I am a self professed tech nerd. I am always on the search for the latest innovations and products that will better my life and business. Over the last few months I have been using one that is a real game changer in my business. In a very short amount of time PASS has become an extremely valuable asset helping me book more clients and get my images in front of more faces.
I have tried a lot of different image gallery programs. In fact, there are quite a few out there I have been sending money to for a number of years and believed were getting the job done. But, when I first started using PASS I realized it was quite honestly in a league of it’s own. The backend is fluid and super easy to use. The front end experience for my clients is simple and beautiful. It’s powerful and full of features but still easy to use for both my clients and me. Most important though, is it has allowed my clients to have their images with them anytime, anywhere on any device, and they are able to share them with their friends which ultimately has led to more referrals and bookings for me. Most of these other products I had used previously were built before smart phones and social networks, but PASS was built this year specifically for the new way our clients share images.
As writers here at Fstoppers, we are always looking for things we can share with our readers that we use in our own businesses that has been helpful. From lighting setups, to business tips, or even gear reviews. As I was thinking this month about what I thought would be worth sharing with our readers, the new PASS gallery was at the top of my list. I was first introduced to PASS about 12 months ago during it’s initial release. However, recently it underwent a complete redesign and it is just now releasing this new version to the photographers through invites from current users. Over the last 3 months I have been a beta tester for the new PASS and it has completely blown my socks off. Here’s why I love it so much....
First, PASS is designed around a workflow that literally takes a minute or two. When I am ready to share my edited images with clients I simply open the program and drag-and-drop the folder of edited images into PASS. Immediately the images start uploading while I am presented with a couple questions on what I would like to name the event and assign a url making it easy to share with clients. I am then presented with two more questions, the name and email of my clients with whom I will be sharing the gallery. That’s it. The program is also extremely fast at uploading the images. Once it’s finished it sends an invite to my clients letting them know their photos are ready and available to view.
The pictures are uploaded as an event that I can organize into collections (or if I already have them organized in folders on my computer PASS automatically creates those for me during upload.) So for example, when I send my wedding clients their pictures I have collections that look something like this: Favorites, Getting Ready, Bride and Groom, Ceremony, Family Photos, Bridal Party, Reception. By doing this it makes it easy for my clients to sort through images and enjoy the viewing experience rather than being overwhelmed with hundreds of photos all together. In addition, I have full control over what I want to be public and what I would prefer to keep private. So for example I can specify if I want a particular collection of photos to be public or private only to my client. This can be useful if there is a particular set of photos my clients prefer to keep to themselves. Maybe it’s bride partially dressed while slipping on her dress or even some shots of a special celebrity guest at their wedding whose photos I’ve been asked to keep private.
While the backend of PASS is extremely easy to use, where the program really shines is when my clients receive their images. The gallery is displayed in such a way that it takes advantage of all the space putting the images together in a montage that really shows off all the photos, including vertical images. No more square thumbnails. Also they can view the images on a tablet or mobile device, and it looks exactly the same. Plus, my client can create a custom app shortcut on their iPhone or iPad directly from the gallery. Another favorite feature is if they are viewing the shots on an iPad for example and flip it from horizontal to vertical all the photos quickly rearrange themselves for the best viewing experience.
The gallery is quick to figure out. For first time users small menus pop up periodically pointing them to new features they might not have yet discovered. There is a single button for my clients to click and download all the images at one time in high resolution. This means no more having to burn, package and mail out DVD’s. My clients can now have their photos with one click of a button. A lot of my wedding clients also love the ability to send the gallery to their friends and family and let them view and even download the photos they would like. PASS is also working on adding a print feature. While I haven’t yet heard all the details, I understand they are partnering with WHCC to fulfill the print orders and the feature should be good to go this spring. That is convenient for those clients who would rather just order prints right from the gallery rather than try to do it themselves.
Here are a couple more things that I absolutely love about PASS. Built inside the program is the ability to share a photo or collection of images directly to Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. The beauty of it is that when the clients do this my name and a link to my website, as well as the gallery of images, is all included in the caption of the photo. I am sure many of you have seen your clients upload photos onto a social network and not give you any credit for the photo. Well PASS makes it easy for them to do that by doing it for them. It has been a huge benefit as I have been able to get more inquiries from friends and family that not only see the images but then have a link right there to visit my website.
In addition, PASS has statistics built right into the program. I can view how often the photos from a gallery have been viewed and in what general area. It is quite amazing to watch a gallery of wedding photos gather 200+ viewers with over 25,000 photo views in a matter of days. Something just not possible if I sent them a burned disc of images. Lastly they just included a guest book feature in the gallery as well. So friends and family of my clients can leave comments right there which is integrated back to Facebook, once again extending the reach of the images into different social circles.
I have enjoyed the program so much that I now include it with all my wedding packages and even posted a marketing kit PASS provides to photographers directly on my website. During my first meeting with a potential bride and groom I will pull out my iPad and show them a gallery of shots and they are always surprised by how great it looks. At times I have even had them open the gallery on their own phones so they can see just how easy it is to use.
So I have gone on long enough about how much I enjoy the program. If you are looking for a new way to share images with your clients I would highly suggest you checking it out as well. You can use the new version of PASS completely for free, and share the event with your client where they can share, download, and print and no one has to pay anything. You can upgrade the event for $29 which gives your client access to it for one year with all the additional features, and it also includes storage of the images for 10 years. So if 9 years from now my clients mention they can’t find their photos, they are safe in PASS and can get access to them. I no longer have to worry about scratched or lost DVD’s. I have just built the $29 price right into my packages since I have enjoyed the program so much. In fact since starting to use it I have PASS’ed 131 different events to my clients and racked up 6,208 viewers and over 1,182,000 photo views.
One last story to wrap this up. In December I had the opportunity to shoot a wedding in Jamaica for a couple whose family was unable to attend the wedding. It was just the couple, one set of friends and I at the wedding. The couple’s family was sorry they were unable to attend the wedding and called throughout the day from their home in Israel to wish the couple well on their wedding day. That night during dinner while the couple was enjoying their private time together I pulled out my laptop, downloaded 60 favorite photos we had shot that day and uploaded them to a PASS event. After dinner I met back up with the couple and showed them the photos in the PASS gallery. Later that evening their family called from Israel to ask how the wedding went and the couple was able to direct them to the gallery to view the photos. It was a tremendous feeling for them to see the photos immediately and the couple enjoyed hearing the raves on how great they looked. In a short time that one gallery had 141 viewers with 14,680 photo views as family and friends shared the gallery of images around the world.
As I mentioned in the beginning I love new technology. PASS has truly redefined how my clients receive, view and share their images. It has helped spread my name more than any other marketing tool I have ever used and has really been instrumental in helping me book more clients as well. Check out more info on PASS at pass.us. You can sign up on their website to request access to the new version, or if you know a current PASS user or user of Showit products ("Showiteer") they can send you an invite (and sorry, both my invites have been used).
Here are some additional helpful links...
PASS Gallery with some of my photos so you can see exactly what the client sees. Open it on your mobile phone or tablet as well.
My website with their marketing kit and video built right into it to educate my clients.
I was not asked by the developers of PASS to share this, nor was I paid or given any product for it. This is simply my review and me sharing something that has worked amazingly well for me and hopefully it will be useful for you as well. If so, spread the word!