You're done with your event and your client is asking you if you can post the photos online so they can share the link with their friends and family. What do you do? Who do you have? What do you use? Before you send them the photos, think about what you need to consider to make it easy for them and for you.
What is the best place online to share event photos for my clients?
This has definitely been one of the most asked question on the photo booth forums lately and for good reason. There are simply too many options out there to choose from. There are products that range from free to paid services. However, we should all keep a few things in mind when we are delivering our product to our clients.
- Is it safe? Most of our clients prefer that we provide a password protected gallery. Rightfully so as they don't want their photos seen by total strangers. Finding a delivery method that allows you to provide a secure gallery is always the best plus it will increase the trust your clients have on you.
- Is it easy to use? You never know the technical know-how of your clients. It could be that smart kid down the street or it could be someone who's completely technically challenged. The less things that could go wrong when they accept the files, the better. Keep it simple.
- Can we be social? In an age of immediate satisfaction, it's always good to be able to provide a service that people can collaborate on. Think about it… your client sees a photo and has the capability of immediately posting it to Facebook or share the link with their friends or maybe leave a comment. Wouldn't this be great to even further expose your brand and gain more followers?
We'll discuss the pros and cons of each service and is by no means the best of the best. The services we will discuss here are services we've tried and tested among a multitude of other online options.
I've been a Dropbox user ever since their beta release in late 2007. They were definitely one of the first cloud based storage solutions to hit the market. They are one of the pioneers of cloud storage. It's totally free… at least for the first 2 gigabytes but you can always refer your friends and you can get an additional 500mb for every friend that signs up. Signing up to Dropbox is easy, you do not have to answer too many security questions for that. Once you are done, you can download its desktop app.
If you intend to only link your client to a folder with a set of photos, GIFs, or mp4 video files, then this is one of your best bets. The folder structure is very easy to understand and the UI is very clean and straightforward. You can create either a folder or a zip file or your images. You then provide a link to your client. They click it and now they have access to your photos. From this point, the photos and files can be downloaded by anyone and there is no way for you to track who downloaded what file.
From a privacy and security point of view, this is where DropBox fails in my opinion. This is true for most FREE cloud based storage services like Google Drive and One Drive. Since the company is registered and headquartered in the United States, it has a complete open door policy to the NSA. Also, there is no private encryption at user’s end which means Dropbox has the key to every encryption.
Oh one more thing, there is no real time collaboration (aside from shared albums) either but I guess for our purposes, it's not really a huge breaking point.
This is the option we currently use today. We love the fact that the interface is very clean and the galleries makes our photos shine.
Once on an upgraded plan which starts at $8 per month (billed annually), you have a lot more freedom and flexibility to customize what your clients see. To have it appear like your clients have never left your website when viewing your Pixieset Galleries, you can add a Custom Domain to your Pixieset account. Our link looks like this: gallery.snapboxsf.com/ instead of this: snapboxsf.pixieset.com
Pixieset allows you to track the activity for each gallery. You can see who downloaded what files and best of all, you can activate email registrations! But for what you might ask? I export these email registrations to an Excel file and import them on Mail Chimp and boom!, I have an instant email marketing list!
What I also like the best is that the galleries can get password protection and the individual images can be assigned a special pin code for you to download them. No pin code, no image downloads. It's that simple.
For our clients, the experience seems almost seamless although with limitation. You can add your brand identity and social media links to your homepage and there is no mention of Pixieset anywhere on the page. It's beautiful!
So what are the drawbacks? You can only upload image files. Boo! I hope they add the capability of adding GIF or mp4 files at some point. My clients always request for the GIF/mp4 files so I end up using Dropbox to link them to those files. A lot of people are up in arms about the lack of GIF and mp4 support. Based on what I've seen, the request for this feature has been made as far back as December 2015. We're still waiting.
One thing to note as well is that I also offer printing services to my clients and their guests. And do you know what's the best part of it all? It's commission-free sales! Every time I upload the files, I activate my store which allows anyone to get professional quality prints delivered to their doorstep. Make sure that you allow for this so you don't lose out on potential income!
Interested in Pixieset? Here's our referral link that you can use. We each receive an additional 250 MB added to your storage, or in our case $10 in referral credit since we are on an upgraded plan.
I love SmugMug especially since they are a local company here in the Bay Area (Mountain View, CA). I had a chance to meet the owners, Chris and Don MacAskill a number of years ago and they are the most down to earth folks out there.
I currently also have a SmugMug account and have been a member since 2004. They are perhaps the best known hosting site for photography enthusiasts and professionals alike. It's an online gallery space that up until a few years ago, was simply gallery based. Today, they boast customization of their site to help come close and match your own site. I know of some photographers who use SmugMug as their main website. It is possible! Membership isn't bad either especially considering it's unlimited storage space! Yes. You read that correctly. Where you have 100 or 1,000,000 photos, SmugMug will take it all! Here are their current prices. As for me, I only have the Power Plan.
I like SmugMug the best because they support ALL types of files that we create – jpegs, GIFs, and mp4 video. Their print and lab services are also second to none. For a small cut, you can also start selling your images to your clients (if they ever choose to do so).
So why don't I use SmugMug right now? Customization takes a long time and I don't have the time nor the energy to do it. Maybe I should especially since I can save $96 annually from Pixieset if I switch over. Maybe one day. But for now, I've been using SmugMug as a “backup” gallery that I can direct my clients to since the Pixieset galleries are only available for 60 days.
Interested in SmugMug? Here's my referral code for you to use. So what have we learned?
Sharing photos and albums is critical to our business. It is an essential part of how we do business but it's the most often overlooked aspect. Hopefully this helps a bit in the decision process. As I mentioned earlier, this is not the end-all-be-all solution. These are just the solutions that I've used and thought it would be good to share this with everyone else.
So how are you delivering and sharing your images to your clients? Do you use any of the platforms I've discussed? Do you prefer cloud based storage or the traditional DVD that contains all of your deliverables? Perhaps a custom USB thumb drive? Perhaps, but that's for a later post.
Let us know in the comments. We always love hearing back from you! Happy boothing! Ciao!