Embracing Rejection (Recipe – Taco Salad)

My photo of the Toasted Pita Salad that I wrote about last week was rejected by Tastespotting because of its “poor composition”. When I found that out, I was a little dejected and immediately felt a bit defensive.  Not that I think my photos are all that, it’s just, I was this close to submitting that same photo to my own Culinary Snapshot as a “how to” about photographing food at different angles! Even though Foodgawker was nice to me and did accept that photo, I am pretty sure no one wants to learn about the techniques for getting your food photos rejected at any of the food photography websites!

After I got over my rejection, I perked up quickly. I now had a photo I could submit to one of the newest food photography sites, TasteSTOPping! Tastestopping is the very witty creation of one smart blogger named Casey. Casey created Tastestopping as a place to share your rejected photos with the world. Now your sad, lonley rejected photos have a place to call home.

Between Culinary Snapshot, where you can learn from the community about how to improve your photos to get them accepted on the “food photography elite” sites (and share your photos & tips as well!), and Tastestopping, where you actually kind of hope your photos will get rejected from the “food photography elite” sites so you can participate in the fun, the world of food photography is one hot topic!

This Taco Salad is something I am positing over at Culinary Snapshot (and if it doesn’t get accepted at any of the “food photography elite” sites, you’ll find it on Tastestopping too!

On a side note, I do have to say that Tastespotting and Foodgawker have both been very kind to me and my food photographs. I would hate to be the people behind the scenes having to pick and choose which photos get the golden pass!

What are some of the other food photography sites that you like to visit and why?

Western Taco Salad (Adapted from the back of the Western Dressing bottle)


1 lb. ground beef
1 package (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning mix
3 cups Nacho Cheese Flavor Doritos, crushed
3 cups shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup diced English Cucumber
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced
Wish-Bone® Western® Original Dressing
  1. Brown ground beef in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in taco seasoning mix and continue preparing according to package directions.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, ending with the taco meat, Doritos and Western dressing. Toss and serve immediately.
I love these other posts about food photo rejects!

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  1. says

    I have been rejected repeatedly by Tastespotting. I have a friend who is a professional photographer and she helped me get over it (with compliments about my photos and also some pointed comments about editorial bias) but it still kind of stinks.
    .-= Carole´s last blog ..Eye Candy Friday =-.

  2. says

    Thank you so much for these kind words, Kristen. I am having a lot of fun with TasteStopping, and I hope my visitors are as well. While I wish all of your readers much success in their food photography adventures (with the help of Culinary Snapshot, of course), I also love being able to provide a haven for the rejects! Perhaps it’s like Group Therapy for Foodies. :)

    .-= TasteStopping´s last blog ..A horror story? =-.

  3. says

    It’s funny how tastespotting has repeatedly been the one which rejects in comparison to foodgawker. It used to peeve me to no end that most of their rejection comments ended up being “unflattering composition” If only they could be more clear! I like foodgakwer because they’re they point out a photo they’d be willing to publish instead. Overall, I’m much happier submitting to foodgawker.
    .-= The Purple Foodie´s last blog ..Vanilla Bean 101 =-.

  4. says

    I have had success getting pictures on to TasteSpotting but I have also had some rejections. Honestly, I don’t think about the rejections at all, it is free and easy to submit and I see getting on the site as a “bonus” not something I expect or think will happen. I know not every picture I take appeals to everyone and that not every picture is the “best” shot I could have taken. It is a curated/moderated site that must get hundreds of submissions every day so there are bound to be a tons of rejections–way more than what makes it on the site–many of which must be attractive shots that just barely didn’t make the cut.

    It also seems that the TasteSpotting has really increased in popularity over the last year and that can only mean more submissions. The more and better the submissions, the less likely “iffy” pictures will be picked. Picking pictures that are attractive, interesting and that connect with good posts must be an overwhelming job. I find it amazing she has time and inclination to write a reason for the “rejection” to people who request it. What a daunting task that must be, especially if one considers that it is a free “service”. I think it comes down to that it is a privately run site with the goal of sharing “food porn” and can thus post or not post anything they wish. I can’t take that personally.

    I hate to say it and honestly I am not trying to be mean but the majority of pictures on “TasteStopping” ARE blurry or cropped oddly or poorly lit or it is difficult to see what the picture is supposed to be of. I guess that is the point but I don’t see the appeal of looking at unappetizing food photographs.
    .-= rachel´s last blog ..Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle Marinade Giveaway! =-.

  5. says

    I’m over the ‘unflattering composition’ line! I am sure they are inundated with photos but they certainly are not consistent! How is one plate of stir-fry/casserole/salad unflattering composition while another is not?

    I agree that a few of the TasteSTOPping pix are not lit well or sharp….but most of the ones on there I find are perfectly FINE yet rejected by TS and FG.

    I hear ya….I take it personally too…I am way too sensitive. LOL
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..Ha-Ha – Fooled ya! =-.

  6. says

    It’s all random for me with both of the sites. I’ve heard others mention that foodgawker will usually let you know if there is another photo in your post they’d be willing to publish…they’ve never done that for me!

    The rejection reason I hate most is “uncompelling subject matter.” That is so subjective and I try to remind myself that different people see beauty differently, but other times I want to shout to the world “what isn’t compelling about freshly cut garden herbs?” (or whatever the photo subject was).

    I really try to take their criticism to heart and pay more attention to those areas that I’m typically rejected in, but it’s so frustrating when one site accepts something and the other doesn’t. Who’s right? Is the reason random? Sometimes it feels like they just don’t like the post and I wish they just say “sorry, not interested in this one” instead of making up some bogus reason.

    BUT…I do love these sites, they are a great source of inspiration and send a lot of traffic my way. I guess it’s a love/hate relationship.
    .-= Katie @ goodLife {eats}´s last blog ..Sundried Tomato and Spinach Lasagna Rolls =-.

  7. says

    I have to say, I’ve had pretty good luck with both Tastespotting and Foodgawker, but I’m often surprised at which photos of mine they choose to publish and those they reject. I guess it is a very subjective thing. That’s why I try not to take it personally when one of mine doesn’t make the cut. But, I agree that more specific and constructive reasons for rejection would be helpful.

    What really drives me nuts is how TS hangs on to your photos for days, and even a week or more before posting them. They do this for TWD and DB photos especially. Also, I’ve submitted a few lately that seemed to have disappeared! They aren’t published, declined or pending!
    .-= Susan at SGCC´s last blog ..Flavor of the Month: Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Raspberry Swirl =-.

  8. says

    I’m still waiting to have one accepted at either foodgawker or tastespotting. I’m trying to improve my photography, and so I use their feedback to help me to make the next shot better. But sometimes I DO wish they’d say something beyond ‘poor composition’ or ‘exposure issues’. LOL, if I could see the problem from that I wouldn’t have submitted it in the first place! But it gives me a goal. Food with Style has published one of mine–the first!
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..MARKETS =-.

  9. says

    I have to say that since Casey started Tastestopping, I no longer feel defensive or otherwise after TS or FG reject, because I know that Casey will give my photos love. LOL I do agree that FG is more apt to provide a suggestion for an alternate. However, I always thought the FG was more accepting of my photos than TS was, then I logged in to both to look and it’s actually pretty equal. Both sites reject about 30% of the photos that I submit. I do wish the explanations were a little more explanatory, but as someone else said, it’s a free service, so I won’t complain :) When they do accepted, it’s nice to get the recognition as well as the extra traffic, so I am thankful for that. As for other photo sites, here’s another one, I guess I should start submitting to all of them!

    Food Photo Blog
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Orange Spongecake: Julia Child or The Farmer’s Wife? =-.

  10. says

    I don’t worry about rejections unless they have valid reasons and I have to slap myself for not noticing it… :) Keep in mind also that they ask you to basically change the composition of your original photo as it has to be resized. I base my composition on the original photosize and not on the more square format at tastespotting or foodgawker. And in some cases the composition does suffer from being changed into a different format! My guess is that that was probably the reason why!
    .-= Simone (junglefrog)´s last blog ..Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes: Daring Cooks August =-.

  11. says

    Simone – that is so true! Often I also get the reason “poor composition: cutoff crop.” Well, duh, I had to crop the image to submit it because they only accept square images. It’s be nice on that one of they checked the original in the blogpost before telling you it was poor composition.

    Amanda – I’ve had serious issues with foodphotoblog. They used to publish everything and now suddenly nothing goes through, and I don’t think it’s a rejection issue (my photos are definitely much better now than they used to be), it just seems to get lost somehow.
    .-= Katie @ goodLife {eats}´s last blog ..Holy Tomatoes! {garden update} =-.

  12. says

    An interesting post that obviously piqued the interest of many readers. I often get comments on how good my photos are – only to be rejected at the food photo websites. So glad to hear about TasteStoping…I’ll be ‘stopping’ there with my rejects. P.S. the other photo site I use is photograzing.
    .-= Joan Nova´s last blog ..27-Ingredient Panzanella Antipasta =-.


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