By Steve Sears
He captures the beautiful, the unusual, the rare, through the lenses of his camera. Photography was part of his childhood, and the beauty of his career is that he is able to enjoy something passionately as an adult as he did in his boyhood days.
“I find joy in helping others, letting them see my photos and share my experiences and hope that they can make an educated decision on whether to visit that location or not.”
In the above statement, Warner is describing others enjoying the pleasure of the angles, colors, and detail, others viewing his work as only he can capture it, while at the same time they are being educated – and he’s gaining points.
Warner is a local Level 7 Google guide. His next goal is to reach Level 8, and he’s not too far away. More on this later.
Per Warner, the Google rules say: The highest level is a 10. According to Google- As a Local Guide, you earn points for sharing reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps. Those points lead to higher levels of the program, as well as benefits like early access to Google features and special perks from partners. Is a Google guide level of 10 Warner’s goal? “It’s a very tough goal at the level I am at. I don’t obsess over it, just figure one day it will happen.”
Warner, a professional photographer, grew up in Livingston and moved to Whippany 32 years ago. He has been a Cedar Knolls resident for three years. “I have always been interested in photography since the age of 12. I even had a darkroom in my parent’s basement back then. I have been in the Special Events business for 43 years; I own a large company located in East Hanover called Events Plus Entertainment.”
On a whim a few years back, Warner decided to try his hand at professional photography, offering at first to do a few head shots for friends, those photos leading to a few parties and many other events. “I go to Meet-ups and take camera classes as well as on-line courses.”
It is through his love for photography that being a Google guide comes into play. He explains. “If you leave the location settings on your phone to on, Google knows exactly where you are at all times. Some people find that intimidating, but I find it fascinating. I can go back to any date and see exactly where I have been and for how long. When I go to any business or place, Google will confirm if I was there and want to know some details. The basics include how many stars I give it (1-5) a short or long review and photos. Now I am in the habit of taking photos of everything and will post them when I have the chance. Since I am also a Special Events photographer, I also have lots of images from various locations. If I have shot a wedding, there is the room, the table settings, the decor, the cake and much more. Each of these will show up on Google Maps for others to see.”
There are challenges to being a Google guide, one being trying to ascend to different levels. As previously mentioned, Warner is a Level 7. “Everything you do gives you “points,” he says. “For example, a review is 10 points and a photo is 5 points each. Going to Level 5 is quite easy since that requires 500 points. Level 7 is 5,000 points. I am currently at 11,000 points and aiming for Level 8 at 15,000 points. They also calculate how many views you have on all of your images. I have over 6 million views and that number goes up by about 10,000 per day.” The numbers are mind boggling, especially when noting which photos get the most “hits”. “It’s extremely interesting what images will get more views over another. I have a photo of a bathroom at a hotel in New York City that has over 600,000 views and places like the Statue of Liberty, Madison Square Garden or Times Square might just receive a handful.”
Per Warner, it appears that you never-know which shot might be the most popular. I would like to continue my everyday travels and it’s lots of fun just seeing what others might find interesting. I don’t typically go out of my way, but I do have to make a conscious effort to take one or many photos at a new location. If I am out to dinner with a group of friends, I quickly will shoot each of their dishes and possibly one or two shots of the restaurant. Weeks later, one dish might get a handful of views while another, might receive thousands- no rhyme or reason why.”
Google doesn’t allow duplicate reviews or photos, contributing offensive content, or uploading spam.
In addition to his being a Google guide, Warner recently received a surprise telephone call. It appears he has a face for television. “I was recently cast as an extra for the popular TV show. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. It was lots of fun. We arrive on set by 5 or 6 a.m., then go to hair, makeup and wardrobe. Breakfast, lunch and lots of food is served all day. There is a lot of downtime between takes but overall the experience was great.”
The Google guide status aside, Warner loves photography. “I continue to expand my little niche business and find new clients, work with old clients and seek out fun and profitable experiences.” He then adds, “I really enjoy meeting new people, interacting with them and capturing their smiling faces- even if it’s just for 1/80th of a second.”
Visit David Warner’s website at www.davidwarner.photos.