For most photographers, it is really difficult to get your work noticed because the internet is such a noisy place. There is one platform that will allow your work to stand out and get noticed (for now.) That is Google Maps. This site is intended as a review site for most area business that allows users to rate it from 1 to 5 stars, but it also allows for crowdsourced photos. Most photos on this site are not taken by professional photographers, but rather by amateurs. This format makes for a LOT of unflattering food photos with bad lighting or exterior shots that are just plain poor quality.
Google Maps has over 1 Billion users and is consistently in the Top 10 most popular apps in the App Store and Google Play store. Google Maps has even developed a program for their contributors to receive rewards for the contributions. This program is called Local Guides.
1. Bring Value to your clients/attract new clients - So you have just been hired by one of your first clients. A new hospital in your market needs photos of their brand new building and location for their newsletter. You complete the mission, deliver the work, and receive your payment for the job. You may also want to share your work with your own audience via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Don't forget about Google Maps! You can add your photos to your new customers listing for them. They will appreciate the added value that your service offers and the extra effort you took to complete the task. You will get the views from all of the people who need directions to the new hospital. All of the other community businesses will contact you and request your services for their new building. All of the architects, landscapers, parking lot pavers, roofers, and construction companies will also be calling you to buy a license to use the photo in their marketing efforts. This exact instance happened over 25 times at Aerial Agents.
2. Improve the quality of the listing for everyone - Let's face it, the street view perspective was cool at first. But now the quality of the camera is so poor that it doesn't do the listing much justice. In some cases, you will get an up close and personal view of a dumpster for a hospital! With the help of drones, you can be the "Street View of the Sky".
Or even a cover photo of nothing at all...
3. Feature your work at high profile locations - THIS! is very valuable. Here is why...Let's say an older luxury hotel calls a few roofing companies for a quote to repair the roof. The estimator takes down the address and punches it in to google to see how far away it is. The roofing company also wants a view of the condition of the roof via a satellite view. They happen to see your photo as the cover of this hotel's Google Maps listing, an awesome aerial shot that shows the roof perfectly. They WILL call you once their work is complete to get a finished photo of their work. I have earned over 13 roofing clients just from this scenario alone. Sometimes you might just luck out and get the cover photo for Menlo Park, California, the Home of Facebook.
4. Historical Documentation - This ideal is slept on way too much by so many. Historical Documentation is very important to future generations. If you can accurately capture the way a certain property looks today, it will be very valuable 10, 20, 50, 100 years down the road. Think long term for your work.
5. Notoriety, Rewards, Credibility - Although Google offers rewards and praise for contributing to their site, the real value is in the credability that you will earn amongst your prospects. You will notice that after a while, you will start to get calls, emails, and DM's from area businesses or marketing managers that need your services. You set your own price. Because after all, you are the only one in your market that is doing this. Think BIG.
6. Learn the area/Improve your Geography - Once you start learning your entire market from a vertical perspective, you are going to learn your way around a lot better. You might stumble upon some pretty great photo ops too! ;-)
7. Improve your photography - Once you know that your image is going to be seen over 100,000 times, you tend to focus on creating the best work you can. Pretend like your idol is going to see your work and shout you out on Instagram to praise you.
8. Improve Brand Awareness - The better the photo, the better the awareness. Once you add a great photo to a place, the business owner will praise you publicly! I've had world renowned chefs shout me out on their Instagram for providing such an awesome photograph that I wasn't even asked to shoot. It was a pleasant surprise. All of the sudden, Aerial Agents were the cool kids on the block.
9. Gain more Experience on the Controls - If you want to be the best at what you do, you have to act like it. I mean you have to want it badly. This includes adopting the Black Mamba mentality. First to arrive, last to leave. Fly, Shoot, Edit, Repeat. Become the best version of yourself through lots of hard work.
10. Build your Portfolio - Even if you shoot places that didn't hire you to shoot for them. Places like landmarks, parks, churches, hospitals, city hall, etc. You will notice that the quality of your portfolio will improve over time. Eventually, you might start to grace the cover of a magazine and other publications.
11. Free Advertising - What if your photography could be the cover image to every location in your market?!? What if you (or your work) could be everywhere? You would definitely set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. This method has garnered Aerial Agents many new clients. Because of this, we have saved money in advertising, and now the time we've invested into this does the rest of the work for us.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share this article with someone you think will find it valuable. Tweet at us with your thoughts @aerialagents
Written by: Thomas Wasinski