Earlier this year we ran an aerial circus photo competition. The response we had was overwhelming with over 470 photos being entered. You can see some of the highlights in our gallery.

Choosing winners was an extremely hard task. We compiled a shortlist and were looking for both photography skills and the skills of the aerialist in the picture (though one of our team thought another criteria should be how amusing the photo was when turned upside down. We had some fun with this but it didn't feature in the judging!)

We then showed the shortlist to our panel of judges which featured two photographers, two aerialists, aerial apparatus manufacturers and other select members of the Firetoys team. The judges submitted their top five photos and points were allocated depending on the pictures' positions in those top fives.

Once the points were added together we had our three runners up (who each won a £10 voucher), the second place winner (awarded a £50 prize) and the first place winner who won a whopping £200!

Runners Up

First up, we have this great picture taken by Zoe Posnette at Swingamajig. We loved the lighting and focus in this picture as it captures the intimacy of the performance. The flexibility on display is also formidable.

Copyright Zoe Posnette. Runner Up in Firetoys Aerial Competition. Aerial Silks.

The next runner up photo was taken by Ewa Figaszewska (check out her website: www.figaszewska.com) and features Emily Aoibheann in rehearsals for PaperDolls 'BUNK', Dublin Fringe Festival 2013. The clarity and almost monotone composition of this picture really appealed to us, not to mention Emily's strength which is brought out by the muscle definition captured by Ewa.

Copyright Ewa Figaszewska. Performer: Emily Aoibheann Runner Up in Firetoys Aerial Photo Competition. Aerial Rope aka Corde Lisse

The final runner up is Gem Dee (http://gemgemdee.wix.com/gemdee) with this great silks shot. The colour and symmetry in this photo really grabbed our eye.

Copyright Gem Dee. Runner Up in Firetoys Aerial Photo Competition. Aerial Silks

Second Place

Coming in a close second place, just two points ahead of the runners up and two points behind the winner is this amazing photo sent in by Molly Graves of Aerial Fabricators. The shot features Molly on a corde lisse and was taken by Martin O'Connor. The white rope on the pitch black background seems to cut the picture in half. The simplicity of the photo is in contrast to the difficulty of the position Molly is in. Like Ewa's photograph, the lighting in this picture highlights the strength required by the performer by drawing out the muscle definition.

Copyright Molly Graves, Photographer: Martin O'Connor. Second Place in Firetoys Aerial Competition. Aerial Rope aka Corde Lisse

First Place

Drum roll please... Winning the Grand Prize in Firetoys Aerial Circus Photo Competition 2014 is... Evgenia Galeraki. You can find her website here. The photographer is Periklis Ripis. We loved everything about this superb picture; the lighting and colouring, how it takes a moment to spot the aerialist but once you do the red silks bring her out of the autumnal setting. The tree the silks are rigged from also stands out from the others in the picture and the small stream creates a subtle split in the picture's composition, just off-centre. (We strongly recommend you do NOT rig aerial kit from trees. For the reasons why, see this article.)

Copyright Evgenia Galeraki. Photographer: Periklis Ripis. Winner of Firetoys Aerial Circus Photo Competition 2014. Aerial Silks

It just remains to thank everyone who contributed to this year's competition, don't forget to check out some of the highlights in our gallery. We were amazed at the quality and really enjoyed seeing all the pictures (and turning them upside down!) Keep your eyes on our website and our Facebook, G+ and Twitter pages for details of the next photo competition.