Google+ (G+ for those in the know) is a great social networking community for anyone to frequent.  However, there are several specific reasons for photographers to be on G+.  While there are many key points that I could hit on, I will focus on my top 5.

  1. Inspiration-   First and foremost is the inspiration that I receive from the constant stream of excellence flowing through my feed.  On a daily basis I am driven to make better pictures by the inspiring photographs of the individuals I choose to follow.  It is a self fulfilling prophecy, if you surround yourself with excellence, in time you will be excellent.  My hope is that one day I will match the greatness of the photographers in my stream and one day I will fulfill that prophecy of excellence.  Until then however, I will remain jealous of their hard work and attempt to harness that jealousy into my composition, tone mapping and post processing!  Let’s face it, 80% of inspiration is sparked by jealousy, is it not?
  2. Networking-  I have met many people through G+ who have helped me on my path to success and by success I mean spreading the “good” HDR word via Everyday HDR.  I have yet to reap many benefits from the fruits of my labor on E-HDR, but I am working on it!  Networking is an imperative tool in the blogging world.  For instance, I recently posted a review of Scott Kelby’s, “Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It”.  After posting the review I headed over to G+ and announced it’s presence on the web as I usually do.  However, Scott Kelby was notified as I linked it to him, in turn he re-posted it for all of his viewers.  That day my views went from the average 120 or so to over 480.  Since then I have seen record views in the upper 200’s, I’d say networking is pretty important!
  3. The Grounding Effect-   Have you ever been fascinated by one of the big name photog’s books, enthralled by their ability to make such awesome images, or intimidated by their status in the photog world?  If so you have probably placed them on a pedestal that you envision you will never match.  I suggest you follow these individuals on G+.  Before you know it you will be reading normal posts by these photog’s.  You will see that they are normal people, they have families,  they eat Cheerio’s, they watch stupid videos on Youtube and re-post them, they change diapers, and they are just as fed up with the World News as you are!  I call this The Grounding Effect, while you still respect these individuals you will slowly lower them from the pedestal and realize they are just like you and me (but they have much nicer cameras!).  Scott Kelby, if you are reading this, you are still the man for the incredible services you offer the photog world… It seems the Force is strong with you and The Grounding Effect is near useless …
  4. The Ease and Beauty of Self Publishing-   Let’s face it, anything you put on the web these days is essentially self published.  G+ offers an exciting venue for your self published work for many reasons.  Uploading is simple and can easily be done from your home PC, your work PC (if you are really slick), even from your mobile device.  G+ also offers the most beautiful gallery display for your work that I have seen on any social media site to date.
  5. Hangouts-   Last but not least, is G+ awesome ability to put everyone in the same room at one time via the hangout option.  Many of the heavy hitting photog’s out there are using G+’s hangouts to connect with other photog’s throughout the world.  What is a hangout I heard you mutter?  It is essentially one giant video phone call with many people on the line.  Through the use of webcams you can now use G+ to hangout with people you never imagined yourself hanging out with.  The perfect example, checkout photog.tv.  My buddy Eric Doggett, hosts an awesome tv series via G+ hangouts specifically designed for photographers.

So why aren’t you on G+ yet?  Get on G+ and start following these individuals, they are the top five in my stream, and yes I have made a circle for them called Top 5 To Follow.

  1. Scott Kelby–  For all the reasons mentioned above and then some!  His football pics are always a plus to see in the stream as well!
  2. Matt Kloskowski– Great friend, awesome photog, and incredible Lightroomist, is that even a word, or is it Lightroomer?
  3. RC Concepcion–  Incredible HDRtist, who posts some interesting things other than Photography!
  4. Eric Doggett–  His Christmas Cards are top notch and his photog.tv hangouts are equally as awesome.
  5. Brian Matiash–  Brian opens a pretty intriguing window to his photographic mind via G+.  His posts are often photo stories, almost like a blog within G+.  I also look forward to the photograph at the end of his posts.

 

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.
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