Food photography is one of the most rewarding genres to explore, as these days it’s about much more than posh pasta shots done in a studio – it also recognises skills from portrait, macro and travel photography.

A great way to get your food photography skills recognised is to enter a big competition, and they don’t get much bigger than the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year.

You will need to start cooking with gas if you have not entered already, however, as the closing date for the currently open competition is Sunday 4 February 2024.

Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year, now in its 13th year, invites amateur and professional photographers alike to showcase their creativity, vision, and storytelling abilities through the lens of food, with a top prize of £5,000 (GBP) to be won.

Pappu Jaiswal, a candy floss seller in Mumbai, India, on the streets near to Versova Beach

The Candy Man by Jon Enoch was the overall winner, Pink LadyFood Photographer of the Year 2023

‘Whats good about this competition is its breadth,’ says Deputy Editor Geoff Harris, who reached the finals in 2016, before joining AP. ‘My successful entry was more of a travel shot than a food or restaurant image, but it showed young monks in India preparing bread for the Tibetan new year celebrations – so it did adhere to a category theme.

It is well worth entering, as chances are that you can find an image to fit one of the categories, unless you only shoot very specific subjects.’

Landscape out of dairy products from the brand Kapiti

Kapiti Cityscape by Vanessa Wu, another finalist. The competition is well suited to travel and documentary photographers.

Have your cake and shoot it

The 20-plus categories range from politics to portraiture, field to table, sale to celebration and street to stylist. Two new categories are added this year: the Tiptree Cake Award for captures of cake and The James Beard Foundation Award for images that celebrate the people behind America’s food culture.

Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year shortlist David Gilliver

More abstract and quirky approaches are also welcome. David Gilliver/Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2023

In a first for the competition, the Student category, supported by The Royal Photographic Society, is free to enter. This category is for students (full or part-time) currently attending a photography course at a recognised college or university.

The Pink Lady Food Photography Awards will also be returning to the Mall Galleries in London for the awards ceremony.

Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year shortlist Kim Van Liefferinge

You don’t need to provide conventionally ‘pretty’ food close ups either. Kim Van Liefferinge/Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2023

The judging panel includes big cheeses from photography and food world, including top food shooter David Loftus and AP editor, Nigel Atherton.

Enter The Pink Lady Food Photography of the Year competition here.

This will be your face is you miss the deadline! Remko Kraaijeveld | Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2022

Further reading
Food photography tips
How to take perfect still-life photos
Best competitions to enter in 2024