You have worked hard on perfecting your food photography skills and are proud of the work you have done. Why not submit your images to a couple of contests and possibly win recognition and prizes? I have assembled a list of the most notable contests in the world of food photography. Before you get started, read each contest’s instructions carefully and a couple of times. You’ll find that everyone has very specific guidelines about images size and format, content and theme, file names and additional information you'll need to submit with your image.
Make sure you have all your files and documents lined up before you dive in. Double check that your images are edited and retouched--you don’t want to send a dusty image to the judges.
Pink Lady Photographer of the Year
Pink Lady Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Pink Lady apples, launched in 2011 to celebrate the art of food photography. A stellar panel of judges reviews 5000+ submissions each year. Amateur and professional food photographers can enter their images in a multitude of categories, ranging from Politics of Food to Food Portraiture. It’s a popular contest and well worth entering. To see the quality of entries take a look at their previous winners and finalists.
IACP (The International Association of Culinary Professionals)
The International Association of Culinary Professionals hosts an annual themed competition. It’s judged by food photographers and stylists of the association.
Ten finalists will be selected from all submitted entries and their work will be displayed at the annual conference, where the winner will be announced. “Images will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, artistic merit and overall impact as well as how successfully they depict the contest theme.” You can review previous winners and finalists on their site.
PDN (Photo District News Magazine)
Photo District News magazine provides three annual contests where food photography can be entered. The first one is the highly competitive PDN Annual, categories range from advertising to student work. Objects of Desire showcases the best in still-life photography. It’s the right contest if your food photography is conceptual or stylized. And then, there is Taste, PDN’s annual food photography award. All entries are displayed on their website and seen by judges that are typically photo editors from magazines like Bon Appetit, Food Network, or Saveur.
James Beard Foundation
It’s the Oscars of the food world. The James Beard Foundation is the most esteemed food organization and awards the best in food photography (published in cookbooks, magazines or blogs) with the James Beard medal. If you are a finalist please take me along to the award ceremony.