George Maschalidis

A black and white close-up photo of a street artist dressed as a clown, taken on the streets of Athens, Greece, by Canon Ambassador George Maschalidis.

George Maschalidis took this close-up shot of a street artist in Athens, Greece. "Street artists most of the time are fully open to pose for you, so this is a huge chance to get great images," he says. Taken on a Canon EOS 6D (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 6D Mark II) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM) at 24mm, 1/1250 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 1250. © George Maschalidis

George Maschalidis' life is filled with photography. He shoots professionally in a range of genres and his personal work includes street photography, landscapes and astrophotography. In his homeland, Greece, he's best-known as the co-founder of Photo Contest, the country's biggest online photography community.

"When I found the magical world of photography and videography, I fell in love with it," he says. "I'm really lucky because I quickly realised that this was the job I wanted to do and the career I wanted to explore."

George first started taking photographs while on a school trip when he was 16. "I enjoyed the process of making images and was trying to shoot something in a special way, using light and compositions," he recalls. The following year, he bought his first digital camera, a Canon EOS 600D, which he says was "a great tool to use to explore the world of photography and videography."

In the same year, he co-founded Photo Contest with his friend and mentor, Dimitris Vakrinos. Today, the community's membership has grown to more than 25,000 photographers. Its aim is to provide a platform for members to learn about and be inspired by photography, share opinions and showcase their images by participating in hosted photo contests with a variety of themes. George also creates photography podcasts, gives advice and holds workshops at public events.

A headshot of Canon Ambassador George Maschalidis.
Location: Athens, Greece

Specialist areas: Weddings, events, commercial

Favourite kit: Canon EOS R6
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM
A photo of snowy Athens under a blue and orange cloudy sky, taken by Canon Ambassador George Maschalidis.

When not shooting professionally, George enjoys capturing landscape photographs. "Snowy Athens is a really rare phenomenon, so, back in 2021, I could not miss this chance to shoot the Acropolis in Athens, dressed in white," he says. Taken on a Canon EOS 6D with a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens at 1/500 sec, f/1.8 and ISO 1600. © George Maschalidis

A photo of the Milky Way visible above Mount Olympus in Greece, taken with a long exposure and a fisheye lens by Canon Ambassador George Maschalidis.

George enjoys astrophotography and photographed this scene on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. It shows a clear image of the Milky Way with a mountain refuge in the foreground. It was shot with a long exposure and a fisheye lens, and George removed the lens distortion in post-processing. Taken on a Canon EOS 6D with a Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens at 20 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 3200. © George Maschalidis

"For every competition, our members go out to create something unique," says George. "Then they upload their photos on our platform, where there is discussion on what they did well and not so well, and they learn to improve. Every day, I'm trying to inspire people with my work and share my knowledge. Meeting members at events is fulfilling for me, because they often thank me for giving them the push they needed to explore photography further."

In addition to running Photo Contest, George has his own professional photographic career, which includes commercial, wedding and event photography and videography. In his spare time, he especially enjoys street photography and landscapes.

Thousands of stars photographed above the Kakkalos Refuge on Mount Olympus in Greece. Taken by Canon Ambassador George Maschalidis.

George loves taking photos of the night sky at Mount Olympus in Greece. This photo shows the sky above the Kakkalos Refuge. Taken on a Canon EOS 6D with a Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens at 30 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 640. © George Maschalidis

The Milky Way visible above some pitched tents on Mount Olympus in Greece. Taken by Canon Ambassador George Maschalidis.

This image was also taken on Mount Olympus. "When you reach the peak of this mountain, you have a great view of the night sky and the stars," says George. "If there's no moon you can take amazing astrophotography pictures there." Taken on a Canon EOS 6D with a Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens at 30 sec, f/2.8 and ISO 3200. © George Maschalidis

"I love street photography because you never know what to expect when going out on a shoot. Every moment, every shot is unpredictable and unique," he says. "I also love shooting landscapes – which sometimes include astrophotography – because it's a way to come closer to nature and understand everything around us. The reason I love these two genres is that I can balance city life with life in nature at the same time."

In the future, George aims to further develop his own personal and professional work. "I would like to focus more on my work and my personal development around photography," he says. "I would also like to travel to some unique destinations such as Iceland and Africa. I really want to explore and capture these amazing locations, especially their landscapes."

What was your first camera and why did you choose it?

"My first camera was the Canon EOS 600D which I bought in 2011. I chose it because I wanted a camera that could shoot high-quality images and video for my YouTube channel. It also had a vari-angle screen, which was very helpful for all my solo content creation."

What, for you, makes a strong image?

"The emotions and the feelings a photo captures are what makes it strong for me. Technically, of course, it's things such as the light, the framing and the composition, but if the image doesn't resonate with people on an emotional level, it's not going to work."

What do you aim to achieve when you set out on a shoot?

"In every genre, the aim is different. When I am shooting a wedding, my goal is to capture the couple's happiest moments. When I'm shooting an event such as a business conference, I have to photograph everyone and everything in the venue. But at the end of the day, the goal is to capture feelings in every situation."

You have been running Photo Contest for more than 10 years. What do you most enjoy about it?

"I love sharing my knowledge with others and inspiring them. When I started in photography, I'd have been very happy to have had a 'George', a guy who creates educational online content in Greek, to show me techniques and explain in detail, for example, how each setting on your camera affects your photos. That's the reason I'm still doing it – to help other amateur photographers improve their understanding of photography."

One thing I know

George Maschalidis

"Photographers usually focus their entire career on one genre of photography, but for me, it's important to be able to explore and experiment in more genres. This has enabled me to face different challenges and adopt things learned from one genre into another. This is not only technical knowledge, but also expands to interpersonal skills, new creative opportunities and a variety of unique experiences. Bottom line, do what you love and do it your own way."

Instagram: @maschilidis

TikTok: @maschilidis


George Maschalidis' kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Canon Ambassador George Maschalidis' kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS R6

The EOS R6 features technology that will have you falling in love with photography all over again. See and shoot subjects in completely new ways and add a fresh dimension to your visual storytelling. "The EOS R6 helps me create images and videos quickly and easily," says George. "I shoot roughly 50% stills and 50% video, and for me this is the best all-round camera for both."


Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM

Superb optical engineering, a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture and 5-stop image stabilisation helps you stay creative in all conditions. "The focal length range and image stabilisation in this lens makes it my favourite lens for photography and videography," says George.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

A professional quality, fast-aperture telephoto zoom lens popular with wildlife and sports photographers, as well as those shooting weddings and portraiture. "I use this lens especially at events, when I want to shoot subjects from a distance and I don't have the opportunity to go closer," says George. Now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

A short telephoto focal length, combined with a large maximum aperture and fast autofocus speed, make the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM an excellent optic for any photographer shooting portraiture. "This is the ideal lens for portraits and I love its bokeh," says George. "As with all of Canon's prime lenses, it's really sharp."

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

With its fast maximum aperture and rapid focusing system, the compact, high-performance EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens can be relied on for superb performance in any field of photography. "This is an all-time classic lens," says George. "It was the first prime lens I bought and I still use it on my EOS R6 in a range of situations."


Canon Speedlite 580EX II

"I have both the Speedlite 580EX and the 580EX II, which I mainly use for a soft fill light," says George. "It is very important in my work, especially for events and for shooting after-wedding parties."

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