The Money Shots for Square Layouts

I’ve spent a year or so submitting to craftgawker, and now Looksi, Tasteologie and other square layout compilation sites over and over and over again.  I often know whether a photo is going to be rejected or not, but sometimes I submit things just to push my limits and see how far I can toe the line.  (Yes, just like a toddler.)  Sometimes I will send in a photo that I know is not a “money shot” layout, but I want to do something a little more creative.  It often gets rejected, but once in awhile is accepted.  I will sometimes send in a post that I know if a weeeeeee bit too garden philosophy as opposed to garden craft, and I am not surprised to see it rejected.  Sometimes, however, I am happily surprised that my post is accepted and I am thrilled that a few more girls will learn that gardening is really just an extension of love for Anthro and babies

Sometimes, I send in shots that are correctly exposed and I know (I KNOW) they will get rejected, but I don’t want to blow out the whites, so I submit it as is.  Then, of course, it is rejected and I have to go back in photoshop and boost the curves, blow out the whites and resubmit.  You would think I would learn, right?

So what are the “money shots”?  What are the typical layouts for a square form that will typically be accepted by craftgawker and the like if the photos if light, bright and sharp.

SHHHHHHRRRRREEEEECH – stop just a minute.  May I remind you that no matter WHAT layout you are using, if your photo is not LIGHT, BRIGHT and SHARP, it will not be accepted.  OH – and make sure your content is craft related (or food related or whatever).  Nothing stops an editor dead in their tracks like a post that has nothing to do with crafts.

OK.  SO.  The layouts.  I typically use 5.
#1 Straight On Center      (Center the subject, shoot on the same plane as subject)
#2 Straight On Bottom Right Quadrant     (Put subject in bottom right quadrant, shoot on same plane as subject)
#3 3/4 Above, Subject in Quadrant       (Shoot from 3/4 above, not top down, not straight on, but 3/4 of the way between the two)
#4 Top Down     (Camera up high, shooting top down, typically onto a floor or table subject)
#5 Fill the Frame      (Fill the square frame with sharp, close up details)

Here is a portion of my craftgawker gallery. 
Can you find those layouts here?  Try!!
craftgawker gallery 1
Were you right?  Were you able to pick out the different layouts?
craftgawker gallery with numbers
Your assignment?  Check out your own photos and see if they fall into these categories.  Should you crop them?  Should you shoot your subject again?  Remember, the shots much be LIGHT, BRIGHT and SHARP and then utilize a correct layout for the best chance of success!
Have you submitted your work to craftgawker?  Taste spotting?  notcot?  How did it go?  Are you a fan?  Feel like you are the only one with rejections?  Well, be assured that you are not the only one and that you CAN get your work accepted if you keep working at it and just keep trying!  Here is a portion of my rejections….
craftgawker rejections
Yes – that is just a portion.  I TOLD you I’ve been experimenting for over a year.  That means LOTS of rejection!  You are NOT alone!  If you are scared of the rejection, you might try Looksi first and then "graduate" to Craftgawker.  The submission process is a little easier at Looksi :)

SUBMIT HERE for Looksi

SUBMIT HERE for Craftgawker

Want to learn more?  Check out yesterday’s post on PHOTO LAYOUTS
and just know that my first submission to craftgawker of THAT post was rejected.  So it goes folks!
To be encouraged, check out my full craftgawker galley HERE.  Your turn!!  Share your stuff!!


You are my hero. have skills!
Wow Amy, you amaze me! I've been working on what you've said specially the "light" and "bright" part (and you've taught me that cool trick that I can use on my camera with the + and -'s). Now I like this part about layouts, it makes sense how you've written it for beginners like me - thank you!!! I've just gotta work on "sharp" now...
I love that I can actually understand this! You always amaze me! Love the shot of all your rejections too. I'm still waiting on my rejection letter!
Morena Hockley said…
I wish you would have written this months ago! :) It took me a while to find the craftgawker "formula" and this post would have saved me a lot of trial and error. I,too, submit "fun" shots in the hope they'll be accepted. Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised. Thanks for all the great tips!
Amy Renea said…
Morena - I'm totally with you. I wish someone would have spelled it out a long time ago, but trial and error works too, right>??? Amy, Court, Nel and Heather -- love you girls and thank you :) <3 u all!!
Kim Wilson said…
Great tips! I'm about a 50/50 on what I've gotten accepted and rejected but I too do a mega happy dance when the acceptance goes through!
~ Kim @ Sand & Sisal
Amy Renea said…
I hear you Kim! I do the happy dance too ;)
Felicia Kramer said…
Well, it makes me feel only a little bit better that craftgawker rejects you too. Thanks for the great tips! Are you able to say what resolution you use for your submissions?
Amy Renea said…
Good question Felicia :) My blog photos are 900 to fill the page or slightly smaller. I publish my post, right click the photo I want, save and then edit. If I am starting with a high res. photo in photoshop, I resize it to 600-700 or so.
Felicia Kramer said…
thank you thank you thank you!!
Hi I'm Shannon! said…
Thank you for taking the time and energy to share this valuable information with us!!!!
You are a brave woman, Amy! I have completely avoided Craftgawker and Looksi because I don't take rejection

Amy Renea said…
Br brave Denyse!!! You can DO IT!
These sites drive me absolutely crazy! I think that is their goal, to torment us just because they can :) Thanks for the info., maybe I will give it another try.
Amy Renea said…
You should try Looksi!! Easier than craftgawker!!
Just submitted to food gawker, hoping for a yes, but will probably get denied. I have a few in there, but man that was work!! Great tips Amy, thank you!
I have been accepted a couple of times to craft gawker and to food gawker once so far. It is SO much work that sometimes I don't bother. Great tips - love this! Pinning! xoxo
Maria said…
Hi Amy,
We thought this could be helpful for craftgawker submitters. Our editors created this gawkerverse submission guide that outlines how we evaluate submissions.