What are our Judges looking for in your photos?

Four long-standing judges of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year share their personal thoughts on what makes an image really stand out for them:


Nik Sharma, Cookbook author, Photographer, Columnist at San Francisco Chronicle, Food Writer at Serious Eats

"I'm looking for photographs that immediately capture my attention and make me think or rethink the way I used to view a subject. 

They might challenge my opinions on a topic or help me see it differently. 

The photos that I find are the strongest are the ones that hone in and stick to sharing their point of view without getting bogged down by any distractions.” 


Christina Force, Photo Consultant, Speaker & Folio Editor

"It’s always hard to choose a favourite image when there is such a diverse mix of work … [but] I am from the advertising world, so I’m often drawn to work which has a clear message and is quite conceptual… The skill of the best food photographers is to make us want to eat something we don’t usually even like! … Good food photography conjures up the taste, smell and experience for us… I think [even] images of horror can and should be beautifully captured - it helps us linger even more and evokes a response in our hearts.


Francis Hodgson, Professor in the Culture of Photography, University of Brighton

"Photographers are communicators.  They may sometimes communicate on someone else’s behalf; sometimes on their own behalf. Only in really rare – exceptional – circumstances is a kind of scientific neutrality what is required, and in those rare circumstances, what the photographer thinks or feels may be irrelevant.  The rest of the time, 99% of the time, a photographer needs to have something to say as well as the kit, the knowledge, the efficiency and so on.  There are far too many photographs in the world, certainly too many for those with nothing to say to have any call on our time. That becomes the most salutary editing help that photographers can find."


"Does this picture really say what I hope it says?  And if it does, is it worth saying?  Often, the real answer to those is No.  And then I come back to the tough guidance that I find in the old quote attributed to Mark Twain : “If you have nothing to say, say nothing.”"


Rein Skullerud, Head, Photography Unit, World Food Programme

“When I judge a photo I consider a mix of elements that range from emotional to technical. In the past, I would put more weight into the emotional aspect, yet nowadays with five billion photos taken every day it is increasingly important for photographers to develop a personal style both in the approach to the narrative (story) as well as the post processing technique, this will enable their photographs to emerge. 

Basically the combination of elements I look at today are Emotion, Narrative and Dry Lab Technique.”

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