Edmonton photographer wins Google award
By Linda Hoang
Giesbrecht says he was “pretty pumped” when he learned his Google Business Photo / Street View tour of the Edmonton Corn Maze – created last August – had been chosen for the Most Creative Tour Award of 2013 by Google.
“My reaction was to screenshot it and text it to everyone I knew,” Giesbrecht says, laughing.
The 30-year-old Google-certified photographer specializes in ‘Indoor Street View’ Business Photos.
Giesbrecht take photos inside businesses, stitches the photos together and turns it into an interactive, 360-degree online tour that appears on the businesses’ Google search result.
His tour for the Edmonton Corn Maze made international headlines and put the local maze on the map – as the world’s first corn maze on Google Street View.
“It was something unique that people from around the world could play around with and have some fun,” says Edmonton Corn Maze owner Jesse Kraay.
“The local media attention was great as it helped raise our profile and get people though the gate. The attention from other places was really cool and it was fun to see the reach and exposure we got from doing this from around the world.”
“I think that it’s great Kyle has won the award. He was easy to work with and excited about the project,” Kraay says.
“I think it’s really cool that he has embraced this technology and is being recognized for his work.”
Giesbrecht went to Google HQ in California to pick up his award at the end of February.
While there, he also met other Business Photo photographers who won awards in different categories, sat in on different presentations with Google Business Photo staff, and got feedback on his work.
“And at the end of the day was the awards ceremony,” he says. “I got a glass, plaque trophy.”
A glass plaque trophy that means Giesbrecht beat out hundreds of Google-certified Business photographers from across North America. And as if beating out hundreds for the title wasn’t enough, the best part about receiving the award is that Giesbrecht didn’t even apply for it.
Google saw his tour and sought him out.
“It’s validation that I’m doing good work,” he says.
Validation that wasn’t necessarily needed. When Giesbrecht first began taking Indoor Street View photos for businesses, he spent a lot of time using social media to raise awareness about the fact that such a service even existed.
That’s no longer the case.
Indoor Business Photos are becoming more common, as more businesses try to use the technology to improve its online presence and bring in more customers.
Giesbrecht says his work on the Edmonton Corn Maze was one of the most challenging tour he’s done – since it wasn’t indoors.
“There were technical challenges because I take multiple exposures and they get blended together to make the 360 degrees, so when things move like clouds or cornstalks wave in the wind, it can be tricky to get things to blend properly and look good,” he says.
“It was also more challenging because a lot of the shots looked the same because you’re in the corn maze. I kind of got lost myself putting it together.”
But the extra work clearly paid off.
Now Giesbrecht says he’s going to try to be more creative with future tours.
“It’s definitely on my mind, how I’m going to get my award next year,” Giesbrecht says.
“So if you or any of your readers know a place…”
And check out the Google Street View Kyle did of a Google Street View car at Google Campus!