issues with food photo sites

by Lori and Michelle on April 4, 2012

hello friends!

today we have a topic that we know many food bloggers deal with almost daily. especially if you are food blogger that likes to create recipes or how-to’s videos/recipes.

do you struggle with getting your food photos approved to be on the big food sites like Tastespotting, Foodgawker, etc.?

do you wonder why they deny your photos?

do you get frustrated when you think your photo…the lighting, the composition…all of it looks great, but you go to check to see if they accepted it and to only find out – REJECTED?

ya, we have been there many times. we have a TON of our food pictures rejected. it still hurts some as we feel they were great pictures.

we get very confused. frustrated.  at the BIG food gallery sites. which again we are sure many of you do too.

but then we just let it go. move on. and try better the next time we have a photo shoot. or we go back to our photos and try to edit another photo to submit to the site and see how round 2  goes. with our fingers crossed we hope they like the second one. and then sometimes they do like the second photo which is great! but then again sometimes they don’t. so if we still have good photos to submit we go back again. sometimes we have submitted up to 4 different food pictures before it got accepted! guess you can say we can be stubborn at times.

it sometimes just gets under our skin, how we find our food picture to be very similar to some already on the sites yet they do not take ours. not sure what that is all about.  anyone else have that happen to them?

we are not professional photographers.

we are not even close to being considered one. (we love our day job). we just really enjoy taking pictures, mostly of food but really of anything. we know we are not one of the top food blogs out there. and we are okay with that. we feel it is just like many things in life, where some people are really good at this or that and others just have to work a little harder.

but the key to remember is that we all have something to offer!  we all have something valuable to share with the world.

photos are of our pecan pumpkin donut

we are still learning our camera, as you will see from our blog.

we get

  • frustrated that sometimes our pictures still come our blurry.
  • frustrated that our pictures come out too dark or has too many shadows.
  • frustrated that we still struggle with composition.
  • frustrated that we still can not get all our food photos accepted by the foodgawker, tastespooting and tastelogoie.

we mostly shoot in the aperture setting of our camera, but trying to branch out to try different settings. and we have used our tripod just a few times this year, haha so still need to work on using that tripod some more.

  • time: 12:31 pm
  • shutter speed – I/250s
  • F-stop – f/3.8
  • ISO – 1600
  • white balance – day white fluorescent
  • time: 12:32 pm
  • shutter speed – I/250s
  • F-stop – f/3.8
  • ISO – 500
  • white balance – fine weather
  • time: 12:31 pm
  • shutter speed – I/250s
  • F-stop – f/3.8
  • ISO – 560
  • white balance – fine weather

we did not use any of these in our final photo pictures for our chocolate cream cake to submit to the food gallery sites. but felt it was good to practice how other settings look. all of them edited the same in photoshop.

but as much as we get frustrated with photography, we do have fun. we keep trying to learn.

so, do not get discouraged! whatever it is in your life. whether it be getting your food photos up on Tastespotting, like us, remember practice makes perfect.

remembering comparing yourself gets you nowhere. there is only one you. so go be great at whatever it is you want to do! we know you have it in you! don’t give up!

Twins Question: do you like those large food gallery sites? do you submit photos? do your photos get rejected often? what do you do about your food photos on those sites? do you like to browse those sites for inspiration or for recipes? thoughts.

as you can tell we do. that is where we get a lot of our inspiration from. we do enjoy those sites even though they might not like all our food pictures.

till next time,



PS- go check out our latest socca recipe over at Made by Girl!


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley April 4, 2012 at 6:21 am

I think you guys take fantastic pictures!! I am super interested in photography, but am still learning to use my DSLR, so i found this post helpful. I was wondering what camera and lens you used in this shoot above. Also pretty please continue these photography how to posts they are soo helpful for use newbies xx

katie @KatieDid April 4, 2012 at 6:22 am

You make some great points, I also submit probably 1 time a week and sometimes they take it and sometimes not. I typically don’t do any editing and re-submit, I usually just move on. In the scheme of things its not really a big deal to me. Sure it gets you some more views and the recipe gets out there more, but I try not to get hung up on numbers. But it sure is a confidence boost when they accept of course! I try to look back at old photos and see how far I’ve come and try to feel good about that instead. I think your photos are absolutely stunning and you both have come such a long way with them too, nothing to be frustrated at at all!
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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen April 4, 2012 at 6:27 am

I can completely relate to this post and I’m sure mannnny other food bloggers can as well. It can be incredibly frustrating to get the rejection email especially when it seems to happen most on the ones you’re “sure” will be accepted. Also, like you mentioned, you see others on there that (in your opinion) look similar or are of “lesser” quality and you think wth? Been there, done that. I try to take it all with a grain of salt when it happens now. It used to upset me way more. I find that each site has their own “Style” too, TS tends to be less about setting a scene and more about the food, up close. FG is more about the pretty decorations around the food and Tasteologie is a bit more quirky than all the others. I’d say it impacts how I shoot about 15%. Sometimes I will try to cater shots to the sites, other times I’ll just shoot how I want to shoot the food.
Great post and it’s good to hear others struggle with the denials too!
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..PW Wednesday’s: Fried chicken tacosMy Profile

LizAshlee April 4, 2012 at 6:47 am

Such gorgeous photos..I am definitely not at a place to submit photos but this is great information that i am saving to use as a resource later..thank you!!
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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free April 4, 2012 at 7:06 am

I like to submit my photos, but most get rejected! Oh wellll….I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I like my photos to at least look appetizing 😛
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Lori and Michelle April 4, 2012 at 7:15 am

Thanks Shelley! Here is a link to our post when we talked about our camera We hope to do more photography posts!

Lori and Michelle April 4, 2012 at 7:16 am

Ya Katie, we tend to move on too more lately. Before we would care, but I just do not even have much time now to even submit one photo 😉

Lori and Michelle April 4, 2012 at 7:16 am

Very true Gina, they all have their own style!!

Lauren April 4, 2012 at 7:18 am

Absolutely! Once you become a blogger you must take on so many other roles… editor, writer, photographer, web designer, marketer… all extremely exciting but also can be frustrating at times as well. I think that delving into these things really puts things in perspective and the best we can do is focus on what we are doing not anyone else. We can only expect so much of ourselves, but as long as we are trying and getting better it is all worth it!
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Kris April 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

GAAH every time I see those chocolate cakes … OOOH they look SO good. I need to make them, I’m having my wisdom teeth out today, so they will be a perfect edible for me (the filling at least!) 😀

I don’t always submit my photos these days, but I am still happy whenever they are accepted. Sometimes I forget, or just don’t have time, or I feel the photo isn’t good that day. I’m not as into it as I used to be, I guess. I LOVE to take photos, though, and that is becoming more and more of a passion! :)
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Heather @ Better With Veggies April 4, 2012 at 8:02 am

I’ve been frustrated by this myself – I don’t like the sizes that they crop your photos too, which typically makes a beautiful photo a very mediocre photo. I think it’s just the way I shoot photos and I need to get better at the resizing options in editing tools to get it closer to the way they want it before I submit it. :)
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Kris | April 4, 2012 at 8:03 am

Hahahah!! I guess I need a new camera!! Ryan said to me the other day “Hey! We’re not broke anymore, wanna get a nice camera??” I said “OH YEA! Let’s do it!” so we’re looking this weekend! Gotta love what money can do, huh??

I NEED one for my food pics and all the workout pics I will be posting!!

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life April 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

Oh the frustration of rejection – I too feel your pain! It confuses me sometimes because often they will accept an image that – to my eye – does not look as good as another they rejected. Or, they reject it because the framing doesn’t work for their specific layout. But it is what it is. As you say, or as Aaliyah said… “dust yourself off and try again…” 😉

Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit April 4, 2012 at 10:18 am

So many inspirational musings in here. Thanks, ladies! You’re right, never compare yourself with others because then you lose sense of where you are and what you bring to the world. Thanks for the reminder!
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Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) April 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

I get mostly rejected on my photography, but I really don’t have much of a set up. I use daylight for the most part and I don’t use props really at all. Your photos are always so beautiful!
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Ela April 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

I’m always in awe of your pics–I think they’re amazing! I don’t pay much attention to great photography–I don’t know how bad this is for my blog–I just try to take a pic to give an idea, I don’t make it into an art form like you guys do.

I’ve never even looked at the big galleries–not sure I’d even enjoy that level of food porn bombardment! But I do sometimes worry that it makes my blog less appealing that my pics aren’t the best.
Ela recently posted..What? You’re Saying I DON’T Have a Superpower? Prompt 3, Three WaysMy Profile

Lori and Michelle April 4, 2012 at 11:56 am

Oh Ela, thank you! And from what we have learned from blogging, pictures do help a blog. A lot of the big bloggers talk about how important pictures are…people are visual.

Lori and Michelle April 4, 2012 at 11:56 am

Sarena, we are running out of time these days to actually set-up photo shots anymore. It can be fun though when we actually get to do it.

Lori and Michelle April 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

Yes Anna, just got to keep trying

Heidi @ Food Doodles April 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I get so much inspiration from the big ones, FG and TS. My pictures have been getting rejected a lot lately :( It’s disappointing, but it was more disappointing when most of my hits came from those sites. Now, it still bothers me(and I usually keep trying!) but I try not to let it get to me and just move onto my next post.
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Meg April 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

So weird with the timing of your post! I just saw a link to an article called: Healthy Aperture: Like Tastespotting but for Healthy Food!:

Aylin @ Glow Kitchen April 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm

This post totally resonates with me — it’s so hard to get good lighting in my apartment, let alone knowing how to use my camera properly!
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Ela April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Yes, and that’s my problem–I’m not very visual! So for me, it seems like it’s enough if there’s just a photo there, but I guess at some point (when I’m less busy than now) I need to make some time to learn how to do it better.

Rhianna April 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Great article! Thank you for sharing. Lets hope my very old poor camera can do A setting without having a heart attack (which I really doubt.)
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Lori and Michelle April 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Haha, very cool Meg! thanks for sharing we will check it out.

Lisa April 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

To my amateur eye, your photos are great! I don’t bother even submitting my photos to the sites—I know they’re not good enough. It’s one of those things I would really like to get better at, but I’ve never taken a class and just have not taken the time yet. Maybe someday, but my brain feels full of other stuff right now. ha.
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Jacqueline@digintobooks April 4, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Love this post! I just started blogging a few months ago and I feel like my photography is improving a lot. Today I got on Tastespotting for the first time and was ecstatic, but my real goal is to get featured on Foodgawker. I’m not always sure about why they deny my photos-sometimes pictures look fine to me but there always seems to be one flaw in them. I’m hoping that it’s a learning experience to deal with those sites and so far it has been, which is great! LOVE your photos-they are AMAZING!
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Laury@TheFitnessDish April 4, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I looooooove your photography posts! I am still learning so much so this is helpful! I need to use my tripod more! I also want to get a lighting reflector and I need to make a macro box!!!

pinning this one for sure!

I think your food photos are some of the best out there as far as food blogs go! I love everything about them, you girls have such an eye all around!
Laury@TheFitnessDish recently posted..You vs. SugarMy Profile April 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Looks so delicious!

Katie @ Nutrition in a Peanut Shell April 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Great article! I actually just came across this through Google (after frustratingly typing in “Why won’t foodgawker love me!?”) and I’m so happy I read it! {and the comments}
I know we all get caught up in the numbers but the best advice I’ve read is not to let a 250X250 layout affect what YOU think is a beautiful picture!
Doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying though 😉
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Jenna Dunn May 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Hi Lori and Michelle,

Thanks for the great tips.
Please consider to add our website to your food photography site list :)
We always welcome new submission, and surely we also keep our standard and rules, so that only the best quality pictures will be published on our site.

K&LFood Blog July 22, 2012 at 5:49 am

biggest problem we hav is tastespotting. out of 40 images maby just 7 were accepted.we learn everyday too. it is frustrating but gives u a kick of motivation too!

simon March 28, 2013 at 6:27 am

Well I’ll update the posts into 2013.
I think after 14 rejections from foodgawker and 7 accepted photos I’m kinda understanding what they are looking for and a big part seems to be …
-Depends on the person looking at the photo
-Composition (which to me means does the scene look real?)
-light lots of natural light bounced around
Photos that get accepted to foodgawker don’t necessarily get onto tastespotting which I don’t get.
Anyway thats a few of my observations

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