MY OUTLOOK: Bill Crouch, Google Certified Photographer
How long have you been shooting for Google?
I have been a Google Trusted Photographer for two years, including six months of training.
What’s it take to become a Google certified photographer?
Patience, learning the process, a lot of research, practicing and taking a lot of pictures.
Tell us about the technique or process that is unique in this type of immersive photography.
There are a minimum of 12 images used to create one image which is an HDR 360 degree spherical image, or a panoramic for short, which combined with others creates the tour. Once the images are created, they are uploaded and added to Google software and put together like a puzzle depending on how big the tour is. They are then added to Google Maps and other Google search platforms.
What is special about being Google Certified?
Only Google Certified Photographers have the ability to upload Google Street View Tours to Google. Including myself, there are five in the state of Oklahoma.
How did you get started in photography?
My wife wanted a camera when my son was born, 13 years ago, so I got her a 35mm film camera, just before everything went digital, I shot one roll of film and was hooked.
Why is photography important for marketing?
Photography allows the viewers to put themselves into the image and feel real emotions—sadness, joy, anger, love, frustration—all of them. We can experience life through photographs and go back in time, or into the future. This allows the marketer to tell the story of why you should use or buy products from them.
How is panorama photography different than still photography?
There are multiple images stitched together to create 360 degree spherical images—panos. It is still photography but just using more than one picture to create the final image.
What type of camera do you use to create panorama images?
I actually have four cameras that I use, each is unique in its own way. Iris 360, made by NCTECH and Google, Canon 5d & 30d with a Sigma 8mm lens, and Ricoh Theta S Spherical camera
Once the panorama is taken, how does someone get it posted on their Google business listing?
Once the images are taken, only a Google Certified Photographer can upload them to a Google Portal where they are added directly to the business’s Google My Business account, which puts it on Google Maps and other Google search engines.
Do you do other types of photography?
Yes, I shoot commercial photography which includes food, people, events, products, landscapes, architecture, and of course, my family.
How does panoramic photography enhance a prospective customer’s experience?
With the 360-degree tours, a prospective customer can walk through a business and experience the place before they ever walk in. They can browse a store 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in the privacy of home.
What do you find rewarding about your job?
Making new friends. My photography takes me all over the world and gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of new and interesting people from all walks of life.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love the Lord. I am easy to work with and show up early. I have been married to the love of my life, a local Edmond girl, Molly (McKenzie) Crouch for almost 15 years, and have been blessed with three children, Garrett 12, Macy 9, Mary 5. I am the youngest of five, and the only boy, and was born in Ethiopia, Africa.
Learn more about Bill Crouch at www.mediatransformed.com.