My issue with Foodgawker (and similar sites)

Okay so here’s the deal… I have an issue.
I may be shooting myself in the foot with this, but I. Have. An. Issue.
…with Foodgawker (and similar sites). No wait. It’s with Foodgawker. I’ve had none of the following problems with similar sites. This is a Foodgawker rant.
For those of you who don’t know what Foodgawker is, essentially it’s a food porn website where people can upload images they’ve taken of shit they’ve made and have posted to a website, creating a space – albeit a very limited space – on which you can promote your blog.
Screen shot 2012-04-24 at 9.13.31 PM
Seems like a good idea right? Sure. In theory. But the way this site determines whether or not your photos get accepted irks me. Hence: I have an issue.
For Foodgawker your photos have to be very specific. The lighting has to be just right, the positioning of the food has to be manipulated just so, the depth of field has to be outstanding, and so on and so on and so on. And even then, depending on who receives your photo on the other end, it may or may not be approved based on a very subjective view of what counts as a decent photograph. I’ve submitted multiple pictures that are absolutely no different than other images I’ve seen on that site and been turned down. What the fuck? I even read in an interview with the founder of Foodgawker that if at first you don’t succeed, submit again. So I did. And the reason I was turned down a second time? ….because I had already submitted that photo previously. Again I ask: What. The. Fuck?Mrrrraaarrrrrhhhh!! Anger and frustration! That’s right! Anger and frustration!
Now, there are classic techniques of photography that make photos appealing to the eye. Totally. I get that. Sure.
But, food is meant to be experienced! I want to see the textures, and the colors, and the cracks and personality and love. I don’t want my pictures to look like everyone else’s. Their food and their experiences aren’t my food and my experiences. I don’t want to craft my craft according to very limited, industry specific standards that sell my vision short.
Conformity is boring. Sameness is boring. Repetition is boring.
Perfection is Boring.  
Do you hear me Foodgawker?? Perfection is boring! I think your resource could be very useful but why not establish some hard guidelines regarding submissions for your site? Or if you have guidelines, be a little more upfront with them? Or not be such snobs about the “quality” of the pictures you accept. Because it is snobbery.I have submitted 51 photos… And 15 have been accepted. See? 
Fifteen. Out of fifty one. I know I’m taking good pictures. Just because they don’t fit into someone’s snobby narrow definition of what food photography should look like doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be seen. 

….I guess that’s why I have this blog. I’m making my own space. Heck! Let’s extend this conversation to life – make your own space! If you don’t agree with something, or it doesn’t work for you, or something else feels right – without sounding like a Nike ad (because we all know how evil Nike is and if you don’t, you should google that shit) – just do it. Look and live and love freely! Be magical! And whimsical! And different! And irresponsible! And make mistakes! Don’t fit yourself into a narrow definition of what is right or beautiful or sexy or proper or whatever the current cultural norm is. Just don’t! Instead, do your own version!


Wow, that rant got away from me a little bit, didn’t it?

….Even after all this, I’ll probably still submit my photographs to their site. Let’s face it – when they do get accepted, it’s great traffic for my blog. Even if it is ONE time, never to return again visits. It only takes about 10 minutes out of my week. But I’m not changing my photography for them. If I happen to fall into the right photograph, score. But otherwise, I’m gettin’ my freaka’ on. Ow! Ow!

End rant.

What do you think about Foodgawker? How do you feel about regulation of the arts? Do you think we need a standard to be upheld? Or does that limit possibilities?
Or… How do you defy the “norm”? Yeah! How do you make your own space? How do you negotiate the “norm” and your truth? Could I be any more cheesy?

Join the Community!


If you’re into really good food cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients, drinks with a little somethin’ somethin’ and enjoying what you put in your mouth, this book is for you.


Julia Child famously commented, "I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food . . . ” Kristy Gardner has taken this idea to the next level in Cooking with Cocktails. Every recipe is touched with alcohol; the result is a punchy visual adventure with roots in Italian and French cuisine that demands enjoying meals with passion, with friends, and with alcohol.


Join the celebration of the very best that life has to offer—good friends, good food, good drink and great stories —with humor, delicious and inventive recipes, and mouth-watering photographs for each and every dish!


Cook. Eat. Imbibe. Live. And repeat.

You Might Also Like

  • Shauna
    April 25, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Give us all your picture and someone will get it acceted Im sure. What a pain and waste of time, and really who cares about the depth of field, we just want the yummy food! Good Luck

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      haha thanks Shauna – that’s why you’re so great 🙂

  • Beth Roan
    April 25, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    How funny! At least you’ve gotten 4 accepted. I’m at a big fat zero!! Congrats on your 4! 🙂
    Beth @

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      it’s ridiculousness.

  • Gerry @Foodness Gracious
    April 25, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    Aww man, don’t get me started on this..I have a worse time with Tastespotting but have only had 1 chosen by FG. I think it’s BS too, I always wonder whoever is looking at them about the position of their screen or if they had a shitty day. The thing is I still submit because it is good traffic, I wish I could just call them up and tell them to shove their site…but I wont, I’ll do what your doing and keep submitting my good pics hoping that the person seeing them is in a happy mood that day. 🙂
    Thanks, my rant is now over!

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      which is ridiculous! i’ve seen your photos and they’re beautiful. let’s send their authorizers good thoughts so they’ll be in those good moods when our pictures come their way. grumpy buggers.

  • Barbara
    April 25, 2012 at 5:52 AM

    Can’t speak for Foodgawker, but I have similar issues with Craft Gossip. I’ve submitted several times. Nothing. Oh, except the time they posted something of mine that they couldn’t remember how they got wind of it. Go figure.

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      that seems like it might be a breach of copyright?

  • Becky
    April 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Arts and creativity are not something to be regulated. I sincerely believe that whatever YOU are used to is your ‘norm’ and we all have different ones. We should celebrate our differences, not all want to be alike and cookie cutter. How freaking boring. All you have to do is look at all the strip malls and chains to see how blah that is. Variety is the spice of life.

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      true that sister. down with strip malls, chains, and cookie cutter! 🙂 i like you.

  • Alison
    April 25, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    LOL! I agree. I’ve only submitted 4 photos with my new blog and ONE has been accepted. So I guess I’m at 25%. Maybe I’ll stop while I’m ahead. 😉

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      it’d do you good. haha… but again, that damn traffic they bring to your site! 🙂

  • SallyBR
    April 25, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I’ve had so many photos rejected from Tastespotting that I developed an inferiority complex from it.

    they come back with one word: Composition.

    oh, thanks! that helps… 🙂

    Sometimes I submit a photo because a friend blogger (knowing of my inferiority complex) writes me an email and specifically tells me to submit it, because it is beautiful…

    and, I get rejected yet again

    I’ve got maybe 4 photos in Tastespotting, got nice traffic from them, but submitted probably 20 more that got slammed. I rarely submit them now, but often wonder why some photos get published that don’t look any better than mine

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      i felt like that at first too and then my partner said something very clever… he’s a film writer and makes them from time to time. he’s submitted who knows how many to film festivals and hasn’t gotten in. it really is about A. luck; B. timing; C. getting the right person to see it at the right moment… i think this tastespotting, foodgawker, etc.. business is just the same. it’s gatekeeping.

  • Meg @ Sweet Twist
    April 25, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    I have that problem with tastespotting. They reject everything that everyone else accepts and their reasons always seem like stretch.

    You can’t win them all I guess. 😛

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      so weird. you can if you’re charlie sheen! i just heard about his “winning” thing. how out of the loop am i??

  • Amber | Bluebonnets and Brownies
    April 25, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Like I said on Facebook, I’m over FoodGawker, TasteSpotting, and the like. I get way more traffic from Pinterest than I ever got from them, and it can be way more organic than if I somehow manage to fit into FG or TS’s versions of perfection. In fact, one of my oldest posts recently got pinned and pinned and pinned and pinned again. Something that was denied by them both.

    We tout our posts on Facebook, on Twitter, and before Pinterest, we submitted them to FG & TS. Somehow, that submission and editorial process made us feel okay about putting our stuff out there. Well, now, create your own Pinterest Board, with everything you’ve written/posted for Gastronomical Sovereignty. People who follow you on Pinterest will want to see your creations, and we’re doing them a service by providing one board they can follow and see everything, including what’s new (kind of like subscribing to our RSS feed).

    FoodGawker’s latest updates mean that if someone pins your photo from there, they get the Pinterest traffic first. I don’t like that. And I don’t see it as necessary anymore. I think FG and TS, and sites like it, are on their way out. This newest update is a last ditch effort to try and gain back their following.

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      agreed. i think that pinterest, our blogs, etc… are spaces that we create, control and moderate ourselves. that’s where our stuff belongs 🙂 very well said.

    • Luanne
      February 4, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      @Amber and @Kristy Lynn — I couldn’t agree with you more. Snobbery and FG and TS’s version of perfection gets old very quickly. I can only imagine how much good food they’re missing out on. Ones that are real but may not conform to their FG and TS’s version of “perfection” — a shallow depth of field with a blurry background.

      Every dog will have its day. It’s only a matter of time before something newer, cooler and a more inclusive food app/website happens. Looks like Pinterest is already doing a great job. And you’re right about the traffic too. We get a lot from them and it’s also more interactive than FG and TS.

      Remember Myspace and Friendster?? who? what? — yeah!… Exactly. Thanks for the great post Kristy Lynn!

  • Cathy at Wives with Knives
    April 25, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Well said. Their standards are completely arbitrary and it’s a downer to be rejected over and over. I’ve had photos accepted (not very many) but I think that both FG and TS are complete wastes of time and emotion.

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      high five cathy!

  • detailsjuliette
    April 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I totally agree. I had the same experience with Tastespotting. I mean, I understand that the photo has to be nice and appealing, but it seems like you have to have some photography award to get your recipe posted. Anyway, I tried a couple of times and since those days my photography has progressed a lot, but I don’t upload my photos anymore, I just go and give a look at the nice photos, get hungry, bake and enjoy. That’s the best part =)

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 9:43 PM

      your photos are looking beautiful btw!

  • Sam
    April 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I don’t even bother to submit (my pictures are improving, but they’re not great–sometimes you can even see my dirty stove top in the background). I also find that some highly stylized food photos just look silly. “Our own space” should definitely be to Foodgawker what Catalog Living is to the Pottery Barn catalog… 😉

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 9:44 PM

      it’s your dirty stove top that we love 🙂

  • Jo
    April 25, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Hear hear! I’ve stopped trying, too many rejections from both, and always the same one word “composition.” Sorry, but I am not going change what I am doing to please them anymore.

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 9:44 PM

      what does composition even mean? it can mean anything!

  • Swathi Iyer
    April 25, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I agree 100% with you. I take food picture, not with prop and what ever lighting avialable. I was turned down by so called tastespotting, foodgwaker etc. My hubby says food needs to look like food not as painting. You need to see and feel the texture. Earlier, I thought I am one of bad photographer who doesn’t know how to click, then I realize that this is me, what I take is perfect for me. Food needs to be look like food with taste and texture not as any art. Now I don’t care any of these sites. I like pin interest and my blog.

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      agreed. texture is key.

  • Teresa,
    April 25, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Kristy, I agree with you whole heartedly. I sent in a few images early on…got one or two approved out of quite a few…then I stopped and asked myself what the hell I was doing? I do not know anyone who has every really benefited from Food Gawker in any financial way…maybe it gives us all a thrill to see our images in print on the web…and then I realized that was a bit shallow in an artistic way…it seems to me the Food Gawker folks make money selling ads on the backs of all the folks who are manic about getting images accepted….that is just not my thing. My food styling business, website and food blog are what I really want to do…not spend lots of time buying into Food Gawker’s theory of what a good photograph of food should or should not be.
    For all we know the folks choosing images might have all sorts of food phobias, food ignorance, no background in food or food photography not to mention anything to do with light, shadow, etc…it is all a crapshoot and if I want to play craps…I will fly to Vegas!

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      want a partner? we can take the casinos for all they got! or at least have a few drinks on the slot machines.. 😉

  • Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies
    April 25, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Okay. A bit off topic, but a website called Tastespotting only reminds me of the heroin movie Trainspotting in which one notable character dies in a pool of his own vomit.

    They couldn’t, honestly, find a better name than that? Dorks.

    Also, I’ll admit I’ve never heard of these sites and now I don’t feel like visiting either FoodGawker (MUCH better name) or tastespotting because of their lack of photo acceptance rubric.

    You foodies rock! I’ll visit your websites directly instead!!

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 25, 2012 at 10:32 PM

      Trainspotting was awesome. kind of like you.

    • Judy Hannemann
      June 16, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      AHHH A kindred spirit!!! Every time I look at that name I think of “Trainspotting” too. And there, I thought it was just me. As for FG, I just keep submitting (got one accepted just recently) and figure it keeps someone in a job. LOL But seriously, it *is* subjective and some of the photos I see on there defy reason–and sometimes you don’t even know what the food is that’s being showcased. Like many others here, I think food should look like FOOD not high art. FYI I take most shots of stages of prep for my blog with my dopey LG phone, but the last and final plated version is one I take with a proper camera and try to “style.” I notice they like very bright (OVEREXPOSED) pics and I always add some color saturation, which to me, makes it look quite un-natural, but hey, I go with the flow.

    • Kristy Lynn
      June 17, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      i like how you approach it. one for them, lots more for how we think it should be 🙂

  • Cooking Rookie
    April 25, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Hi Kristy,
    I personally think that your pics look delish :-). Can I stop over for a bite next time I go to the island? 😉

  • Jackie @Auburn Meadow Farm
    April 25, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    That’s funny. I’ve never tried submitting – of course now I have to immediately : )

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      you let me know how that goes now…

  • Louise
    April 26, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    oh man, dont get me started! i think tastespotting is slightly easier to get on than foodgawker, and I cant tell you how many times i have tried to get in the gallery. Im about the same score as you, 4 accepted out of 37. i agree, perfection is boring! ive seen pictures in lots of foodie mags that dont even come close to their standards. thanks for visiting my blog by the way. just love the name of yours!!

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      we should start a 4:37 club…

  • patience
    April 26, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    okay, here’s the thing (things?)

    i really really really enjoyed reading this post. i think you made some good points and i can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be. when i first started making stationery and trying to submit it to sites i felt hopeless. i would see other images of stationery with this perfect lighting and amazing conception and depth of field and i felt so very jealous! but i also liked how my photos more clearly showed what it was, or what was included in a set for example. because sometimes perfect photos only tell you a percentage of the story you know?

    that being said, as a person who is obsessed with aesthetics – i do get where they are coming from. if i go to a website or a blog and i don’t like how it looks? 1. i don’t trust it or what it’s trying to teach me/share with me/sell me. and 2. i usually leave. i’m really big on how websites look because the design and photos are what you have to present yourself to the world. i like sites that look good, and i want to be IN/ON sites that look good (not sexually ;). so i get that – they have standards.

    there is a similar issue on etsy – being that the treasuries on the front page are always very perfect looking and often white and they don’t represent all of the etsy sellers. but to be honest it has never bothered me because as i mentioned, i like when things look good.

    the problem i think that is inherent with sites like foodgawker and etsy, and probably why it irks people so much is because they are not representing themselves…not really. they are representing you, and food, and people who blog about food! and same with etsy. so there’s really no need for them to get hung up on the presentation necessarily. especially if they are not a revenue based website – which i wouldn’t know about.

    and that’s my input!

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 26, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      holy things batman!

      First, i knew you’d like this post and i was just waiting to hear from you.

      Second, good points. i do think aesthetics are vital to branding and promoting a website, blog, etc… i think the issue along with the one that you raised about not representing a person, the food, etc… is that it’s so tightly regulated by an elite group of people who may or may not have any training in food, photography, food photography, etc… and that’s wrong.

      I actually thought about you when I wrote this regarding the art world. Imagine if only really specific genres and colors and shapes of art were accepted by a handful of people to be seen….. i know this is the internet and so it’s different because they ARE making money through their sponsors (ie companies) but it’s kind of the same, no?


  • Sarah
    April 26, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    i saw this post on SRC’s facebook page…and i didn’t comment there because there were a billion already. but 1) i completely agree with you, and 2) i think your photos are beautiful! there’s too much snootiness on those sites anyway. 🙂

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 26, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      thank you Sarah 🙂 death to all food porn sites! or at least a flu! wait, that sounds like i’m engineering a virus for them. i’m not.

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    April 26, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    Delicious rant lady. I have never submitted anything to Foodgawker but I have experienced similar snobbery on other sites. I find it particularly frustrating when the same blogs continually get featured on a given site. I make delicious food too! And I take decent photos dammit! I feel like the food blog world has become a bit clique-y. But all we can do is keep doin’ our thang!

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      YOU’RE delicious 😉 you DO take decent photos. your photos are pretty darn fantastic, actually.

      i’m glad you bring up the cliquey thing. It’s something that shouldn’t exist but does. Why can’t we all work together to bring people amazing food experiences?? We can start our our food clique for all the non-cliquers.

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
    April 26, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    I have had good luck with foodgawker (my picture is even in your screen print 🙂 ), but tastespotting rejects 95% of what I submit to them. Always the same reason “composition”. At first I tried to take pictures with that in mind, but they still were not accepted. I have given up on trying to please them. I still submit to their site, but it is a rare occasion they are accepted. Can’t turn down the opportunity for the traffic though 🙂

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      lucky bitch. 😉

      someone made an interesting comment yesterday on facebook about the traffic they generate: what if the traffic is a one time click? you might get 700 hits or more from one picture but in the end…. if they don’t come back, is it worth the effort of posting? Or would it be a more valuable use of time to get involved in community building efforts (i.e. Secret Recipe Club, etc…) that gets people coming back time and again?

  • Holli@scratchtreeouse
    April 26, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Just wanted to heart this post. I haven’t mustered up the courage to submit to Food Gawker or similar sites, but have been delighted by relatives posting a few recipes in Pinterest. So, yeah, I’d recommend that;)

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 27, 2012 at 3:31 AM

      aw i heart you 🙂

  • DivyaGCP
    April 26, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Just submitted some pictures from my new blog to foodgawker. As i was browsing about it, got your post. Let me see how my luck works..

    Divya’s Culinary Journey

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 27, 2012 at 3:31 AM

      i’m crossing my fingers for you. let me know how it goes!

  • Cheap Ethnic Eatz
    April 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    here, here!
    I gave up

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 28, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      i think i’m gonna do the same thing.

  • Bridget Hedger
    April 28, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Great post, I tried several times to get one of my photos on there. I’ll admit a lot of my photos need a lot of work, let’s face it my photography needs work. I’ve just started. There was one specific post where my picture was awesome. I was so proud of myself I tried submitting and re editing to “their” so called liking and every time I got turned down for the same reason. I then gave up saying it’s not worth it to me! I love my blog and wish I had more followers but at the same time it’s a lot of work and a lot of time, and I don’t have all that time for it now..maybe one day in the future 🙂

    • Kristy Lynn
      April 28, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      but everyone’s photos need work. that’s the brilliance of pinterest i think. we can learn from each other. Foodgawker just wants you to conform to a specific style of photography. what fun is there in that?

  • Anna
    April 30, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Oh I am SO with you- I feel like they accept the most random of my pictures, and the ones I LOVE that show the texture and make me want to drool always get the comment “too close” or “composition too tight”. I WANTED it that way or I would not have TAKEN it that way and SUBMITTED it. Argh. But yeah, I’ll totally keep submitting, who am I kidding 🙂

    • Kristy Lynn
      May 1, 2012 at 3:04 PM

      true that sister. i like up close photos – and if you look at foodgawker’s most viewed and most favorited EVER – other people do too…

  • April @ The 21st Century Housewife
    May 2, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I have not heard of Foodgawker but it sounds very restrictive. Who made them the experts anyway? I totally agree, perfection is definitely over rated – and not just when it comes to photographs. It’s what makes us different that is interesting!

    • Kristy Lynn
      May 2, 2012 at 9:38 PM

      i know, right? we should be our own experts!

  • Gingered Whisk
    May 2, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    I totally agree with you. Ever since Tartlett’s book “Plate to Pixel” came out, its like everything has to be held to her standard of photography. Which, she does take beautiful photos, but not everyone has to take photos EXACTLY like her! It is really frustrating to try and carve out your own niche in your blog when certain places (and people) want you to follow the crowd. What is this, high school?!

    • Kristy Lynn
      May 2, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      yes. and i adore her blog. i love her photography. but i’m with you – we need to adopt our own love and styles of photography (if that’s our thing)… just because the cool kids are doing one thing doesn’t mean we have to follow suit.

  • Cooking Rookie
    May 8, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Hi Kristy,

    I absolutely share your feelings on recipe photo sharing. I think there is no need for prescreening – the viewers can decide which pictures they like and which they don’t. As a food blogger I find it very frustrating when one person has the power to decide which of my recipes will get to a wide audience.

    So I started building a “democratic” platform, where recipes will not be rejected, everything will be published. But to reward good quality and to make the viewers happier, the more popular images will be given higher priority in the gallery. And now today finally this website is live.
    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z)

    When I read this post I was in the final stages of testing RecipeNewZ. I was soooo tempted to tell you about it, but I felt like I should wait until launch. So now it’s live :-), and I hope you can join, check it out and spread the word :-).

    • Kristy Lynn
      May 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      Wow! I can’t wait to check it out – way to go my friend! i’ll swing by.

  • Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes
    July 7, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    This made me literally laugh out loud. I totally can relate! haha. I finally got a few things accepted on foodgawker but they always deny me for the dumbest reasons. Tastespotting is the one I have a bigger issue with!! I swear they don’t even LOOK at my pictures!

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      i actually thought i was doing rather well on tastespotting – turns out i have the same issues there as many of you do. but i guess that’s why we have our blogs right? get our own stuff out there on our own terms!

  • Abby
    December 5, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    OMG I agree with you 100%! I’ve had quite a few photos accepted by Foodgawker (and feel amazingly elated and just plain awesome when they’re accepted) and many many more rejected which completely crushes me every time! Especially when it’s their stupid “composition too tight” reason. I LIKE seeing the food close up and can tell for sure that it looks like something I’d want to eat!

    I won’t stop submitting because it brings a (relatively) huge amount of traffic to my tiny site, but it’s a frustrating roller coaster ride. I will say this though, my photography and composition has improved a lot since I’ve geared it towards being accepted on Foodgawker, but sometimes the photos just don’t turn out, or I take shitty photos and can’t bring myself to care because I’m starving and I want to eat what I just made before it gets cold!

    Reading this I think I’ve found a lot of awesome blogs that I’m going to check out. Keep up the good work ladies, your photos are all fabulous!

    • Kristy Lynn
      January 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      – i wonder if the traffic is worth it though? most people don’t come back after that one click. Nor do they comment. just curious – is volume of traffic or quality of traffic more important?

  • Samantha T. H.
    December 27, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    i am so glad to find this thread. Just started TS and FoodGawker and became despondent, I don’t pretend to be the best photographer but i thought my chicken with forty cloves of garlic was a slam dunk… I think that composition too tight must mean the image is either cropped to close or two close up in the overall frame but they said this about my chicken and is def not a closeup. I don’t get it. your photos are great by the way!

    • Kristy Lynn
      January 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      thank you Samantha – that’s lovely of you to say. i really think when it comes to TS or FG, you just have to catch the right person on the right day in the right moment. it’s frustrating.

  • Paul Koziol
    January 17, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    In seeing all of the posts that talk about TS and FG being so picky and me having never submitted to them I thought I would forge a different path and start and it allows easy sign up and ALL pictures are posted and are ranked on the likes. Let me know what you think of it and if you could tell a friend. Its new so any issues don’t hold back and let me know. I don’t think pictures and people trying to get exposure should be limited. Thanks!

    • Kristy Lynn
      January 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      Thanks for the link Paul!

  • Talaia @ WholeYum
    January 18, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    @Abby it is a roller coaster ride indeed and I am jumping off lol. Food photography isn’t the easiest, but many of our photos aren’t that bad either. I just think the editors have their favorites–foodgawker in particular. It is maddening when a photo that isn’t even bad is rejected :/

    @Kristy The traffic is worth it to me as bloggers who have ads get paid every time someone visits their site! But you are right, will they be repeat visitors? Probably not lol. Healthy Aperture is a great site to submit to though, and also my site I started my blog not even knowing about foodgawker, etc… but now that I see how picky they are, I am creating a feature where people can post photos that link back to their websites. Should be done next week. The only requirement is that the dish is healthy hence the name 🙂 Check it out!

    Thank you for this post Kristy!

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Thank you so much for your recommendations! I’ll check them out Talaia!

  • Deby Yuza
    January 24, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    ohh.. I see now. Maybe that’s why they don’t accept my amateur, iphone-5 photos on their site. sigh. 🙁 Sadd

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      Amateur = creatively unbound, Deby. Run with it 🙂

  • Anne
    February 4, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    finally someone spoke the truth! Food gawker and all the other sites are so “exclusive” . I tried many times to post my pictures in there and it’s so much work .. not user-friendly. And they make tons of money with ads from bloggers who go there working hard trying to promote their blogs. I found an alternative to those guys … its a cool Toronto start-up called culinote. I posted some stuff there and they showed in their main page for a long time.I got some traffic from them.
    What is fascinating is the amount of foodgawker-like versions are out there? And all with the same concept? It must be a fortune maker Sigh 🙁

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      Looking into it 🙂 Thanks Anne!!

  • foodienewz
    July 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    one can submit food photo at and they are publishing it without any review

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 11, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      thank you for this recommendation and alternative!

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    August 1, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    Girl, high 5 to you on this completely! So much frustration with FoodGawker, I removed it from my bookmarks!

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 11, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Thank YOU Pamela!! ‘Atta girl!

  • Zan
    August 2, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    42 submission zero published on gawker… problem with tastespotting…..could the opinions be so different between two sights that do the same thing? Totally annoyed by gawker….don’t get it.

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 11, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      I dunno Zan. I think it’s a lot of snobbery and often their selection criteria are inconsistent. Regardless, there are better ways to get traffic (especially repeat traffic) to your site – like real, quality comment engagement, social media and networking.

    • Zan
      August 12, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Thanks for the reply Kristy, I somehow broke the code got my last 3 of of 4 on! Yeah! I will take your advice on getting trafficked….thanks for the reply!

  • Kate
    August 6, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    I think it’s funny that you all perceive accepting and declining photos as snobbery. Do you know what would happen if they accepted every photo? No one would get any hits! I get my submissions accepted and declined all the time, but I don’t take it personally! I just keep submitting. People it’s free! What’s the big deal, just submit another photo if your declined! I’m amazed at the amount of whining that happens over foodgawker!

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 11, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      Hi Kate!

      Thanks for your feedback! I think for me, the issue is that photography is just so subjective and the issue with Foodgawker (and similar sites) is that while subjective is fine – they’re terribly inconsistent in their selections. And at the same time, they’re undeniably influential in shaping food photographers pictures. Which is also fine, except that it’s limiting creatively. If we all depend on these sites to get our traffic (instead of real, community engagement), all the sites start to look the same. Blech.

      Thank you again for your thoughts – good points you’ve made!

  • Jayson Catedral
    August 21, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Hi Kristy!

    For me, I’m also having difficulties in submission approval by foodgawker. Currently, I submitted more than 60 photos and only 5 of those were accepted by foodgawker. The only good thing about foodgawker is that, they drive lots of traffic to my site. However, I submitted same photos to tastespotting, and I have higher rate of approval compared with foodgawker. Anyway, I don’t take it personally, though it’s really frustrating when one site accepts your photo and the other one does not. Still, I continue submitting my photos to foodgawker. There’s no harm in doing so.

  • Kenton @ Lemon And Olives
    November 6, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    haha–this hits home on so many levels. I’m new to foodblogging, but damn – it’s soo hard to get accepted. Especially since we just got a good camera and are learning. Thank God Pinterest is around–we’ve been finding success with that–you know. We’ll keep trying–but yeah, it’s tough.

  • Jannese
    February 6, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    This is the latest criticism I got from a foodgawker submission: food/photo styling. WTF IS THAT?! Isn’t that a good thing? Assh*les.

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 7, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      Such bullshit. What does that EVEN MEAN?!! I feel for ya Jannese!

  • Jenna
    February 10, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    I feel your pain. It really urks me when I see a picture on that website that got submitted and the photo was really dark or over exposed. They are truely picky. I still keep on trying though. I just recently did a google search on how to get your pictures on foodgawker and came across your post. Thanks!

    • Kristy Gardner
      February 11, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      I honestly think Jenna that it’s entirely on whim based on the person who sees the image. It’s frustrating when you see a terrible photo that was accepted but your stellar image was declined – but I’ve learned to just let it go. There are better opportunities to focus your energies than their stupid lack of taste 😉

  • Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
    March 13, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Great post and glad I’m not alone. I’ve only tried 5 times to get pics on FG and denied 5 times. I’m under no illusion that all my photos are pro-grade (the majority are mediocre) but a few of them are decent enough for FG…or at least I think so especially when I compare them to other photos with the same “awkward angle” or “low light”.

    Although I’m going to put effort towards better photography, after reading your post I’m now wondering if I should even continue to pursue trying to get on FG or focus my attention on Pinterest and FB.

    Thanks for the great article and for giving people a chance to voice their apprehensions over FG submission guidelines. Cheers!

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 16, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      You most definitely are not alone, Trevor. Foodgawker (and similar sites) are so unpredictable and seemingly without definitive image guidelines. It’s all based on the opinions of one team member. That being said, it isn’t a total waste of time. Sure, sites like these drive traffic but usually it’s a one time visit without any engagement. I think it’s key to focus your efforts that see the best results for your blogging goals – in your case, Pinterest and Facebook. I still submit to about 5 food porn sites but I don’t worry about whether or not my images are accepted. If they are, great. If not, whatevs. It’s only 10 minutes out of my week to submit to them and then I move on and focus my energies on engaging with platforms (and people) that make blogging worthwhile.

  • lisa
    May 9, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    Initially, I thought it was like Pinterest but for food lovers, but it’s not… they sure have weird quality control/assurance. I haven’t used FG ever since and just focused on doing what I love… YouTube.

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 8, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      That’s awesome Lisa!! We definitely need to pick our platforms and use what works for us. So glad to hear of your success!!

  • Anna @
    June 3, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    I really feel your pain! I had so many rejections and I still don’t have 1 single photo published on foodgawker 🙁 I really don’t know what they want!

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 8, 2014 at 5:16 PM

      Do you use Pinterest Anna? While Foodgawker can be a good driver of traffic when it’s first published, it inevitably drops off eventually. Pinterest on the other hand is an excellent source of recurring traffic. And EVERY image you publish can get on there!

  • Rebecca
    July 5, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    You could always try submitting to All you do is give us permission and we take the recipes we like and it’s no work for you. I would say the #1 reason I don’t like images is bad lighting. That’s huge. Then zooming in too far and not focusing.

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 8, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      I’ll definitely take a look Rebecca – thanks for the recommendation!

      PS. You’re definitely right about lighting. Number one food photography offense.

  • jessa
    July 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    thank you!! i feel the same way about foodgawker. sometimes that site seems like the mean group of kids in high school that were too cool for everyone else, ha. it sucks to submit a picture that you feel really great about (not only because it’s a good picture, but because it represents delicious food!) and have some faceless snob on the other side tell you it’s not good enough — especially when, like you said, it’s identical to the ones already on the site. ugh.

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 8, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      HAHA. That’s exactly right Jessica!! I totally agree. We should start our own club. The I don’t give an ef about Foodgawker club! …only awesome people invited. And that’s everyone. 😉

  • Mary
    July 27, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    I’m very late to this post, but seriously, THANK YOU! I just seriously got my food blog off the ground and I haven’t had a picture accepted yet. Admittedly, I just got my camera and am still learning how to work it, but not all my photos are awful. I’d also rather work on developing my own eye instead of mimicking exactly the same style everyone else uses. Your post gave me hope. 😉 Thanks!

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 8, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Mary! It may have been published a while ago but it’s as relevant today as it was when I first wrote it. Thank YOU for taking the time to comment and share your experience. I totally agree – food (or any) photography should be unique and beautiful and from the eye of the photographer – not the eye of one specific site who really means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

      Keep it up! I’m excited to see what you do!! xo!

  • Amy
    August 6, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    I love this post and equally hate foodgawker!!! Thank you for the rant!!

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 8, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      HAHA – happy to rant ANY day Amy!! Thank YOU for taking the time to comment.

  • Paul
    August 18, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    I probably can’t add much new to the conversation but want to throw my hat in to the debate as well. It’s so subjective. I’ve had 2 photos accepted on Tastespotting and they were 2 of my earliest submissions – no where near as “good” as other photos that I’ve had rejected. On the Foodgawker side of things, I’ve noticed that they like a lot of white light and for the photo to be overexposed.

    It’s frustrating but with the growth in things like Pinterest and the move towards self curating I see these sites becoming less relevant.
    Paul recently published…Exploring Kappabashi, Tokyo’s Kitchen TownMy Profile

  • Kelsey
    September 5, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    I’ve started a tumbler for foodgawker rejections and would love to post whatever fg wont. Hit me up!
    Kelsey recently published…Learning to Love Foodgawker REJECTION | Roasted GingerMy Profile

  • Tiff
    December 16, 2014 at 4:54 AM

    Kristy, I absolutely feel your pain. I know you wrote this article years ago, but I’m now facing this & I’m sad that since you’ve published this, you’ve only had 27 recipes approved! Your pictures are just fine!! I’m also with you on how they probably had a bad day…or just had lunch, but I’ve come up with a bunch of possible reasons in addition to that:

    1. their monitor is broken
    2. their contrast is messed up
    3. their brightness is on low
    4. they love to reject photos that aren’t “perfect”
    5. their version of “perfect” is actually overexposed
    7. did i mention that I think their monitor is broken??

    Like Paul mentioned, they love that friggin overexposed white light crap. It’s annoying. I overexpose the crap out of my photos in Lightroom to try to attempt to even get it to what they like & then they tell me it’s “dull.” I’ve seen so many photos they accepted with blown out highlights & they love it up. If you’re going to submit a guidelines to what you accept & don’t accept, you should follow it!!!!! Stop accepting over exposed photos, FG!! It’s so obnoxious.
    Tiff recently published…The Reason for HappinessMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      December 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      oh Tiff! we can feel he pain together. it’s true, I still submit to them but I don’t worry about it too much. it’s just part of my publishing schedule. I think you’re right about point número six. I don’t want white blanched pictures all the time because moody photos…. are awesome. more power to you my friend – it’s wonderful to hear from you!

      ps. thank you so much for your kind words about my photos. they’re an evolving process 🙂

  • Marilyn
    January 13, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    i red an article where a professional food photographer submitted over 25 images and was denied on each one! He even remarked that some had won AWARDS! I dislike FoodGawker and Fooderific as well. They are from the same “image is everything” mold.
    Marilyn recently published…Out of The Office Today!My Profile

  • Jessica
    June 22, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    Just getting into the food blog thing….BUT (and here’s where I’m going to be writing an article).

    A lot of my rejections were based off of flat photos (which, were NOT).

    However, after some research I found that shooting raw images and submitting the sRGB jpgs was causing them to view the raw images. (Not sure if it’s a flaw or what).

    Started shooting in .jpg format for foodgawker and raw for everything else, and since switching that up, every photo (except one, which was poorly composed, my fault entirely) has been accepted.

    For those who are looking to submit, they may want to recheck what format they are shooting in and how to switch from raw images to jpg, and make sure that they are using sRGB to finalize the image for the web.

  • Brian Jones
    June 25, 2015 at 4:26 AM

    Foodgawker is a portal to sell advertising and not art, it can be frustrating but it is exactly what it is… I am new to food blogging and struggled with my first few submissions but quickly learned what they want and it can be replicated. View them as a client and your payment being back links and traffic and nothing more.

    I don’t necessarily have to like what I produce for my clients, I have to produce what they like and being able to do that consistently and remove emotive reasoning from submissions and you will be ok, either that or walk away as you will not change them 😉
    Brian Jones recently published…Blackened Chinese Pork BellyMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      July 13, 2015 at 9:28 AM

      I find your perspective very interesting Brian! I guess the thing with Foodgawker is just that = it’s advertising. But the issue is that you don’t just produce that result for them, you host it on your blog. And thus, advertising becomes art. I find the homogeneity of Foodgawker boring. Can it be replicated? Sure. But do you then want Foodgawker – and their aesthetic – on your blog?
      Kristy Gardner recently published…#PopsicleWeek: Sweet Summer Blackberry & Nectarine Margarita PopsiclesMy Profile

      • Brian Jones
        July 13, 2015 at 10:20 PM

        I have no issue with posting images that are acceptable by foodgawker on my blog in any way shape or form, I am creating a food blog and not treatise on the art of food photography 😉 The visitors I get from FG are the second most engaged group of visitors I get in terms of page views and time on site and what I want on my site are people that enjoy the food that I write about in the way I write about it at the moment FG delivers that…

        My point is simply that if you wish to play in somebodies backyard you play by their rules and belittling those rules because you find them constraining or find them difficult to achieve is not really becoming.
        Brian Jones recently published…Deep Fried Camembert & Carmalised PearsMy Profile

        • Kristy Gardner
          July 14, 2015 at 6:34 AM

          Well luckily for all of us, I’ve already became so there’s no need to become, Brian 😉

          In all seriousness Brian, I’m so stoked that you find a benefit from sites like Foodgawker. All the more power to ya! We all choose to blog for different reasons and the tools we find useful in that vary. And that’s amazing. We’re all doing something fantastic and creative yet we can each take our own paths to get there. That’s part of what I love so much about it!

          We all have a right to express thoughts and feelings on our blogs – particularly if they aren’t causing anybody harm. In this post, based on the number of comments, it’s clear that my venting (becoming or not) has allowed others to feel connected through shared experience and THAT is what my blog is about 🙂 Plus you know, it brought you here and I’m so stoked to meet you!

          I wish you the best of luck on your blog – keep doin what you’re doin! Those pears you just published as well as the mushroom ravioli look divine. Enjoy your week sir!
          Kristy Gardner recently published…#PopsicleWeek: Sweet Summer Blackberry & Nectarine Margarita PopsiclesMy Profile

          • Brian Jones
            July 14, 2015 at 7:07 AM

            We do indeed and we are doing just that in a grown up and respectful manner 😀

            It has certainly been a successful post for you and the fact I disagree with it is neither here nor there, the dialogue and engaging readers in a good way is the most important part and I am just playing devils advocate. I agree that sites like Foodgawker play a role in homogeneity in food blogging, but it is no more guilty than gluten free or paleo or any other fad movement. I think it serves purpose for all parties involved, but things will change and move on as I am sure they have in the 3 years since your original post and their accepted style will change with the times, but aint that always that case 😉
            Brian Jones recently published…Deep Fried Camembert & Carmalised PearsMy Profile

  • Homemade & Yummy
    June 30, 2015 at 10:41 AM

    HAHAHA….this is so true. Finally I had a photo accepted. Like really….finally someone took pity on me….or did they actually like it? Anyway…I will take the “win” and continue on my blogging journey!!
    Homemade & Yummy recently published…Roasted Eggplant MedleyMy Profile

  • Pops de Milk
    September 4, 2015 at 3:43 PM

    Love this rant. Found your post after searching “fuck you craftgawker”. I was so upset that yet again my crochet creation was not accepted first because of “craft styling issues” and then “lighting/white balance”. It really is like winning the lottery with food/craftgawker/tastespotting. Have decided to take your advice and not change my photography. Hmph! – Patricia
    Pops de Milk recently published…Crochet Monster Pencil CaseMy Profile

  • Jason
    January 3, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    Gah! I’m had 3 out of 35 accepted. I wish they would be more honest with their rejections. More like:

    Sorry, not enough cup cakes in this picture.

    This image lacks bleached wood and/or gingham

    Too few pointless props/food scattered for no good reason.

    Or just say: not for us!
    Jason recently published…Adult ice cream: vanilla, chocolate, rum & raisinMy Profile

  • kathy patalsky
    March 6, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    I run a site called — same concept but the recipe must be vegan. More lenient that FG… 🙂
    kathy patalsky recently published…Vegan “BLT” Roll-Ups with Easy Ranch Dip + a $500 Cash Giveaway!My Profile

  • Abbey
    May 19, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    I just submitted my first posts to Foodgawker and was totally crushed when I received an email saying they were declined! What the hell, Foodgawker?! I take good photos! My reasons were “underexposed” but I intentionally make my photos look that way. I completely agree that it’s a subjective thing, and you have to hope whoever is reviewing your photos likes your aesthetic. Thanks for this post! Makes me feel better—hopefully I don’t develop an inferiority concept either! 😉

  • Foodiemarvel
    August 9, 2016 at 7:57 PM

    YAAAAAASSSS!!!! Oh my gosh. Preach girl, preach. I want to hug you. Do I need to improve? Of course. I am brand spanking new. I know I have so much to learn.
    What kind of got to me is the reason for one of my declines as “too tight” …which means it’s way too close to edges or too snug a fit….yet ON THE FRONT flipping page, there are Asian wings that – you can’t even see the right side of the whole wing because it’s cut off weirdly because it’s so close up. MmmmmmK.
    Another one (reason as lighting) yet I was chosen in another contest and that one was a finalist… MmmmmmmK.
    Third – this is my art. If I want to take it at a weird angle…then gosh darnnnnnit, I will.
    The main reason for starting my blog is because I loved being creative with food. I loved picking out this plate or that plate because it offset the color of the bread perfectly. Some of the most beautiful photos (I think) have a darker tone than the super bright 10,000 power shots.
    It’s not worth it to me. It really isn’t. Unless one day, baby Jesus sends me a sign that the sun is exactly in the right spot at the exact perfect moment & I happen to take THE PERFECT shot & feel like, “Eh – maybe – we’ll see.” Until then, I’m done wasting so much energy on trying to fit into the perfect box. Kudos!!! I’m so glad I found your post!!!

    • Kristy Gardner
      August 23, 2016 at 8:32 AM

      I totally agree my friend. You keep taking the shots you want to and working on your photography – it’s what I’m doing. What’s perfect to FG is not necessarily perfect to someone else so you do you – be creative with your food, choose your props, enjoy the process – and the people who actually matter, will love it. Kudos to you!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Spiced Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon, Herbs & Toasted AlmondsMy Profile

  • Tracy Morgan
    November 5, 2016 at 3:01 AM

    Wow, when I saw this was published in 2012, I did think it would have been shelved in the archives, so was surprised to see people still commenting. But then, am I? Not really, as it goes. I could have written your post myself. Every single word. I have also submitted just under 50 photos and had only 14 accepted. The last one was for “awkward angle” and it just sucks because it is a gorgeous photo! I wouldn’t mind so much if the standard seemed to be uniform throughout FG, but it isn’t – I see some horrific messes, and that’s what bothers me. If there was a standard we had to adhere to, and everyone was the same standard, it wouldn’t bother me so much.

    There’s been a lot of talk about certain faces fitting with FG and I truly believe that. If you are an established, popular food blogger it looks as though anything goes. And of course, it does – we are not fools, obviously the more followers you have on your blog, the more FG’s pages benefit.

    I hate that I am so bothered about FG – but in some kind of weird way knowing they think it is good motivates me (but in the same token, it is hard not to be demotivated when you are rejected). The funniest thing I’ve noticed is that the photos FG reject are my most popular on social media – one they turned down for “not being to FG standards” got just under 2000 likes on IG. I know I should focus on that – people want REAL photos, as you say, not some jumped up person’s personal view on what is good and what isn’t. Food photography is subjective but as long as the photo is in focus and nice to look at, everything else is irrelevant. That’s why sites like My Recipe Magic has nearly two million followers on FB – it accepts everything submitted. The average person wants to see photos which they believe they can replicate, and certainly don’t notice if the white lighting or exposure is a little off!

    Phew! So sorry to rant on your blog – it just REALLY resonated! I didn’t read through all the comments, but wonder if you still have the same opinion on FG four years later?!

  • Rasmus
    September 5, 2017 at 4:00 AM

    here s an alternative – !