Top 10 Places Where I Find Great Photographers On Google+

Are You on Google+ Yet?  If So Please Post a Link to Your Google+ URL Here

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. 🙂

You can follow me on Google+ here.

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  1. Neil says:

    Great post Thomas.
    I have found that most of the really good photographers I have found on G+ came from looking though your contacts 🙂 – Of course I stumble on others!
    This post makes me realise why… because your criteria (the second 1-5) is EXACTLY what I look for too. Great minds?
    Thanks for the words mate – I wish I had more time to be interactive (hangouts etc,) but C’est la Vie.

  2. I think one important point you outline here is the manner in which you absorb contacts from a shared circle. I have seen many start to get a bit fatigued on the shared circle thing and I bet its partially due to how they add those contacts. Keeping a shared circle separate from the rest of your established circles is the best way to go about this – and is something I think more people on G+ need to learn.

  3. Cedric says:

    Can I just say, thanks for doing all the hard work for us 🙂

  4. My criteria are almost identical. Thanks for this! There’s a lot of stuff I already do, but a few good resources I might check out (cough – fishing from your Flickr post – cough). Google+ is turning out to be an amazing community for photographers of all levels.

  5. Deanna Kjorlien says:

    Thanks for this info. I’m pretty new to G+ and have seen some amazing work.

    I apologize for the occasional watermarked image. They are images I’ve previously published. A large majority of my work is in an industry where theft of images is prevalent. (theft from businesses, not individuals). I’ve had to fire off many cease and desist letters and the common excuse was, “I didn’t see a copyright”. I’m sort of tired of explaining it all to them!

    Great job as always Thomas!

    Any chance you want to do a photowalk at Joshua Tree park soon? I’m thinking of organizing one. Perhaps we could do it soon after the LA photo walk. It’s only 2 hours east.

  6. Kirsten says:

    Thanks for providing us with a great resource Thomas, not only on g+ but on your blog as well! I am finding g+ a very exciting platform to be involved in, especially as I come from Flickr. The richness of resources and the sharing vibe is a real pleasure to see.

  7. Thomas, you are one of the best assets on G+ and I am constantly inspired by all of you who I have met since July 2011 on there! Fabulous write up, looking forward to all you post!

  8. Chad says:

    Regarding watermarks, I feel the need to defend myself here. I get a lot of flack for watermarking my images. I try to keep it discreet and not distracting, but I want people to be able to see it.

    Personally, the decision to watermark my images came from getting really frustrated with image theft. I held back for a long time but I just couldn’t take it any more.

    Watermarking my images does not stop people from stealing all together, but it does give me an extra penalty to hit them with when they remove them!

    Putting your work online is risky business. You are most likely going to have work stolen and it’s part of the game. But for some of us who put in so much work, money and time into creating the images we love, it’s hard not to take it personally. Many of the pros who make decent money doing this may not feel the need to protect their stuff so much, but I am not one of those people.

    So, in the end, it’s not offensive that you don’t like watermarks, but at this time I don’t see myself leaving them out. It would be too bad if a photographers work was overlooked because they felt the need to protect themselves, or at least convince themselves they are.

  9. kk+ says:

    why don’t i see my smiling face in there? 😉

  10. LadyT says:

    I’m with Chad. Yeh those of us who want to protect, such as we can, our works can be acknowledged without having to plaster “PROOF” in 120-pt type like your typical school photographer corporation, but people (including Fairey!) plead ignorance about copyright early and often! And no, this has nothing to do with SOPA/PIPA which I oppose.

    Anyway I have too much of a life to accommodate Hawk’s desires.

  11. JasonSMoore says:

    i don’t agree on #3 – If a photographer is posting only their best work a few times per year that’s the stuff I want to see more than anything else. Photographers who feel compelled to post everything they shoot are posting some shitty photos.

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