My TasteSpotting Rejections

TasteSpotting is one of my favorite foodie sites. Simply put, TasteSpotting is dedicated to sharing the art of food porn.

Okay, perhaps that's not the site's official mission statement. Nevertheless, TasteSpotting posts some of the foodie community's most appetizingly (yep, I made that word up) stunning photos as well as links to the recipe's owner. There is no official list of criteria for what is required from a TasteSpotting photo submission; simply looking at them shows their clarity, appetite appeal and personality. Basically, if you find yourself trying to jump through your computer screen to (literally) dive into an incredible looking dish, then TasteSpotting has done it's job.

Since I started Pardon My Crumbs in November 2009, I've submitted approximately seven photos for TasteSpotting's consideration. Clearly I've got a lot to learn about food photography, as six out of my seven photos were rejected. Here's the sole photo that made it past the judges table:

I thought it would be interesting to share a few of the photos and reasons for their rejections. I think my photos are actually pretty darn good, but to get more experience I'm going to the "PhotoTasting: The Art of Food Porn" seminar in downtown L.A. this weekend. Hopefully it will help improve my Lighting, Sharpness and Composition, as TasteSpotting reference those two elements as my biggest problems (see the "Notes" in each TasteSpotting rejection photobelow).

This is all in good fun and definitely a learning experience. I love a challenge and can't imagine anything more fun than cooking incredible food and making it look just as mouth-watering in photos. So I can't complain; just have to work harder. :)


  1. boy..does reading this make me feel a whole lot better. I have been sending what i think to be great photos to foodgawker and getting rejected too.
    ...and sometimes i see photos where i am saying...not only is that photo a bit off...the food doesn't even look tasty.
    what is up?!
    for what it is worth...i think your photos are really good and make the food look appetizing...so there!

  2. haha I'm so with you on this. I went through a period of time where picture after picture was rejected! I've had a little better luck the more I've learned about food photography, but still go through spurts where absolutely nothing gets accepted. it's very demoralizing isn't it? I think your pictures look great though. and if it makes people want to try your recipes, that's what counts!

  3. Hi Christie,

    You are not alone in feeling a bit discouraged when it comes to TasteSpotting (or FoodGawker, for that matter). In fact, I've dedicated a website to publishing all the photos that they reject. What you'll see if you look around my site, is that curating food photography is subjective. Very, very subjective. And when you're on the receiving end of a rejection, that stings. But, I can't imagine it will take much to put your photos over the top and swing the acceptance rate in your favor! Good luck at your class, and if you get the chance, I hope you will send each and every one of these photos my way. I would love to publish them!


  4. I get the most frustrated with the composition remarks. If I submit a photo, it is because I think it is appetizing. Who are they to say that a photo is not appetizing just because they don't eat like I do.

    I have less complaints with lighting issues, but I also repeatedly submit photos that get marked as "not sharp" where YOU CAN SEE THE INDIVIDUAL SALT GRANULES. How is that not sharp?

    Anyway, you're not alone. Photograzing is a good site to try as well. They are a lot more accepting. Also FoodieView.

  5. You've probably already thought of this, but there are a few food photography videos on YouTube that might offer some useful instruction for those who's cooking skills are greater than their photo skills. Like cooking, photography (food or otherwise) is a combination of tools, techniques, and art. And also like cooking, you'll get better at it the more you practice.

    (mediocre cook, decent photographer)

  6. My food photography blows so I have never submitted anything to them.

  7. Hi Christie,

    I've been rejected from both FoodGawker and TasteSpotting many a time, but I've also been featured several times and I happen to have a friend who moderates for FoodGawker, so here are my two cents:

    1. They prefer natural lighting or images that appear naturally lit so remove any yellow tones from indoor lighting from your images in Photoshop or any other photo retouching software. Or better yet, photograph your dishes by the light of a window.

    2. No matter how amazing your raw image looks, it could probably use a few retouches... levels, saturation, contrast etc.

    3. Sharpen all of your images before sending them in. This, oddly enough. can be achieved using the "Unsharp" filter in Photoshop. It'll make all of your images pop.

    That's all I got. If you don't know Photoshop, find a tutorial on YouTube and you'll pick it up in no time. Adobe offers 30 day free trial CD's sent right your home. It's worth playing with.

    GOOD LUCK! Once you crack the code, you'll know which pictures will make it on way before you even submit!

    Love how far you've come with the blog! I've past it on to several of my foodie friends. i hope your enjoying Restaurant Week... I know we are! We're seriously thinking of starting an LA Dining Week Fund for next year... the past two weeks have really put a dent in our wallet. But, alas, we're going to Craft for a last hurrah tonight! And eating in for the next 10 months :)

    Paola Carpintero

  8. Don't lose hope! I'm sure many, if not most, of my photos would get rejected, too. Always remember that stuff like this is extremely subjective, and it's really just one person choosing whether or not you get through on that site!

  9. I actually somewhat agree with all the rejection notes. It's not that any of those photos were not good, they just don't scream "outstanding". I think what they really want to see is more drastic lighting, and the shot where it is very focused and clear in the foreground and less focused in the background.


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