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Book Review – Google+ For Photographers By Colby Brown

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Back before he wrote the book Google+ for Photographers, photographer Colby Brown had already written an online book of sorts about Google+ called “Google+: The Survival Guide for a Photographers Paradise.” This was back in what I call the “Wild West Days” when Google had just opened it up for the beta period and it was by invite only (I got access around July 3rd, 2011 – about 6 days in), and everyone who wasn’t there pre-beta was still trying to figure out how this thing worked.

By the middle of July, Colby Brown had put together the Survival Guide and it was beginning to make its rounds. There was an update on July 24th and 31st and version 2.1 was released around September 21st. I know for myself, this provided a lot of insight that would have had to come through trial and error and certainly sped up my learning curve, so I was eager to see how this matured into book form.

The goal of Google+ For Photographers is to provide you with everything that you need to know to work with the Google + platform and best utilize the network and help you build a following and establish an online presence as a photographer. Google+ for Photographers is 240 pages in length and is contained in nine chapters.

Chapter 1 – “Why Google+ Works for Photographers” begins with the fact with all of the other online venues for photographers why should you consider Google+? The author begins by explaining what Google+ plus is and what makes it different for photographers. In this chapter you will begin to understand the core concepts of Google+ and how it will benefit you as a photographer. How the aesthetics make it to your advantage and how it benefits how your images are presented to the community at large. Also discussed are photographer’s rights and how they affect you as a photographer.

Chapter 2 – “Building an Online Presence” is all about using the Internet to get your name established as a photographer. This can be just to meet people of like mind or to build a business. The problem is, most people have a hard time understanding how to build an online following. This chapter provides the fundamental aspects of building your brand and using social marketing to carry out your own network strategy. Topics include content, what to focus on, engaging in the environment, the quality of your followers, and building a strategy to accomplish your goals.

Chapter 3 – “Getting Started with Google+” now takes on the practical aspect of signing up, creating a profile, and in general how to approach Google+ so as to fit your needs. Here you will take a step-by-step approach to getting started with Google+. You will examine the primary parts such as pages, privacy, laying out your profile, circles, albums, hangouts, as well as the other core features of Google+.

Chapter 4 – “Working with Circles to Stay Organized” looks at the fact that because life is dynamic and is in a constant flux of change, your social life will be no different. On Google+, circles are the method that is used to control and manage this change. Here you will learn all about circles, how they work, how to use them to organize your contacts, how to work with them, share them, and much more.

Chapter 5 – “Learning How to Interact on Google+” is all about connecting and interacting within the Google+ universe. In this chapter you will learn more about circles, how to filter your stream, the best ways to interact with posts, the use of the 1+ button, how to deal with spam as well as searching for content, and the difference between blocking and ignoring someone.

Chapter 6 – “Publishing Your Photographs and Other Content” is probably the single biggest reason that photographers migrate to Google+. It has some of the most dynamic capabilities of a social network site, and this chapter will show you how to make the most of it. Here you will see how to publish content, create and edit a post, control how others interact, how to share, ways to increase interaction, schedule posts, and taking part in daily themes.

Chapter 7 – “Photo Management on Google+” examines the best ways to manage your online portfolio on Google+. In this way, you can make yourself look more professional as well as giving those who follow your work easier access to view your content based on what their interests are. You will look at providing image descriptions, moving photos around within albums, editing your photos online, and best practices for organizing your albums.

Chapter 8 – “Using Hangouts to Interact with People Worldwide” is one of the most unique features of Google+. Hangouts take interaction to a new level. Hangouts give you’re the ability to interact directly with up to 9 other people. This chapter will show you how to use hangouts, manage settings, work with Extras, join in someone else’s hangout, and more.

Chapter 9 – “Google+ on the Go” finishes up with how to use Google+ when you are away from your computer. After all, if you are a photographer, chances are you are away from your computer quite often, but that does not mean you have to be away from Google+. Now you will look at how to work with Google+ Mobile App to stay connected. You will see the core features, instant upload, and even work with hangouts.

Google+ For Photographers has really matured and has become more focused than its predecessor and, at least in my mind, is better organized. It is very well written and takes you from an upper level view down into the trenches and details very nicely. It also details some of the history that went on during the first six-months and introduces you to many of the photographers who became much better known because of Google+ through interview sessions called “A Photographers Perspective,” where photographers such as Alex Koloskov, Catherine Hall, Brian Matiash, and more are highlighted.

Personally, I think that Google+ is the best online platform for photographers – and anyone who wants to display artwork of any kind online, and I think that Google+ for Photographers really delivers for anyone who is attempting to sort out how to use it as a platform to promote their business, their work, or just meet others of a like mind, and so I very highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.