How the right imagery can promote business with the use of a Google trusted photographer
360° Imagery to Showcase Your Business
Imagery is powerful, evocative, and can be very persuasive.
How can you use imagery to promote and grow your business, and is it worth investing in a Google Street View photographer?
Looking to capture large areas of urban or rural environments at scale? Mobile mapping cameras and devices are built just for that. To learn more, check out this article here.
When googling a business, restaurant, or museum, we tend to have a look at the reviews and take a lil peek at the business itself. There is an option to see where businesses are located on the map and photos of the interior and exterior are displayed.
For customers, reading reviews is informative and allows them to view the opinions of others. But to provide imagery yourself, allows YOU to take control of what they see and ideally persuade the customer to visit.
Seeing is indeed believing, and it’s even better to provide the viewer with sharp, beautifully shot 360° images to showcase what you’re all about.
Even better when photographed by a Google Street View photographer.
What Is a Google Street View Photographer?
A Google Street View photographer is self-explanatory. An individual that has an interest in photography that’s been Google-certified to shoot streets and businesses. These images are 360° panoramic, and virtual tours of building interiors can also be created.
The images are then uploaded to Google Maps.
‘Google is dedicated to helping you discover the world around you. Imagery on our platforms is intended to enhance your experience, helping you preview and explore places nearby or across the globe. We go to great lengths to make sure that imagery is useful, and reflects the world our users explore.’
Google Street View policy
A certified Street View photographer is not a Google employee, (although Google employees are also photographers). Google recommends certified photographer services to businesses with an identification tag, detailing their website and contact details. Imagery is identified by the attribution name or icon displayed.
How to find a Google Street View Photographer
Locating a Google Street View photographer is exceptionally straightforward.
Click this link, to take you to the Google location page. You can search by country, state, and city, and the registry of available photographers is listed with the following information:
- Telephone number
Those names under ‘Agency’ highlighted in blue are clickable and will take you to the individual’s website so you can view their portfolio. This is a great way to check out their work and see if they are a good fit to shoot your business. All of which follow the branded guidelines set by Google:
- Recipients of the Street View trusted badge
- Distinguished contributors with fifty approved and published 360 photos
- Featured in our index of for-hire professionals
- Equipped to use the Trusted brand assets for marketing purposes
Negotiations on services and payments made are between you and the photographer directly, Google itself is not involved.
Fancy having a go at this yourself?
There’s plenty of information available online on how to become a Google Street View photographer, and we’ve compiled it handily for you just down below.
How to Become a Google Street View Photographer
If you have an interest in photography, and accessibility to the right equipment (more on that further down) then this goal is within sight!
Anyone with photography skills and the right equipment can start the journey to becoming a Google Street View photographer.
The key thing to keep in mind is quality. So, a few things you need to do before you can run out happily clutching your new 360° camera.
You need to obtain the coveted Google Street View Badge. Here’s how.
- Imagery Upload
50 high-quality 360° photos are to be uploaded into the Google Street View app. These images are to be taken 1m apart so that Google can combine them as they would a panoramic for street view. Some other photography tips to keep in mind:
- Images need to be clear and in focus – 14 MP
- There should be a 2:1 image aspect ration
- Lighting needs to be consistent
- No editing allowed for final imagery
- Images must be appropriate, consensual, and legal
- Application Form
Once all the images have been approved, Google will send you application forms via email.
- Trusted Badge
After the paperwork is handled, click ‘Available for Hire’ on your profile. When Google approves this, you’ll receive the new shiny badge.
- Get Started!
Now you have the badge and the Google ‘Trusted Pro’ status you’ll have the opportunity to sell the imagery that you capture to businesses. This badge can also be used on your website, in presentations, on a fancy new hat, just about however you please.
At this point, you are listed in the Google directory for Google Street View photographers. When someone clicks on your name for services, you will then be in touch to speak with them directly.
This is a light overview. The complete overview is not especially heavy, but it does cover internal and external policies and rules that need to be adhered to before you are slapped with the magic badge. The full guidelines can be read on Google here.
A HANDY HINT
Becoming a Local Guide contributor on the Google app can help build trust. The Google Local Guide is a community of contributors that share images, write reviews, and fact-check local businesses on Google Maps.
What Equipment is Needed to Become a Google Street View Photographer?
As promised, let’s go over the best tech for taking 360° imagery for Google Street View.
Google authorizes any smartphone compatible with their ARCore platform to upload images, but it is worth investing in a proper 360° camera.
These cameras are, simply put, more efficient in producing top-quality photographs, and are designed specifically for the 360° angle best for Street View and virtual tours.
We have a great article here on the best 360° cameras for Google Street View, and below we’ve highlighted a few of those.
Pilot One EE
Straight off, this one is pricey. It’s a tiny thing, but damn does it do a good job! Loved by professionals the world over for its all-inclusive recording system, it’s a fancy gadget for the experienced user.
- 8K resolution
- 128 GB memory
- Long life battery – 2 hours continuous 8K shooting/live streaming
- PilotSteady™️ Stabilization with a 9-axis Gyroscope
- External Cooling – manages up to 45ºC (113ºF) exterior ambient temperature, without the use of a fan!
- The aesthetically pleasing aluminum alloy casing is also entirely waterproof
Ricoh Theta SC2
The Richo Theta SC2 is a slim and lightweight 360° camera with many technical highlights, it is mobile-ready, so you can shoot and upload directly to Street View using a mobile app.
- 4K resolution
- 14 GB memory
- 14MP lens
- Noise reduction, DR compensation, HDR rendering, interval shooting, multi-bracket shooting, and a self-timer
- Available in four pretty colors
Not just a quirky name, this camera also performs. It is well-known in the industry for its sharp resolution and high contrast.
- 8K resolution
- F/2.2 fisheye lens
- 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor
- 64GB memory
- Long battery life – up to 3 hours on continuous 3D video recording
- ‘Invisible selfie stick’ – when used with this camera, the stick will automatically be removed from your footage
For the full listing, check out the article!
You’ve now read the who and how of Google Street View photographers, but why should you hire one, and what benefits can they bring to your business?
Hire a Google Street View Photographer to Boost Business
Consumers globally often, and regularly, use Google to locate businesses, products, and services. Google Maps has made this even easier for the potential customer to map out the route.
Google Street View displays the street, but also the viewer can venture inside and take a look at the interior. Ideal for mapping out that big family birthday you have planned and making sure the drapery is not the subject of your grandmother’s contempt.
Speedy and reliable, especially when the images have been authenticated with the aforementioned badge, people use this platform for comparisons.
A business listing on Google with interior and exterior images, as well as a virtual tour, is proven to boost interest and footfall.
Google has some great statistics to back this up:
- Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest.
- 62% of visitors prefer listings with photos of store interiors.
- On average, 41% of business searches on Google Maps result in an on-site visit.
- 29% of customers are motivated to make a purchase from listings with photos and virtual tours.
- Complete listings are 78% more likely to be viewed as well-established.
These stats speak for themselves. You want to ensure that you are up there with the top listings, complete with beautifully shot photographs to showcase exactly what you offer.
Hiring a Google Street View photographer, a seemingly small step that can make a big impact on your business.
Google Street View Photographer vs You
These days, just about everyone has access to a smartphone, many of which can take very respectable photos. Not everyone, however, meets the standards and requirements to become a Google Street View photographer.
This accolade stands for a trusted and skilled individual who complies with Google policy, that will provide a professional service, but most importantly understands exactly what is needed to deliver when photographing a business for Google Street View.
This understanding will provide high-quality images to increase interest, increase customers, and overall increase sales.
Google Street View photographers also have the added bonus of the application to upload images and virtual tours directly into Google Maps for you.
You may have already played around with this feature on Google Maps.
Virtual tours offer a little extra than just clicking through images. It allows the viewer to stroll through your locale and see a realistic panoramic of the interior.
A tour offers an immersive view, and as detailed above is twice as likely to generate interest, with 29% of people then going on to make a purchase.
A Google Street View photographer has the tools to create a beautiful virtual tour, using your knowledge of the business, and their expertise in how best to present it.
The Future of Google Street View
Google Street View has aspirations to become even more immersive, with plans to provide virtual tours of entire cities. The realistic nature of the experience heavily relies on the quality of the imagery.
The 360° cameras at Mosaic are industry-grade tech that offers the highest resolution images and videos in the market.
Up to ten hours of top-quality virtual tours can be filmed, which might just be enough time to stroll through the cobbled central streets of virtual Prague.
They are the perfect tool to bring the immersive city to life.
All you need to consider is whether you want to join by hiring your own Google Street View photographer, or jump on board completely and become one yourself.
Need more than a Google Street View Photographer?
If you are a municipality, real estate company, insurance company, the local tax authorities, or advertising firm, you might need to be capturing large areas of street view data at scale.
If you need to quickly and easily gather large areas of urban or rural environments then you might be better off with your own mobile mapping cameras and devices. To learn more, check out this article here or contact us below and we can discuss your needs.