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A Google Trusted Photographer is a photographer, usually a freelancer, who has been officially certified by Google to produce virtual tours and photos of private properties and businesses that are displayed on Google Maps and Google Street View.
A Trusted Photographer is not technically an employee of Google and works on their own volition however with the certification of Google they do get access to some forms of software and even, in some cases, to equipment supplied by the corporation.
Trusted Photographers are an invaluable asset to Google and help to provide a much more enriching experience for the customers who search Google Maps, Google+ Local Pages and Street View.
A Trusted Photographer can create virtual tours of businesses, galleries and anything that finds its way onto the Google Mapping platforms. This allows customers to tour the property before they visit it to get a better idea and feel of the premises.
A Trusted Photographer also takes photos that are displayed beside the business’ name, or alongside it on the map pages. This lets customers see what the business is about and helps them to find it in real life. The photos offer an interesting perspective to the maps and add an excellent new functionality for the user.
Not only does this improve the Google customer’s experience but it also helps the businesses that use its services to attract new custom and trade. It’s a real win-win situation and has added a totally new dimension to Google Maps and Street View that would have been completely unthinkable in decades gone by.
Why Did Google Create the Trusted Photographer Scheme?
Virtual tours of property have become a very popular part of online mapping services and are often appreciated by consumers who want to look around a property before they visit it in the flesh.
Research has shown that when a consumer is looking for a business they will use an online mapping service more than 40% of the time, instead of for example, looking up the business website and getting directions that way. From the business’ point of view if their listing has a virtual tour and good quality photos attached to its online profile it is twice as likely to generate interest in searches than ones which don’t.
Anyone can upload pictures and even virtual tours to the Google services and with millions of new pictures being added all the time Google needed to find some way of distinguishing between professional quality photos and tours and the rest of the more amateur work that was also being posted. To improve their users’ experience and reward the best photographers they developed the Trusted Photographer Scheme.
You will need to have a 360-degree capable camera in order to create the virtual tours of the properties that will be posted on Google Street View. You can purchase a 360-degree camera for under $1000 but you will quickly make back your investment if you start to provide your services to businesses.
To be registered as a Trusted Photographer Google has to assess your uploads and if they meet their rigorous standards then a certification is awarded to the photographer. This award means that the photographer is a capable and consistent panoramic and photosphere photographer. The photos must be clear and taken on a level, be completely in focus with no shakes and should be informative within the context that they are to be used.
How Do You Actually Become a Google Trusted Photographer?
In order to be accepted for certification with the Google scheme you need to have uploaded at least 50 images to the Street View or Mapping sites.
There are a set of strict conditions which must be met in order to have your work certified. This is so that the user experience on the Google platform is consistent across the board and keeps the standards of their products at a good professional level.
Main Criteria To Be Accepted As A Trusted Photographer.
- Images must be at least 14 Megapixels (4,288×3,216 Pixels or above).
- Images must have an aspect ratio of 2:1.
- The image must be in focus with no blurs or shakes.
- No filters or post production effects that take away from the photo should be used.
- Good lighting and a clear exposure of the image.
- You need to have the consent of the business owner and anyone whose face appears in a photo must also have given their consent to be included. Of course a business owner may well want to be included in the photos but you must ensure that they have consent of customers who happen to be in the store for example, but using your common sense will keep you out of trouble.
What are the Benefits of being a Google Trusted Photographer?
There are many advantages to being certified by Google as a Trusted Photographer. Of course, it can look good on your resume and be one more proof, or reference, that you can fall back on to demonstrate your skills and high standards of work.
User generated content has helped to revolutionize the internet and with Google at the fore of these new types of creation processes there are some great benefits to being publicly certified by the company.
- Obtaining the Google Trusted Photographer badge will help you to stand out and show that the work you publish is consistently of a high professional quality.
- You can use your Google certification to help to market your services to other businesses in the future. When a business uploads photos to the Street View app then it helps to generate more business and customer visits. This means that if you can take good quality images you can leverage excellent pay from businesses who want to improve their online profile.
- You can increase the exposure that your work is getting and rapidly build up a portfolio of satisfied customers! You can use this to grow your social trust and testimonials on your website.
- It’s fun to create highly engaging virtual tours and photoshoots of the businesses you work with.
- Being recognized as a talent in your field will help to inspire you to continue your work and give you a nice confidence boost.
- You earn the right to say that your work has been recognized by one of the most powerful companies on earth which can help to increase your profile.
How Much Can You Make as a Google Trusted Photographer?
Working as a freelancer creating virtual tours and photo galleries to help businesses promote their products and services you can easily expect to earn above $30,000 a year.
If you live in an area that has a lot of small businesses you will be able to provide the services they need to put themselves on the map and bring in new customers. If you have a top quality portfolio and a certification from Google then you can leverage these things to earn a good living.
You can also diversify your work with these businesses by offering other services in packages. You could help them create new menus, if they are a restaurant, by taking updated photos of their dishes. You can get involved with the businesses marketing and advertising strategies by providing professional photo shoot services as well as creating virtual tours and images for the Street View Map.
Does Google Pay You For Your Photos?
No, Google does not pay you for your photos but you should be paid by the businesses that you work for. Google does provide you with a free platform to showcase your work and publish the photos you have taken though.
Becoming a Google Trusted Photographer Can Help Your Career and Boost Your Online Profile.
As a Trusted photographer you can upload your images to the whole spectrum of Google services, including Google Street View, Google Maps and Google My Business. Your images will also show up in the Google search engine which can help to improve your clients’ businesses Search Engine Optimization.
Gaining your Google certification will give you a significant competitive advantage over other photographers in your area and will help you to get more work in the future and receive higher rates of pay.
Once you are certified you can also be listed on Google’s directory of Photographers for hire. This can also help you to get more work in the future and will improve your online profile. You can also link your own portfolio or website to your listing as well as your phone number and other contact details.
Are you interested in becoming a Google trusted photographer?