Food porn sites are one of the major traffic builders for food blogs yet sometimes their acceptance policy can seem a bit mysterious. These three tips should help you if you've ever had your images rejected. Many of my images get accepted, but many of my images also get rejected. I've attempted to crack the code, and these three reasons are what I've come up with. This is by no means official...I do not claim to speak for either site. But if you follow these tips I'm sure your chances of getting accepted will increase!
Reason #1 - Dull/Unsharp ImageThis seems to be one of the most common reasons Tastespotting and Foodgawker reject images. One of the biggest mistakes people make when photographing food is getting too close to the plate of food!
Camera's have specific focal distances that cannot be exceeded. In other words, the camera must be a certain distance (usually 2-4 feet, depending on the camera and lens) away from the subject in order for the image to be properly focused. If you get in closer than your camera's focal distance allows, your image is likely to be out of focus. This is one the times that a consumer level Point and Shoot camera really can present problems over a prosumer DSLR.
Both sites also tend to favor images that contain large amounts of focus over images that have shallow focus and blurry backgrounds. Blurry backgrounds regularly get accepted, but it's better to be on the safe side.
Also, remember that your image actually shows up as a 2 1/2 inch image on screen...if most of your image is out of of focus, it might look fine at full size, but when it gets scaled down to 2 1/2 inches, it might just look out of focus because it significantly smaller.
Reason #2 - Unflattering CompositionComposition is also central to getting your image accepted. Most issues arise when bloggers submit images that don't really work in a square format. The image you submit should have a central point of interest, and it's usually best if the central point of interest is in the center. Remember, both Tastespotting and Foodgawker use a square format so keeping the central point of interest in the center will help your image pop.
TIP: Before submitting your image use a photo editing program to test your image out in a square format. Does it work as a square? If not, choose a different one!
Reason #3 - Lighting Issues - Harsh lightingThis is one is fairly straight forward. If the image is too dark it will most likely get rejected. Make sure you are shooting with plenty of natural light. If you cant shoot during the day, use daylight balanced light bulbs to shoot at night.
Many times images get rejected because of harsh light. This means that the light source was too strong and direct creating harsh highlights and deep shadows. To prevent this from happening, diffuse the light using a shear cloth, paper, or film. This will soften the light creating a more even lighting arrangement.
Do you have any tips on improving images for Tastespotting or Foodgawker? Has anyone re-shot an image and submitted it?