Her work has been honored in some contests, like "Fine Art Photography award", and "Siena Awards".

Christina Lauder


Originally from Toronto, Canada but living in Leicestershire, England for 25 years, multi award winning, Christina Lauder has been building a successful portrait business for the past 18 years. She has dedicated herself to developing the skills necessary to provide the pinnacle of quality in portraiture, dedication that has been recognised and rewarded in the fact that she now counts herself among the most select 1% of photographers to have attained the level of Fellow with the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers).

Christina's unique and highly skilled pieces have seen her named Portrait Studio, Pet, and Baby Photographer of the Year with the Societies, along with Family Portrait Photographer of the Year with the MPA. In addition she has been named Master Photographer with the Societies, received 4 awards in The Societies annual print competition and received an extremely rare score of a perfect 100 for one of her pet portraits, all testament to her consistently high standard of work, no matter the subject. Through these achievements, she was asked to judge for the SWPP and has been judging their online competition, their annual international print competition and their qualifications for the past 7 years.

Travis Patenaude

Photographer / Animal Activist

Travis Patenaude is a studio dog photographer based in the United States that captures soulful, emotional and dramatic photos of the hunting dogs of Spain. His love for photography started after adopting his first Galgo named Leena. She inspired Travis and his wife Amanda, to start an adoption group for the Galgos in 2013.

In August of 2014 Travis purchased his first DSLR camera and discovered the power of storytelling through photography. Since then he has made it his mission to tell the story of the hunting dogs of Spain through his photography to raise awareness to their plight. Travis’ portraits capture the dogs personality and foster an emotional connection between the subject and the viewer.

Harri Tarvainen


Harri Tarvainen (@harritarvainen) is a professional photographer from Northern Finland specializing in outdoors and action photography. In the free time Harri heads out for adventures with his dog Kaffe (@kaffegram) and captures the rugged, minimalistic and ever so beautiful nordic views.
"The best thing in photography is that it opens your mind and makes you more curious. With a camera you begin to see things you woulnd't even notice otherwise."

Carlina Gea


Carlina Gea is a photographer with over ten years of experience in fashion photography. About five years ago, the arrival of Lino, her Italian Greyhound, inspired her to expand her passion towards animal photography. Her work now focuses on merging her two great passions: photography and animals. She aims to tell their stories through images, incorporating her personal style, which is characterized by its simplicity and minimalism.

Anna Averianova


Anna Averianova is a passionate photographer who deeply enjoys capturing the spirit of adventure and the bond with her pets, a Jack Russell Terrier and a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Daisy and Ricki. They are used to traveling frequently across Europe, searching for unique spots. Now, they have made their home among the picturesque landscapes of Montenegro, where they embrace the surrounding beauty through her lens. Anna's photography goes beyond simple pet portraits; she weaves her subjects into the scenery's narrative, telling stories that draw viewers into the moment.

The year 2020 was a milestone for her; she opened a photo studio dedicated to animals and nature enthusiasts. However, life's unpredictable twists led to its closure following their move. This change spurred her exploration into artificial lighting, a journey that has vastly expanded her photographic repertoire. Nowadays, she is deeply engrossed in studio photography, focusing on the pet industry and advertising where she blends natural and artificial light to illuminate the unique spirits of her subjects.

Lotte van Alderen


With roots in the Netherlands and a passion that began at a young age, Lotte van Alderen has embarked on a remarkable journey in the world of animal photography. At just 12 years old, she took her first photographs, and through determination and dedication, she has developed into a professional dog photographer.

For Lotte, dog photography is not just about capturing images but about portraying the deep connection between a dog and its owner. She also aims to capture the true essence of a dog, allowing the soul of the animal to speak, whether it's outdoors in nature or in the studio.

At 29 years old, Lotte has gained extensive experience in both outdoor and studio photography. Outside her passion for photography, she shares her life with two special dogs: a Dalmatian called Puck and a Border Collie called Soda which she rescued from Spain.

Sanna Sander


She grew up in a small coastal village, in a home without a dog, but from as far back as she can remember, she was drawn to dogs. As a child, she went around the village knocking on doors, asking if she could walk the dog. She dragged her big sister with her to the library, just to study the dog books. She searched her mother's and grandmother's magazines for photos of dogs to cut out and glue to her wall.

She was fascinated by the huge variety within the dog realm; the molossers, the sighthounds, the toy breeds, the athletic muscle breeds, and it has only grown ever since. Her life has revolved and evolved around dogs. They have always brought her a sense of meaning and have been a part of her life from the very start, even though she was 17 years old when she finally got her own.

Images of dogs have been a part of her life just as long as her obsession with the entire species, and she started photographing them back in the days of analog cameras. She went where there were dogs, just to be able to capture them.

When she got her first pedigree dog, a Tibetan Mastiff, she decided to invest in better equipment to be able to document his life in a way suitable for the breed, and that was when she bought her first digital camera. This was back in 2007. Her work has been published in dog magazines and books worldwide, from Japan to the US, with quite a few ending up on the cover.

Her own book, "EXPLORING THE TIBETAN MASTIFF - a love letter in photographs," was published in the US ten years ago. She has since then challenged herself to become even better, always doing her best to enhance the beauty in each dog she has in front of her camera, and last year she was rewarded for her efforts when she was awarded International Pet Photographer of the year and Portrait Dog Photographer of the Year.

She is self-taught, doing it all from a place of pure love and passion for dogs, dog breeds, and the beauty they all possess. When she has the camera in front of her eyes and a dog in front of the camera, she leaves this world and enters her very own version of paradise. Nothing compares to photographing dogs.