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Being A Google Trusted Photographer Can Be A Great Add-on To Your Real Estate Photography Business

Published: 30/07/2013
By: larry

What's a Google Trusted Photographer? It's google training and certification of how to shoot 360 images that can be used on Google place pages for businesses. Google is building a group of independent photographers world wide that can shot 360 images that can be added to the little business marker pins on google maps. Here's how to become a Google Trusted Photographer.

Marc in Detroit was asking me today about doing 360s in general and about becoming a trusted photographer so he could do 360s for businesses to go on google maps. Here is what I told Marc:

  1. I would be careful about 360s for real estate in general because they are in demand some places but not others. Verify there is a demand in your area before you jump in.
  2. 360s for businesses to go on google place pages could be a good add-on business for real estate photographers since real estate photographers are likely to have the skills to pass the certification and have most of the tools. As the video describes having a 360 on a business page helps a business's SEO which is well worth the $300 to $1500 investment. Trusted Google Photographers sell these to directly to businesses themselves and negotiate the price, they don't work for Google.

Google started the Trusted Photographer program well over a year ago so there has been a 21 month old discussion thread on the PFRE flickr forum. The thread indicates that the Trusted Photographer program is not in all locations and it's not widely understood or participated in.

Is there anyone out there that is participating in the Google Trusted Photographer program? If so how is it working for you?

17 comments on “Being A Google Trusted Photographer Can Be A Great Add-on To Your Real Estate Photography Business”

  1. Larry,
    I spoke with them a few months ago. They wanted a full-time employee, at least for this area. I don't know if it's the same for all areas.

  2. I am a google trusted photographer in Kansas City. It has worked out very well for me. But it must be understood, this is a 95% sales role. If your not comfortable with cold calling and door to dour work this gig isn't for you. I am following this site because I'm branching into RE photography :). I bought Scott Hargis' video series and I've gotta say, killer stuff!

  3. It is a good opportunity, but there are two issues:
    1- The payment has a certain cap! Means Google will not allow you to charge the client more than they want.
    2- In some areas (like GTA) it is already saturated and they do not accept new application. I applied about a year ago and did not hear back anything.

  4. "...The payment has a certain cap! Means Google will not allow you to charge the client more than they want..."

    Actually, this is wrong - you can charge whatever you want.

  5. I have applied twice and only got a confirmation email that they have received my information. There do not seem to be any photographers listed in my area or the two big cities near me so Im not sure what that is all about.

  6. Brad became certified just to see what the process was, but we do not go out and shoot GTF or even advertise our association with google as it is a turnoff to our professional clients (architects, interior designers, contractors, etc.) When looking at the work overall on google, the quailty is poor. That is not to say all GTF photographers are poor photographers, but most of the work is poor and unacceptable professionally and if someone were just looking at google to gauge the quality of output, we believe they would pass over us. Secondly, we don't like to be limited in what we charge as we are on the higher end of both real estate and commercial pricing. Yes, you can do a lot of add-ons to a GTF job that pumps up the value, but overall, I feel that the clients who use the GTF service are looking for that "bargain" or that "lower pricing".

    In a world where it is getting harder to get your price and yet keep your quality, in a world where you have to do all your own marketing anyway - why bother. If you want to add commercial - just add it. As an RTV and TourBuzz tour provider, we use these tours to create commercial tours and they work great. They also show your photography off better. If you are doing a restaurant - which restaurant looks more appealing - one personally done and in the highest resolution or one done specifically using google products and has so much compression and lack of originality? As a GTF you must use google specs on equipment and on software (only their products) and this limits your control over the output.

    However, that being said - I would never knock a business model that was successful for someone. I would only advise them on how to build up more business using that model. So, if GTF is for you- there is a lot of ways to market and grow your GTF business - but its sort of like wedding photography. You can do great video or your can do great stills at a wedding by yourself, but you can't do both (unlike Real estate photography where you can do both well because you have the time to set both up correctly). If you change your marketing to GTF commercial - will you still have the time to grow and maintain your existing real estate photography business>

  7. There sure needs to be more information about the whole program, and certainly more discussion. I've been doing 360 Virtual Tours for quite some time now, so will keep an eye on this type of promotion, but I really don't think I want to change over to a system that is not as good as the one I use. We'll have to take a "wait and see" approach.

  8. I applied to become a GTF and was accepted. Only after getting all the training material, I decided to turn it down. As stated above, I was really unimpressed with the quality of work. I have put a lot of time into producing the best 360 product that I can, and then being told to dumb it down for Google didn't make sense to me, not to mention having to buy additional equipment, despite already having the gear to make 360s. It seems like a pretty god deal if that is your main gig, but in addition to my real estate work, it would probably end up being too much work for me.

  9. I signed on with the GTP program about 18 months ago. There is a HUGE potential for income there.

    @Real Estate Photography Toronto: as Barry stated, you are mistaken. Google has no say in what you charge. It is not in their power to control your fee structure just as it is not in their power to control your hours.

    Our average shoot price is $1,300 and that is just under 3 hours of shooting on site. Add in post on the stills and moderation in the pano editor (Google stitches the panos) for another couple hours of work. I'm priced out right around my normal $230 hourly rate for interiors work.

    It IS a product that requires a lot of sales (that's why I have a full time sales staff) because there really isn't much chance for residuals.

    A note on quality... this program is, for all intents and purposes, designed to bring more business owners into the Google ecosystem. Google makes their money on adwords. This is a numbers game. The barrier for entry is a consumer/hobby grade dslr, a fisheye lens and a tripod with a pano head. Many of our shoots are re-shoots that were previously done by other TIPs who ran through with a kit lens on a rebel in full auto. Converging verticals and all... Some of us are producing much higher quality deliverables.

    We are not allowed to say that the product impacts SEO at all.... but I am shooting on average 10k a month in referrals from SEO there's that...

    @duncan: I know where you're coming from. However, have you ever seen a standalone 360 system that behaves and interacts as Google's street view technology does??? If I found something like that, I would pay dearly for it!! My residential clients would LOVE ME!!!

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