Featured image: Cookies Ready by Judith Balari

Although the prize and prestige of winning a title like Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year might be what first tempts you into entering the competition, the process itself can be very beneficial to your photography. For a start it makes you think about your photography a little more and you have to really scrutinise your images to make sure you’re submitting your absolute best work. But it can also be a bit daunting for the uninitiated, so we’ve got a few tips to help.

Where do you start?

It’s often a good idea to have a look at past winning and finalist images. This will give you a feel for the level of the work that’s required and the type of themes that are popular. And while a shot that replicates a previous winner is not going to win, thinking about past finalist images can give you a starting point for your own photography.

Which category should you enter?

There are lots of categories in Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year competition and it’s advisable to read through all their descriptions carefully to see which resonate with you most. Do they spark any image ideas or remind you of a food-related issue you’d like to highlight? 

When you read the category descriptions you might find that one of your existing images pops into mind, but on the whole, it’s advisable to shoot something specifically for the competition. Thinking through the brief and shooting for it may lead your photography in a different direction so you end-up with a better shot.

What should you photograph?

As we’ve already said, there are many categories so the potential is huge. However, bear in mind that the competition has been going since 2011 so all of the obvious shots have been seen many times.

Exotic ingredients aren’t necessarily called for, but good photography is. If you’re going to enter ‘Cream of the Crop’, for example, it’s the image rather than the subject that’s more important. It’s about making those ingredients, however humble, look inviting and/or delicious.

Alo bear in mind that the background, plate and cutlery are as important as the subject itself.

How do you decide which image to enter?

Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year Awards are fiercely contested so it’s vital that your images are technically perfect. And shots with missed focus or poor exposure won’t make the first cut. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have creative blur or a moody exposure, but it’s got to enhance the image.