If you are a photographer who is utilizing physical DVDs, USB drives, or even digital solutions like Dropbox to deliver client images, then take note as there is another way.
For some clients, those of whom may be seated in the old age of media sharing, acquiring a physical disc or storage drive equates to a perceived value. When these clients present themselves, although at this point rarely, it allows me the opportunity to articulate to them the numerous advantages of a digital photo gallery like Pixieset, which is the the one I choose to use. In my opinion it is the best way for a customer-focused photographer to be delivering images.
At the core of the various web-based delivery gallery options available to photographers is a fairly simple concept. They are designed to be an easily accessible photo delivery vehicle for photography clients. By design they function as a digital photo album, one that happens to also be available where your customers are looking most these days, on the innumerable device screens scattered just an arms length away. Not only are they accessible to clients, but also friendly to you as the photographer. The galleries options are laid out for you, with no design experience necessary. Cascading layouts that easily conform to cater to both desktop and mobile viewing eyes. That’s the heart of it, but there are many additional benefits outside of simple photo delivery.
First Benefit: Extended Portfolio
It is usually a good idea to keep your main portfolio streamlined and a showcase for your very best selects. The use of the online gallery, and all of the combined collections stored within it, will double as a more in-depth portfolio for you to showcase an extended look at your work. Also this can be a space to direct potential clients towards when they need to see examples of work not showcased on your main portfolio. As an example I do not advertise as a cosplay photographer, but it's something I have done before and do offer. Because branding is available on the online gallery, as far as a customer is concerned, it all seamlessly blends with your main portfolio.
Second Benefit: Easily Shared on Social Media
It is somewhat difficult for a customer, especially the non-tech-savvy ones, to share photos directly from a Dropbox folder to the social outlet of their choice. The more roadblocks that are removed from the process, the better chance of your work getting shared becomes. Having ecstatic clients spread the word and your work for others to see on social is an important step you do not want your customer to neglect. It needs to be as straightforward as possible for the client, otherwise you risk them getting frustrated and never sharing the images online, thus missing some juicy free advertising. In the case of Pixieset, sharing options are posted right up front and made easily visible in the navigation menu.
Third Benefit: Client Friendly
Right from the jump, when the client first opens their gallery they are greeted with helpful instructions on how best to navigate and use the gallery options available to them. This means less confusion for the customer and less wasted time for you spent in the role of a support tech as clients attempt to unpack the images. Important details like downloadable sizes are easily selected. Understanding the clients needs as the photographer you have the option on the backend to set the available resolution options for download. This ease of use will equate to more time tending to other pressing business needs. It’s great to be notified when your client has opened, downloaded, and even selected favorite images. You are always in the loop with what step your customer is at in the process.
Fourth Benefit: Images Are Easily Proofed
The task of proofing has never been made easier. First export the proof-ready photos from camera raw, or as I have the option to do with Pixieset, the built-in Lightroom plug in. Once you have created the proofing gallery, quickly then upload the images within the gallery, publish, and email the client instructing them to select favorites. Once they have completed this you are seamlessly notified and can start hammering on the final images due for delivery. While it is ideal to be tethered at the job, that is not always practical, and neither is sitting down with the client to review and flag images at the time of the shoot. Creating an easily shared gallery of proofs for the client to select favorites from within the comfort of their own personal space could not be made any easier.
Fifth Benefit: Print Options Are Built In
Typically you can link your existing print lab of choice directly to the online gallery and have your clients print right from the gallery itself. For all of the shoot and burn photographers out there who don’t have time or don’t want to deal with the hassle of printing or shy away from in-person sales, this is a great way to connect your customers with a high-quality print option. With minimal effort after the initial setup you can still have your best work showcased in customers' homes. Similar to the built-in social sharing feature, this is another way to have customers keep your work in the conversation and create those referrals. Must-have options like offering print credits are also available to motivate the client towards printing.
This is based off my personal experience with Pixieset; I have no affiliation with them outside of paying my bill monthly like the rest of the photographers they service. There are many competing options that offer a similar feature set to what I have listed. Whichever one you choose will be a benefit to your photography brand.
I would love to hear in the comments below who else uses a digital photo delivery vehicle and what benefits stand out for you? Has this pushed any of you on the fence towards investigating the use of one for yourself? My advice is to try one for free. Give it a spin and see what you think. Take a look at some gallery examples from Pixieset and Shootproof to help get you started.