What the heck is foodgawker and is it still worth the effort?
Most every online foodie, almost every food blogger with a site, knows the highs and lows of submitting their work to foodgawker.
From their site: foodgawker is an online platform that enables its users to search and share recipes, techniques, and ingredients with others.
Think food recipes with pictures.
Gorgeous, beautiful, artful, photographs.
The photographs make you drool and put you in the mood to cook (and eat!), but all you really want is for your submitted photos to get accepted.
You live for the ecstasy of the win and try to avoid the defeat of a try again, sucka.
My initial thought is foodgawker is still worth the effort.
foodgawker (they don’t capitalize their name for all who just started twitching) helps build traffic and trustworthiness for your food posts and your site.
You gain that trust through your expertise in the arena of all things food and in terms of eyes (traffic!) on your lovely food photos.
That’s always worth the effort.
My adventure in submitting to foodgawker began May 30th, 2013.
After more rejection than acceptance, I began to wonder if having my photographs featured on their site was still worth my failing efforts.
(note: all of the following photos have text, but the ones I submitted were sans text, because foodgawker doesn’t allow any text on the photos you submit to them)
A variation of cake was my very first submission.
This photo of my Manhattan Cheesecake got rejected for “food/photo styling” and upon reading said rejection, I was instantly all eye-rolls and huffy-talk.
I now see the food/photo styling issues, but back then it was a mystery to me.
I just wanted another piece of cheesecake and some validation, yo.
My Customizable Cheese Ball photo came back with this rejection: awkward angle photo.
Doesn’t look awkward to me. I’d eat it. Gosh.
And my World’s Easiest Cheesecake Pie?
It got this rejection: low lighting.
In the beginning, my rejections obviously didn’t matter too much to me.
I didn’t spent much time at foodgawker doing my homework, like noting what type of photos they were looking for or paying attention to the photos that got featured, I simply sent whatever food picture I currently had available.
I took the throw-the-cooked-pasta-on-the-wall tactic when sending photos. Did it stick?!
Mostly, no – they didn’t stick.
After 17 rejections over a year’s time (I’m a persistent monkey), I decided that instead of scoffing at foodgawker’s generalized feedback when I was rejected, I’d pay closer attention to the styling they were publishing and resubmit the same post with the same pic, albeit tweaked anew using their feedback.
Examples of foodgawker’s feedback:
#1: low lighting and/or underexposed (I think that some of foodgawker’s pics are overexposed, so I would frequently argue with the email rejection)
#2: composition – awkward angle ( I got this one frequently!)
#3: composition too tight (I love me a close-up)
#4: food/photo styling (I still have no idea what they mean)
#5: Please recrop with more space around the dessert, please submit images without text. (I got this rejection on the coffee cake muffin post, which they then accepted after I bumped up the exposure, yet didn’t touch the crop because the original shot was tight and it would have been impossible)
I know lots of you have seen these same reasons for rejection and that’s okay!
It simply means you are one photo-edit closer to getting featured (I’m also an optimistic monkey).
My best advice, if you really want to get featured at foodgawker, is to go to their site, roam around a bit and get a feel for the pics.
The one thing I didn’t do and still don’t, is stage my food photos.
I am not a food stylist.
I am a food admirer. A food desirer. A food maker. A food eater.
Thinking about stylizing my food photographs makes me break a sweat.
Here are a few of my easy food photography tips:
~ Look at the food, be the food, and try to photograph it in a way that is appealing and drool-worthy to you. If you like it, chances someone else (foodgawker) will too.
~ Experiment with close-ups, differing heights and angles.
~ Take lots of shots, then pick a few that speak to your inner foodie.
~ Be aware of the light and shadows. I always try to shoot in natural light, as it’s most flattering to the food.
Just keep experimenting and soon you’ll discover your style.
I like clean lines, bright backgrounds and as little periphery noise as possible.
That being said, I love looking at highly stylized photos of food as well; I just don’t execute them very well.
Go with your strengths.
You do you, baby.
To date, these are my features at foodgawker. (click the graphic below and it will take you to my gallery)
I still contend that the muffins are overexposed.
Traffic gained from being featured on foodgawker:
The word on the Internets is that if you’re featured on foodgawker you can expect an increase of hits by the 1000s in one day.
That’s not my experience.
My experience for my four features was that I saw a bump from 500-1000 hits in one day.
Not bad. I’ll take it. I might even dance a little (I will totally dance a little).
Yet, these numbers are not what most folks think such an acceptance will garner.
Maybe it’s because I’m a newbie, or maybe it’s my content, or maybe that’s what one can come to expect as one of the many submissions accepted daily.
I’m always happy to have new eyes on my site, so for me, it’s a win.
Getting rejected from foodgawker:
The pain! The agony! The disappointment! The rationalization!
There are lots of posts in the cloud about how foodgawker no longer matters, how foodgawker is no longer of any consequence in the food game, how foodgawker is too big for their britches.
How dare they reject me!
There are new contenders for foodgawker throne almost every day.
There are sites where it’s easier to get accepted.
There are sites that are more inclusive.
Ha! Take that foodgawker! They accepted me!
Does it matter? Does foodgawker really matter?
I think so.
Pro Food Blogger thinks so.
Cliffs Notes on what ProFoodBlogger.com thinks about foodgawker:
It’s simply not about the numbers you gain in traffic from FG, it’s the quality of those numbers.
Folks who work in the industry hang out there, always on the prowl for the next thang.
It’s about networking in a community that loves food, lives for food, is all about food. It’s about making foodie friends.
FOOD FOOD FOOD!
So, yes, it still matters to get accepted at foodgawker.
Foodie recipe websites other than foodgawker abound.
Many other websites featuring amazing photos of stylized food.
Here are two of them:
Yummly is the easiest to submit your food photos.
Place a social media button on your site and click to submit your photos.
When you sign-up, you have your own feed so you can check out what you have saved or shared.
Friddg is also pretty laid back about what gets approved.
What gets published?
The secret sauce with traffic from Fridgg is getting featured on the front page.
How do you that?
From their FAQ: We have a special algorithm that takes into account pageviews, likes, comments, social sharing, and how long each photo has been around, and uses a combination of those values to calculate a score for each photo. When a photo reaches a certain score, it automatically gets pushed to the front page. This way, only photos that your peers find interesting or good-looking get to the front page. So it’s important for you to check out and interact with the photos you like!
After knowing all this: Is foodgawker worth the effort?
I think with everything, you need to ask yourself what it is you want or expect.
You. Not them.
Take a hot minute and decide if the extended effort is worth your time.
Can you take rejection?
Do you welcome constructive criticism (however vague)?
Can you handle frustration when faced with no easy or concrete answers?
Are you looking for just an uptick in traffic numbers or are you looking towards building something?
Be honest with yourself. No right answer here, simply what you are looking to gain.
If you think you’re up for the challenge, then absolutely, foodgawker and all that it can offer you and your site, is worth the effort.
So are the others, by the way.
One more thing, just because I’ve been accepted and featured at foodgawker doesn’t mean I’m always accepted.
Matter of fact, while I was writing this post, I got a rejection email.
Primary reason: Photo/food composition
I immediately thought of the next photo that could be tweaked and submitted.
I have found that if I take the reason for rejection seriously, then adjust the edit for the same picture – just tweaked a bit – and resend (many times within 30 minutes after getting the rejection), it’s easier to gain a win and get accepted.
They have a business to run and they want what they want.
Just like you.
You want what you want when you want it!
Moral of the story: Try, try again, mah babies!
What do you think?
Is foodgawker still worth the effort for you?
Original post: October 31, 2014 ~ Updated Post: June 22, 2019