Food Photography Contest

Live for food? Love photography? Well, come on down! We’re calling all food bloggers, food photography enthusiasts, and shutterbugs. Starting today, we’re holding our first-ever food photography contest—with $700 in prizes—and want to see what you’ve got.

It’s simple to enter. Find a recipe on Leite’s Culinaria that looks interesting to you, whip it up, make it strike a pose, and e-mail us your money shots. We’ll pick ten finalists, which will be posted on this site and scrutinized by a distinguished panel of judges: cookbook photographer Ben Fink, former art director of Gourmet Erika Oliveira, and food bloggers and photogs extraordinaire Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers and Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille. The judges will choose three winners. Each winner will receive a gift certificate to B&H Photo. The first-place winner will receive a $300 certificate, the second-place winner a $200 certificate, and the third-place winner a $100 certificate. In addition, the public will have a chance to weigh in for the People’s Choice Award, which snags a $100 certificate.

Read the official rules below, then start cooking and shooting!

Important dates
July 31: deadline for entries
August 5: ten finalist photographs will be posted
August 30: winners will be announced

Aran Goyoaga, originally from Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain, is the writer, stylist, and photographer behind the award-winning blog Cannelle et Vanille. Her love of food began while growing up in her grandparents’ pastry shop, and she has always been inspired by her father and brother who are artists and avid photographers. She studied business and economics, but left that field to pursue a career in pastry. After working in professional kitchens for years, she now works as a freelance food writer, stylist, and photographer. She is the mother of a 3-year-old boy and a 5-month-old girl, and works out of her South Florida home studio.

As a commercial photographer and exhibiting artist, Ben Fink is a master of visual harmony. Both his culinary and his landscape work blend light, texture, mood, and depth to empower and heighten the viewer’s senses. Ben has photographed more than 270 cookbooks and has worked with top culinary celebrities like Jacques Pepin, Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, and Rachael Ray. Although he lives and works in NYC, Ben’s culinary clients have sent him to a number of locations worldwide to photograph the connection between food and people. Ben is also an exhibiting artist in 14 fine-art galleries for his landscape work, and is rapidly gaining the attention of prominent art collectors nationwide.

Erika Oliveira, formerly Art Director at Gourmet magazine, is a prominent creative director whose passion, drive, and vision are not only exhibited through her work, but also in the way she art directs photo shoots and encourages her team to be ground-breaking in their creativity. Erika moved to New York in 2000 to art direct one of the most successful launches in magazine history, O, The Oprah Magazine. During her five-year tenure at Gourmet, Erika and her team were named Best Design Team of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, and Photo District News (PDN). Erika also won gold at the ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors) awards in 2004 and 2007. In addition to her close work with Ruth Reichl at Gourmet, she has collaborated with Chef David Chang, Jonathan Waxman, and April Bloomfield, among others. She has art directed and/or designed the books Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet by Padma Lakshmi, Bravo’s Top Chef host; O’s Big Book of Happiness for Oprah Winfrey; and Everyday, Holiday and Bill’s Basics by Bill Granger, the Australian food writer, TV personality, and chef. Presently, Erika is working as a creative director at Rogers Media, Inc. in Canada.

Karen Mordechai is a freelance food stylist and photographer. Karen’s nostalgia for family dinners combined with a love of food prompted her to create the now popular blog Sunday Suppers. The site is a documentation of intimate cooking and dining experiences that take place in a Brooklyn loft. Karen’s work has been featured in Saveur, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle magazine, New York magazine, and many more. She is a graduate of the NYU/ICP Masters Program in Photography and currently resides in Brooklyn.


The contest is open to anyone, anywhere—as long as you’re at least 18 years old. Leite’s Culinaria employees and volunteers, and their immediate families, are not eligible. (Sorry, guys.)

For this contest, you:
1. must photograph a completed recipe(s) from anywhere on Leite’s Culinaria. How, where, and in what manner it’s photographed is entirely up you—so have at it.

2. can enter as many photos as you wish, but only one image per recipe is allowed, and only one image per photographer can win a prize. (You don’t want to be a piggy.)

3.  will send your hi-res photo(s) in .jpeg or .jpg format to Files larger than 2MB are not allowed. Hold on to your original(s), as we may need them for the finalists and winners posting. For each image include the full title and full URL of the recipe(s). NOTE: With the exception of routine exposure correction, color balancing, and cropping, etc., devilish digital enhancements are strictly prohibited and will result in possible wrist-slapping and a definite disqualification.

4. will retain all copyrights to your work. Leite’s Culinaria retains the right to include all finalist and winning images on the this site in perpetuity. Anywhere a photo appears on the site, the photographer’s name, copyright date, and “All rights reserved” will accompany it. If the image is used in another media or format created by Leite’s Culinaria, the photographer will be notified, credited, and compensated. (In other words, we’re not interested in getting all the glory.)

Legalese Gobbledegook (deep breath): Leite’s Culinaria’s decisions concerning all matters related to this contest are final. Void where prohibited by law. Leite’s Culinaria assumes no responsibility for late or misdirected entries due to SPAM, technological, or e-mail filtering issues. No cash substitutions, transfer, or assignment of prizes allowed except by Leite’s Culinaria. Winners grant to Leite’s Culinaria the right to use his/her name and biographical information in advertising and promotion without compensation or permission. Shipping and postage will be paid for by Leite’s Culinaria. Any tax, international or otherwise, related to the prizes is the sole responsibility of the winners. Winners release Leite’s Culinaria from any liability arising out of participation in this contest. Leite’s Culinaria reserves the right to cancel the contest or modify these rules at its discretion.


  1. Just had to try the cobbler and barely managed in time for the contest. Just posted it a short while ago. Not too picturesque, but delicious in every way!

  2. I have been a silent viewer of this site for past few months. I know there are loads of awesome recipes… so its really tough to select a recipe from those. Anyway I managed to do so.. hope u would have received my entry.

  3. Hi! this sounds exciting. Just one question. apart from routine exposure adjusment, cropping and color balancing will sharpening the image on photoshop be permissible?

  4. I love any foodie pic contest and love this one….cant imagine how exited I am….baked a cake coulple of days back….its so rainy these days and bad weather for pics….so will be sending the entry soon….BTW….had really tough time selecting the recipe….there are loooooooooooooooaaads to choose from them and i was drowned in confusion!

  5. I going to call this faith… I just finished posting a recipe that I printed from here months ago.. and been sitting on my cooking to do list.. and voila you guys are having a contest! I’m submitting.. and looking for another one just to submit one more.

    Good luck everyone!

    1. Thanks for blogging about your experience with David Lebovitz’s brownies, for your kind words about Leite’s Culinaria, and for helping to spread the news about our contest! Much appreciated. We’re thrilled you loved the recipe, and we’re looking forward to seeing your submissions to the contest. Good luck to you!

    1. Julia, as long as it’s a substitution such as the one you stated versus, say, making it a coconut or a pineapple rum cheesecake, yes, that’s perfectly fine.

    1. Hi MaryT, yes, it’s open to any in the world, actually. The winners will receive the gift certificates that they can use in person or online with B&H Photo.

  6. Hi,

    Can I substitute some of the ingredients if it is not available in my country, for example if the recipe calls for Hazelnut, can I substitute with any other nuts that available in here? Or unsweetened chocolate with dark chocolate perhaps?

  7. I smell an excuse to make another cake.HA!
    On a more serious note, do you have any judging criteria we all need to be aware of?

    1. Tiffany, the only criterion is the recipe needs to be from the site. How, where, and in what manner you shoot it, is up to you. Food styling will certainly help things look better.

  8. I would like to cook a recipe that would be considered family-style. Could I make the same recipe and make it an appetizer or entrée?

  9. Hello David,

    I just wanted to say what a great idea, and wonderful giveaway you’re doing. I’m not going to submit an entry because I find my food pictures in my food blog to be just average. (Here is a link to my blog so you can see for yourself. LOL!)

    Anyway I belong to a cooking board and I thought that this was such an amazing giveaway that I posted the link to your blog…and out of the 140 views, I must have gotten about 20 emails about you and your blog. Keep up the great work!

    1. Well, I’m not David, clearly, but I thought I’d chime in with a thank you for spreading the word about our photo contest. Your enthusiasm and applause for our site are much appreciated by everyone here. So, thanks again!

  10. As a lover of creative contests I have read alot of rules over the years. Yours, however, are the first to ever give me a belly laugh. “Wrist slapping, Gobbledigook….just the best writing around!

  11. Very cool. Was actually going to make Pasteis de Nata this coming week for a Dia de Portugal Party I am hosting, so will try your recipe. Hopefully will be able to take good photos!

  12. Hi,
    It’s been many years since I was a tester for your site, so I’m eager to dive back in with this contest. So fun. Best of luck to all!

    1. Ah… you CAN come home again, you see? Things work out in interesting ways–leave the testers, but maybe come back to win a contest! Good luck to you and thanks for commenting.

    1. Amy, that’s half the fun: looking through the recipe archives. We hope you find a lot of great recipes to try, and that special one that loves your camera. Thanks for commenting, and good luck to you!

  13. Hi. If I have baked the red velvet cake, but instead layered it with cheesecake, does that still count as an entry for the photo contest? Thanks.

    1. Hi, Jori. Good question—I think it will help others, so thanks for asking. The recipe has to be made as written. The two recipes on the site for red velvet cake don’t include cheesecake layers, so, no, it wouldn’t count.

    1. Shannon, we are, too. There are so many talented photogs out there that we want to send a little love their way—much like we do with our superb writers.

    2. Shannon, thanks for taking the time to comment. Everyone at Leite’s is excited to see the contest entries. We know we’ll receive many great ones–hope to see yours among them. Cheers to you!

  14. David, this will be something very interesting to watch even though I am unable to compete – but I will definitely be enjoying the experience.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Upload a picture of your dish