Well, I've gotta say, you all have really helped me to feel sane again. I wanted to respond to you all in a post because I felt what you all had to say was really important for others to see. What a relief to know that I am not the only one! I appreciate your kind words, encouragement and great ideas! I was so excited by what you all had to say, I thought I would respond to your comments in a new post, instead of the comment box.
A Thought for Food said...
Hi beautiful! I just want to give you a big hug right now... because I know exactly how you feel. I should say that I've had enough accepted (5 out of 21 submissions), that I keep submitting. But it's frustrating that they take FOREVER to respond. Maybe they need to hire a few more folks. I don't know... but know that there are others out there who feel the same way.
Me: Okay, first, thanks for the compliement...made my day, dahling! (Even with my hideous picture, but I like just being real.) I'll take that hug and I second that they need to hire some more people! Wow, 5 outta 21, not bad. Thanks again!
it can be really difficult for some of the sites - and they seem to just give out strange reasons why. I don't submit my pictures as much as I should but I have done ok recently when I have done great on photograzing and ok on foodgawker (never tried tastespotting)
I usually don't have luck when I am rushing to get dinner on the table - I find that spending some time after dinner playing with it - trying different plates and accessories works best (and that portion ends up becoming my lunch!)
also I think that unless you have a DSLR and a lot of flashes/ lenses its hard to compete with the other photographers... but not sure if you want to invest $10-20,000 and as much time as you do cooking to learn how to use them just to get on some site
Me: Thanks Carla! What a great idea to do that after dinner. I guess, I always feel I must shoot the food as it's hot, but I guess it doesn't really matter. I'm going to try that. As far as the camera goes, I want to spend under a $1000 for a camera and lens. I've got my eye on the Canon XSi and the 1.4/50mm lens. That's what I want, so we'll see.
Sippity Sup said...
I love this post. We all feel for you. But here is the plain truth: The FoodBullies and TasteHaters have very limited about photography. I would bet neither one of them have any art background. This leads them to have a very particular styles. A style that is in my opinion a bit outdated. As you noted they do like the limited depth of field trick pony quite a lot. But if you look at the best food magazines right now (like Cucina Italiana) you will see that style has gone out of fashion for the most part.
All that said, believe it or not (from their pov) having a limited scope of photographic styles is a very good thing. They are building a "brand" just as we are. So they are looking for photos that support that brand in some way. Their brand will morph and change, but slowly. Why should they mess with success? I wouldn't!
I have had about 300 accepted photos(which is about 75%). But I had to sell out a bit to achieve that ratio, because they prefer pictures that don't really say anything, or have an editorial story to tell. They strictly want "photos of food". They don't like texture or color in the lighting. They prefer computerized perfection to artistic voice.
I like the traffic these sites bring so I play along with their tastes and besides I want to play in this game. It's fun! After all it's just a blog, right. I can save my more artistic shots for my own enjoyment.
Lastly, it's true FoodGawker especially rewards expensive cameras, but it's not mandatory. I use a 100 dollar point and shoot camera. You just have to learn to shoot within its capabilities. GREG
Me: Greg, thank you so much for your input! I like your point of view and suggestions. I like that you are keeping it light, not getting too serious about it or overwhelmed. That's my goal. Like you said, it's a game. I think so too. If you want to get the attention, give into their way of doing stuff and do what you like with other things. I personally prefer heavy shadows and rich contrast. I like the moody feeling it gives a picture. I've been brightening everything up, trying to get accepted. That then brings up the question, do I change what I like to be accepted or do I do what I want, love or hate it? I''ve gotta take a look at Cucina Italiana, it's been years since I've looked at it. thanks again!
Oh screw em. I stopped submitting long ago. There is another site that posts all rejected pictures from TasteSpotting. It is called Taste Stopping. I think they are hysterical with their captions of the rejected photo and much more fun than the "Precious" Taste Spotting.
You go girl! We love you anyhow.
Me: Janis! I love it. Thanks for the kudos, girl. I've never heard of taste stopping. I've gotta check this out. Way to be true and keepin' it real!
The Foodie Princess said...
Love your site and you do incredible work with your point and shoot. I'm a contributing editor for a site that gets thousands of hits a day and we used to get shot down all the time. I think my editor just stopped submitting. As for the SLR, it is a beautiful thing and if your hubby doesn't want to shell out the big bucks for something brand spanking new. Check out B&H photo they sell refurbished ones from the manufacturer that go for half price. That's how I got mine.
Me: Princess, thank you! I'm going to check out that site for sure. I've been a little leery of refurbished cameras. Have you had any problems with it?
Healthy Mamma said...
LOL, great post! I like everyone's comments! I agree with Greg, and don't change your style just to get on an over rated photo site. I got caught up in it too but after putting in so much love and time only to be rejected, or worse, not hear anything I decided it wasn't worth the hassle. I never made it on tastespotting and only about 1/2 of my pics are on Foodgawker, which btw is exactly as Greg says. I noticed also that all of the photos on that site look EXACTLY the same! I have a message I'm trying to get out through my photos, as I'm sure you are too. So I shoot only for me and my readers.
Oh, a fun picture editing site that I adore ( I use it for most of my food pics) is Picnik.com
You can do a lot with the free membership. I pay the $29 a year for a unlimited membership and it makes me happy with my final shots. Unless your going to get paid for your pics, spending thousands on a camera prob isn't worth it. Mine is a nicer point & shoot ( Canon PowerShot G10 ) and I'm happy with it. Again, lighting is my biggest struggle with food photography which is why I use Picnik.
One last thing!!! ;-)
I love your blog and your photography which is why I follow you and check in often! The sites with the "professional' looking photography are fun to look at sometimes, but I enjoy reading and referring to real people I can relate to.
Me: Gwen, thank you, girl! You've made my day! I agree with you. I want to create photos I like. I know I have a good eye and being an artist helps, but the things I like they usually don't. I really like what Greg had to say. Basically, he doesn't take it too seriously and does it for the enjoyment, realizing the game that it is. And I'm with you too. I love sites that I can relate too. When something is so hoity-toity, it feels cold. I want to have a blog that anyone can read and enjoy. Big Hugs, Healthy Mama!
I wish I can be more of a help but not sure what to say here except keep trying and don't give up. Sorry this is frustrating you.
Me: Lisa, my girl! You have been SUCH a huge help. You don't need to say anything. You've been such a great support to me and I love sharing in our blogging/mommy adventures together. HUGS!
Hi there. I have a decent hit rate at TS and PG, a little worse @ FG. From what I can tell, they tend to like clean, bright, extremely sharp pictures with small aperture (bokeh not such a big deal). It has to look appetizing as a thumbnail. They seem to like overhead shots. There are obviously exceptions, but if I were to give advice for a "safe" photo for them, that's what I'd say.
I do know people who have gotten pictures accepted with P&S cameras, but it's significantly more challenging, in my opinion. Do yourself a favor and get an SLR. Good optics are not expensive (< $100 for a 50mm/f1.8) and they will make your pictures, on average, immeasurably better. The total acceptance rate, as of a couple years ago (which I know is forever), is about 50%. I have to believe you will get something in eventually.
Shoot in daylight/window light. I avoid shooting at night because glare from overhead light (even when indirect) kills me. Don't use flash unless you are a pro.
Tastespotting and Foodgawker are pretty serious drivers of traffic, so there are reasons beyond mere curiosity for you to do it.
Hope this helps, and hang in there!
Me: Ben, thank you! I appreciate your input, tremendously! Yes, I've noticed, taking photos at night suck. I try always to take with natural light and never use a flash. I'm just salivating at the thought of an SLR. I've always been big into photography. My hubby has indulged my photography fascination by buying me great cameras. But this would be a biggie, but totally worth it.
See that's a big drive, getting on the site for the traffic it would bring. We all want that. So I flounder between "staying true to myself" and tweaking it to get on there. That brings me back to Greg's point. Such a good point. Huge help, Ben. Thank you!
Well I'm glad someone has finally come out and said it. lol. Amen sista! I am new to this whole photography/food blogging thing... but it is SO frustrating. For me foodgawker is much harder to please than tastespotting, which isn't to say that they are in any way easy to please. And the two of them never agree. One will say composition/not sharp/color balance/terrible picture/just kill yourself now/you are not a worthwhile human being (you know whatever, lol), and the other will immediately accept it, or vice versa. There is no rhyme or reason. And while I have about twenty pics on tastespotting and only five on foodgawker you can trust that in order to get that many I have drowned in many a rejection email. For me it is all about the resizing to fit their 250x250 requirement. The magic is sometimes lost in the cropping. (Though realistically I know nothing about photography or computers so in reality I am most probably just doing everything wrong.) When it comes down to it, one would think/hope/imagine that there would be intrinsically amazing photos. But there are not. (Nearly every photo I have that has made the foodbuzz top 9, for example, has been rejected by both TS and FG) It is one hundred percent subjective. But you can't let it get you down, or have it send you on a murderous rampage. For me it is just about acceptance. With my point and shoot on its macro setting close ups are really all I know how to do well. Which is fine. I am happy with how my pictures typically come out. But they do not like close up shots on TS or FG. Period. They do not like shots cropped tight in on any food object. They want space/distance/background. Luckily photograzing will accept anything. I have never had a rejection from them. But you're right. It's just not the same. Thanks for being the whistle blower on this unavoidable foodie predicament. Let us know when they finally DO come to their senses and accept one of your great pics =)
PS: Thanks Janis! Taste stopping is genius! I will have to dig out my crate full of rejections.
Me: Jacob, I LOVE what you said. I was cracking up! I really got so depressed when as I was continually, and continue to be rejected. OMG! Then I would tell myself, "Lauren! Snap out of it! this is ridiculous!" I mean really, I just cannot let them crush me. I will totally let you all know when I get on SOMETHING! Sheesh. Big hugs, Jacob. OH, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your pictures. I think they are so beautiful. You do a great job. And like you, I love the up-close shots. I love the texture and detail of a macro shot.
I guess I don't really have an opinion, since I've never submitted to any of those sites, since I already know I'd be rejected, so why bother? Besides, I know most of my photos are crap, although they've somewhat improved now that I got myself a slightly better P&S camera (Nikon Coolpix D3000). And decent photo-editing software. Even still, I'm working on the goal of someday just getting one of my pics on the Foodbuzz Top 9! And even that's slow-going.
Me: Thanks Rachel. I know, it's up to you. I could not mess with those site at all, but I feel I've been bitten and now I must conquer. It such a good feeling to get your photos noticed, I ain't gonna lie!
WOW, once again all you and all the commenters make me feel normal again! I had been getting more and more aggravated at the TS and PG. I have gotten 3-4 photos out of 10 submitted with stupid feedback like "not in focus" and "composition", what does that mean!? Well, you are not alone to say the least!
Me: Debbie, I know! That's what I said. I was left feeling perplexed. Hang in there and I will too. Thanks for the props!
I've enjoyed you all so much. I appreciate your love, encouragement, great ideas and points of view. I seriously feel so much better about the whole thing. I'm definitely not giving up. I've got a lot to think about, but the main thing is this: Why did I start this blog to begin with? To have fun and that's what I plan on doing. Hugs, to you my Foodie Friends!
P.s. there is a link to each of your names, even if they are all not yellow. I don't know why, but much of the time, Blogger will not make all the links yellow, even though I tell it too. So sorry about that. Ben, I left yours because your site is below your comment. Okay, cheers, my dears!
Monday, August 16, 2010
Me, not at my finest.
Hi friends. I've had something brewing for a while. A frustration that is driving me dangerously close to insanity. It's called "Tastespotting Rejection".
Thousands of Foodies struggle every year with this complication. It's due to hard work and pride over your photography being rejected over and over again by the review board over at Tastespotting.com.
Some of you maybe asking, what is Tastespotting? Its a site where you can submit your photographs (or other's, but who wants to do that?) of all your luscious food photography, that you feel is your best. You send it in and wait. Wait for days...until you get an email that tells you nothing (maybe mine never says anything because I haven't made it yet) and you click the link to go to your profile. Under your profile you can see how many posts you have up. My obviously still says "0" and I'm starting to feel a twinge of bitterness. I don't even know what to tell what happens if you do get in.
I've sent in 16 photos. Fourteen have been rejected. Two are still waiting to be reviewed. Now, just you wait, I will post this and then get in. That wasn't my plan, but it just might work. (mechanical laughter, wringing of hands)
I feel like what I've sent is had been really good. I mean, I will say, my photos don't have the "bokeh" (cool fuzzy focus in the background), but I feel that they are as good as a lot of the photos that get on there. They will shoot down one of my photos, saying that they don't usually use photos of just ingredients, then I look at the page and see 2 or 3 on there of just ingredients. Or they don't like hands in the pictures and there is a photo up right now with someone holding a sandwich in their hand. wah,wah. These are the particular photos I am referring to. That was the only complaint on these photos, so I'm assuming the lighting and sharpness were good. So frustrating!
I know, we all think we have the best pictures. Ours rock and should be in a gallery. There is always room for improvement, but I feel like this Tastespotting is feeding my issues with perfectionism...the very thing my therapist urges me not to give into. It does however, make you rethink your stuff, find ways to make it better or be more creative, but without trying too hard. That's tricky.
One of my most difficult obstacles is time. For me, the food I photograph is the food we eat for dinner. It's going to the table of hungry, crabby kids and hubby in 2.5 seconds. So much of the time, I'm rushing. Rushing to get that perfect shot. It can look good on the LCD but much of the time when I view it on my computer I see it was out of focus or just plain bad. So for every 20 shots, I may get 3 I really like. Since the time issue probably won't change a new SLR would help considerably.
this wasn't sharp or bright enough.
So, this rejection has lit a photo fire under me. The hubs is looking to put it out (not really), because now I'm begging him for a SLR. Oh boy. He quietly nods his head as I ramble on and on about features, photos I could take and all the pros and none of the cons of owning a SLR (preferably Canon and I mean, are there really any cons?) Hint dropping seems to be falling on plugged ears. That's okay, I'm not giving up. On Tastespotting or the camera.
This was rejected for "composition". Can someone help me with that? I'm assuming it's how you put a picture together. How else do you compose chocolate cake and ganache?
My point and shoot is great for what it is. It takes great photos...for a P&S (Canon Powershot). I mean, if you put it on Macro setting and use natural light, it does a pretty darn good job. The problem for me, is that I'm stuck with that. I can't do much more. I don't have the ability to manually fiddle with the lens. So I dream up ideas, then I can't make them happen because I am handicapped by this very reliable, but not very creative camera.
Is it stupid for me to want to get on Tastespotting so bad? I mean, I feel like it's the Mercedes of food photos and I want to be on there! I know I've got what it takes. I think my photos are good. I do see though, on some of the photos their reasons for not choosing me (I mean, at least they tell you WHY, so that's good). I said some. Others I don't get it. But on some where it was lighting, or not sharp enough, I agree and I've set out to work very hard on those things to make better photos. I want to excel in this, not stay stagnant. I want to grow.
If you made it to this paragraph, I commend you. True Foodie Friend. Who else should I whine to other than my trusty Foodie Friends. Certainly you have endured the agony of Tastespotting. If not, why not try? Doesn't it sound so fun?
This is what I want to know. If you've submitted, have you been shot down? If not, what's your secret to getting on? Wait, that sounded dumb. It's called having good pictures. But anyways, if you have tips, ideas, camera you love etc. Please do share. Let me know I am not alone in this quest for Tastespotting acceptance.