If you are passionate about photography and you’d like to exhibit and share your shots to the public, one of the best social network to dive into is undoubtedly Google Plus. Since the debut of this social network, the functionalities and potentialities given to the photographic section have been greatly improved; for this reason more and more photographers (amateur and pro ones) started to use it regularly.
The “Photo” section has been made more captivating and practical to use: the pictures are shown on a full page mosaic and they can be chronologically arranged or depending on the album they belong to; the latter ones can be set as public or kept private. Moreover, the visualization of all the shooting parameters (included the GPS positioning coordinates) and the caption, as well as the slideshow feature, makes the user experience in as effortless as pleasing.
UPDATE of August 15th: with the latest update of the Google Plus platform, it’s now possible to see Google Drive photos and videos inside the library. Moreover the manual sorting and selection of the photos and the auto-enhancement feature are now available. You can still choose which content should be shared and which one should be set as private. This is the result of the attention that Google Plus pays to the user’s needs and advices; this social network is improving day by day.
After this brief introduction on the features of the photographic setion of Google Plus that I appreciate the most, I’d like to tell my experience, as an amateur photographer, in this social network, hoping that it could come in handy for you.
Unless you already are well known professionals with a considerable amount of fans, gaining a bit of visibility is quite arduous and it can require a while. Following a fair number of pro photographer and enthusiasts, commenting and exchanging some thoughts on their posts is not enought to be noticed. Moreover, if you set your albums up and publish them just on your own profile, in all probability they will stay in the shadows and will fall into oblivion in very little time. In my case, having started from the scratch with zero followers, after a first moment of discouragement I found out a very promising opportunity: the subscription inside the Google Plus Communities. These Communities are organized by categories, or themes (for example “Landscape Photography”, or “Long Exposure Photography” or also “Travel Photography”) and they are frequented by thousands of users with common interests. Once signed up in the Community you want to follow, you’ll have the chance to exhibit your photos in that place, instead of in your own profile (at the moment you can’t share the same post in your profile and in a Community at the same time). This lets you show your photos to, say, 50’000 photographers and photo-enthusiasts. Visibility is not the only benefit: in this way you can meet professional photographers in your same field of interest, expand your circles and exchange useful comments and tips. It’s like a forum inside the same giant Social Network. Obviously the quality level of posts and comments is proportional to the reliability and professionalism of the participants and to the ability of the moderators in keeping the Community “clean” and efficient.
Joining these Communities let me discover by chance new possibilities. Recently I published one of my works in a Community of “Travel photography” and I was quite satisfied by the impact of it: in a short time it has been viewed hundreds of times, it received a lot of “likes” and comments and it has been reshared by many users. But the thing that stunned me is that the Google+ Photos team selected my shot as “Photo of the day”: in three days the visualization counter jumped to 32’000 and the photo obtained more than 300 “Likes” (besides the ones of the Community); this thank to the reshare by Google+ Photos. Not bad for a nearly unknown amateur photographer like me, who has just 40 followers; a showcase like this is really useful and satisfactory. Suffice to view in the screenshot about the “ripple” how much influence the Google+ Photos reshare had over the public post inside the Community.
Compared to the exclusive publication on your own profile, there is a stellar difference. So, I found out that everyday the Google Plus Photos team looks for interesting well executed photos that could deserve some attention: in this way they publishes the “Photo of the day” and, better still, the “Photo of the week” using the latter one as cover picture of their channel. To easily find the photos within the large number of Communities, they suggest to add the hashtag “#googlepluspotd” to your post description, but be careful to use this hashtag just in your best photos: adding it indiscriminately to every post that you publish is useless.
One more opportunity I recently learned about is Photo Extract, a website managed by Jarek Klimek and followed by more than 2 millions of people. It’s a Magazine / Gallery / Community in which you can exhibit your photos, with a very pleasing and user-friendly interface. The interesting thing is that this site encloses two worlds simultaneously: on the one hand it’s the classic internet site, on the other hand it’s strictly linked with Google+, thanks to the section called “Plus Extract”. Thank to a system developed by Jarek Klimek himself, everyday one photo from the site and seven photo from Google+ are selected and showcased. As a result, the gallery shows many high grade photos which are composed with professional techniques, that represent a source of inspiration.
Once signed up in Photo Extract, you can set your account up, complete with links to the major social networks and to your own website. Then you can start to upload and exhibit your photos in the gallery, using the convenient 1150 pixel wide format (that is a good compromise between visibility and lightness). Once uploaded your shot, the selection system designed by Jarek Klimek does the interesting job: through the number of nomination received in the first 24 hours by the other members of Photo Extract and the following selection by the critique, your photos has the chance of being picked-up and exhibited on the site’s homepage. Moreover, inside the panel which contains all the picture’s specifications and tags, it’s possible to examine a graph that shows the tendency of visualizations since the date of upload.
The selection method of the 7 best Google Plus photos of the day (in the Plus Extract section) is a secret of which is known that’s a result of an automatic and manual pick; about this, it’s important to add the tag “#plusphotoextract” to the photo that you share on Google+ (as already mentioned for the case of Google Plus Photos) in order to be localized by the system.
Therefore, Photo Extract too is a great showcase for your works; it’s a community followed by many professionals and definitely is a source of inspiration that pushes you to improve your photography.
Wrapping up, this is currently my experience about photography in Google Plus and what revolves around it. Inside this mighty “Google-centric” universe, there are surely many more possibilities, communities and virtual showcases that deserve to be explored; so, for this reason, I’d be happy to know your personal experience about it.
Thank you for reading!