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How to Upload Great Photos to Google Maps


Whether you are collecting points, boosting your view counts, or just sharing something beautiful, Local Guides love to add photos to Google Maps. After 10+ years in the photo industry I’m happy to be a part of Local Guides and have the opportunity to share my tips on creating better photo content.    


First, we’ll kick it off with some tips on how to shoot the best photos possible.  No matter what kind of camera you have, you can use these tips and tricks to create more engaging images.


Extreme Camera Angles

Bird’s eye view and worm’s eye view aren’t great when you’re capturing a building’s exterior or interior.  We want to see the entire building rather than tight crops and odd angles.


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However, if you’re shooting food or details of places/things, feel free to play with angles!

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Horizontal shots are best

but vertical is acceptable if the image looks just as good cropped horizontally.  

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There should be an obvious point of interest  

Users should immediately understand what they are looking at.


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Sharp High Contrast Images

Avoid blurry hard to decipher images of a place

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Don’t fake it!

Images should POP but look real. Don’t over saturate or photoshop your images too much.

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Day vs. Night photos

Most places should be shot during the day unless they are well known for their night life.

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Seasonally Agnostic

Places should be recognizable and not impacted by season/weather.  (Stark winter shots, colorful fall shots, etc.)

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UNLESS, a place is seasonal or defined by a season, like ski slopes!

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Rules of Uploading to Google Maps

Just as important as taking good photos, knowing the rules of uploading images to Google Maps will help to ensure you earn and keep those Local Guides points.


Things to Avoid:

  • Intellectual Property Violations: We don’t allow images or any other content that infringes on anyone else’s legal rights, including copyright. This means, if it’s not your photo, don’t upload it!  For more information, review our copyright procedures.



Someone gave me this photo, doesn’t that make it mine?  Nope!


I saw it online and thought it belonged on Google Maps.  Can I put it there?  Unfortunately no.  The owner must post it.


It’s an old photo.  I’m sure that the copyright is no longer alive.  Can I post it?  Although there is a limitation on copyright over time, you should not post these images.


  • Spam: Images that have been uploaded repetitively, are excessively promotional, or that contain text superimposed over a large section of the image will be removed.

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Just upload one!





    • Avoid large watermarks on images 


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    • Sexually explicit content
    • Illegal, dangerous, or violent content
    • Child endangerment
    • Harassment and threats
    • Personal or confidential information
    • Invasion or Privacy: Try to avoid posting photos where the main subject is an individual person. 

Terms of Service

Whenever you upload anything to Google Maps, you are agreeing to our Terms of Service.  Make sure you review these terms if you have any concerns over how and where your images will be used.


Photos must be added to a specific place on Google Maps to count for Local Guides points. 

While that landscape photo might be beautiful, any photos you add to a place on Google Maps should be representative of that specific place.


That’s it for now!  For more information, check out the resources below. Happy shooting and we can’t wait to see your images up on Maps!

Images Acceptance & Privacy

Terms of Service

How to upload a photo to Google Maps

Level 7

"feel free to play with angles"

-Yeah, I've always been confused about this point. Thanks for clearing this out here. Taking only the monotonous product shots makes the photo-experience sullen. 
Additionally, taking photo of an entire building rather than tight crops is a Must. I see several people doing this mistake. Well, to be honest, I did take some "weird-angle" photos when I started my contribution as a Local Guide; after few days I self-learned that though. 

Anyway, great informative write-up. Thanks. 

Level 8

@AnnaDickson great post! Thanks for the tips but the entire post rings hollow if Google itself is doing nothing to encourage flagging bad photos or posting good photos in the first place and, in fact, is seemingly doing everything they can to encourage crap photos being posted.


I am giving this very raw & blunt feedback in the sincerest hope that it will not be ignored (even though this is an older thread already)


I think a big part of the problem with Google Maps getting quality photos is that there is literally no benefit for any GLG - no points, not even an automated thank you email from Google/GLG - for flagging crappy photos. We get points for editing locations and info about the venues, we get points for adding photos, we get points for rating, we get points for reviewing. Why wouldn't we get points for pointing to the extremely bad quality & irrelevant photos? It seems like a really silly move on the part of Google in terms of encouraging better and useful photo results on Google Maps.


I have marked many, many photos in my local area as garbage because people - including the official local Co-Moderator of the Google Local Guides group in my city - post them CONTINUALLY. I have gone through some venues to delete the images when I have noticed them but as I do it I realize that a large number of them are the local moderator's AND all I am really doing is just wasting my time & battery life if the person literally given the job by Google is posting useless content that flagrantly violates your above advice in multiple ways per image. If anything the GLG Moderators should be the ones held to a higher standard because they are the ones who set the standard in the area. Why wouldn't someone post photos that belong in the trash heap if other photos across the local area are similarly useless?

Further, when companies/businesses take control of their own venues they'll regularly (at least in Canada) post self-promotional photos of their logos and brands offered in-store as well as pictures of stores that aren't the actual store they're posting a photo of. Case in point, a massive chain of pharmacies called Shoppers Drug Mart. I have even included a link to one of their locations in Google Maps so you can see for yourself the store is literally IN a mall but the photo that Shoppers Drug Mart themselves posted of the store (the same photo which.they post at literally every one of their stores) would have you believe that it is a standalone store nowhere near a mall. Google needs to reign in these brands who are spamming Google Maps and not just expect their community of volunteers to do it. Show that they care on the most basic level before having these long advice pieces of how to take the best photos.

Level 4

@AnnaDickson after reading that last post so sad to see local guides harassing local guides and moderators with disabilities about their photos.  I guess that's why people with disabilities are afraid of posting on Google maps content that can help them and other with disabilities because they will be harassed in Local Guides Connect and online.   

ele Level 7
Level 7

Excellent post Anna, nicely done! 

Level 7

Great work, thanks! 

Level 9

Hi @MONDRITO  take a look on this post

Level 5

I personally don't agree with many of your points.

I am not looking for the best postcard picture when I look at location in google map. I want to see what local see everyday in the place where they live. This means too see pictures in winter time, from some unusual point of view. I personally like more the picture of the statue in the winter time with some people below. When people are included in picture you realize the massive dimension of the statue, in the first picture you can't see this.

I also like architecture and I love to see details of the building. 

I think a perfect picture, maybe photoshopped, is sometimes too boring.

Level 5

Very informative and helpful guide to take and upload images to Google Maps.


Level 7

Thanks a lot @AnnaDickson, your post is very helpful at all, so we very understand about how to add good photos to the maps

Level 5

This is very useful information for all the LGC users.
Thank you @AnnaDickson 

Level 7

@AnnaDickson Helpfull post. Thank you.

Level 6

Size EDERİZ AnnaDickson IMG_20180428_182930_1.jpg

Chai Latte  içmek istiyorum

Level 6

My first thought was that your post an interesting perspective on which photos that you think are worthy of addition to Google Maps.  Then I realized you are either trying a power play and want only photos taken June 15 on a sunny day in the Northern Hemisphere, with absolutely no creative detail or personality, or, the post is a total joke.  Of course, if it is of a person skiing, snow on January 15 will be acceptable if it isn't snowing too much.  Also, make sure you don't get close enough to any structures to show any architectural detail to someone interested in that!  I can think of a place where a photo of a break in a fence line demonstrates a past earthquake, and, I'm sure, you wouldn't appreciate seeing a photo of a short piece of a fence line.  But then I realized you really might be trying to get even for that low grade you got in either Intro to Art or possibly Photography 101.    Seasonally agnostic?  You need to get out from behind your monitor and visit the world.  Google Maps represents 365 days a year along with the past, present and future.  You also need to know many people use maps to find special things like a rock formation, plants/flowers, animals and etc, to say nothing about special characteristics found only during certain seasons.  Just because you don't appreciate the (boring?) photo posted, doesn't mean others won't recognize the significance.  Also, if Google was really interested in intellectual property, they would prevent easy download of photos posted.

Thanks for great tips.

Level 5

Thanks for the tips.It's helpfully for us to know places by pictures that everybody takes :)