So you want to send photos to a client and are wondering what’s the best way to do it?
Or maybe you’ve been sending your digital photographs in a certain way for years and want to do it more professional from now on.
There are a couple of ways professional photographers send their photos to their clients, each with different advantages and disadvantages.
I’ll go over each of them below so you can decide for yourself which one is the best for your needs.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
How To Send Your Digital Photos To Clients
First of all, I hope you’re not sending your photos to your clients as an attachment or embedding them into an email.
Not only does it often reduce the quality of your images, but it’s just not professional.
So here are how most professional photographers deliver their images after an assignment.
This is how most photographers start out, and often the only way they’ll use throughout their career.
Mostly because it’s free (at the basic level anyway) and easy to get started.
Just gather all your photos into a folder, upload it and send the download link to your client and you’re done.
There are a couple of options if you decide to go this route.
Like I said, sending your photos to your clients with WeTransfer is easy.
Once you’ve exported all your photos to a local drive, go to WeTransfer.com and select your folder or drag and drop the zip to your browser window.
Fill in your own email address and that of your client, maybe add a short message like “Dear client, here are the photos from our shoot. Let me know if you like them!” and hit the transfer button.
Your images will then get uploaded and you and your client will get an email with the download link when finished.
Of course, if you want to share quite a lot of high-resolution images you might run into the 2GB limitation of the free plan.
You can solve this by splitting things up and sending 2 links, or get WeTransfer pro.
For only $10 – $12 dollar a month you can then send up to 20GB of images per transfer, and you’ll get some additional options.
For example, you can password protect the link to your images and customize the URL, emails and download page to align everything with your brand, which makes you more professional.
Another file-sharing service you can use to send your photos to your clients is Dropbox (and it’s what I used for years).
It’s a bit different than WeTransfer though, as you don’t have to ZIP and “upload” your images.
Instead, you have to install Dropbox on your laptop. This then creates a Dropbox folder and everything you save in this folder will be sync in the cloud.
So when you want to share your images with your clients you just have to export all your images into a folder in this Dropbox folder. Dropbox then takes care of syncing these files and provides you with the link to share the folder with your clients.
This link will continue to work forever, so as long as you keep your images on your laptop, they will be available through that link for your clients to access.
Of course, this means you might run into the 2GB storage limit of the free Dropbox plan if you keep a lot of your photos, especially in high resolution.
For this, Dropbox has a plus and professional plan available which gets you 2 or 3 TB of storage.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Free(ish): As long as you stay within the upload or storage limits, sharing your images with your clients can be done for free.
- Easy: Getting started with file-sharing services is easy, and your clients just have a link to click to get their images.
- Not a lot of work: Except for a quick one time install or filling in some email addresses, file sharing services let you share your images in a couple of minutes.
- Less professional: While it’s a perfectly viable solution and many photographers use file-sharing services to send photos to their clients, it’s the least professional option available.
- More work in the end: It very common that clients suddenly want different resolutions of their images, that they don’t use the download link on time or just lose the link or images themselves. In this case, you’ll have to go over the whole process again by exporting, reuploading and sharing the images. This was actually so common before I switched to client photo galleries (see below) that I started asking a standard fee for the extra work it took me each time.
- Takes up space on your hard drive: If you go the Dropbox route you’ll have to keep the images on your hard drive for as long as you want them to be accessible by your clients.
Photographers at the early stage of building their business.
Online Client Photo Galleries
The next step up is delivering your digital photos to your clients through an online client photo gallery.
So instead of having your clients download a boring zip file, you present them the images in a beautiful online gallery that aligns with your brand, instantly raising your perceived value and professionalism.
This way they can instantly get an overview of all the images and easily download all or a selection of the images.
The best online client photo galleries are:
The process of sending your images to your clients is roughly the same with each.
Just upload all your high-resolution images to a gallery (manual or with an available Lightroom plugin), adjust some settings and share the link to the gallery with your client.
This might look the same as using a file sharing service, but there are some differences.
First of all, you only need to upload the high-resolution files, and this also has to be done just once. The system will then resize the images according to your clients’ needs.
So no more multiple exports and uploads are necessary, or requests from clients after the initial delivery.
Furthermore, you have a lot more control over who can access and download the photos, and after how much time a gallery should expire.
This way your clients can share and access their images as needed without having to contact you again after a download deadline has expired.
Once the images are uploaded you can also safely remove the images from your hard drive, saving you storage space.
Lastly, each online client gallery has an integrated print store where clients or their friends can order prints directly from you. This feature alone has made me thousands of dollars for the last couple of years.
While not free, the upgrade in flexibility, looks, professionalism and selling options are certainly worth it.
Pricing is often based on storage space or numbers of images hosted.
For example, these are the pricing plans available for Pixieset:
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Beautiful: Your clients will be wowed a lot more by a beautiful gallery than by a plain zip file in a download link.
- Efficient: You only need to upload and share the images once. The tool will then resize the images for your clients’ needs and keep them available as long as you want, saving you from redoing work or endless email requests.
- More control: Define exactly who can access, share and download the images for how long and how many times.
- Makes you money: The reduced friction from having an integrated online print store can generate thousands of extra dollars each year.
- Setup needed: A bit of setting things up is needed at first, defining the design, links, pricing for your prints,… You only need to do this once however, from then one no extra work is needed.
- Costs money: Most client gallery options have free plans available to get you started, but a small monthly fee is often worth the upgrade.
Photographers that value professionalism and want to impress their clients. Especially those that want to work more efficient while having the opportunity to make money after the shoot.
So What’s The Best Way To Send Your Photos To Clients?
Of course, what’s the best way to deliver your photos to your clients depends on your goal, budget, and professionalism.
So here’s what to choose based on the above:
- Cheap: If you’re just getting started, there’s nothing wrong with delivering your photos with a file sharing service.
- Standout: For those that want to offer something more for extra occasions, an old skool USB stick in a nice packaging adds to the experience although being more expensive and a bit of a hassle.
- Best (recommended): Using an online client gallery to get your photos to your clients offers the best of both worlds, with a beautiful but simple delivery. The possibility to make money after the shoot is a nice added bonus.
Some Pro Tips
Little details often make a big difference, so here are some pro tips for when you’re sending your photos to your clients.
Add A Payment Link When You Send Images To Clients
Instead of sending your clients the link to get to their images, you can send them a payment link that automatically redirects to the download or gallery link as soon as they pay.
This makes sure they’ll definitely pay you (as otherwise they won’t be able to get to their images) and faster than when using an invoice (as they’ll want their images as soon as possible).
Of course, this is more suited for smaller clients where the person that you’re sending the images too is also the one with the credit card. In larger firms, the invoice often gets paid by a different department, making this technique harder to use.
Add Your Invoice To The Delivery Email
When you send your photos to your clients, make sure to add the invoice to the same email that you share the download link in.
This way they’ll never be able to claim that they didn’t receive the invoice if they downloaded the images because they were delivered in the same email.
Send The WeTransfer Email To Yourself
If you choose to use WeTransfer to deliver your images to your clients, fill in your own email as the receiver as well.
This way you can send your own custom email to your clients with the link instead of a standard generated email by WeTransfer.
Don’t Stop Making Money After The Shoot
Many photographers think the opportunity to make money is over as soon as they’ve sent the digital image to the client.
However, adding the possibility to order prints often generates a couple of hundred of dollars in extra revenue.
Either mention to the client in the email that they can order prints and what the prices are, or use an online client gallery with an integrated store.