What is Foodgawker?
Foodgawker is a recipe aggregate site (a “curated photo gallery”); that is, a website where you can submit your own recipes and members of the public can browse to find something they’d like to make. If they click on your recipe, they get directed through to your website. While Foodgawker is a visual medium (the standard of photographs is extremely good), they do not test the recipes and so you have no way of knowing if what is featured will taste good at all! But, nonetheless, food bloggers everywhere know the value in reaching a wider audience in their work; and in Foodgawker’s case, it’s the photography that counts.
As research for this article, I decided to submit three recipes with photographs at different “levels” to see what the response would be, i.e. a poor shot, a good shot, and a professional shot (remember – they’re not checking the recipe quality). My aim is to help you, the hard-working food blogger, get your food out there on sites such as this so that you can drive as much traffic to your site as possible. And I want to do that by showing you what works, and what doesn’t.
Why do I want my recipes to appear there?
As I hinted at above, eyes on your recipe mean traffic for your site. And we all know that traffic = money. Furthermore, Foodgawker (and the other recipe-aggregate sites) have a reputation for only showing the very best, and so being accepted to their site is not only a badge of honour for you, but a well-deserved pat on the back, too!
What kinds of recipes do they feature?
The submission guidelines state that recipes that are accepted have:
#1 Appealing food;
#2 Good lighting/exposure/white balance;
#3 Good presentation/composition;
#4 Good sharpness even after the image is reduced in size.
What kinds of recipes do they reject?
The guidelines state that those that are rejected have:
#1 Photo lighting issues – overexposure or underexposure;
#2 Composition – the image had an odd camera angle or distracting foreground/background;
#3 Focus – photo isn’t sharp enough when reduced to 550×550 pixels;
#4 White balance – the image appears blue, purple, green etc.;
#5 Image not found – the submitted image or cropped version of that image doesn’t appear in your blog post.
How to do it
1. Head on over to the website at https://foodgawker.com. Click on >>Menu (the three lines) in the corner, then >>Register.
Fill in your details when prompted and click Register.
2. Go back to the menu and this time hit >>Submit. This dialogue box pops up:
3. Fill in your direct recipe link (not your homepage), recipe title, description, tags and add your best photo (you can zoom in or move it around until you’re happy). Photos must be 550 x 550 px. Then just hit >>Submit!!
4. You should get the response “Thanks! Your submission has been added to the queue for review.”
Now all you can do is wait.
A few things to bear in mind
- Be aware that there is a limit on characters for the title (only 35).
- The photo you submit must appear in the recipe post. Chances are though, it’s your best photo and you’d be using it in both places anyway.
- The photograph must be YOURS, unless you have a photographer and they have given you full copyright permission to use it – my third submission fell into this category.
As I said in the introduction, I decided to submit photographs at the poor, good and professional level – to see what kind of response I got. Here are my submissions:
This is what I would consider a poorer shot; I took it early on in my blogging career, with my mobile phone. I have a feeling it’s too close and slightly wonky – we’ll see.
Chicken Tikka Salad
I’m quite proud of this shot. I think the colours really pop and there’s lots of light, fresh detail. I used my DSLR and spent quite a bit of time editing it. I hope they accept this as I worked really hard on it.
Salmon Nicoise Salad
This was taken for me by a professional photographer (Kelly Lockett Studio), but it’s my recipe. I’m pretty certain it will be accepted straight away.
In the course of 10 minutes, I submitted all 3 of my allowed recipes (you have to wait for a response before submitting more) and then 1 again later:
RESPONSE: Foodgawker states that you should get a reply within 12 hours. Mine took the full 12.
Meditteranean Bruschetta – REJECTED – too close. As you saw above, I had a feeling they’d say this.
Chicken Tikka Salad – REJECTED – too close. That’s a shame but I’m going to try again with a different shot of the same dish.
Salmon Nicoise Salad – ACCEPTED. I knew it would be, it’s a fantastic shot.
Later, I resubmitted my Chicken Tikka Salad recipe with a different photograph:
RESPONSE: again it took the full 12 hours.
Chicken Tikka Salad – new photograph from further out – REJECTED – out of focus/blurry. I’m not happy about this; I don’t quite agree but I have certainly learned a lot about the Foodgawker process. I need to work on my own photography skills and work out what exactly I’m doing wrong!
NOTE: I found out later that Foodgawker rarely accepts photos once they’ve declined them – even if you do try to correct the faults and resubmit. So I feel a little better about my Chicken Tikka Salad after that. I wonder if they would have accepted it if I’d gone with this shot in the first place, or if there’s something else they’re not saying?!
My general feeling is Foodgawker likes photographs that are very light and bright, slightly overexposed, and showing the whole dish. They must also be white-balanced perfectly and be in sharp focus even when cut down to the specified size of 500 x 500 px.
Over to you!
Have you had any photographs accepted by Foodgawker? What’s your best tip for a new blogger?