I had no idea–and I do not think anybody did–that Google+ would become so popular for photographers, and photography per se, as it has become today. With Google+, often dubbed a photographer’s paradse, Picasa received a terrific lot of attention, Flickr may start losing out soon if Yahoo! does not come up with remarkable new ideas, and smaller portfolios such as 500px are seeing a wave of their photographers moving their entire work to Google+.
This is part 2 of a 4-part article series on Google+. Read the others here:
And with this automatically banking on Picasa Web Albums–and therefore the Picasa desktop application to an extent–I see the Flickr-Picasa competition once again coming to the fore. Right now, Google has a head start with the seamless interlinking of its other products alongside Google+ and Picasa.
With this in mind, we can examine seven key aspects of photography on Google+. Mind you, I means all aspects of photography not solely linked to amateur/professional photographers although the former are a majority of my target audience in this article.
1. Grab attention: post publicly
If there is one aspect of Google+ that quite goes against its circles, it is photo sharing. Now I have a right to keep my circle names private on Google+, meaning if I add you to a circle you have no idea which circle I have added you to, merely that I have added you. Bending this rule just a tad, let me introduce you to one of my circles titled photography.
Much unlike what you may think, I do not share my photographs solely with this circle. I keep it in mind to make all my photographs public. There are many reasons for this: your post on Google+ receives maximum attention the first 30 seconds, and it reduces geometrically from then on. In other words, by a few minutes from your posting, your photograph is as good as buried. It is, of course, present in your album but there it does not garner half the attention it does while it is placed above the fold on somebody’s stream.
Perhaps the only way to balance this out is by increasing the number of people who see it. This does not mean blindly circling people in the hope that they circle back. Rather, it is sharing the post publicly so that if anybody you have not circled ends up on your stream, they can see it too. And considering that you have, say even so large as a few thousand people circling you, remember that your network accounts for only a meager one-hundredth of all the people on Earth, and about one-ten thousandth (or even less) of all the people in the world.
So when you post your great photograph on Google+, make sure you share it publicly.
2. Visibility: upload directly to Google+
Remember I was talking about Google+ getting a head start on Flickr? Well, this ought to highlight that point brilliantly.
Let us assume you have a 500px or Flickr account (or Tumblr or Wix or any of the other hundred good photo sharing sites you can think of) and you put up a photograph there, then you copy the link provided and paste it in your update. You may have noticed that cool little thumbnail you get? Like it?
Alright, now revert to your stream once again, click on the green camera icon and upload a photograph directly to Google+. See the difference? You get a full blown, stream-width image to boast of.
That is the difference between uploading directly to Google+ and linking to a picture elsewhere. But that is not the only difference. Clicking on the photo linked elsewhere will take the viewer there, and that is not something everybody likes. They would rather see it staying in Google+. But your uploaded photograph on Google+ will open in a neat, fullscreen lightbox. Moreover, unless you are Thomas Hawk or Trey Ratcliffe or Colby Brown or any of the other elite photographers currently active on Google+, I doubt anybody would want to go through the routine of clicking on a thumbnail they cannot even discern.
When you want to share a photograph on Google+, make sure you upload it directly to Google+
3. Hangout: rush to great hang outs or host your own
I have already spoken of better group activities such as Hangouts on Google+ in one of my previous articles in this series. In fact, hangouts1 are an extremely wonderful thing for photography enthusiasts on Google+ as they can host public hangouts with other photographers around the world.
And if you do not want to host a hangout for some reason, you can always scout the network for other photographers hosting them. Personally, I recommend attending every one of Trey Ratcliffe’s hangouts–he hosts an infinite number of them regularly–if you are lucky (and fast) enough to enter one before it fills up.
Once in a hangout, forget yourself and discuss photography. In short, hang outs are great chances to meet like minded people; would you shy away from talking to them if you met them in real life? That time is quite important if you want to develop your photography on Google+
Host hangouts or join them, discuss, learn and look to develop your photography through good interaction there.
4. Keep your eyes on daily photography themes
In one of my articles in this series, I have listed all the photography themes being curated on Google+. It is quite updated, although I promise nothing right now, so I suggest you take a look at them here.
On the one hand, some people are sticking devotedly by their 365 and 52-something projects,2 and on the other we have people at a loss as to what they should post. What picture to shoot or which of their many to upload or something else along those lines perhaps.
While I have, myself, never come across this block, one great solution would suggest is to keep your eyes peeled for the day’s (or the next day’s) photography theme. This will serve as an inspiration to you, either to go shoot something under that category or to update a picture of that category. Curators responsible for photographs tagged this way are on the look out for good photographs for their themes.
While I strongly urge you not to make this a wall to restrict you, I believe good leverage can be made of this to enhance your photography on Google+ and receive good attention. And make sure you tag your photograph right. Read more about how to tag your photograph for a day’s photography theme here.
Occasionally–or regularly, of you like–upload pictures that conform to the day’s photography theme.
5. Post right: know how frequently to post
It is one thing to post your photographs on Google+, but it is an entirely different thing to overflow others stream with 25 photos like steaming hot lava that nobody will bother taking a good look at. The secret (if one can call it that) is to post photographs regularly, at intervals sufficient far apart so that people will end up keeping track of you while not getting irritated by you who would make yourself appear like an attention-seeking maniac throwing photographs at them.
And this, unfortunately, is true no matter how good your photograph. As I explained earlier, the time that has passed since your upload is inversely proportional to the attention your upload receives. So be sure you are ready with another photograph as soon as your first one gets quite buried.
Upload photographs slowly but surely so people pay attention to what you post and not disregard you because your posting is analogous to spamming.
So good luck with your photography on Google+; and one last thing before you leave is about those rumors circulation that Google’s Terms of Service claim all rights to your photographs as you post them. That is all untrue as far as my knowledge is concerned (why else will I be posting photographs there?) But if you have doubts, feel free to ask the helpful Vincent Mo. Or read this post Thomas Hawk shared a long time back before you disturb him. If you want more, I suggest Colby Brown’s explanation (rebutting Scott Bourne’s article that started all this hullabaloo in the first place.)
Have fun on Google+ and do read my other articles in this series.