Best Practices For Sharing Images On Google+

Photo Sharing Best Practices

Google Plus is a great place to share amazing photos and meet noteworthy people from all over the world. While photo sharing can be a fun thing to do on Social Media, it can also get you into deep trouble with other photographers and license holders. In this tutorial I will show you how to properly share photos on Google Plus that will help create a better user experience for everyone.

Best Practices For Sharing Photos on Google Plus

When uploading your photos

1. Write A Description

Add a description and hashtags to your shared images

Stock Image Licensed by

When uploading your own photos on Google+ be sure to write a description about your experience. You can also use hashtags to describe your photo with words such as #beachphotos, #nightphotos, or anything else pertinent to your image. Just don’t over do it.

2. Geotag your photos

Geotagging is easy. Let others know where you took your photo.


3. Add A Watermark

Optionally add a watermark to your images so that people will see that you are the copyright owner of this image in case it goes viral.

4. Toot your horn

Make sure that you clearly communicate that you took the photo. Sometimes just saying “Photo by me” will do the trick. However talking about your photo and experience will get you much more social interactions.

When uploading other people’s Photos.

Directly uploading other people’s photos is generally frowned upon once people realize that you didn’t really take those photos. You should take great care that you are not infringing on someone else’s copyright or intellectual property when engaging in this practice. When in doubt use your own photos or licensed images that you paid for and/or have permission to use.

When Re-sharing other people’s photos

Re-sharing other people’s photos is the best way to show a Photographer or Artist that you appreciate their hard work.

If you insist upon uploading another person’s photos without permission

1. Preserve the artist’s watermark.

By removing or cropping a watermark and then uploading the image as your own could end up costing you or your business much more money than what it cost to buy the photo for special use.

2. Place a link to the author’s photo or bio

By placing a link to the original author’s photo or bio, you are giving credit to the original image author. Who knows? You may even make a friend instead of an enemy. Doing this will not protect you from copyright infringement.

3. Do not resell other people’s photos

I personally saw someone do this on Google Plus. They downloaded another Photographer’s image, cropped the watermark, then put the image up for sale on their own website. Doing something like this can be very foolish and get you into a very costly lawsuit. With the advancements in image search technology it’s very easy to track down copyright violators.  It’s not worth it.

4. Give the Photographer credit

Give the Photographer some credit for their hard work. Since you don’t have permission to use their intellectual property you should at least place a link back or mention who created the image.

To watermark or to not watermark your images?

I personally believe that watermarking your images is a great idea although it can reduce the aesthetic value of your photos. There are caveats that go with adding and not adding a watermark. The choice is yours so choose wisely.

Things that you should NOT do

1. Posting images with links to irrelevant content for the sole purpose of abusing the Google+ 1 system can get your profile or page red flagged for abuse. Personally I think there are better ways to get people to like your content across social media.

Abusing the plus1 feature

2. Post other people’s photos or intellectual property without having the proper license or permission.

3. Don’t take credit for other people’s hard work. I have seen people do this on Google Plus and it’s just flat out wrong. You don’t gotta infringe on people’s copyright to make friends on Google+.

Taking credit for other people's photography or artwork.

Taking credit for other people’s photography or artwork.

4. Making memes without having the proper content license or permission from the Photographer can be a serious issue. When in doubt use a Royalty Free or a Creative Commons image license to create memes. Online Meme Generators are probably the best place to do this.

What About Fair Use?

Fair use is generally used to criticize, parody or comment upon copyrighted works. Fair use can also be used for educational purposes without commercial intent. For more  information about Fair Use Laws please visit the following resources.

For examples of copyright violations on Google Plus see +Copyright Violation

In Conclusion

It’s always a good idea to protect your work by watermarking your images and stating that you took the photo when uploading to Google Plus or other social media platforms. If you must share someone else’s work without their permission, you should at the very least link back to their source images. Although you won’t be immune from copyright infringement you can at least show that you are not intentionally trying to violate copyright laws. If you are unsure about copyright infringement, please contact a copyright attorney for legal counsel.

All photos in this tutorial are public domain or are licensed stock photos from Special thanks to +Karl Louis for input and inspiration for writing this post.

This is an incomplete work. I invite improvements.

About Matthew Shuey

I focus on internet marketing, front end web development and social media services for entrepreneurs and startups in the United States. I'm an avid Google+ user and I am easily accessible there. For more information please visit my Google+ Profile

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14 Responses to Best Practices For Sharing Images On Google+

  1. Pingback: Best Practices For Sharing Images On Google+ | ...

  2. Karl Louis says:

    Thanks for this work Matthew. I’d say it is quite complete already. Well done!

  3. This is really crucial info Matthew. It takes time to obtain permission to share photos, but if you want to be sure you aren’t violating copyright law that is the best way. Otherwise, stock photo sites are the way to go. I +1 many photos that I would never share. ; )

    • I have to be careful of which photos I plus 1 Tina. At first I plussed anything that looked great, however I found that many were stolen and many were stolen used to build traffic to their websites.

      • Tina says:

        Interesting point, Matthew. I find it is especially important to click through each image on Pinterest and other image-sharing sites to make sure I am not helping promote an image that was shared improperly.

        • At first it can be hard to identify copyright infringers. Once I identify a copyright infringer, I will either ignore their posts or unfollow them if they are blatantly trying to turn a profit off of other people’s works. Last week I was alerted that there is a new website out that is selling other people’s work without their permission. Many of the artists were on Google Plus.

  4. Great article. I would however like to point something out about ‘fair use’. ‘Fair use’ is covered by U.S. law, while Google+ is international. There isn’t something like ‘fair use’ in many other countries like for example Germany. So you cannot rely on it in general and therfore wouldn’t do it.

  5. Liberbliss says:

    I do appreciate this interesting and valuable post. Is there any easy method to place watermark on photos? I don’t want to use Photoshop etc…!

  6. Terri Ioannou says:

    It’s right of you to point out the do’s and dont’s but your point “If you insist upon uploading another person’s photos without permission” is kinda giving people the green light to do it if they cover their tracks (except #3). My understanding on this whole issue is If you’ve shared a photo without permission, whether it is watermarked or linked back or not, you’re opening up a copyright lawsuit – especially if it was the original work of a photographer. Unlike a picture of a chair made by a carpenter which is a ‘photo’ of the 3D piece, a photo is the ‘actual’ piece and many photographers don’t appreciate their products being used to benefit others livelihoods i.e. the traffic that picture might generate to the infringers site and therefore potential sales. Makes Pinterest a whole lot more scary now doesn’t it?

    • Terri, the reason why I made a point for those that insist on stealing images is that there are a lot of people on Google+ and other social media sites that have built huge followings by stealing other people’s photos and not giving credit or a link back to the original author. In many cases their followers actually believe that these people are the original artist and in many other cases these thieves are selling or profiting off of the work of others.

  7. Nice work Matthew. It is indeed an open-ended project when you try to address this crucial issue. I added a link to your article from after I found it on the GooglePlus Community: “Photo Sharing, Fighting Picture Theft”

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