Like most of us my engagement with sending images to clients via the interwebs started many years ago with the attaching of small images to e-mails. Things have certainly changed. In 2012 I started using DropBox to send selections of files to clients. Using their free service I kept the file sizes well under the 2gb cap. In 2013, while testing the Samsung Galaxy NX, Samsung provided me with two years of 50gb service from DropBox. I found (and still find) the file structure and interface to be kludgy and non-intuitive but the ability to push large files, or hundreds of medium size files, to clients forced me to adapt to the inelegant interface.
As long as I used it regularly it worked but if I took a few weeks off from using it I fell out of practice and had to re-learn how to step around the things I didn't think made rational sense to an end user.
When someone sent me a link to WeTransfer.com I was delighted to give it a try. What a breath of fresh air after the DropBox interface. I have used the free version of WeTransfer.com extensively and was ready just recently to pop for the full $XXX per year level which would allow me to upload as much as 50 gb at a time. That's enough for just about anything I could think of. Most of our industrial video programs cap out at about 5-8 gigabytes (high res) and the only time I think I might use anything close to the per transaction cap of 50gb would be sending along Pro-Res video files. Which I've never been asked to do.
The design of the splash page and the work page in WeTransfer is fun, usually pretty and easy to use for just about anyone. Even the stodgiest ancient art director.
So I was sitting there with my credit card out, getting ready to sign up for a year of service, when I got a nice e-mail from a vendor I've been using since 2006; Smugmug.com. They let me know that people signed up at the professional and business levels would be able to do unlimited uploads (already a feature) but would now also be able to do big downloads to our clients. I gave it a shot on several jobs and it worked great.
I finished my post processing from the New Jersey shoot late last night (so much for Saturday evening entertainment) and uploaded two different folders to Smugmug to create two different online web galleries. One folder was all the photographic "B-roll" I'd shot. These images included glamour shots of the front of the client's headquarters, shots of chemist doing R&D, fabulous machines, strategies meetings complete with people in suits, packaging and shipping operations and more fabulous machines. The folder contain about 900 large, high resolution 20 megapixel Jpegs and was approximately 11.5 Gigabytes of information. Once download Smugmug automatically makes a gallery I can send various agency people to. If they are willing they can also share the links with their clients. Probably good for collaboration.
Since the images were already full size, optimized and color corrected, I selected all the images in the gallery and did a "gallery download." This generates links I can send to my client. They can use the links to access the images. Smugmug creates as many folders as needed but each one is under 2 Gigabytes, which makes sense as most clients have I.T. department mandated limits. I sent along the online gallery link and the download links in an e-mail.
Since I'll be retouching selected portrait images I did not send along a big folder full of portrait images. I output images from Lightroom CC at 2100 pixels on the long side and made a separate portrait gallery from them. I also sent along a folder download link of the portrait files to aid the client in using them for placement.
Everything worked charmingly and, since I already have 320,000+ images in Smugmug's system and have never had a glitch with them, it all feels very comfortable. They even have real, live customer service!
The worst method I've used in terms of the way my brain is wired and the software developers who made the system have their brains wired is ------- drum roll ------ Google Drive. Hate it. If a client insist on doing a big project of which Google Drive is a major component, I am quickly going to hire a digital tech. No one should have to endure that jagged interface and file system while under time pressure or, hell, at any time.
Close behind Google Drive for my scorn and derision is Apple's vision of Cloud storage. Yuck. And that's from a user of their machines since 1985 and a long term stockholder in their company. Their Cloud offering baffles me but I'm sure if someone explained it to me three or four times a week, until I got the hang of it, I'd finally get it.
In 2015 all software aimed at non-technical users should be simple, bulletproof and visually elegant. There's just no excuse for crap out there.
I'll continue to use WeTransfer.com for my day to day delivery of finished portrait files and low volume work. I'll lean on Smugmug to do the heavy lifting. Am I missing anything out there? Is there something really fantastic I just haven't heard about? Do you want to share?
P.S. Panasonic fz1000 files are much better than I could have hoped for. It's a camera that delivers imaging so far above its price point that it stuns me. I'm so glad I tossed one into the mix for this last job. So nice....
Hey, I don't have anything I want to sell you here. I hope you are enjoying the lead up to the holidays. Concentrate on the fun stuff and not the problems. I guarantee you'll have more fun.