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Circles -- San Francisco, CA

I'm currently in the process of reviewing my photographers circle on Google+. This is the circle that I personally view the most on Google+. I look at it every day and +1 a lot of photos from there. I'm probably going to share it again soon (once it hits 2,000 photographers). I shared it last when it hit 1,500.

I've been aggressively culling the circle and cleaning it up to make sure it's got the people that I want to see the most on Google+ in it.

Circle sharing is always tricky. Inevitably I will leave some people out. Some of these people get really upset about that. Feelings are hurt. I feel that sharing circles inevitably creates ill wil. People will always be excluded. I guess that's the price to pay.

Personally speaking, my circles simply represent photography that I want to consume on G+, nothing more, nothing less. These are not "the best" photographers in the world (or on G+). It does not mean someone is not a good photographer or G+ community member if they are not in my circle.

As I've been dropping people from my current photographers circle and adding new people I thought I'd share some of my own personal bias and criteria for my circles.

1. I have to like your work (totally and completely subjective).

2. You have to be active on Google+. I use the uncircle inactives extension and routinely remove people I'm following who haven't posted in the last month.

3. You have to regularly post your own work. It's great to share other's work and interesting photography related content, but I want to see your own personal work the most.

4. You don't clutter up your feed with "dumb stuff" (again totally subjective, but stupid jokes, memes, gifs, youtube videos, excessive reshares, excessive circle shares, resharing your own work constantly, etc.)

5. MOST CONTROVERSIAL I dislike watermarks and signatures. This is NOTHING personal. I do have people in my circles who use them, but usually these are people that I know personally and tend to overlook it due to our personal relationship.

I totally get and understand all the reasons why you and your watermark/sig are BFFs. I get that people steal your images. I get that the personal branding is important to you. I just hate them aesthetically speaking. This is not an attack on you or your watermark. I get more crap from people because I dislike watermarks than I think anything else at all. It is my right to not like watermarks, just like it is your right to use one. Please don't give me grief over the fact that I personally dislike them.

6. I like people that mostly share their work directly here. I want to see big G+ photos in your stream instead of little thumbnails linking to Flickr or 500px or wherever else.

7. I don't like people who post too much. I think about 5 photos a day max feels about right. If someone posts like 40 photos in a row and floods my stream I probably won't want to follow them.

8. I like photographers who are positive and enthusiastic members of the community. I dislike photographers who are mean or rude or overly critical or negative. I've dropped lots of people because they are rude to other people. If you are mean to one of my friends, chances are you will not be on my list. I might even block you. I've also dropped people who complain a lot -- especially if it's about the same things over and over and over again.

9. I like people who actively contribute to Google+ in ways beyond just posting their own work. I like people who comment, and who hangout, and who go on photowalks, etc.

10. I like people who are fun.

If you meet the criteria above and I'm not following you there's a good chance that I just don't know you yet. There's also a chance that I'm just lame and have screwed up and haven't added you yet even if we do know each other. If this is the case feel free to let me know in a comment and I'll look at your photos (no promises, as I'm pretty picky about who I want to see on this list and nothing personal if I don't add you). Also if you know someone else who you think meets the above criteria feel free to point me to their profile as well.
Theo Brookes's profile photoAdrian “Arodphoto” Rodriguez's profile photoAllan Colton's profile photoEric Raeber's profile photo
I don't really mind small unobtrusive signatures in the corner of the image. Especially when it tells me it is the work of the person posting the image and not something culled from the web.

Fighting to remove people from my circles so I can get away from the 5,000 entity limit.
i just liked looking at ur amazing photos, got a half decent camera but cant compete...........
I am just getting started here on google plus and sharing my work and have a lot of work to share lol but feel free to keep tabs on my feed if you want. I am trying to expand my circle of good photographers and good people.
El mundo de la fotografia me gusta mucho es una profecion frustada.
I have followed your work, and your circles for about six months now and have learned much. I would be grateful if you would glance at some of my work and see if it merits a spot on the next circle.
I have to echo what steve said your work and some of the people I have seen through your feed have taught me a lot and are great examples
I'm pretty sure this is the best overall synopsis of the criteria I use to curate my own circles, +Thomas Hawk. It's a post worthy of sharing for sure.
I agree with your criteria. Its your circle. I feel pretty much the same way except I am impartial to watermarks unless they are huge. Look forward to you sharing your circle of photographers.
I don't mind small watermarks in a corner with an alpha, but I prefer none. I don't think they are a deterrent for would be thieves, but that is my opinion. Thanks for the post Thomas.
Matthew Ross (Not sure which one you are from the drop down, thus no link) The most important thing you can do to get rolling on G+ is to put a Photo of you on your profile, and to complete your profile info. Otherwise few (if any) will take you seriously and circle you.
Thank you +David House Sr. I will get on that today or tomorrow. It sounds odd but I have almost no photos of me lol but I am sure I can grab one or find one :) thank you for the tip.

and +David Waddington while I do not mind them I can relate to his dislike of them especially
in regards to sharing them and enjoying the "whole" photo. It really is a shame we have to worry about people stealing other peoples work.
Oooh....I wait with baited breath to see if I'm still in or out. Doesn't matter either way to me as I'll still be clicking away, posting and making the most of G+ because I love it here.
Really cool color and depth of field.
Your post was very interesting as well. I have to echo many of the people above to say that g+ has been a rewarding learning experience in photography, plus I have met tons of very fun and cool people. Thanks for posting your incredible pics and all of your other contributions here.
Well said +Thomas Hawk. I can't imagine, though, how you keep up with 1,500 to 2,000! I have trouble with a few hundred. For me, the G+ experience comes down to honesty - being honest about my own abilities and work, and challenging myself to continue to learn and grow. And interacting honestly and openly with those with whom I have forged a connection. (I'd rather have 100 people follow me who interact meaningfully, then 1,000 who never say a word.) I appreciate your interest in the growth and vitality of this community, as much as your work.
You summed up my criteria almost exactly. I feel that in order for this network to thrive, there must be people willing to put good original content into it regularly. I have been trying to be part of the solution and I applaud you for doing the same.
Nicely put, +Thomas Hawk. After our evening discussion the other week, I've started to clean up as well, and +RC Concepcion gave me lots of food for thought about signature/watermarking. Great post!
+Mark Tyler One thing recently that's helped me keep up with my contacts is the new Android app. I've been trying to walk an hour and a half a day to lose some weight and I spend a lot of that time scrolling through photos on the new app and seeing what people are putting up. With 2,000 contacts in a circle you miss alot, but I have a pretty big appetite for photography too and so still get a great overview of some of the best photography on G+ every day by browsing this stream on the computer too.

I also love discovering new photographers. There is so much talent out there. It's insane.
If only I could program Google+ heuristically with that criteria and create me a high quality virtual circle pulling from all over the world. I've got to trim down my circles too; get enough below the limit to add more interesting people.
Great criteria list. Best of luck with the circle share (and the potential backlash to follow :) 
great insight Thomas. i know i'm not likely to appear in any list of yours (only just starting out into photography), but if you want a look at my photos anyway, feel free to do so!
failing that, you can at least see if i can get over the magic 50 followers mark... i'm going to start using G+ a lot more, as you recommend, commenting and liking others posts (in my normal, positive way)
Awesome! Subjective criteria yes; but you are curating a circle that is highly appealing. Can't wait to get it.
Those are all my standards as well, minus the watermark thing. But I make mine really small!
+Thomas Hawk, I completely agree with you on the watermark issue. One thing that I've noticed recently is some folks are starting to use "frames" with the watermark/personal info on the border of the photo, outside of the actual composition. That seems to be a fair balance between "All or none" and is so much better than plopping a huge watermark in the middle of a photo, on top of the main subject. Which drives me crazy and actually drives me away from certain photogs. My 2 cents, for what it's worth...
I agree with all your points.. G+ is a wonderful platform for photographers and using it wisely greatly improves it
All those glasses reming me of the Adele video "Rolling in the Deep"
Not a professional photographer, more like an amateur photographer, but I would like to give it a try +Thomas Hawk
I've been working on my circles too trying to make one central circle out of all the others to follow in my stream. I found that I was missing to many good photographs the way it was originally.

My biggest hot button too is the BIG WATERMARKS that are applied to a wonderful shot. :-/ I get the whole stolen image thing and respect those that feel the need for it, but in all reality the shot should be presented as it was taken to be fully appreciated. IMHO

The next would be a small image being represented in the Lightbox here on G+ @¿@ I see what looks like it might be a great image and click on it to see it in all it's glory.... then bzzzzzz buzz kill by having it be just a small image in there too. I want a happy ending!!

The Rude thing is a no-brainer, I don't hang with people in real life that are mean or rude so why should I subject myself to it here? I just recently un-circled a very good photographer because of their attacks on another very well known photographer here on G+ and it just got to the point where it was to much to overlook.

Very thought out post here +Thomas Hawk and thanks for the reminder to get back to it.....

+Thomas Hawk, +RC Concepcion went through a simple process in Photoshop to capture his initials, and then created a simple file to put on to his photos. However, he reminded everyone that while it was ok, in his opinion, to have a SUBTLE signature watermark that would not be the focus of the picture :), circle copyright marks do nothing unless you register your photo. He also did a nice and quick demo of Digimark that's built into Photoshop. +Mitchell Weinstock has been using that for a number of years now, and has had the ability to trace usage of his work in many places. Both of you remind me that I can stop the 'noise/nonsense' and just post. When something is extraordinary, I can choose to Digimark/register the shot. I guess it's time to practice 'extraordinary' now :)
I'm doing the same thing +Thomas Hawk, and I love your list of criteria. That will help me do the job on my own circles. By the way, I've got some people in multiple circles, and it looks like that causes the same person to get counted multiple times toward my limit of 5000. Does anyone else has any input on whether that's the case? And if so, does anyone have a solution for easily deleting multiples?
Point 1-10 is pretty much my own idea about G+, thanks +Thomas Hawk for sharing your points. :o)

Sharer: I like people who share with the mind set of a gallery-owner, who collect a very specific theme/aesthetic. Great people and important for the G+ network-glue.

Watermarks: the best watermark is a unique work.
Thank you +Thomas Hawk you have been my Google+ sensei and i think my profile looks better because of your guidelines(Always photos, no watermarks and be positive). Hope to make it in your cirlce one day
Shots shots shots shots shots shots. !!! ;)
ha ha ha ha ha ha .... "Shots"...! lol more please... :)
Shots, shots,shots... "Giggady"!, "Gigshotsady"! ... ;| .. :} .. :{ .. :(I) ... : (()) .. :( ( ) )
Shots for all! Hahaha. :)
Thanks, +Thomas Hawk all great points- I have added folks pretty liberally, but I am afraid of that 5000 mark. I'll have to check out the inactive users app and give it a try.

Myself, I post a picture a day up here, at least. I lean heavily towards landscape and architecture, but I take photos of anything interesting to me.
A great post and photograph too +Thomas Hawk !! I've enjoyed it tremendously and the comments have been great reading too! I agree with your criteria! I enjoy the interaction with other photographers and I've learned tremendously from them in the 5 months I've been on G+! There are really great people here and I'm met a lot of them from curating several themes. I enjoy the great kindness that people have shown me and try to give that back! I'm hoping I'll make the cut! Many thanks!!
That counts me out! I am posting one photo each day, but I use a watermark :)
....(!) For All!!....shots!...hahahhahahahah ... more pleeasse...uuhhahahuuaaa..
........ WaterMarks? ^^
well now the "Watermarks" are fine...
post away B>S! ;)
me gusta , despues pregontan porque el dorado vale tanto , tiene esa potencia natural
+Thomas Hawk Good luck with that ;) I've been here since last summer when G+ young. Your work continues to be the most consistent bright current in my stream - thanks! Unfortunately and as others have noted, of late its been disappointing that more and more negative, rude behavior is floating in the stream. And some of the required-for-inclusion-circle-sharing thing has become absurd. Growing pains I suppose. That aside, I applaud your efforts. And even though you go to great lengths to clearly explain your circle criteria, you'll be hammered once again for who you include, who you don't include and especially for the watermark issue!
Dung ha
It's look like my dream! Not clearly but beauty! I like it!
they just looking cool but they are not...
Hi +Thomas Hawk this is great advice. I'm still getting going on G+ and just finished attending the conference in SF last week, loved it! So this fits in nicely with how you use it to see other photographers' work and get inspiration, even though you are the source of inspiration for many of your followers, myself included. I met Trey at the photo walk on the conference and I hope to one day meet you as well.
being or not being in your circle doesn't impact my enjoyment of your work or reading your blog thank goodness!
I think this post exactly reflects what I want to do with my photographers circle but never got round to do it, or decide upon a strategy. So +Thomas Hawk, Big thanks for giving me that strategy ready-made . My photographer circle is 1000 and counting, this should get that down to <100 I think ..
Oh +Thomas Hawk no worries on all the shrinking circles happening as the result of your post! We still have theme pages (many) to showcase and share. My hats off to all the great curators out there!
excellent man wat a capture n style luv it realy!! :)
Couldn't agree more. Slick shot btw.Maybe I should invest in a smartphone to feed my G+/photo addiction when i'm not at home, I've got a hour train ride every morning/evening that would be perfect for circle cleanup :D
Great post +Thomas Hawk. I agree completely and use similar criteria for culling my circles.
oh, that's the new one. ok!
so thank you again for the plusses in my stream, and once again recommending +Stefan Scholz for your photography circle. would love to be in as well ;)
greetings from germany and nice to meet u here +Thomas Hawk
Since There is an "Aparent" group of "Sensable" , "Motivated"...."Reasonable" inteligant... Group of People reading and interested in this subject matter and content.....
Really well written sentiments on circle sharing and G+ etiquette in general. Almost exactly echoes my own criteria for engaging here. The only point I'm on the fence about is watermarking. I've gone back and forth with myself several times over it. I started out doing so but changed my mind when I read a post by +Casey McCallister a few months back. Now I rarely watermark anywhere I share except FB. But if someone were to ask why, I honestly couldn't tell them. P.S. Thanks for the heads up on the inactive extension! Clever.
I Apologize for that last one it was agregious and just plan uncalled for.. But I would like to add on final thought... please remit and revise all prior comments and remember just this one...
"Thomas Hawk" you truly are one Talented , "Baffoon".. - JS- jsplash ;
thanks, +Thomas Hawk, i've been following you on g+ pretty much since i started using it, and i always enjoy seeing your work. i'd be honored if you'd take a look at mine and decide whether you enjoy it as well.
Now +Thomas Hawk, you should dedicate some time to your beloved followers. Let's say 30 seconds for each... if you don't accumulate more followers, you'll just spend about 10 years of full 52 weeks of 5 days. But you only will have to work 8 hours a day. Fair, isn't it? :)
I think I meet all of your criteria!
+Thomas Hawk I think I meet your criteria If you find the time please check out my work. Thank you. Allan
Very good criterias. I may not be meeting them all. It may not be very relevant either. But definitely working my way to improving my photography by following your posts.
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