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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 


IMG_2661 copy.jpg


    • 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 8

Also, @AnnaDickson, I love that your post features a photo from an upper floor of the west tower at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. 


It's always fun to see a photo and be able to recognize the vantage point. 

Level 10

Спасибо! Относительно водяного знака. Какой его размер допускается? И в каком месте? Есть по этому поводу какие-то требования?

Level 7

@SarahJS As a photographer I like to see in Google Maps all which helps me when I'm planning photographing in new locations. I'm not interested in so much about businessies. For me more important is to see if there is something to shoot on that location. On that point of view arcitecture photos should be very well come to Google Maps. 

But this is just my opinion. 

Level 8

@MarkusKiili I agree. For me, it's the "stopping to see the details" that slows me down and helps me to really see and understand a space. 


When I started working at NASA Ames, I needed a way to refocus after being in the office all day, and enjoyed photographing some of the architectural history on their campus on the walk back to where I was staying.


I've used the iNaturalist app from the California Academy of Sciences too, though I like posting to Google Maps to see a more seamless collection of my travels, and to see what others find interesting as well!


That said, I am still figuring out how to upload photos to the places that aren't yet places, because they don't have any street views or uploaded photos yet, and few obvious businesses or landmarks.

Level 3

What happens when one of the photos uploaded to Google Maps is used for journalistic purposes, downloaded and published in another social network with a context that the reporter wants to give. Is it in violation of copyright?

Level 8

Thanks for this great info @AnnaDickson

Level 8

Very helpfull. thank you for sharing. 

I hope more and more good photos so everyone helped by good photographs

Level 7

Thanks for the tips. I would think it wise for google to also ban "Selfies" & Family photos.  There is a women who posted a number of Selfies and family photos to the Carnival Freedom cruise location in Galveston,  TX. I understand you were on a vacation and that your really beautiful and proud of your family, but I don't really care to to see photo after photo of you and your family.

Level 5

noted! Thank you!

I appreciate your time to give all of us this valuable info

Level 1

Thank You AnnaD 

Level 8

Thank you for sharing your experince.for me this is very helpfull

Level 10
Level 3

Thank you for the inside tips! Let's take some great shots.


Have a nice day



Level 7

@SarahS  There is so much to see out there.  As you mention monuments can offer lots of cool views.  Here is one of the WWII Memorial in Honiara, Solomon Islands and another of the Washington Monument in DC.   Where it gets trickier, especially publishing on a laptop,  is in areas where there is no Point of Interest that already exists on the Google Maps.  You can load an image with its GPS coordiates via the StreetView app by not associating it to a nearby Point of Interest, like with the Tongan ghost ship here. For the full ghost ship tour, including on the deck,  you can go here.  So, I think there is lots of potential for the shots you mention especially for areas that are off the beaten path.  - Nick

Level 9

Thanks many many

Level 7

very intersting tip. thanks 

Level 8

Thanks @AnnaDickson for sharing , very helpful 👍👌

Level 6

Thank you very much @AnnaDickson for this great write up. 

Level 8

Your tips are really useful and practical

Level 6

Gostei muito do Post, depois de varias postagem eu notei que minhas fotos nao estao legais, e por isso pesquisei este topico, quero melhorar as imagens que publico.

Mas eu gosto de postar selfie para ficar claro que eu estive naquele local, acredito ser uma assinatura, mas vou tirar fotos so do local tambem para dar mais utilidade as imagens



Level 3

Thanks for give very helpful information about image uploading on Google maps.

Level 7

Thanks for this.

I am of the opinion that this is relative and depends on the context and skill of the googler uploading images.

While i understand the ultimate direction is being picture perfect, it may just turn off some potential people who may

be ale to upload vital and helpful information online to help some navigator or traveller.

While i expect google to do the part of cleaning up images before approving them, i still believe that the most important bit 

in interactivty and collaboration.


Also given the fact that you are a professional photographer, your skillset will be way higher than non proffesionals like me

who is just looking out to participate and be part of a community of excellent people doing great stuff.


I have learnt a lot here. Thanksfor the direction, i am sure it will improve the quality of my image delivery in the future. 

Level 7

Well said Mr.bankoledada. This fact requires consideration. I am also not a trained photographer. The photos ataken by me may not be of good quality though I try my level best to take better photos with my smartphone

Level 10

Добрый день!Спасибо за советы! Хорошо бы почаще читать советы от специалистов,профессионалов.

С уважением Виктор

Level 10

Thank you very much @AnnaD for this great write up.

Level 1

These are very useful tips! I will put them to good use, thank you.

Level 10

Thanks for the useful tips @AnnaDickson :)... Its very useful

Level 7

Thanks, this is good to know!

Level 1

Отличная статья! Спасибо за развернутый подробный пост. Особая благодарность за разъяснения по авторском праву. 

Level 7

Very helpfully information for photographers & local guide

Great Article. Thanks :)

Level 9

Hey @AnnaDickson - do you know what's up with the loading time of panoramas in Google Maps? It takes a million years for them to load. 

Level 7

wao !!


Yazı gayet açıklayıcı olmuş. Benim gibi çaylaklar için muhteşem bilgilerle dolu.Hatalarımın tamamını bir defada gördüm diyebilirim.
Daha iyi fotoğraflar çektiğimde hep sizi hatırlayacağım. 


Kıymetli bilgiler için teşekkür ederim.



Mustafa YUCEL

Level 8

 Thanks for all the information. Looks like I have to make a few changes because that's concerning and very important to me I will update as soon as I can.

Level 5

Great tips 📸

Level 4

I believe that having a photo of something in all seasons is actually important. It can give a person something to expect if for some reason an individual wants to actually travel to a location during a certain season or they are traveling through to which they wouldn't have known that they have traveled through a place if they didnt know what it would have looked like without that photo. I'm really talking about places that look differently during different seasons. Like winter verse any other season. Shoot sometimes summer and sping look totally different or summer and fall.

Level 8

@AnnaDickson Thank you for sharing I will share this with my Community

Level 9

Thanks for best information ....

Level 6

a very useful thanks thanks

Level 2

It was a very valuable information about maps thank you very much for this work.... 

Level 7

Awesome.  Thanks @AnnaDickson for some strange reason some shots originally taken horizontally upload side ways... For example:  On my device in the photo gallery, an image appears and displays in an upright position, but after uploading specially in local guides community "discussions" the image ends up being sideways.  


Is there any chance on the TEAM adding very basic photo editing cropping/rotate functionality consistent with Google guidelines?

Level 6

Good post! Nice advices!

Level 5

 شكرا لهذا المنصب مفيدا.

Level 5

A very useful thanks thanks!!!!

 Thanks for sharing valuable tips

Level 8

Use full post, good knowledge sharing

Level 6

thanks so much.

Level 9

Excellent explanation. Thanks so much for all details. We all need this.