Benefits / Resources / Articles
September 22, 2023

Getting Great Images Is Only Half the Job: Delivering Photographs to Clients

The Importance of Delivering Prints

Do you ever find yourself trying to convince your clients of the value of prints? Since the dawn of social media, the role of printed images has shrunk and it’s more common for consumers of photography to underappreciate photo albums, framed pictures, and physical mementos of important events. Despite the emphasis of digital media, physical copies of photographs are still central to the work of photographers. Printed pictures have changed the course of history, art, and culture, and their tangible forms still hold power. As photographers, we must help our clients see the value in printing gems that transcend generations and do the things digital cannot.  

What Clients Miss Out on With Purely Digital Images

When a client opts in for an online folder of digital images, they are missing out on: 

  • The joy of a framed photograph that serves as a special reminder
  • The pleasure of leafing through and touching an album of precious memories
  • A family heirloom to be passed down through the generations
  • The kind of glossy, high-quality image that digital simply cannot match

Clients should also realize that digital images are vulnerable. Cloud storage can be hacked, hard drives corrupted, passwords lost over time, and memories lost forever. Delivering beautifully printed images is an insurance policy against the dangers of digital. We’re not saying there isn’t a place for digital images—quite the contrary. Offering a blend of both services will tick all the boxes.


How to Deliver Digital

We’ll get into all the various options to deliver photographs digitally in a second, but there are a few golden rules. Firstly, under no circumstances should you email your clients their images one by one. It’s very unprofessional, and it clogs up their email, scatters the results, and diminishes the value of your work. While it may feel easy to do, it ends up taking away from the quality of your service.

The other golden rule is to name your files appropriately. As a customer, there are few things more irritating than receiving a file titled DCS_46821, for example. Come up with a simple naming protocol for the work that you do and apply it evenly across your choices.

Increasingly, most photographers offer web galleries for their clients to view the work. Galleries are easier to set up than ever before, and clients usually understand how to use them. These galleries can be password protected or open to the public. Either way, they offer a quick and easy method for you to get your photos in front of the people who are paying for them.

There are many options for delivering your work in digital format. 

  • Cloud Services: Dropbox and Google Drive make it easy to compress the finished image files into a zip archive and send them to the client. Cloud services also feature some wonderful collaborative tools that you can use to create shared albums to allow your clients to comment on the shots they prefer and guide your work as you go. Many people have a Dropbox or Google account, so this is often the easiest option.
  • FTP: An old-school but still reliable way to deliver files to clients. An FTP server offers access to a directory with sub-directories. Users connect to these servers with an FTP client, a piece of software that lets you download files from the server, as well as upload files to it. It’s a great way to work with clients who are internet-savvy and understand different protocols.
  • Lightroom Sharing: Sharing from within your editing software is a great time saver. Lightroom Classic can generate a link to a site where you have uploaded a selection of images. Next, you can share that link with whomever you want and get their feedback on it.
  • Pixieset: Many people are using this relatively new service as their gallery of choice. Pixieset offers a generous amount of storage space at 3Gb. Professional wedding photographer Mike Smith explains why: “Not only does it allow you to have a simple online portfolio, but you can create client galleries which look great out of the box and have good granular control over how they are displayed. They also allow you to sell photos directly with full shopping cart and payment options.”
  • Photo Flash Drives: Ordinary flash drives are boring and often the opposite of eye-catching. Give your clients a customized flash drive for viewing their photos they will love. Photo Flash Drive provides a lifetime warranty and free shipping on orders over $199. 

At the end of the day, you’ll likely end up using a hybrid model of some print and some digital to deliver your work.


The Hybrid Model of Delivery

You want to offer your clients options. Chances are the best work from the shoot will probably end up being framed or selected for a tasteful photo album that’s on display for everyone to see. The second-tier shots will likely live in an online gallery or on social media channels where they can be easily accessed and shared among friends and family. Finally, you may consider a zipped folder delivered via FTP where all the images from the shoot can serve as a record of the events and where the client can go back from time to time to relive the full experience all over again.