I have previously written a couple of blog posts on why virtual tours are so important, but I have never talked about how to become a Google Trusted Photographer. Who are the people taking the images? They are the reason why so many businesses can have their location online as a virtual tour.
In this blog post, I will be answering all of the questions you want to know about Google Trusted Photographers and what it takes to become one. So, keep reading if you want to be the next Trusted photographer.
What is a Google Trusted Photographer
Maybe the first question I should be answering is “what is a virtual tour?” Basically, a virtual tour is a 360 image (or images) that are connected together. They are used for the street view and interior views of businesses and places for rent/sale.
A Google Trusted Photographer is the one that is given a badge by Google claiming that they are ‘trusted’. I’ve never liked using a term within its own definition, but in this case, it is fairly self-explanatory!
In other words, it means that Google has seen multiple images from a 360 photographer and given them a certificate to show they are good at their job. This means that the photographer has to have levelled, properly focused, and stitched images.
A Google Trusted Photographer is a person who has been approved to take virtual tour images that show up on Google Search, Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View, Google My Business, and more.
Can You Earn Money Being a Google Trusted Photographer?
If you are reading this blog post there are two possible reasons why; either you want to become a Google Trusted Photographer, or you want to hire one.
Once you have a trusted badge you can use it and specified branding elements to offer professional photography. You can use your badge on your business website, social media, and other ways of promoting yourself. However, make sure you are within the guidelines of Google, you don’t want to overstep your boundaries.
If you’re curious, here are the things you can’t do.
- Misrepresent or hide that you are part of the Trusted program when communicating with businesses.
- Changing, in any way, the wordmarks or logos from Google, Google Maps, Street View, or the Trusted badge. Meaning you cannot add any extra graphics, stretch images, or translate them while keeping the recognized branding.
- You can’t use the badge in a deceptive or abusive way. You cannot give off the impression that Google is endorsing your products.
- You can’t use Google, Google Maps, Street View, or the Trusted badge in your URL. You also cannot use them for branding elements unless specified in Google’s guidelines.
Now, trust me, you don’t want to go against any of these guidelines because Google is helping you out! Once you have a trusted badge, Google adds you to a list of trusted photographers that can be hired by location. So, Google is helping you make money! Within the listing, Google includes both your phone number and portfolio, giving leads everything they need to contact you for a shoot.
What do Clients Get Out of It?
If you are wondering why clients are contacting you, a big part is for SEO purposes. The reason I am telling you this is because, if you decide to reach out to potential leads, these are some reasons you can give them for needing your services.
A virtual tour allows for potential customers to see an area before arriving
- A virtual tour can be added to a website to increase user experience and SEO.
- It increases Traffic to your store
- Cool features can be added to amp the virtual tour, for example, a restaurant website can integrate a reservation feature where clients can choose their specific seat through the virtual tour.
- Virtual tours are a great way to showcase, online, the uniqueness or charm of a business.
- Virtual tours created by a Google Trusted Photographer appear in Google platforms like Google My Business, and more. This is a huge positive for businesses because it increases their SEO value.
- Listings that have a virtual tour have double the amount of chances to generate traffic.
- And so much more!
How to Become a Google Trusted Photographer
Before we get into the steps you will need to take to become a Google Trusted Photographer, let’s cover the actual requirements it takes. It’s best to know what you are getting into before realizing halfway through that it’s not for you.
- You must upload a minimum of 50 images to Google servers via the Street View app.
- Images must be 14mp or larger (5,300 x 2,560 px).
- You need a 2:1 image aspect ratio.
- There can’t be any gaps in the images or around the horizon.
- There can’t be any stitching errors.
- There must be enough detail in very light or dark areas.
- The images must be sharp; with no motion or blurry areas.
- There can’t be any distracting effects or filters.
- All faces need to be blurred.
- If your images are taken in a private location, you need permission.
- Everything must be accurate to GPS coordination.
- The images can’t have any attributions beyond the nadir (base of the image) or discriminatory, hateful, or illegal content.
Now, let’s get down to business…
1. Buy Your Camera
Before you can take any pictures, you need a good camera! I recommend the Iris 360 by NC Tech. It is the original Google partner camera and NC Tech wrote the original Google development kit.
It’s important to have a good camera because it makes all the difference in the outcome of your tours. Not only that but you can use it as a part of your value when convincing leads to pick you over another photographer.
2. Download The Google Street View App
This step is fairly self-explanatory, but you will need the app to download your virtual tours. Try getting antiquated with the application before using it professionally, this way you will work with ease.
3. Take a Ton of Images
Practice using your camera, taking pictures, and editing your tours before beginning to work for businesses.
4. Upload More Than 50 Images to Your Favorite Locations and/or Businesses on Street View
When taking your initial 50 images, think about the type of businesses you want to take pictures for. This way you can begin building your portfolio for a specific audience.
Furthermore, you’ll need to upload a lot of images before you are considered eligible as a Trusted Google Photographer. For this reason, be patient and enjoy the adventure!
If you are trying to get a badge sooner than later, taking 3 pictures every day for a month should be more than enough!
5. Keep Working Until Google Informs You of Your Verification
Once you have done enough to show Google that you are eligible, they will send you an email informing you of your Trusted badge.
6. Once You Are Trusted, Get to Work
Some Google Trusted Photographers can make about 300$ on an average per shoot! So, you definitely don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.
Once you are certified, I recommend you create packages for clients which include a certain amount of photoshoots for certain prices. Or, if you run a business and are using the photography as another service, create packages including your other related services.