What’s A Google Trusted Photographer? Here’s How to Become One

Business Tips February 15th 2014 11:57 AM 13 Comments

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In terms of sheer presence, Google sits in a class of its own. Apple may be the most valuable company and have enough cash sitting collecting dust to equal the GDP of several countries, but for sheer integration in daily life, it’s hard to argue Google doesn’t have that pegged. If you’ve used a computer or mobile device in the last decade you’ve likely played around with Google Maps or Earth at some point or another to get directions, or just to look around places you’ve been or want to go. It’s brilliant.

From the comfort of home you can see precisely where you want to go, see actual landmarks to guide your travels, and have a look around the area as if on foot. It makes familiar the unfamiliar. Most of the developed world has been photographed for their street view, and as such, Google has helped us find any building we want and is now turning attention elsewhere – into the buildings themselves. Welcome the Google Trusted Photographer (GTP).

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There are a plethora of reasons someone may want to have a look inside a location remotely, and therefore, just as many reasons, at least, to have your location photographed and placed in Google Maps. Imagine, if you will, future brides able to scout reception venues to narrow her options, without the need to travel to each one; seeing into a hotel or restaurant before you go to see if it meets your needs…the list goes on.

However, in order to for this to materialize, you will need to have the photographs. Being Google, they can’t be amateur shots messily strung together. To take advantage of this tech, the right kind of photographer will need to be hired. Google calls them their ‘Google Trusted Photographers,’ and the ability to be one is open. Certain criteria need to be met in order to qualify, but by no means will they exclude even most semi-pros.

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Google suggests the time spent per week will be at least 30 hours, so you have to have the time available, and having person to person, door to door sales experience and skill sets is a valuable asset. The aim of the GTP is to be reachable and to reach out to connect with local businesses to inform them on the benefits of having their business profiled in the Google Maps Business Profiles.

Once you have applied and are accepted by Google to be a GTP, you will be searchable and featured, and business owners will be able to contact you directly. There will also be a training period where you will be instructed on the specific needs, and how to use the software that builds the virtual tours, after which you will be Google certified.

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Once a client is secured, the stated average time on location is 1.5-2 hours making the photographs required to meet the standards, and make a Google virtual tour possible. After the fact, you will use the online software tools provided by Google, to upload, process, and finally publish to Google Maps. If you have real estate photography experience, this sounds like a wonderful extension.

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Here’s a video where one such Google Trusted Photographer speaks about his work.

Thoughts

This seems to be a great avenue to take if you have the available time, and would like to secure new clients for your business. It also seems to be a great marketing tool for the other photographic offerings since you will be promoted by Google online. The program is not available in all countries, but a short list, with more to come, would be: U.S, Canada, Italy, Spain, U.K, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Australia.

If you’re interested you can find out more about what it’s like, and apply here.

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About

Kishore is a photographer and writer based in Miami, though he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. With a passion for beauty and aviation photography his work is all at once focused and eclectic. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

13 Comments

  1. Rick Kimmick

    what an excellent idea to help enhance your community.

  2. Hartley Macklin

    Just to be clear, this is a very difficult product to sell. Anyone who thinks that businesses are really open to paying for this, will be in for a surprise.

    The selling is the hard part. It is my opinion that anyone who tries to do this part time will fail. This only works if you can dedicate 40 hours a week (minimum) to selling and shooting.

  3. Jen Andre

    Don’t waste your time, there is no money to be made in this program. It’s even harder if your not good at sales. It’s 95% sales 5% shooting/processing. Business owners don’t want to pay for it because they are used to google stuff being free!

  4. Dale Lempa

    I agree with the other critical posters, Macklin and Andre–we got into this program with big promises from Google that turned out to be somewhat manipulative and deceptive. One of the problems is that you have to maintain a certain number of shoots per month, and if you start lagging behind, they will give you the boot. They were very excited to take us on in the beginning, but since we couldn’t maintain the quota (which is very difficult to do and definitely requires 40+ hours/week like the other posters have said) they quickly terminated us.

    Also your “coordinator” sends you annoying emails all the time with cheesy pep talk to try to encourage you; this just makes it obvious that they are hungry for free content to distribute and don’t care at all about their content providers. Remember that this is Google–if the product is free, that means YOU are the content.

  5. Sada

    Its a shame its only for the states :(

  6. Chet

    I applied and was later contacted by Google. The email listed an enormous specific list of photo equipment you had to own or purchase. Crazy!! I’m sure they get photographers to commit to this but I see no return on that investment! Saying you’re a Google photographer will not do much for the income statement!

    • William

      Would you mind forwarding me the list of equipment that Google expects gtp to purchase. I am getting into doing photo spheres and would like to purchase equipment that Google wants but I’m not really sure I’m going to be in the program.

      Sincerley,
      Will

  7. Jim Hilker

    I have been a Google Trusted Photographer in this program since March 2012, just a few months after it went public. I’ve made a good go of it but that is because my firm is a well established national marketing and sales company – not a photography company. As Hartley and Dale both commented correctly, working in the program is 95 percent sales and 5 percent photography. I am a firm believer that the Street View 360 Technology is a fabulous asset to businesses, organizations, and institutions and those that choose to participate are very glad they did. Most small main street type businesses will not pay for this, which does not make sense because they’ll turn around and spend more on a newspaper ad at twice the cost for just a one-day ad. There are many businesses that do buy this, but those businesses are very difficult for the start up Google Trusted Photographers to get in the door with.
    Truth is, unless you are a well established and very experienced sales and marketing expert, you’re going to really struggle in this program and likely be right there with the hundred or so that sign on, buy the expensive equipment, only to not make it to the certification and out of the program in 2 months. If you want the straight deal on this program ask those of us who been in it for a while we have some things to share with you before you run out and buy the expensive equipment.

    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Jim, thanks for taking the time to shed a little insight from inside the actual program. I think many here, myself included, have/had a lot of questions as to the realistic expectations one can have from something like this. Sales being the primary asset required to run this successfully is surely to be a deterrent for many, however, from my experience, no mater what you’re in sales skill will distinguish you. The artful side of photography would often do well with a greater focus on the sales side.

    • Scott Smith

      Why do they kick people out of the program?
      What is their fee structure?
      Is there a territorial license agreement?

    • Peter P

      Hi Jim, Thanks for your insight. I am also shortlisted for next step but after reading post I am not sure if I should go further. Do you know if anyone can give me kick back to get certified? In return, I can work for them if someone is looking for GTP, as you know it’s lengthy and expensive process.

  8. Scott Smith

    Why do they terminate accounts?
    Do they take a considrable portion of the fees?
    Is there a territorial license agreement?

  9. Michael Jansen

    Hi guys, I have applied to Google for the Trusted Photographer license as it is pretty new here in the UK and there’s only a few others in my area currently offering their services to businesses. What I was wandering really is to get peoples views on exactly how much earning potential there is with this and if anyone currently doing it can recommend it.

    I can dedicate at least 30-40 hours a week to the job and do have sales experience and already own some of the required equipment so wanted to give it a go but there seems to be quite a lot of negativity around it so just wanted to get peoples thoughts. I gather Google don’t really help in any way to get you more business apart from having you as a Trusted Photographer. If you don’t go out and actively call all these businesses then there’s clearly no point in it.

    Also, I understand Google can only have a select number of Trusted Photographers so have to monitor your work and how many you’re doing but are they really that strict on it? So if you were to take a few weeks off for example and not as many Photo Spheres were done then would you be at risk of losing your license? Oh and has anyone seen Microsoft Photosynths? Through a series of shots you can get a high resolution, 3D, time lapse video and it really is incredible, Much better than Googles Photo Spheres but Microsoft don’t have a program like this in place so that’s why I was hoping to give this a go. Any thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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