So you're a person who likes to take photos? Did you know that Google can help take your hobby or passion for photography, and turn it into a service that benefits both you and your fellow Googlers. Over the course of a month, I discovered what it meant to become a Certified Google Photographer. It's an informative and beneficial experience that I will share with you in this article, and I encourage all like minded photographers to go and get certified TODAY!
BECOME A GOOGLE LOCAL GUIDE
First off, before you get certified for anything, you should become a Google Local Guide. Becoming a local guide unlocks a whole other world of maps to you. There is an entire community of local guides that answer questions, give feedback on local businesses, and much more that helps Google Maps become the best place for finding locations in your area. You can unlock a Local Guides badge and perks as you earn points for your contributions and reach higher levels of the program. This is a great and fun way to improve your standing with Google and get your content more visible through its search algorithms. This might even be beneficial to your SEO efforts, imagine going beyond just Geotagging your images and having Google view your content even more favorably.
GETTING STARTED: RICOH THETA V 360 CAMERA
The Theta V 360 Camera was the overall best choice for functionality and price. Able to shoot high quality 4K video with audio and high resolution 360 degree photos indoors and out. With a price of around $600, this versatile camera is your best choice when compared to competitors. I can speak with confidence after using this camera that it is truly one of the coolest things I have ever used. With the ability to control the camera with your phone and see live feedback of what you are trying to shoot is incredibly convenient and very useful for effective photographs. This is not a paid ad for this product, I am just giving my personal experience and this was the best bang for your buck in terms of quality and usability.
OTHER ESSENTIALS YOU WILL NEED TO GET STARTED:
- A Smartphone with the Google Streetview App installed
- Gmail account linked to Streetview app
- List of places to take 360 Phtotos
A FEW BEGINNER TUTORIALS:
- Tip 1 – How to minimise your 360 editing
- Tip 2 – How to take great pictures with a 360 camera (i.e. watch the stitching)
- Tip 3 – How to prepare your 360 camera to use for an important event (so simple!)
- Tip 4 – How to take 360 pictures from different positions
- Tip 5 – How to use flexible tripods for 360 camera
Why Become Certified?
Google Maps is a far more powerful tool than simply ‘pics of a place’ on a map like it may have seemed a few years ago. With the Google Local Guides program, you can provide invaluable information for anyone looking to discover more about a location.
Become A Local Guide and Help Your Community
Build trust with a high-quality virtual tour that lets people experience your location before they arrive. These immersive, virtual experiences inspire greater confidence among audiences. Becoming a trusted professional for hire can help you more easily create and publish your virtual tour.
GETTING STARTED: TAKING 360 PHOTOS
After you get your Theta V (or whichever camera you chose) connected to your smartphone, you are ready to start snapping away! Just use the Richo Theta V app and you can control the camera settings and lighting all from your phone! Be sure to plan out your locations wisely! You need 50 good 360 degree photos to be approved by Google before you can become certified, so plan out good locations to effectively get the best possible photos! It is wise to invest in a tri-pod for shooting stable non-blurry still 360's, the camera is good, however is still susceptible to loss of quality from unstable shooting.
You need 50 good 360 degree photos to be approved by Google before you can become certified. Be sure to plan out good locations to effectively get the best possible photos! It is wise to invest in a tripod for shooting stable non-blurry still 360's. 360 cameras have come a long way, however they are still susceptible to loss of quality from unstable shooting.
Plan out your Photos shoots! Over the course of roughly a month, I was able to capture 72+ 360 degree images and became certified within no-time. Now, granted starting out, I was a little overwhelmed with the task of capturing 50 interesting 360 photos. My solution to this was to plan out my locations and divide up how many I would need at each location. I have a lot of parks in my area so I targeted those one day, deciding on 5 at each location would do the trick. Another day on the weekend, I targeted local businesses and shopping malls and also the tourist beach areas of San Diego. Before I knew it, I had reached my goal of 50 and I was getting notifications that thousands of people were viewing my photos through google maps! This type of planning for your photo shoots may be slightly tedious and involve some math, it will streamline the journey to 50 photos and set you up for future better future online rankings!
What are you waiting for?!? Get out there and start making the world 360 degrees better!