Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often

September 29, 2013Allison Murray

So you’re here because you want to get more photos accepted by craftgawker, eh? Or maybe one of the others in the “gawkerverse” which you may or may not know is a network with other sites including foodgawker, weddinggawker, dwellinggawker and stylegawker? Well, I have some information to share with you today… because nobody likes rejection… I’m the type of person that learns visually and learns by making mistakes. So I’m visually sharing my mistakes with you today!

I’ve had  a whole string of rejection in my submission history to the gawkers, but lately, I’ve been on a winning streak with only a handful of rejections (because I’m finally learning from my mistakes – yay!) . But here are the real numbers… I’ve had 293 accepted (woohoo!) and 214 declined (insert string of profanity here).

That’s right, I’ve gotten 214 heartbreaking emails. It’s gotten to the point where I just look for key words when an email about my submission comes through from one of the gawkers. If I see ” Your post titled” then I don’t read any further, I know it was accepted. But if I spy “unfortunately” when an email from one of the gawker sites comes up on my phone I run to my computer to read the problem, try to immediately fix it and resubmit.

So here are the problems I’ve had and how I was able to get past them and get more photos accepted by craftgawker with less rejections.

Composition – awkward angle – this happens most often when I try to get artsy with my images. They want pretty and artistic but shots that are head on are the best. As an example:

Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - accepted!

Now I think the picture on the left is awesome but my love for it doesn’t matter. The boring one is more acceptable to the layout where a bunch of pictures are jammed together on the page so that’s the one they’re going to accept 9 times out of 10.

Lighting Issues – this often happens when my background is dull but to be honest there are a gazillion ways that your lighting can be off so it’s a hard one to diagnose and correct. But, most of my pics are on white backgrounds because I like the clean look of it, but sometimes in my pics the background looks more gray. I’ll try lightening the background and resubmitting. Sometimes it is accepted, but probably 90% of the time I wind up scrapping it and taking new pictures…

Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - accepted!

I’ve found that when my images experience “lighting issues” it’s the background issue. If you can get a grasp on what the problem most commonly is with your photography (and I bet you’ll start to see a recurring problem), you can often correct it either with processing or avoid that entirely by changing the way you photograph.

Background Looks Fake – Pretty self explanatory, but say what? Surely I can’t be the only one to get this one (though I’ve never seen it referenced before) I’ve actually gotten this rejection a handful of times, and I don’t Photoshop my stuff onto other backgrounds, but if it looks fake, it looks fake…

Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - accepted!

It’s so frustrating because that black background is realer than all crap, man. But when the rejection came through, I  ran and took the second picture on my driveway (because there’s a lot more texture than a black piece of paper) and resubmitted and it was totally accepted.

Composition – Now this one I tend to get irritated about because it can totally change by each person who is reviewing the images. It’s subjective, I guess. I’ve had images rejected, submitted another one and the next day get a rejection that says something like “your first image was better, can you resubmit it?”  But, hey, they’re taking it so whatever…

Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - accepted!

Again, the second one is so much better. It’s mostly my cat Max so I figured it wouldn’t get accepted, either, but what can I say, I’m a gambler because I love when it pays off!

Overexposed – The image has lost too much detail because it has become, basically too light. Overexposure happens when the shutter stays open too long and lets in too much light in. This causes pictures that are washed out or too light.

Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - accepted!

You can’t bring definition back when you’ve changed the levels and removed it. I had to go back to the original image and correct the levels without overcorrecting.

Here are some that others that were rejected and the reasons why…

Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Grainy and unsharp. I get confused by unsharp – it basically means blurry or lacking definition in the photo which seems opposite of what the name describes. But that’s my problem, not yours :)The photos at original size are gorgeous, but I just can’t get them down to the right size without going all wonky on me. The earrings were already in a bubble mailer on their way to my sister, so there was no new photo session and this project will never be on craftgawker.
Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Prefer photography. Okay, I get it. The text entries always looked more like ads in the lineup back when they did accept them. Totally get it, and I guess to be honest, I prefer it.
Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Underexposed – the image is too dark. I tried a whole slew where I tried to lighten them up but that didn’t fly either because they were so dark in places that when lightened there was no definition (no pattern, no texture, nothing).Simply put, I can’t do much to save it, this photo needs to be retaken in better light.
Get Photos Accepted by Craftgawker More Often - a rejected image Awkward angle – Sometimes we’re going to see our photo and not notice the flaws. I love the project so I think this is an amazing picture of it. But, they’re right. It looks wonky. Either I need to go to the original and see if it can be rotated and then cropped so that the angle isn’t funny, or it needs to be retaken.

What should you do?

Everybody has to make up their own minds, but I will try to correct my image a time (or sometimes two) and then abandon ship and retake the images if it doesn’t pan out pretty quickly. I can stare at my computer screen for hours and try to make a bad picture work and it just isn’t going to happen. It’s less stressful for me to just scrap it and start over.

It’s good to realize that you’re NOT the only one who is submitting and resubmitting images (because I used to feel so guilty about wasting the reviewers’ time). Every craft blogger worth their salt wants to get on these gawker sites because they can bring a significant amount of traffic to your page. How much? Well here lately my projects are bringing in less than a thousand hits off of craftgawker, but in the past I’ve had over 8,000 from a single post (and I’ve seen others that have gotten over 20,000). You win some, you lose some and even if it is a disappointing number, an extra 300 hits isn’t going to hurt anyone’s blog.

There is prestige in having your images accepted on the gawker sites for a reason. If all the images submitted were accepted, the sites would be awash in tons and tons of projects and guess what, yours would get lost in that. It sucks, but if I can’t get a good image of my project, I just suck it up and move on. For instance, I’ve only submitted 3 posts to foodgawker but they have all been accepted on the first go. Alternatively I’ve NEVER gotten anything into Tastespotting, though. It’s far more artistic and I’m not there with my photography, yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try!

And back to the three hundred hits thing, it’s easy to start to measure the value of our projects by how many views or favorites our projects get. As an example, before the move of my blog (and the change of some of my URL addresses) the project that had driven far more traffic to this site than any other PLUS is one of my most pinned projects is my organizer for glasses. And on CG it’s gotten less than 700 hits and 400 favs. That makes it seem like its just a so so project but it’s not. It’s one I’m proud of and gets around 4,000 hits a month all by itself for this blog.

Now before I shut down, I’ll share with you the one thing that is making a big difference in my photographs and it is something I learned from a kid in junior high, Ty from Know and Tell Crafts (which he  hasn’t been at much lately but kids got a lot going on these days). Head on over there and learn about how setting custom white balance to TOTALLY change the color and tone of your images. It’s like magic.

I really hope that you got something good out of this post. If you’re like me and trying to be a better blogger, this isn’t a bad place to start. And while you’re here, maybe you’d like to join up in this week’s fantastic link party and promote your projects in a totally different way! Happy Sunday!


Comments (33)

  • Brianna @ CraftThyme

    September 29, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Oh wow! Thanks for this post. I have taken a look at Craftgawker and signed up but then chickened out simply because I was scared to submit anything and waste someone’s time.

    It sounds like doing all those submissions has helped your photography too. Now I am seriously intrigued.

    1. Allison

      September 29, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      You just have to get in there. The traffic you can get from it can be so amazing and your photography is GOOD! I know you’ll do so well :)

  • Laura @ The Experimental Home

    September 29, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Here is a gawker question… Have you figured out how to increase your chances of getting your image towards the top of its batch of submissions. I used to think that it had to do with what time you submitted, but I am not sure that is true.

    1. Allison

      September 29, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Oh, man, when I get the approved message I go and see where I fall and I’m almost always at at the bottom, probably bottom 10. I’ve tried posting right after my submissions are accepted (so I’ll be the first in the queue the next day, maybe?) I’ve tried submitting late in the day (so I’ll be first in the queue that way, maybe?) I’ve tried totally random times, and it would seem that nothing works.

      To be honest it seems like there is some picking and choosing that goes on with the reviewers. I’ve tried desperately to crack getting at the top for months now and I’ve noticed that some of the same people are ALWAYS in the top when they submit. If you learn anything, share the wealth – I’m sure if anyone can crack it, it’s our crafty scientist!!!

  • Sabrina

    September 30, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    Pleased to see I’m not the only one! That “Unfortunately…” email is a killer, isn’t it?

    My favourite rejection I had said “The photo isn’t on your blog post” — ha ha, to which I thought “Oh yes, good point”! I had already submitted one, had it rejected, re-taken the photo, but hadn’t actually uploaded the new picture onto the blog, only into Craftgawker…

    I’ve only made about ten submissions, because I find the whole process a little traumatic and time consuming, but I do think it is worthwhile and must keep on going. I’ve noticed that even if I get traffic of less than 1,000 (and I think the most I have ever got from one article is about 2,000) that you still open your stuff to a whole new audience and I always get lots more Pinterest pins and so on afterwards.

    Thanks for the tips though, it’s good to see a few other responses as well. My rejection, nine times out of ten, is “lighting issues”…

    1. Allison

      September 30, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      I’ve gotten the photo isn’t in the blog post thing before. I was especially bad about it when I first began because I was just submitting and resubmitting like a fiend and not paying any attention! And the lighting issues is the worst because there are SO many potential lighting issues. I know I make an ugly face at my computer every time I get a “lighting issues” rejection because I hate how vague it is!

      I agree that it helps diversify your readership. I’ve gotten several loyal readers who emailed with a “I found you on craftgawker!” type of thing. It’s a love hate relationship I have with the gawkers, and while I might get angry with the sites (or their reviewers I guess), they have given me so much traffic and experience I can only be thankful in the end.

  • Annabel

    September 30, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    Great post! I love the tips. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near ready to submit to Craftgawker, but maybe one day in the future!

    1. Allison

      September 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      I would suggest getting in there before you think you’re ready, but trying to take it with a grain of salt when rejections come in. My photography is far from stellar, but it’s so much better than it was day one and I have to think it is because of the work I did trying to make my photos good enough to be accepted!

  • Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    September 30, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    This is a really helpful post, Allison! And much of your experience is in keeping with mine. Though I haven’t gone so far as to re-take photos, I do take photos now with more “square awareness” and try to think, “What angle and lighting will craftgawker like most.” It’s still a crapshoot and I probably get accepted only half the time, but I have a much better average than I used to. Thanks for the comparison shots, too. That’s KEY for us visual learners! Pinning!

    1. Allison

      September 30, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Thanks for the pin! Keeping the square shape in mind is huge (and a good portion of my blog photos are square nowadays because of that)! I have projects I just couldn’t get to be square and they’ll never see the light of day on craftgawker but I’m thankful for the ones that are accepted.

  • Ann Martin

    September 30, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    It’s such a help to read this and nice to know I’m not alone in the acceptances/rejections department! As for what time to submit so we’ll wind up with better placement on the page, I agree it seems variable and it’s probably up to the discretion of the reviewer. At least now the page scrolls endlessly so our pics aren’t quite as buried. Before I would often be on page 2 right from the start and of course most everyone didn’t take time to click to the second page. And as you said, as frustrating as it is to be rejected, it truly helps us learn to take better pics. I’m just so glad there is a CraftGawker!

    1. Allison

      September 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      I’m glad to know that it isn’t just me that feels I was often buried in page 2 and that you agree with my placement theory!! And you’re absolutely right… we have every reason to be glad there are the gawker sites :)

  • Liz Queenlila

    October 3, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    phew! I thought I was the only one getting rejected over over! I have yet to have an image accepted which I’m sure is due to my crappy camera…Even with 3 years of photography training there’s only so much you can do with bad equipment…oh well, one day I’ll get a good one and then I’ll show them! ha! thanks for all the advice Allison, really enjoyed this one!

    1. Allison

      October 3, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      You are most definitely not the only one. Keep trying! (and maybe ask for a new camera for your next gift :) I’ll say I need a new “insert item here” so I would love if you would gift certificates from, please!

  • wendy

    October 4, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    I appreciate your hints and tips, but I think Craftgawker may need to look at themselves. They clearly accept projects on merit of the photos and not the content! I’m not talking about you here at all, I’m a follower of your blog and I like your projects. There are some pretty crappy projects out there and they always make it onto craftgawker…

    1. Allison

      October 4, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      I can appreciate what you’re saying, for sure and I can get pretty frustrated, too. CG is definitely more interested in good photography than good crafting. On the flip side, I have had projects that have been declined with a rejection “craft composition”. I’ve been told that basically means they think my craft was crap. Which is fine and the way I think it should be but it irks me when I see something similar to my submission get accepted by a “big blogger”. Unfortunately the reviewers can be biased which can negatively affect our experience with the gawkers. I appreciate the traffic they send me when I do get a submission accepted and so I’ll continue playing ball for now.

  • Omo

    October 24, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Thanks a lot Allison for this post. I’ve been a craft blog stalker for a while and started blogging only recently. I have submitted 2 projects to craftgawker which were rejected (and I always beat myself up when I’m rejected). However, when I saw you had submitted over 200 projects, I was amazed and encouraged by your commitment. Thanks a lot for this

    1. Allison

      October 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      I’m so glad, Omo. You definitely have to be dedicated, patient, or as in my case, stubborn but it really does pay off. The traffic can be so amazing if you happen to hit it right. The best of luck to you and I know that even though the rejections hurt, it will make you a better photographer as you go through the process :)

  • RaChil

    November 11, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    I have been super struggling with this lately and reading this post made me feel 100% better. My ratio is pretty bad 33 denied to 7 accepted…
    My most annoying critique was image was too sharp. I had no idea that a picture could be too sharp! Then they just started saying all of my pictures were too sharp. It was maddening.

    1. Allison

      November 12, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      I’m sorry that you’ve been frustrated and I have to tell you that I’m pretty sure my ratio was even worse in the beginning. I’ve been told that the too sharp often means that they think your picture is grainy or over-processed in a photo editing program – I hope that helps. And don’t give up! The rejection sucks but your photography will only get better for the effort :)

  • Diana

    November 12, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Thanks for this. You have inspired me to brush up my photography skills and get some submissions in.

    1. Allison

      November 12, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      I’m so glad! Anything you get accepted will have a nice little boost in traffic. I really think it’s worth the effort. Best of luck!

  • Emu

    November 17, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Omg I just found out about craftgawker after reading this post and I got two photos accepted today! I’m so happy, thanks for sharing this <3

    1. Allison

      November 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      Oh, yay! That is so awesome. I’m really glad and you’ll be pleased with the extra traffic, I’m sure :)

  • Наталья

    November 28, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    Dear Alison.
    I really want to your blog in an article about the choice of the camera for a blogger – crafter. Just I really is not enough information about how to do good lighting for pictures. Maybe you open your secret how to make a perfect white background that I often see on your photos.
    Alison, maybe you whole room packed with super appliances and decorations for picture taking, but I think it’s much easier.

    1. Allison

      November 28, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      I can most definitely do that! I don’t have a big budget so background is simply white cardstock. I place on a table one piece down and one piece that sort of curls up against the wall. You can actually see a picture of it in my Monday Mess post at The Experimental Home. I only take pics on days when I have good, natural light coming in through the windows because I don’t have any fancy lighting schemes. That’s truly all there is to it!

  • Maria at gawkerverse

    March 21, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Thank you for writing this, Allison! We thought this could be useful to you, and other craftgawker submitters. The editors put together this gawkerverse submission guide about how submissions are evaluated. Hope it helps!

  • Marjolaine Walker

    July 23, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    I just discovered gawkers and this post is so helpful. Thank you!

  • Style Bits & Bobs of M.E.

    August 16, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Great tips. I am like craftgawker and I decided I wanted to start submitting my DIY post on there. Thanks for the tips!

  • Laura

    September 9, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Thanks so much Allison! I’m only just starting to submit my work to Craftgawker. Your comparison pics really helped me to see how my own photos might not be making the cut. I thought I was doing okay, but you’ve helped me to see where I need to brush up on my photography!

  • Zen

    August 18, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    Thanks for this amazing post! I’m new to Craftgawker (few days!) and only had 1 photo accepted so far. Agree with you- had 2 declined for composition and was really annoyed! :P If you have time, do offer your feedback on my photos please ;) Look forward to more of your posts ;) P.S. Max is a cutie :)

    1. Allison Murray

      August 19, 2015 at 6:31 PM

      First off, I love the name of your blog. It truly is amazing! Love, love, love!

      I also am totally digging your content. Travel and DIY and food. That’s a blog after my own heart. I look forward to giving it the read it deserves!

  • putorepublic

    September 30, 2015 at 9:02 PM

    I joined craftgawker yesterday and immediately submitted 2 photos which were all declined (ouch!). This post will definitely help me do better next time.

    Oh, I try to be artsy with the awkward angles too :)

    Thank you.

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