In today’s modern age, speed is the name of the game. As photographers, it’s important to quickly deliver our photos to our clients, and have it be an easy process for them.
If you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, you probably have a fully-baked solution that allows you to do things like deliver proofs, download files, purchase prints and more. But what if you just want to deliver your digital files? As a corporate event photographer, I’m always on the clock to deliver photos as soon as possible, meaning I select the photos, edit them and deliver within 48 hours. I’ve used a number of these services over the years, but currently, Smash is my go-to.
Smash is a direct WeTransfer competitor, offering a very similar interface. If you’ve used WeTransfer, you’ll immediately understand Smash. But there are some major advantages the service has — no size limits, file previews and a longer storage time of up to 14 days. You can also password-protect your transfers with the free version. And there are no ads, period.
The premium version ($60 annually or $10 monthly) takes it one step further, allowing storage for up to a full year, and giving you priority transfers for over 2 GB. You also have a file transfer history available to you, as well as reporting features.
What sets Smash away from competitor WeTransfer, and the others listed below, are its in-depth customization features. For instance, I can promote a link to my Photofocus articles while my clients wait for my files to download. You can also create a slideshow of images that link to your website or blog.
WeTransfer is simple. You upload photos (or a folder of photos), and then choose to either directly send the photos to your client, or to copy a link that you can then send to them in a personal e-mail. It’s a straight-forward interface, and the free version allows for uploads up to 2 GB that will last for 7 days on the service. The one downside — you and your clients will see ads.
There’s a “Plus” option, too ($120 annually or $12 monthly) — it offers 100 GB of storage, a 20 GB cap on uploads and no time limits. It also removes ads. You can customize the service as a plus member by having your downloads expire after a period of time, and you can also do things like adding your own photo backgrounds that will scroll in a slideshow. You can also password-protect your files. There’s no thumbnail view on the service; it’s just a straight file exchange. Learn more at wetransfer.com.
Dropbox is one of those services everyone’s heard of, and rightfully so. It offers syncing between your account, computer and other devices with ease. You can share your files with other Dropbox users, and also make public links to share with your customers who don’t have a Dropbox account.
There are a few drawbacks though — most notably, non-Dropbox users can’t download folders over 1 GB in size. An alternative is to ZIP up your files and folders. But for photographers and videographers, this is just one extra step, and it means you have to split up your folders into multiple links. This limitation is in place no matter what type of account you have.
Free accounts can also not upload or download more than 20 GB per day, while paid Dropbox accounts are limited to 200 GB per day.
Dropbox Basic is free and comes with 2 GB of storage space, whereas Dropbox Plus costs $9.99/month and comes with 1 TB of storage space. It comes with both a desktop and mobile app so you can manage your files from home or afar. Learn more at dropbox.com.
Google Drive / Google One
Google Drive is quickly becoming a great file storage and sharing solution, especially with its word processing, presentation and spreadsheet editors handy all in one interface. It comes with 15 GB for free, and you can store any type of file within its interface. You can access your files from virtually any device, with apps available for phones and tablets.
If you need more than 15 GB of storage, you can upgrade to Google One. The 100 GB package costs $1.99/month, while the 200 GB package costs $2.99/month. If you need more than that, there are additional storage options for 2 TB, 10 TB, 20 TB and 30 TB that are outlined on the Google One website.
The interface is pretty easy to use, as you can drag-and-drop from your computer to the website. You can share public links, or share with other Google users as well. Plus, all your photos will be viewable as thumbnails, and your client can click between images in a slideshow. But there are some drawbacks here too, most notably that there’s no password protection available. Learn more at google.com/drive/.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to Google Drive. There are apps available for phones, tablets and your computers (even if you have a Mac). There’s even an Apple Watch app that alerts you of new shares and changes to your files. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office documents, including PowerPoint, Excel and Word.
The free, basic account comes with 5 GB of storage and is for storage only — there are none of the above features I mentioned. The same goes for the 50 GB plan, which costs $1.99/month. Once you get into OneDrive’s Office 365 Plans, that’s where the power of the service kicks in. The Office 365 Personal plan costs $69.99/year, and comes with 1 TB of storage, which enables you to use it across devices and create expiring sharing links. Learn more at onedrive.live.com.
Digital delivery of photographs to clients and friends is not a coming attraction. It’s a real thing now. It’s important to choose a service and become familiar with it before you have to deliver work. You want to know enough about whatever service you use to answer questions from your clients so they don’t have to call tech support. Think of being able to guide your client through the process of getting work from you as one of your customer services. Have this info in the email with the link and your client will be very happy before they see your work.