Thursday, December 1, 2011

Craftgawker, oh how I loath thee!


Have you heard about Craftgawker?  You can submit a photo, and if it's approved, your photo will show up on the site and link back to a corresponding blog post.  I thought it would be an easy way to get the word out about Ricochet and Away.  Well, I was wrong about the easy part.  After 30+  attempts, I have managed to get 3 photos accepted.  Not great odds.  I know.

I have developed a serious love/hate relationship with Craftgawker, which in turn has created a serious love/hate relationship with both my camera and my digital photo editing program.  I'm a wreck.  Well, maybe not a wreck, but I'm definitely spending an inordinate time with this whole Craftgawker thing.  To make matters worse, now I'm even posting about Craftgawker!!!

Like I said, I was able to get 3 photos accepted onto the site:

Chevron Rag Quilt
Purse with Metal Frame Tutorial

Craftgawker asks that you submit high quality digital photos that are 250 X 250 pixels in size.  If your photo is deemed unworthy, Craftgawker sends you an email telling the reason(s) why the photo didn't make the cut.  That's a infuriating nice feature.  I often try to fix the problems and re-submit.   More often than not, that doesn't work.

One time I was certain there was absolutely nothing wrong with the photo I submitted.  So I simply waited 8 hours and resubmitted the exact same photo, thinking that the next photo-judger on shift would not be so aesthetically-challenged.  That brilliant plan didn't work in my favor.  *sigh*

The main reasons they gave for my photos not being up to par are as follows:
  • Harsh lighting and/or overexposed
  • Lighting issues - dull/unsharp
  • composition - too tight and cluttered
  • grainy image - may be overly sharped in photoshop
  • Low lighting and/or underexposed
  • Lighting/exposure issues
  • lighting/shadow issues
You see the trend?  Yep, I got a lot of lighting and exposure issues.  

Here's a big graveyard of photos that didn't make the Craftgawker cut:
 And in no particular 
order, here are the rejects>> 

Rather than continue with the bitching and complaining, I'd like to finish this post with some good information and positive inspiration.  No one likes a whiner, right?  Here are some of things I've learned.  I hope you'll find some of this helpful.
  1. No amount of digital photo editing will fix a photo that was poorly shot in the first place.  I can fiddle with exposure and contrast and sharpness all I want, but I just produce photos that look over-edited.
  2. My best photos were taken outdoors on overcast days.  Natural light is best and the flash is not my friend.
  3. My original photos need to be smaller to begin with.  I.e. shrinking a 3888x2592 pixel photo down to a 250x250 pixel photo will not produce as good of results as shrinking a 1936x1288 pixel photo down to 250x250 pixels.  This is where all my dull/not-sharp/unfocused issues sprang from.
  4. Some photos won't crop down to perfect squares.  A good example are the photos I took of my daughter's pink quilt.  My best photos from that shoot didn't look right when I cropped them down into squares.  I wasn't taking those photos with appeasing Craftgawker in mind.  The results were none of photos could be cropped to show the whole quilt and Craftgawker labeled my submissions as being too tightly composed.
  5. Include a nice square photo in every blog post.  Craftgawker requires the photo you submit to be found in the corresponding blog post or it is automatically denied.  Plus, it's nice to have a good square-shaped photo for linky parties as well.  Two birds.  One stone.  
  6. The results are worth the effort.  For my little blog, I usually get +/- 200 daily pageviews.  When I have a photo up on Craftgawker, I jump up to over 1000 daily pageviews for several days.  The numbers taper down slowly as my photo moves further back in the que, but they never go away completely.  
Thanks for taking the time to read through this post!  Please let me know if you've had similar frustrations with Craftgawker, as I'd love to have someone to commiserate with!  I'm also interested in any good photography tips you may have or good links you've ran across.

Happy crafting and bug hugs from Montana,
p.s.  Don't forget to vote for your favorite tote from the Solids-Only Tote Challenge.  There are 18 wonderful totes to choose from made by creative bloggers from all over the world.  Anyone can vote once a day until December 31st.  You can find the poll HERE.


  1. It's comforting to know that someone else has this issue. My problem was that my first one I ever submitted was accepted so I thought, Wow, this is easy! only to be denied the next ten times. Rejection is awful, especially when you think you've got a great photo. Thanks for the tips and helping boost craft gawker affected self-esteem everywhere! :)


  2. This is the *best post ever*!!! The painful truth that we all share comes out! Love/Hate relationship indeed. One of the main reasons I took a private photography lesson was because of craftgawker.

    Hey, you should host a craftgawker linky party, where people give their craftgawker advice and show which of their photos got accepted :-)

    Your tips are totally true and to the point.
    #1 - SO SO true.
    #2 - I wouldn't know because most of my photos were taken indoors. In any case, direct sunlight is a no-no!
    #3 - I need to try that!
    #4 & #5 - yep, I think of squares when I take photos now :-)
    #6 - Yes, it is SO worth the effort! Both for the blog traffic boost as well as for pushing myself to take better photos.

    Great post!

  3. You are certainly persistant, Rikka. I've only tried 5 times and that's enough rejection for me... LOL!!! Congrats on the 3 times you were accepted!!!!! Thanks for the tips. I will give it another go.

  4. You've inspired me. I've sent another two off after a play in Photoshop. Try, try again.....

  5. Thanx for posting!! I guess getting traffic to your blog does cost a lot of time and efford. Anyhoo, I really like your photos so don't go on their judgement only okay! (W*nkers!!)

  6. Thank the lord it also happens to you!!! I have the exact same feelings towards it!! Although as soon as they accept one of my pictures I love them unconditionally... (Only until the next rejection though...)

  7. Yep, same problem - and same attraction to keeping on persisting! I know I have a cheap $60 digital camera - but I HAVE had pictures taken by said camera accepted, so don't believe you need a fancy camera. Next year one of my aims is to learn to take better photos. thanks for your tips. Here's hoping we all get more accepted in 2012!!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  8. I accidently erased the last comment. So didn't mean to do that. :-(

  9. I have the same problem. In fact I found this post by googling "why can't I get photos accepted by Craftgawker?" lol. I've had 5 accepted, and 32 rejected. It's frustrating! I'm not a great photographer and this year I want to get a decent camera and put more effort into my pics so thanks for your tips.

    1. Awww, now doesn't misery love company! It's nice to know I'm not alone out there. My record is very similar to yours. If you come across any secrets, let me know, OK?

  10. Oh my God, I think I was the only one that loves/hates craftgawker. I´ve tried 7 times, just 1 good!
    Thanks for this post!
    Kisses from Brasil

  11. Hehe, thanks for a great post! I also found your site by googling "how to get a picture on craftgawker" as I'm sure many, many more will.

    I am a mere novice compared to others at just 3 submissions and 3 rejections, so your persistence is very heartening. Thank you!

    Mine have all come back as lighting issues and, like you, I've figured that the flash is not working for me either... I just need to wait until I can get outside in this dreary British weather... and prepare for more disappointment!


  12. Do'h - didn't mean to remove! I've had 6 submissions with 3 rejected. I'm glad I found this post! I read this out loud to my husband sitting near by and he said there you go, see..." It is worth it for the traffic.



  13. Okay.. no longer feeling sorry for myself! I just did a google search for 'craftgawker photography' and discovered this blog post. I've also developed a love/hate relationship with that site! It makes sense why they are selective with photos but when you see a sloppy photo approved and yours got rejected (more than once) it.. hurts lol. I've spent hours on perfecting a photo but it really makes sense if it's rejected the first time, photoshop won't save it the 2nd time. Although, I must say craftgawker has improved my skills and creative side. There we go with the love/hate again.. ugh. I'm a beginner blogger and realize I have a long way to go but this post has really helped me out a lot! Thank you!

  14. Thank you! That's great advice! I had no idea craft gawker denied photos that often.


  15. I've had 10 submissions rejected so far. Some were published prior by major companies! I guess I should appreciate their snobbery as it's making me think a bit more about what makes a photo good.

  16. You reaffirmed everything I have been feeling today after my experience getting rejected time after time after time by craftgawker. You inspired me to write my own blog post about it (and include photos of my rejects).

    Here's the link:


  17. I love this post! So relationship! I submitted 3 and my 4th got accepted. I've since submitted 3 more...rejects! You just can't let it get to you, I've learned. Some of your "rejects" looked really good to me, though! The good news is the one I got accepted has stayed in the most popular category for over a week, so it's actually got me lots of new visitors. Thanks for your tips!
    Jessica @ A Humble Creation

  18. Thank god I'm not the only one! I thought I was going crazy or something because none of my submissions have been approved. I'm not the best photographer in the world but thought I had a grasp on what looks good and all my photos seem to look nice...I guess I'll have to keep trying though! I would be interested to see what your opinion of my photos are on my blog - stop on by!

  19. CRAFTGAWKER screeners are a bunch of assholes. they constantly change the rules, and right now i am HATING THEM. again. i have posted so many good things for them - features on artists that do incredible works that can inspire SO MANY DIY-ERS to make similar creations. so many. SO MANY!!!! lately bitter/angry craftgawker screeners have rejected all of my submissions. today, after sending them artist-related posts for YEARS, they informed me that now they only want posts by diy-ers. WHATEVER.

    needless to say, i pretty much hate them right now!

    i know you said nobody likes a whiner, but nobody likes a site that is run by picky asshats that spend their days rejecting submissions for trivial reasons and changing their rules when they see fit. BLARGH!

    1. Wow Jane! Your frustration comes through loud and clear. I changed my focus to Pinterest, and am much happier.


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