You spend so much time trying to photograph a great recipe just to find out all of that precious time and effort went to waste because Foodgawker, yet again, has declined your submission. It is so frustrating! I feel your pain but, don’t give up! Here are 7 Tips to Get Your Photos Finally Accepted on Foodgawker and other recipe submission sites!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission.
Why You Need Your Food Photos on Foodgawker?
Getting your food photos on Foodgawker increases your exposure, traffic, reach, followers, and social sharing while building your brand. You’ll get more traffic to your blog as your photography improves and increases in ranking on Foodgawker. This is important stuff!
Now my photos appear as high as page 1 on Foodgawker on the first submission! This One Pot Ham, Potato and Corn Chowder was put on page 1 and drove traffic to my site from Foodgawker which, is one of my top three site referrals!
Fear not. You can and will get your food photos accepted by Foodgawker with some great tips, practice and patience. You can do it. These tips will help you build confidence in your photo taking ability and get you where you want to go!
Wouldn’t you like to get this email from Foodgawker?
Thank you for your recent submission to foodgawker. Your post titled “Tiliapia Broccoli Sheet Pan Dinner” has been accepted and will appear on the site shortly. To see a list of your posts, visit https://foodgawker.com/submissions.
Take a look at my Foodgawker gallery.
First, let’s talk about the equipment I now use. I too, didn’t know what camera settings I should use. It took me a while just to find the “still images” setting. I’ve come a LONG way! Practice makes perfect! Now, I shoot in RAW format using the manual settings on my camera. Here is my blogging resources page for more info but, for your convenience, below you’ll find which camera, lens, and tripod I use.
Within two months of getting my Cannon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera, Cannon 50mm 1.8/F STM prime lens Photoshop and a food photography e-book, my photos have drastically improved. My photos are accepted by Foodgawker on the first try! Yay! I’ve made it! I graduated from obvious rookie photographer to taking great food photography photos!
Do you have a point and shoot camera? Perhaps you are not ready to purchase a DSLR camera and photo editing software. I understand. I wasn’t either in the first 10 months of my blogging career. Fear not. You can still get your photos accepted by Foodgawker without a DSLR camera. Follow these tips.
Related: The Hard Truth About Blogging!
7 Tips to Get Your Photos Finally Accepted on Foodgawker!
Choose the Best Lighting
First, you need enough natural, filtered lighting. Never photograph your food under kitchen lights or use camera flash.
- No direct sunlight! The photo to the left was shot in direct sunlight and has deep shadows and over exposed lighting.
- Natural light is best especially, if you aren’t willing to pay for artificial lighting just yet.
- Also, try shooting about 2 hours before sunset. The coloring of your photos will be great. I couldn’t believe the difference.
The picture on the left below, was clearly overexposed when I shot it. The color is washed out! I shot this pasta dish at noon with no white, sheer curtain to filter the light.
Foodgawker denied the first photo three times as I kept trying to fix the exposure but, it was not fixable. After I got my new DSLR and prime lens, I shot the picture next to it. It is better lighting and styling. Foodgawker was accepted it on the first submission. The third photo is a more recent shot which, is even better!
If your lighting is not good enough, underexposed photos are likely to happen and you won’t be able to fix them enough in editing unless you have Photoshop or Lightroom. Even with photo editing software, some low lighting photos are still hard to fix. You want your photos to be photographed in the best conditions right from the start.
Use a Tripod
Using a tripod helps you get sharper images because it alleviates camera shake, which is what causes blurry pictures. When you are holding your camera freely and push down on the button to take the picture, hold the camera as steady as possible.
If you use a tripod, the camera will not shake and you’ll get better quality images. Setting up a tripod takes a little time but, you will get better photos.
Therefore, don’t put off getting a tripod like I did. It makes photo shoots so much easier once you get the hang of using the tripod. The one pictured above is reasonably priced! It’s a great starter tripod if you want to minimize your expenses when you are starting out. I totally understand that and did the same myself but, now I don’t shoot food photos without it.
Use (AWB) Auto White Balance Camera Setting
White Balance Issue is another popular violation for novice food photographers and I was no stranger to this. If you are shooting with a point and shoot camera, use the still image setting (the tulip symbol) with AWB (auto white balance) setting if you are able to choose it.
When you edit your photos, choose the auto white balance. Do NOT tinker with tint especially, when you are a new photographer. It is very easy to add too much green or too much red to your photos. Occasionally, I will use custom white balance.
Shooting in natural light will help alleviate color issues.
Choose Good Shooting Angles
In my opinion, the easiest angle to shoot to get your pictures accepted by Foodgawker is overhead at a 90 degree angle. Make sure you are at a true 90 degree angle. The tripod will help with this.
If you choose to submit photos from the front of the food, shoot at a 45 degree angle which is about eye-level if you were sitting at a table and looking down at the food. So, sit at a table with the plate of food in front of you with the camera pointing down from your face and that is about 45 degrees depending upon your height.
However, if you are photographing a stack of pancakes, a hamburger with fixings or pile of cookies, bending down and shooting the stack head on is the best angle. When you are photographing a whole pizza, take out a slice and shoot from above at a 90 degree angle.
“Awkward Angle” Decline Reason
Many times my Foodgawker submissions were declined for “awkward angle.” I had no idea what this meant. Most of the time, it means your shot is not straight. It helps to use small round bowls and small plates. Use the lines in your viewfinder and align them to the table to help you shoot straight.
Below, I shot the first cranberry relish photo under kitchen lights. Do you like the composition and lack of food styling? Awful…and I didn’t even know it at the time.
The second photo is an example of a crooked photo that Foodgawker declined for awkward angle.
Foodgawker accepted the third photo on the first submission. The lighting, composition and styling are good. Plus, Good Housekeeping featured this recipe two years in a row using my photo!
Use Good Composition
Use the rule of thirds. In this rule, most of the object appears in 1/3 of the frame. Take the frame and divide it into 9 equal parts as shown above in the first picture of this post. The object should lie at the intersection of two of the lines. It should either be to the right or left so the cup is sitting on the intersection of the lines.
If Foodgawker declines your submission for the”Composition too tight” reason, this means your food is taking up too much (or not enough) of the frame. Use the rule of thirds as explained above and you can’t go wrong.
For example, I submitted the first photo on the bottom left to Foodgawker and it was rejected for Composition- “too tight” but, the lighting and styling was good. I simply cropped the photo, as seen in the second photo below, resubmitted it and then Foodgawker accepted it. My first photo was accepted on Foodgawker after numerous attempts with other recipe photos. Cropping it properly improved the composition of this lovely styled Cranberry Lemon Cheesecake.
When Foodgawker accepts your first photo, it is really exciting!
As mentioned above, using the rule of thirds will improve your composition. If you haven’t used proper composition while shooting your photos, you can crop them to gain the right composition. Practice cropping and your photos will become better as a result.
Saturation give more color and appeal to your photos but, don’t over saturate them. If you saturate too much, they will look fake. Be careful using this editting tool.
If you shoot without enough lighting, you will need to bump up the exposure while editing which, is normal. Don’t overexpose your photos. If you see white objects in your photos that are too bright white, you may be overexposing the photo.
Under exposure is a common problem. With practice, you will start to see in photos what needs just a tad more light. Ideally, you want just the right amount of light so you can see the color in the food, highlights and shadows. It also depends on the mood you are trying to set.
However, adding too much exposure will make some parts of the photo too visibly bright especially, white areas. It’s best to have the right lighting from the start- while shooting.
First, use small white plates and bowls when you are just starting out your food photography. It is the easiest for beginners. I had a hard time using a square white plate so I stopped using it. For example, butternut squash soup looks great in cobalt blue bowl because of the contrast.
Always, make sure your utensils are straight when you are photographing the food.
Also, use a light colored kitchen towel or cloth napkin, a fork or spoon and a small beverage. Match the colors to each other. Rustic silverware looks great in photos. Set the mood. I style my fall food photos with brightly colored fall leaves and warm, autumn colors.
Choose a good surface to shoot upon. But, if you don’t have any, use a white foam board. They cost only a few dollars at a craft store or $1 at Dollar Tree and the white will reflect light which, will be helpful. If you have too much light, you can shoot with or on a black foam board.
Use these 7 Tips to Get Your Photos Finally Accepted on Foodgawker!
You can get your photos accepted on Foodgawker and other recipe submission sites by using a tripod, proper lighting, the correct camera settings and shooting angles and photo editing, along with good styling. These tips will help your overall food photography skills. Keep practicing and keep submitting your photos to Foodgawker so you can increase your website traffic and get more eyes on your recipes!
Do you like these tips? Share them!