Photographer’s Best Friend: Google Reverse Image Search

It’s all diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks when it comes to image usage and propagation online: while some photographers are happy to have their work featured on Tumblr, Facebook, various blogs, and media outlets, others are less than excited about it. Today’s post is for those who fall in the latter category, rather than the former. It’s here to teach you how to use Google reverse image search, in order to find your pictures all over the web. Perhaps you’re not happy with not being credited, or maybe your image is used in a context you don’t want to be associated with. Whatever your reasons may be, here’s the way to find those pictures and prevent further occurrences from happening.

How to start the Google reverse image search

Image search is a service provided by search engine giant Google, in order to help others find specific photos online; conversely, the Google reverse image search is what you do when you have the image already, but want to know who else has it and has been using it. There are two ways to start your Google reverse image search: one is by uploading your photo into the Google images search bar, and the other is by copying the photo’s original URL (say, off your own blog or website) and pasting into the search bar. As far as the first option goes, you can also simply drag and drop the image into the search bar, if you find this easier.

The Google reverse image search results

google-reverse-image-search

Photo via Photo Shelter

The results that Google reverse image search delivers look much like a collage of visually similar pictures. Note that they may not all be precise and exact matches of your photo. However, chances are you will come across websites that have been using the photo without your explicit authorization. Another great feature that Google delivers at this point is a brief text-based description of your photo and the context in which it’s being used. Perhaps yours is not so much a case of being offended by ‘photo theft’, but maybe the website owner or blogger that’s featuring your work has misspelled your name or attributed the image to someone else by mistake. This feature will allow you to identify such errors and contact the people in question, to ask them to amend the issue. You can also use the advanced image search page to find your work online. Google can help you specify various words your photo might be used in context with. It will let you whittle down the results by image size, aspect ratio, colors, type, usage rights, and many other filters.

More Google reverse image search tips & tricks

–          Search for as many different variants of the same photo, even if the differences between them and the original picture are subtle – especially if you’ve uploaded more than one version of the same photo online. Some might be cropped differently or uploaded in other color schemes.

–          You might find your work online edited by third parties: cropped, rotated, in black and white, etc.. Try searching for differently Photoshopped variants of your own work by creating these variations yourself.

–          Don’t disregard smaller sizes of your image. Perhaps someone has resized an initially large photo and is using it as such. Google has a harder time spotting visually similar images in smaller sizes, because, the smaller the photo, the less data it has to work with. Resize the photos yourself and look for them like this.

In terms of what you decide to do with the results, the choice is entirely up to you. It all has to do with the way you license your work and whether or not the people using the pictures are making money off your back – case in which you might even decide to prosecute for copyright infringement.

Is Your SEO Helping or Hurting Your Photography Business?

Want to know how to finish your knitting project? Trying to find the perfect restaurant for your anniversary? Or maybe you are looking for a new lens for your camera and want to find out other people’s opinions?

Whatever information you desire, it no longer takes days of research. Instead, you pop on your favorite search engine , make a few queries and you’re on your way.

More information is created every two days today as we did from the dawn of civilization to 2003. Yep, that’s a lot of content.

Yet if you’ve ever done a search, you know there’s some good content out there … and a lot of bad. By creating a blog – which you can do for free on sites like Blogger and WordPress.com – you have the ability to create as much content as you want, and say whatever you want to say.

Some people create legitimate sites for their business, planning to be in business years down the road. They do everything in a quality way, hoping their content will wind up I the hands of people that truly want to do business with them.

Then there is the other crowd. These are the Internet marketers that don’t care as much about quality and longevity as they do instant results. They want to leverage what they create today to bring in as much money as they can … today. They don’t care about tomorrow; they just want the money today.

How are you building your site? How are you creating your content? Do you do things to your website/blog in order to gain traction today? Or do you care about your impact years down the road? [Read more…]

8 Things That May Be Keeping Your Social Media Profiles From Looking Professional

As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably run into many times where you start something with great intentions, only to find you end up ignoring it throughout the year simply due to lack of time. If you have portrait sittings, files to edit, and clients to meet, do you really have the time to stop and edit your Facebook profile?

Since social media networks change their structure every couple of months, its easy for your profiles to lose their professional look and feel – leaving your business to look like a true “mom and pop” place. If you haven’t made your social profiles a priority lately, use this list to do a little profile cleaning and bring your online persona back to a modern day look and feel.

Facebook

Pages cover images should attract attention, not monetize your business
Facebook has made a number of layout changes since the beginning of 2012, most notably the introduction of timelines. Instead of being able to choose which “page” your Page opens up to, Facebook now has one standard look and feel. Your cover image is what introduces visitors to your business, and it should be representative of your business without selling them. The cover image should be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall, and to make it load quickly, make sure your JPG file is less than 100 kilobytes. According to Facebook guidelines, covers may not include calls to action, price or purchase information, and they may not ask for “Likes”. Comply to make sure you aren’t shut down after you work hard to grow your followers. [Read more…]

To The Top Of The Search Engines … Two Months Free

Can people really make exorbitant promises and turn them into reality?

Or are they getting so desperate they are willing to try anything to bring in next months rent?

You’ve probably noticed this too.

Every day I get an email like this:

Huge promises. And because of what I know about SEO, I also know they probably can’t deliver.

We were out at a summer bash networking event last night, and while waiting in line to get in, a woman walked up and down the line giving out her “2 months free SEO” coupons. I wonder how many people are giving her a call.

While it sounds great, can she really accomplish anything in two months? And what will that truly do for you?

Let’s assume you have a very small niche and maybe, just maybe, she can pull you up in the rankings in two months. How is she going to do it? Is she going to destroy your reputation in the process? What methods is she truly going to use?

Unfortunately, unless you know something about SEO and search engine placement, its easy to get lost in the promises. You want more business. You know being at the top of Google will probably bring in more business. So you look for someone promising to get you there.

Yet what you might not realize is there are many ways to get you there – legitimate and otherwise.

If you get to the top in a natural way, you’ll stay there with regular effort.

But if you get there in any way that Google may question, you may be slapped down in the rankings, or worse, banned forever.

That’s what these type of SEO companies don’t tell you.

And frankly that’s what hurts the industry.

I’ve seen classes that can teach you how to be an “SEO Expert” in 30 days. Learn a few techniques and you can begin charging customers $1,000, $2,000, even $3,000 instantly

Yet I guarantee you can’t learn all you need to know in 30 days. I know because I’ve studied this stuff for my own business now since the late 1990’s.

It changes all the time. What worked last year doesn’t work this year. And what works today may not work tomorrow.

SEO in many ways is just like your marketing. In fact, I consider it to be a part of your marketing. I think of where I want my business to be in 5, 10 even 20 years from now, and plan everything I do for my company based on those goals.

If something promises me quick results, I really have to think about how that will impact me 5 years from now.

If you’ve been tempted by one of these same letters or coupons, let me help you determine if it’s the right step for you.

1. What Do You Want To Accomplish?

First of all, ask yourself why this interests you. Is it to bring in more customers? Is it to build your reputation? Is it to make your business stronger?

They may all be in there, but focus on the one true reason this has peaked your interest. Then ask questions about how this service will help you.

If it’s a “fly by night” SEO firm, they won’t have answers that can help you long term. If you are concerned about your reputation, for example, they won’t be able to tell you how their services will help you years from now. Their “canned” presentation will keep focusing on how quickly you can get to the top, but what will that do for you? What key terms will you be under? Will you stay there “forever”?

If a company truly is an SEO firm AND a marketing firm, they will marry the two together and have the desire to help you build a strong company overall. They will look for ways that sustain longevity, not just the quickest way to the top.

2. Legitimate SEO – Not Black Hat

Google is smart. Over the years, they have built a company that provides the best results possible for their customers.

So when people figure out how to override the system and get things placed using “quick” methods, Google sees this and works in a block feature to take those placements out of the search engines.

Google understands what people want – top quality search results every time they search. So they are always striving to deliver top quality content for every search performed – which is in the billions every single month.

So who’s going to rank higher – a URL that offers quality content throughout their site and continues to add quality content every week, or a URL who uses questionable practices?

If a company doesn’t understand that and is “stuffing” your pages and site full of questionable data that may have worked a short time ago, Google probably knows about it. If they haven’t built that into their algorithms already, they will shortly.

Google cares about one thing – original quality content. Everything else is at risk.

And a company that tells you otherwise may put your business at risk.

3. Think Long Term

Here is your choice. You can have 100 clients immediately today that will do nothing for your reputation – possibly even hurt it. Or 10 clients a month for the next 10 years, all who love you and feed into your 10 new clients every month. Which would you choose?

If you want to build a successful business model, you picked the later of the two.

Yet most people don’t think from that approach today. They want the quick client right now to bring in a few extra bucks.

Successful businesses are built on a successful foundation. You have to build your system, put it into play, and let it work from this point forward.

SEO is not a stand alone business. Its something that needs to be a tool within your marketing strategy. You need to understand how it will impact your business today … and 10 years from today. If a company can’t tell you that, or makes promises that seem a little too good to be true, they probably are.

It’s the Greatest, Easiest, Most Profitable Way To Talk About Your Photography … So Why Aren’t You Doing It?

You’re standing in the checkout line, with several people in front of you. You glance over and start reading the titles of the magazines in front of you. And for some reason they just pull you in.

Do you really care who had an alien baby, or how you can create 365 looks that will make you look more sexy? Maybe … Maybe not.

Yet there is just something about those titles that make you want to pick up the magazine and start reading.

It isn’t a coincidence that the titles are that tantalizing. In fact I’m willing to bet more time is spent on creating those titles and cover layouts then they do writing the stories theselves.

What sells is the title – the sizzle – not the meat of the story. Yes, the story itself has to be good and give you exactly what the title promises. Yet the story satisfies your hunger for whatever information you were promised. You won’t move forward and take action once you’ve read the story.

Because editors know the only way they will stay in business is to get you to buy the magazine, they spend their time on what matters most. The titles.

Now lets convert that over into what you potentially do every week. If you blog, every week you sit down and come up with topics to write about. Yet how much time do you spend coming up with your titles? I know for a lot of you, the answer is “just a few seconds” – and that may even be pushing it.

I see post titles every day that are worded something like this:

Randy and Laurel’s Engagement

Elizabeth’s First Birthday

Jason and Kim’s Wedding Day

Yet what does this do for your business?

When your clients come over and visit your blog, they are a captive audience. They love what you do and chances are they are looking for their own images. I’m sure in the above example Randy and Laurel are thrilled to see their engagement images online, and are passing around the URL to all of their friends and family.

Yet how many people will ultimately see that page? Randy and Laurel – that’s two. Family and friends – we’ll add in another 20. And other clients that may come to the site and decide to look through their images – we’ll add another 50 for long term exposure. That’s 72 in total.

Yet what do these 72 people have in common? Not one of them found any excitement and desire to click on the title from any other method outside of the fact they knew Randy and Laurel. Or had a vested interest in looking at the images.

If you saw Randy and Laurel’s Engagement in Google, would you really click on it?

And more importantly, would you ever look in Google for Randy and Laurel’s Engagement in the first place?

Which means if you are trying to attract new clients, people that have never heard of you yet might want to find you, you have to start thinking like a magazine in the checkout lane. You have to pay attention to your titles and give people the things they are looking for.

How do you know what they are looking for?

The easiest way is head over to Google and use their keyword tool to do a little research.

Let’s get started by typing in the word “photography” just to see what comes up.

When you type in photography, you’ll get many different results. This will show you what people typed directly into Google last month using the keyword you’ve selected. It isn’t a comprehensive list, but should be a great starting point. It will show you search terms as well as worldwide and local results.

From there, you can further refine what keywords you wish to look at. For this example, lets choose the term “wedding photography”.

When you add those words to the search function, your results will come up based on the key phrase instead of one word. In this case everything will be centered around the phrase “wedding photography”. At this point, we’ll further refine our search and look up the term “beach wedding photography”.

After letting the results come up using this phrase, you can see a wide variety of options.

If you are in California, or have the desire to photograph weddings in California, you’ll notice 720 searches were made for “long beach wedding photography” and 390 searches were made for “newport beach wedding photography”.

So if you were showcasing “Jason and Kim’s Wedding” as a blog post title, you may attract a few dozen family and friends to the blog post.

But if you created a blog post title “How Jason and Kim Had Fun With Their Newport Beach Wedding Photography”, do you think you could attract more attention from a variety of sources … including Google?

If you write hundreds of posts every year, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) use the same titles over and over again just to attract Google’s attention. But if you think about it first and find a way to make it attractive to both Google and your readers, your posts could quickly help you build up the traffic to your site – and the profits to your business.

How To Run A Successful Pay Per Click Campaign

Want access to instant potential clients? Nothing can be easier than working with Google Adwords, or Pay Per Click (PPC).

Google has offered its PPC service for many years. And because its been around for a long time, small time business owners think it may not be the place to start, or its too expensive for them to accomplish anything with it. That’s simply not true. PPC is still the best way to test out your offer, the easiest place to get instant results, and one of the least expensive way to advertise.

Dig Deeper: Is Google AdWords Your Solution To More Clients Dropping By Your Photography Business?

With PPC, you place money down for your ad at the time you create it. But the money you put into your account isn’t for the ad creation like it is with magazines. Instead its held in an account and will be deducted as people see your ad in Google and click on it. You have complete control over your funding – start with something low like $10 per day. When the $10 fee is reached, your ad won’t appear again until the next day.

You also have total control over what keywords you will be listed under. Appearing under a generic term such as “wedding photography” would be a big hit to your budget. But if you really niche it down, you can do pretty well. You will only be advertising to people that have thought hard about what they are looking for, and type in what they want.

So – if you know your customer and have been wanting to try PPC, lets walk through the steps necessary to create a dynamic campaign.

Identify the keywords you are selling to

Let’s say you are trying to increase your boudoir photography business, and decide to use PPC to find new customers. Start by finding out who your competition is. Head over to Google and type in your keywords and look at the ads. Head over to their sites to see what they offer, what the sites look like, and how they are approaching their customers. You can learn a lot with just a small amount of research. For example, below you can see the difference just by switching from the keyword “boudoir photography” to “boudoir photographer”.

Keyword research

When you’re writing up content for your site and SEOing your site, you are mainly concerned with keywords people would type in to find you. With PPC, you have more flexibility and have different match types – broad, phrase and exact. Broad matches are a great place to start, as this will help you figure out what people are searching for and how they are finding you. Once you are sure of what they are typing in and what is helping you find paying customers, switch to an exact match. You can also use them in combination to help eliminate phrases that provide no results at all. For example, boudoir can have a lot of connotations. By doing a broad match with “boudoir photography” you may also pull the keywords “boudoir pictures” and discover that line of thinking isn’t right for your business. So you simply add that as a negative keyword, and your ad will no longer show with that phrase. [Read more…]

Best SEO Practices and Tips For Your Photography Business

Search engine optimization, or SEO, has been around for a long time. As new techniques are developed and new strategies are put into place, people question the effectiveness of SEO. Is it still something you should work for, or are there better ways to spend your time and energy?

The short answer to this is, of course, yes. SEO will always be in place in some manner, though the strategies and the way we approach it may change over time. But SEO ultimately is about creating the best content to attract the right people when they perform a search. And not matter how you do that, the ultimate goal is traffic. Its about getting people to find you, click through, and connect up with you for the possibility of becoming a client at some point in the future.

Dig Deeper: SEO – A Primer For Photographers

Dig Deeper: 3 Ways To Make Sure Your Blog Posts Are Perfect For Search Engine Placement

Essentially, SEO is about ranking well in the search engines. The higher you rank under specific search terms, the more likely you will connect up with people that want to do business with you. And the way you rank well is to provide quality and optimized content. While different search engines and directories have different ways of ranking, there are key strategies that work well across the board.

On Page SEO

On page SEO is the items we can control. It’s the content we use to develop a new page on our site, and the way we use key strategies within that page. It’s the factors we control ourselves, such as keywords, tags and links.

Keywords – When you are writing and creating a new page of content, it will invariably be about one topic. That is the keyword you are trying to rank well for. It can be one word such as “photography” or a phrase such as “wedding photography in Colorado”.

As you write your content, remember you are writing for two – the search engines and for your readers. If you fill your page with keywords, your reader will get bored and tune you out. Strike a balance between the two, and as you write over time, you’ll come out a winner.

You should also use other SEO strategies with your keywords. Use your keyword in your title, your title tags, within the first 100 words of your starting paragraph, anchor text, image tags, and even in comment tags. [Read more…]

25+ Photographers To Follow on Google+

Are you on Google+? Then you know it has literally exploded over the past few months, giving Facebook an honest run for the money. In some ways its more intuitive than Facebook, and allows you to communicate in slightly different ways. It’s a way to split your resources into more than one area, and connect with people that may prefer this method over some place else.

Dig Deeper: The Basic Guide To Google Plus For Photographers

When I looked at who you should be following on Google+, I looked at it for a variety of things. Do they show off great photography? Are they posting regularly? Do they communicate with others? Are they sharing resources and links? Do they have large groups of influence? All of the photographers below fit that bill in some way. Can you recommend more?

 

Alex Koloskov

Alfie Goodrich

Andrew Osterberg

Beau Kahler

Cassius Wright

Catherine Hall

Chris Marquardt

Colby Brown

Damien Franco

Dane Sanders

Dave Beckerman

Don MacAskill

Elana Kalis

Jim Goldstein

John DeBord

Lisa Bettany

Mike Olbinski

Mike Shaw

Neal Urban

Nicole S Young

Penny De Los Santos

Scott Jarvie

Scott Kelby

Thomas Hawk

Trey Ratcliff

Vivienne Gucwa

 

Are You Taking Care Of Your Online Persona?

You probably do it a hundred times a day.

You head over to Google and type in a quick search to find something. It could be the definition of a word. It could be a product you have been searching for. Or it could be a search to find the solution to a problem you’ve been having.

Search has now become a standard in our vocabulary. If you need something, you Google it.

But while you are searching for other things, someone could very well be Googling you.

It doesn’t matter if you write something, have a site, or use a social media platform. Even if you’ve completely stayed away from the Internet, with the tools available today, anybody that knows you could be writing about you.

  • They could write up a review of your business.
  • They could write about a party you recently attended.
  • They could post photos from Friday night’s big game.

It doesn’t matter if its true or not, or even if its you, you can be labeled within a few minutes time.

Yes, some names get lost in the masses. And if you have a common name, it may actually be harder to track what is being said about you.

But if you have a fairly unusual name, tracking can be as easy as Googling yourself once in awhile.

Start By Avoiding

The easiest way to avoid having problems with your online persona is to avoid making the wrong impression through your writing and posting. [Read more…]

The Basic Guide To Google+ For Photographers

Google has done it again. They’ve added a new “service” that looks like it might take the Internet by storm. While they tried it before with Google Buzz, Google+ has new features that bring them closer to success.

Google+ made its debut less than a month ago, and already are up to over 20 million users. And while that is the fastest on record within the social media industry, it remains to be seen if Google+ has what it takes to outdo the other social sites we’re used to, like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

We’ve been playing around with Google+ for a couple of weeks now, and like what we see. While Google+ isn’t available yet to everyone, with the growth in place, I’m sure you’ll have access here in a few short weeks it you don’t already. Let’s take a look at what makes Google+ so powerful, and can help you build your photography business.

Start At The Beginning – What Is It?

Google+ is a social networking site taken to a whole new level. Like every other product, Google+ is integrated into the Google network. If you have a Google account, and use things like Gmail or Google Reader, you login once and have access to everything through the toolbar. Once you have access to Google+, it will appear in your toolbar when you’re in your Google account.

While Google+ appears overwhelming at first glance, that is also a part of its power. Instead of “lurking around” like is common in other social media sites, Google+ makes you jump headfirst into the system. Connect with a few friends, and you are instantly a part of an ever-growing network that’s easy to join and connect with. And because Google+ is under the Google umbrella, you can also combine with other functions, and bring it all together. [Read more…]