What my Pink Lemonade Cupcakes taught me…

Those Pink Lemonade Cupcakes I made last week put me on a gigantic emotional roller coaster! Who knew!?

I was super excited with how they looked once I was finished and even happier once I loaded the pictures onto my computer. They looked SO sweet, if I do say so myself…

All I could think was that I’m finally starting to get the hang of this whole food photography thing. I was really proud of the pictures I’d taken! So proud, I finally screwed up the courage to submit a picture to Foodgawker. This picture…

In the meantime, the post was a huge success. Everybody loved them and it’s now sitting pretty as my most viewed post. Needless to say, I was thrilled.

But somewhere in the back of my mind, the waiting for word from Foodgawker was killing me. I think I checked my email like 20 times. Maybe more, but who’s counting?

Finally, the email came and one click later, it was like good feeling gone. They denied it – said it was low lighting and/or underexposed.

Suddenly that feeling like I could take on Mount Everest and win had vanished only to be replaced by a whole lot of self doubt.

Thank goodness my friend Angie, who used to be my personal cheering squad and next door neighbor, sent me a screen shot of Foodbuzz.com Saturday morning.

Here I was – me and my Pink Lemonade Cupcakes right smack dab on their homepage! And featured on their Top 9!

In that moment, I realized that I had given Foodgawker WAY more power over my feelings of self-worth than they deserved! It’s a great picture, and I am still proud of it. That should be enough for me!

So today, let’s celebrate our achievements! What have you done – cooked, baked, or otherwise that you’re really proud of lately?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. 1

    I am so happy for you! I can totally relate too. Between foodgawker, kitchenartistry, foodepix… I get turned down a lot too. I am super happy for how it turned out! i have yet to make the top 9, but I know it will happen someday. In the meantime I always love reading the daily top 9 and really enjoy it when someone I know makes it. So CONGRADS!

  2. 2

    It’s a beautiful picture, Jen, hands down. You have every right to be proud. And the Top 9? Congratz!

  3. 3

    The food photo sites can be a downer and I am not really sure they give you all the traffic you would expect. So if I could pick one over the other, I would say top nine is way better than being on foodgawker! Enjoy your accomplishment !

  4. 5

    I cannot tell you how many times I’ve felt the same way. I LOVE foodgawker and tastespotting. So this is not a criticism of their sites; they just don’t love me as much as I love them. And I’ve generally been killin’ myself trying to get on those sites. And then one day a few months ago I realized that taking pictures wasn’t fun anymore. Because I kept trying to take pictures that other people would like – trying to style things the way other submitters do, adjusting light 50 times over on every shot, getting more and more frustrated with each recipe! I was feeling terribly discouraged, and started to think I should just stop blogging. I guess I forgot that some of the photos that those sites have rejected are some of MY favourites! And my readers like ’em too. So now I’m trying to take photos that I like, and if other people like ’em too? Even better.

    Thanks for your honesty! It’s nice to know someone else on the same journey… xox

  5. 7

    Congrats on the Top 9 — it’s a thrill! My guest post on Eat Yourself Skinny was featured yesterday on the Top 9, and I was giddy from that and it wasn’t my blog! (my picture though, I guess) :) The cupcakes are beautiful! You definitely should be proud!

  6. 9

    I’ve stopped posting to sites like FoodGawker and Tastespotting because their criteria doesn’t seem regulated evenly across the board. That definitely deserved a top 9!

  7. 10

    What was a great picture Jen, regardless of what Foodgawker said! Top 9 is something to be proud of for sure! I know we all hang our photos worth on Foodgawker and tastespotting and the like, but a pictures beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder!!

  8. 12

    Inspiring post, Jen! Foodgawker can be so frustrating! I just try to be proud of what I put on my site, if Foodgawker doesn’t like it, I look at it as no loss to me. I used to get so worked up over being denied. These pictures are great! Congrats on top 9!

    • 13

      Thanks Cassie! That’s how I feel now, but it sure wasn’t how I felt when I read that email. And poo on them because it for 7000 hits on Saturday alone!

  9. 14

    Good for you. Although I would LOVE to get the traffic that accompanies acceptance to foodgawker or tastespotting, I know that the decision to accept or deny photos is purely up to a few individuals’ tastes. And we just cannot please everyone. I personally LOVE the photo.

  10. 16

    Jen… I am so with you there!! I was thrilled to bits for you when you got #1 on Top9 for your beautiful cupcakes!! That was so well deserved…I even clapped out loud for you when I saw it! Don’t even get me started about foodgawker. I don’t understand them at all! I am also thrilled by some of my food photos… and they have not accepted one of my pictures to date (I have tried about 30x). I’m pretty fed up with trying. I use kitchen artistry most and they are pretty decent. I don’t have a Dslr so maybe it’s something to do with that… but more often that not… I don’t know what they are look for at all. Honestly some of the photos I see on their site are not as nice as your beautiful cupcakes!! So don’t give them the power. Bask in the happiness of those little pink beauties and send foodgawker a well deserved “raspberry”. LOL! :)

    • 17

      Thanks Ramona! It means way more to me that you were happy for me!! I seriously think they must use a program cause I’ve seen other pictures not nearly as good as that one on there. I’m going to keep trying, but for now big huge raspberries!!!

  11. 18

    The pictures, and the cupcakes, were great. Think of all the friends, and children, and children of friends, who were so excited and happy and proud for you. That should mean so much more than some stuffed shirts not liking them because they didn’t recognize your name. Keep it up, and one day they’ll be kicking themselves and coming back to ask you for a picture!

  12. 19

    And listen to that Ramona chick on the raspberry! Well said!

  13. 20

    Lovely looking cupcakes! Foodgawker turned me down too with what I thought was a fab photo… but what do they know… everyone knows that Food Buzz is far superior anyway;-)

    • 21

      The Foodbuzz people are pretty dang special! After I read their email I just sat there in awe, like are they crazy!? I think they might be…

  14. 22

    Hey, they don’t like me either!!! It seems they want a certain “look.” Even Adam, the real life photographer of Picture Perfect Meals blog, gets turned down, too…so how are we amateurs ever going to compete?! Just keep trying….and your Foodbuzz friends will cheer on every Top 9 you get! xo

  15. 24

    Well, I think Foodgawker is silly–it’s an absolutely lovely, mouthwatering photo.

  16. 25

    Foodgawker hates us all most days. This pic is fab and the cupcakes were brilliant. You go girl. You don’t need no stinking website to tell you your good. You already know it! And so do we. xx

  17. 27

    I can’t tell you how many times Food Gawker & Tastespotting have turned down pictures that I was really proud of or thought looked better than some they currently had on there. I’ve let it get to me before, but I’m with you, lets not give them any power over us! These cupcakes look fantastic!!

  18. 29

    Fantastic post, Jen! If it’s any consolation – I’ve been accepted 5 times and denied 72 times….I keep trying and no longer take it personal! I figure that what people like and are looking for in a photo is part professional and part subjective….

    ….and I thought the photo was stunning!

  19. 30

    Nice post – and a good reminder to us all about why we do this:)!

  20. 31

    First of all, a huge congrats on the top 9! That is very exciting! Second, what is the deal with Foodgawker and Tastespotting? I have never been accepted. I finally just quit submitting because it was bringing me down and you’re right, why give them that power over ourselves? I think your picture is perfect!

  21. 33

    Regardless, that’s a great picture and I bet the cupcakes taste wonderful, too. I know I would not refuse one *wink*…

  22. 35

    That is a absolutely beautiful photo, really incredible!!! Congrats on the very deserved top 9!! Foodgawker is just ridiculous, it makes no sense that they turned this down. Thanks for sharing. I was embarrassed that they turned me down and felt so inadequate even though some stranger posted my photo on pinterest and I got dozens of followers from it. But now that I see your perfect photo and know they said no to it I know that they just have very poor taste or some kind of unknown agenda.
    I love your blog, and this photo is particularly wonderful :-)

  23. 37

    Congrats on the Top 9!!!! Everyone needs reassuring moments that say yes my cupcake rocks! I’m glad you had that moment. Don’t get sucked into foodgawker it drives everyone nuts. I can’t ever seem to size my photos down enough to even submit them lol! The cupcakes look fantastic. :)

  24. 38

    You should be proud! The cupcakes are great bas are your pictures! Don’t let foodgawker get you down! I used to get all worked about them too and it was just defeating the purpose of my blog! Now I just submit when I feel like it and whatever happens happens!

  25. 39

    How right you are, aren’t we always expecting others to validate our success? As I’m fairly new to this blogging thing, I am sometimes dismayed at my lack of numbers and my husband will gently remind me that others have been doing it for a whole lot longer! I’m learning to just enjoy it! xx

  26. 41

    Hah! I’m not surprised this went to Top9. The heck with Foodgawker. I’ve been turned down by them so many times, if I’d let that affect me, I’d be a total wreck by now. They aren’t the end all, say all of food photography. They’ve even let some pretty screwed up shots in … personally, I think they have their favorites. Okaaay, so I sound like a sourpuss but hey, this got to Top9 … and in my opinion (whether it counts or not), this is waaaay better! (Did I mention I love the little straws?) 😀

  27. 42

    Congrats on the Top 9 !!! You should be proud. Those cupcakes are gorgeous. I have only gotten one Top 9, but I keep trying!

  28. 44

    Jen…congrats on the top 9!!! The cupcakes and your photos really are beautiful. You know I am a huge fan of yours and especially your photography. And I strive to get photos accepted by the food porn sites, too. But don’t let it get in your head so much or it will take the fun out of this for you. The truth is…you could probably resubmit that photo or another from your batch the next day and it would be accepted. So please don’t take it personally. You are such a great writer, chef and photographer! Everything that you do screams quality……so don’t change a thing! : )

    • 45

      Anne – you are so sweet and lovely! I swear I need to put you on speed dial so I can give you a ring for a quick pep talk on days when I’m feeling kind of blah!

  29. 46

    I think there are so many thousands of submissions that foodgawker and tastespotter can’t appreciate all of them. Some that I see aren’t any better than mine, and some are amazing. Good for you for trying though! And, I LOVE your picture.

    My Lemon Sunshine Cake was featured on Best Friends For Frosting today, so that’s my thrill :)

  30. 48

    Don’t sweat foodgawker your cupcakes were DIVINE looking and I only wish I could have tasted one (I just have to make them in my own kitchen…nuts!).

    You provide gorgeous pictures and never put your own self worth on the line with someone else.

    You are a fantastic person who makes wonderful food for her terrific family.

  31. 50

    Congrats on Top9! I totally understand how you feel because I got rejected so many times!!! At the point that I was too scared to submit… FG was actually “nicer” than me (haha) than TS. TS continues to reject… I tried so hard to learn food styling (my most rejection was “composition”) because of their rejections. I’m still not comfortable so I haven’t submitted since October. Oh well. Food photography is so hard. Sometimes I wonder if the recipe itself is as good as the photos. You know what I mean? I rather want to have a good tasty recipe than gorgeous photo. But to prove it’s “delicious” I know we food bloggers need to prove with the photos. Don’t get discouraged (well even though I am hahaah). Your pink cupcake is so cute and delicious. Don’t let one person (at FG) judge your creation! 😉

    • 51

      Thanks Nami! It’s so strange hearing you say that because your photography is stunning! I’ve learned a lot just by looking at the composition of your photos – the backgrounds, the colors you use and how you pair them, even the props…

  32. 52

    So glad to visit your site. I’m here because of Nami’s guest post. I adore these lemonade cupcakes regardless of what Foodgawker says. I think I joined that site but have never posted a thing or even know how it works. I still have a long way to go with my photos. They’re a work in progress. I think your photo is darling and the recipe sounds wonderful especially with the meyer lemon juice. I’ll have to give these a try.

    I just signed up to get your posts delivered to my email. I’ll be back again. Please stop by my site for a visit sometime.

Please leave some comment love!