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Saveur Photo Contest – because I want everyone to win

February 5, 2010

I’ve been blogging, in general, since around 2002. The food blogging kicked in around 2005. And when everyone starts out, it’s a messy business. Out of focus shots. Rambling text about your grandmother. Hyperbolic spewing about the cherry you tried from the sample tray at the market. It can be painful looking back at some of those entries.  Ugh.

But thankfully, things evolve. And the internet is a lightspeed evolver, wormholing us in a few years time to a place where people are doing amazing things with their blogs. The pictures (and photographers) that have been born from this crucible have not yet ceased to amaze me. Shoot, there’s a whole website dedicated entirely to checkering your brain with some of the most delectable food porn available.

Despite this digital cacophony, the grandaddy forum of food porn is still in old school print. Saveur Magazine. The sometime home of my food photography idol, Penny de los Santos. The birthplace of Canal House Cooking. And since the demise of Gourmet, Saveur has taken a yet more revered place in my heart. I review each shot and watch the lighting, the placement, the styling. I take mental notes. I experiment with a page open nearby to see if I can mimic the feel, the tone of an image. Maybe you do, too?

This is the new world we live in, the product of blogging forcing us to take picture after picture to tell the story the way we want it told. And to do it again and again in each new post. There are some amazingly talented folk out there. People who five or ten years ago wouldn’t have given much of a thought about having their photo be a focus of attention or a point of information. And the liberating part is anyone can do this. Anyone.

But there is that line. We want to evolve. And while the Internet may have formed us? It’s a print publication like Saveur that some of us strive for. And now they are having a cover photo contest.


That screenshot above is the closest I have come to seeing the Saveur title above one of my shots. Even though it’s a contest and it’s on the reader submitted page – I love seeing it there.  And I did take a moment to actually read the contest rules. There’s a lot of the typical contest rule hoohah, but the thing I was looking for was the limit. How many can I enter?

The answer is one.

A few other entrants didn’t read the fine print and have deluged the entry page with a half a dozen images each. Multiple entries, according to the rules, will disqualify you.  Choose carefully.  Choose wisely.  And get input from others that you trust.  I chose the above shot for the contest because SJ loves it.  It’s not my favorite shot, but SJ had a grocery list of reasons why he felt it was Saveur worthy, and all of them made sense.  And in this, where I have emotional ties to not a few of my pictures, I trusted his judgment.

I don’t work for Saveur.  And I’m not an art director.  But I do work with some magazines in my day job and I have an inkling of what makes for a good cover shot.

It’s a magazine cover – so vertical orientations are a good thing.  Choose a shot with decent ‘headspace’ to allow for the Saveur title on top.  The image subject can run into it, but you want the main focus of your image to be much lower.

If you can, choose an image where the lighting is coming more from the right.  Saveur tends to put their content text on the left side of their cover images.  They adjust according to the image, but they have that inclination.

Like you leave room for the header?  Also leave room for that pesky delivery label at the bottom – it’s about two inches up.

Of the past several issues, almost all of them are of prepared food.  I know, I know, I chose a raw food shot, but that’s what I do.  But their big focus is food travel and stellar recipes.

They seem to LOVE texture.  And props.  Gorgeous silverware.  Dulled pewter platters. Wood.  Cloth.  Char marks on the food.  Whatever is appropo to making the food seem more alive.

Enter.  You have until the end of the month.  And good luck!

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 6, 2010 1:42 PM

    First of all I loooooooooooooved your cauliflower picture. I put my “pictures” yesterday yep…..”pictures” I got all exited that I uploaded 3 pictures, until I had the common sense to actually read the rules. My pics are under the username “Chefwanabe” So after find out about my big SNAFU I sent one email to Saveur saying how sorry I was. But had no answer….uom, uom, uommm. I’m kinda bummed. 😦 Well …what to do? Good luck to you, your pic is gorgeous. 😉

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