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Become a Google Trusted Photographer

How to Become a Google 360 Trusted Photographer and Build a Reputation?

Reputation is everything for a professional photographer. Google is providing a special opportunity for photographers everywhere to become a Google 360 Trusted Photographer, win the trusted badge of Google Street View, and get promoted in Google’s online search index of for-hire professionals.

The opportunity is open not only to professionals but to all photographers who have 360-degree cameras and want to boost their online reputation or earn some extra cash. But many photographers continue to wonder whether becoming a Google Street View Photographer will really help their career.

Google’s logic is compelling. You visit a restaurant or a retail store, or any place of business for that matter, and click some 360-degree photos with an aim to create a virtual tour of the place to improve the business’s online visibility. This can potentially lead to the business making money while you earn as well.

The Challenge

Well, Google requires you to complete some steps before you can start making money. First, you will have to earn a Google Street View badge. For this, you need to publish fifty 360-degree photos using Google’s Street View App.

This will probably take you a few weeks. Make sure you click these pictures while keeping them 1 meter apart (for indoors) and 3 meters apart (for outdoors). Google will connect them later to make a virtual tour. While taking the pictures, follow the guidelines given by Google carefully.

Once you complete 50 qualified images, you will receive an email from Google confirming you as a Trusted Pro and adding you to their Local Guides. You will be required to fill out a form, after which you can turn on the “Available for Hire” option from your mobile device or computer. Once you are approved, you will receive the Trusted Badge along with access to resources that are usually accessible only to agencies and pro photographers.

Note that Google won’t be paying you for the photographs. Having achieved Trusted Pro status, you will receive marketing tools which will enable you to sell your 360 photo service to local businesses. When a local business reaches out to Google for a 360 photographer, you will be sent a paid lead. If you encounter any issues or have a question, ask Google at their Products Forum.

Benefits of a Street View Trusted Badge:

  • Digital Badge: The digital badge will distinguish your profile and work on the Street View app.
  • Trusted brand: You will be able to publicize yourself as a trusted photographer.
  • Exposure: You will be featured in Google’s for-hire index.
  • Paid Leads: When a local business requests for a shoot, you will get a paid lead.
  • Auto-connect: You can connect closely spaced 360 photos.

According to Google, Street View photography is a powerful sales proposition. For businesses seeking exposure, a Street View photographer can provide visibility easily and quickly. Google, however, clarifies that they won’t be paying anyone and will stay out of any disputes. They simply aim to connect businesses with photographers which can then hire them.

Some people think that Google owns the photos after they are published. That is not true. The ownership of these images will be determined just as ownership of professional photographs is determined in the industry – by negotiation between the local business and the photographer. Make sure to get ownership and copyright in advance.

Google Requirements for Photographs

Image Quality
  • 14 mp or more (5,300 x 2,650 px)
  • 2:1 image aspect ratio
  • No gaps in the image near horizon
  • No stitching errors that are significant
  • Proper detail in light/dark areas
  • Sharp images: in focus, no motion blur
  • No distracting filters or effects
  • The connected 360 photos must have a clear line-of-sight
  • Shoot at 1m spacing in the indoors and 3m outdoors
  • Increase the chances of Google connecting to your content by extending your photos to a street.
  • Consent to take photos of the people and the place
  • Geographically correct placement
  • No spaces generated by a computer
  • No attribution more than the specific area
  • No illegal or hateful content
  • Must follow Google’s Sales & Branding Guidelines

To receive the Street View trust badge, you do not have to delete and re-upload the photos that you published earlier. All 360 photos that fulfill the Maps publishing criteria will be included in your profile.

All approved 360 photos will be published instantly. However, if a 360 photo does not meet Google’s publishing criteria, it will not be published.

The ultimate question is: Can you actually earn money as a Google Trusted Photographer? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Potential business clients are more likely to hire a Google 360 Trusted Photographer over any other photographer.

We all know that in a connected world people search online for restaurants, stores, almost any product or service facility before visiting it personally. A virtual tour created through the use of 360 photographs will attract customers who will be more likely to visit an establishment after they have seen it on Google Street View.

Businesses can also use the virtual tour to showcase specific items that they are selling, display the décor of their establishment, or show how their venue would be perfect for some event or function. This can give these businesses an edge in a competitive marketplace.

Google Maps Business View will give customers a 24×7 access to viewing the business establishment. This can significantly improve the visibility of the business and attract more customers all year round.

With the virtual tour available in the Google My Business local page, customers will be able to see and virtually walk through the establishment. This can draw in customers who rarely venture out of their comfort zones, giving the business a vital advantage over others.

The 360 degree Virtual Tours will be available on Google search, maps, and Google+. It will help build a strong online presence, enhance the search results for the company, build reputation, and help engage more potential customers. For aspiring professional photographers, it may be time to step up the game and become a Google 360 Trusted Photographer.