Google Business Photographer Explains How He Shoots Street View Indoors

It’s obvious that Google is interested in mapping just about everything that is mappable via Street View, but even our future overlords they need some help on occasion. Although the company is willing to send employees with trekker backpacks to many an exotic location, when it comes to taking a virtual tour of local businesses, the search giant hires on “trusted photographers.”

One such photographer recently sat down with Tested and told them all about the process of becoming a Google Business Trusted Photographer and taking Street View indoors.

Where Google’s employees have the help of a capable trekker camera backpack that does most of the work automatically, Google trusted photographers must use their own gear. In Jeremy Powlus‘ case, that means attaching an 8mm lens to his Canon 7D (only certain cameras and lenses are allowed), setting it up on his tripod, and getting to work.


Once he enters a business, he goes about capturing three bracketed exposures in four different directions as he moves through the building. Photographing a business normally takes less than two hours, after which he has to go home and stitch together the resulting photos into as many 180° by 360° panoramas as it takes to tour the whole shop.

Post-processing takes the most time, but even with bigger businesses, he can usually have photos uploaded and live on Google Maps within two weeks of shooting an assignment.

To hear more about the process, be sure to watch the video at the top. And if you’d like to become a Google Business Photos Trusted Photographer, you can learn more about the program requirements and apply by following this link.

(via Doobybrain)

  • Marc Weisberg

    If any one knows what the actual name/brand of the accessory gear Jeremy is using I’d love to know. Also, love to know what the remote setup was for triggering the shutter. Thanks y’all. Marc-

  • Jeremy Powlus

    I can help with that :)
    I assume you’re talking about the pano head? It is a 360 Precision Atome.

  • Marc Weisberg

    Very cool Jeremy. Thank you. I haven’t seen that before. It looks quite easy to use. How do make sure that its level? I was just on their page and they have quite a few models. What made you decide on this particular model? Or was it a an absolute b/c its Google approved?

  • Jeremy Powlus

    There’s a level-bubble in the top of the head. The newer model has the bubble out on the side, which is a much more user-friendly arrangement. The whole deal is on a manfrotto 496RC2 ball head (which is small enough so that it doesn’t get into the panos).

  • SWS

    Is there a (free) software to create web presentable software for such 360/180 panoramas?

  • loppa

    bah canon fanboy! use sony and it will be done by the software

  • BDWT

    …says the Sony, fanboy.

  • John Warkentin

    Give the program Hugin a try. After that you may want to investigate PTGui (but it is not free)

  • thoffner

    Does anyone have a contact at GBP? I’ve had an application in for months, loaded up on equipment and software and can’t get anyone to respond. It does not make me happy to have to turn away work. ;(

  • Peter H.

    The video itself is very informativ, thanks for that! BUT I would NEVER do that GBP programm, because the photographer has all the risk and have to deal with all the legal stuff with the “Business” side google are totally out of that part and you upload your work to them for free?! Also it will be for thiefs much more easier to learn all about the security cameras, etc. of a place. Nice. I’m also not shure what a Business-owner will pay for such a photoshoot – of course the Marketing opportunity is good to get into google – but I’m not shure that its worth all the downside. But its all your choide ;-)

  • Eugene Chok

    360 precision have some really nice pano heads, this is one of their lower end heads, if you shoot canon, when you go into live view, if you hit info i think 3 times a in built level will pop up move the camera until the line goes from red to green

  • Jeremy Powlus

    That level is useful for making sure that your camera isn’t rotated inside the head, but it is only good for side-to-side, not 360. You would need to keep spinning around and around and making adjustments. Using the bubble level on the head itself is much more efficient.

  • Eugene Chok

    for some reason i prefer the in camera? all my heads have levels including my 360 precision ? each to their own i guess

  • kombizz

    nice idea for finding more about a company, it’s staff, it’s products, and more