Top 10 Places Where I Find Great Photographers On Google+
Earlier today I shared 1,500 kick ass photographers that I follow on G+ and that post got a lot of response. Ken Zuk posted a comment asking how I find the photographers to follow on Google Plus and what my criteria is for following other photographers. I started writing out a long comment as a response, but it felt more like a blog post so I thought I’d write one up here and then share it as a link response to Ken’s question.
The Google+ Photography Community is absolutely the most active, engaged, positive group of photographers I’ve ever seen anywhere on the web. It is rich and vibrant and active and full of amazing art. Over the past 7 months or so I’ve added tons of great photographers who I get to enjoy work by every single day.
So… where do I find these people?
1.) Probably the number one place I find photographers from on Google+ is reshares. Usually when someone reshares a photo it’s a pretty high quality photo. When I see these (if i like the work) I’ll click through to the photographer who was shared and explore more of their work. If I like it and they meet my criteria (see below) I’ll start following them.
2.) Comments — and not just comments on my photos. I’m frequently reading the comments on Google+ — on my photos, but even more on other people’s photos. If I see two active photographers who seem interesting and engaging and who are chatting with each other, I just might check them out. I like following active, engaged photographers and so if I like their stuff I’ll usually add them. Go Wolfpack.
3.) Outside resources. Jarek Klimek’s Photo Extract is AWESOME! Each day he puts up some of the best photographs on Google+ in huge full sized glory. Definitely check out his site and you will be blown away by some of the quality of photos showing up on Google+. GROUP/AS is another fantastic resource to find tons and tons of photographers currently posting to Google+.
4.) Contact diving. I love diving into other people’s contacts. Both who they are circling as well as who are circling them. It’s nice because if you click on that window it already shows you all the people you are already following. So if you are not following someone you can cmd-click on a link to their posting page and check them out to see if you like what they are doing.
5.) #hashtags. There are a lot of special hashtags that people use on Google+. There are different themed photography projects that are curated — #TuesDecay, #MacroMonday, #WeAreParents, #GrassTuesday, the list goes on and on. Frequently I’ll click on these hashtags that Google+ hyperlinks and explore the work of other photographers there. If I like them, then I’ll add them.
6.) Real life contacts. I’ve hosted hundreds of photowalks over the past decade. I’ve also participated in a number of group photography trips. Alot of times through photowalks and trips you end up getting to know people super well.
Some of my best friends today have come through real life photography meetups. I met my good Pal Robert Scoble almost 10 years ago at a meetup that he hosted at Barney’s Burgers in Noe Valley in San Francisco. Other times though the photowalks are short and big and hard to get to know everyone — but I always do try to go back after these walks and trips and check out people’s work (again through hashtags). #Yosemite2011, #DV2011, #FordNAIAS, #SJPhoto2011, etc.
I find alot of the people that I end up following through these walks/trips/walk tags/etc.
7.) Hangouts. I’m pretty active with hangouts — both mine and other people. Hangouts are a great way to meet people and how I’ve gotten to know alot of people better. So many of my great photographer contacts have come from hanging out.
8.) Popular Posts on Google+. It’s harder to find new talent here, but I’ll frequently check out the most popular posts on Google+ in the past hour over at SocialStatistics. Inevitably alot of the most popular posts are great photographs. I’m already following a lot of the people posted there, but every now and again I find someone new who I am not following yet.
9.) Other people’s shared circles. I’m constantly checking out other people’s shared circles. Here is how I manage that process and do it most efficiently. Usually if I trust someone’s opinion I’ll add the entire circle that they shared — but… I *WON’T* mix it in with my other contacts — instead I just keep it labeled as “their” circle.
After I’ve added their circle, I’ll browse through that stream and cherry pick people out of to integrate into *my* other circles that I like. I might do this for an hour. I might just let the circle set there for a week and get to it over time. After I feel like I’ve adequately examined the circle, I’ll just delete it. The best photographers I found in it I’ve integrated into my own and the rest of those who I’m not as crazy about from there get dropped.
10.) Other social networks. I like to spread the good word about G+ so I’ll frequently post about it on other sites — on Flickr, on Twitter, on Facebook. The other day I posted on Flickr asking which of my flickr contacts were on Google+. Alot of people responded with links to their G+ page. When they did I went and checked them out on G+. If I liked their stuff I added them there too.
So… as you can see I find people to follow on Google+ from a lot of different places.
Now… as far the criteria for what I’m looking for when I follow someone on Google+
1) Non-watermarker/signature photographers. I hate watermarks and signatures. They drive me bonkers. Nothing personal, it’s just a pet peeve of mine. My eye is drawn to the watermark almost every time. I can’t enjoy the photo. I get agitated. They usually look big and ugly and like something a low rent cheap hack wedding photographer would use. The bigger the signature/watermark the worse. Some people hide them so well that I don’t see them. I’m ok with that — but… if I see them…. GAWD! AWK!
Unless I know you really well and am willing to overlook it because I’m in love with you, then I’m probably not going to follow someone that is using watermarks.
2) Photographers who mostly post their own photographs. I want photographers in my circle who mostly post photos. It’s ok if they post other things sparingly — a post here or there about a photographic subject, a shared photo of someone else’s, a circle, a rant about whatever they had for breakfast (sparingly is the key here) — but… if a photographer is mostly posting what I consider noise (bad gifs, too much resharing of texty sort of articles, too much stupid stuff, etc.) then it’s hard for me to want to follow them — at least in my photographers circle. I may follow them in a different circle (like the stupid gif circle) that I never check, but I don’t really want super noisy people in my photographers circle.
Again, there are exceptions to all of these rules if I love you enough.
3) Photographers who are active. If the last time you posted a photograph on Google+ was last November, I probably am not following you. I want to see work by current, active photographers who post every week.
4) Good photography. It sort of goes without saying, but I want to see work that is aesthetically pleasing to me — interesting, creative, inspiring work.
5) Someone who is positive and not a hater/stalker/harasser/etc. Nothing turns me off more than seeing someone who tears apart others. I’m not just talking about my own work here. If I see someone say something awful to someone else, especially someone else that I respect, I’ll probably drop them. If it’s bad enough I might even block them. The online photosharing world unfortunately has a very small minority who are petty, jealous haters — fortunately for us on Google+ there is a very robust block tool which can keep them away from us most of the time.