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What Are the Recommended Photo Delivery Methods for Real Estate Photographers?

Published: 27/03/2018
By: larry

DeliveryJim recently asked the question:

I've recently started using my realtor as my test dummy while I refine my photography and editing skills, and learn what he needs as a customer. He made the suggestion to use box.com for getting him the pictures, because that's what he used with someone else in the past. He recently asked if I know of any other sites, since box.com is very slow to download, after which he must upload to his MLS. Do experienced RE photographers use sites that realtors can download directly to their MLS? If not, how is it typically done, and do you have a list of commonly used websites?

First of all, typically, only Realtors or their assistants can log in to upload photos to the MLS so real estate photographers deliver photos to the Realtor and the Realtors must do the MLS uploading. Many times, there are assistants in a real estate office that do much of the uploading to the MLS for all of the agents.

Here are the typical alternatives for real estate photo delivery:

  • Physical delivery of a CD: Many agents would just love to have you deliver a CD to their office. While this is certainly a customer service opportunity, it just doesn't make economic sense and it doesn't scale to large volumes of clients. Besides, most modern laptops don't even have CD players anymore! Also, in some states (like WA and CA) there are sales tax implications when you deliver a tangible product. If you deliver a physical product in these and other states, the whole shoot is subject to sales tax. So this is an alternative that is dying out.
  • Client logs into your site: This is a very professional approach for online delivery because it is via your personal branded website. However, this means your website must have this capability. Photoshelter.com is one example. There are many others. Basically, each client has their own account on your website where they can log in and download their photos.
  • File/photo delivery services: A few years ago, there used to be a few of these. Now it seems like there are hundreds. A few of the popular ones are Box.net,  YouSendIt.comPixoasis.com, Shootproof.com, WeTransfer.com, and Pixieset.com. All of these are professional ways to deliver photos and other large files. Many, like Shootproof.com are tailored for photographers. They are all in the area of $10USD per month. With Pass.us, you can deliver under 100 photos for free.
  • Tourbuzz.net: If you use Tourbuzz.net for tours, it has a great built-in photo delivery feature that delivers four different sized photos. I use this feature all the time.
  • MLS-Delivery: A cloud-based solution proving time-saving tools that real estate photographers need to deliver professional media.
  • DropBox.com: I put DropBox in as a separate alternative because of its wide usage and the fact that you can get 2Gb of storage for free. You can send anyone a download link to Dropbox files. This may be a good, free service to get started with, but it doesn't look as professional as the other alternatives.
  • Google Docs: Google Docs is very similar to DropBox.com and can easily be used to send files to clients.
  • PaySnap: There are several new services like PaySnap where the client must pay before the photos can be downloaded. Most of these services allow the client to download a watermarked version so they can see the photos but have to pay before they can get a version that is not watermarked.
  • Photo Invoice: Similar to PaySnap

Think of photo delivery as a promotion and customer service opportunity. Use delivery to present yourself professionally. For most of these delivery sites at around $10USD/month, they provide a very professional delivery process. One thing to avoid is sending .zip files of the whole photoshoot. Some Realtors are not technically proficient enough to deal with .zip files.

16 comments on “What Are the Recommended Photo Delivery Methods for Real Estate Photographers?”

  1. Or just email all the photos using iCloud if you have a Mac. No email file size limit because Apple automatically uses their server for large files. The receiver just gets a normal email, but the files actually download from iCloud. It's invisible to the client. Just looks like an email.

    You can sent a 500MB video or 50MB's of stills in your email. Simple and painless. Client just copies to his computer. it's just an email. "It just works," as Steve Jobs used to say. He's right.

  2. I've been using Pixieset for the past 6 months and I absolutely love it. HOWEVER, I continue to have an issue with my emails either A) not being delivered or B) getting dumped into my clients endless spam folders. I love the delivery system but if it's not actually getting delivered what good is it?

  3. I have been using Dropbox to make files available to others since they started. My clients love it because they don't need a Dropbox account to download files.
    You can try downloading a file from my Dropbox here:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nq4iw4wkumptzat/Drone%20ID%20Chart%20for%20pilots.jpg?dl=0

    Dropbox works with files (video, graphics, text, anything) of any size. Best of all, it’s free for a 2GB account. Use this link (http://db.tt/KCWoOts) to get your free Dropbox and we both get an additional 500 MB.

    You can share anything in your Dropbox. Just put the file into a folder, right click on the file, and select "Copy Dropbox Link". You can safely share that link with anyone.

  4. Here in PA we have Trend MLS so we have to conform to their specifications which are primarily photo size and KB. I've always emailed the photos to our agents using a zip folder and this seems to work well for everyone. If the agent isn't that computer savvy I attach the photos as single files. Delivering a disc would take too long as we guarantee same day delivery and I can email the photos at any time. Never had a problem with this.

  5. We use Egnyte. It's not cheap but well worth the cost. Many features: branded interface, online backup, desktop synch. Links are simple to create. If you have more than one person in your business, you can share files and give different levels of permission. We've been using it for several years and it has proved invaluable to us.

  6. MLS-Delivery.com offers a simple interface for photographers to upload and deliver images to agents. Agent's don't need any special applications or logins to access a dashboard with a graphical user interface containing all the media you've delivered to them.

  7. We use Viewshoot.com. Extremely affordable. Provides a property website and you can require payment before download. This has completely changed our cash flow and have much less non-payments. Also has scheduling/ordering functionality.

  8. I am new to this, but I noticed when I was processing photos yesterday that I can publish them directly from Lightroom to Flickr. I think it may be easy to update them using that connection as well. I will check out the other sites mentioned.

    My plan is to have the seller review them on that site to pick out which ones to include in the listing in MLS and on Zillow and which one to use as the first photo. Once he has selected the photos I will finish them in Photoshop.

    By the way, as a Realtor with no formal photography training I am trying to decide between using primarily HDR or composite photos. Would like to know which approach works best for professional photographers. I am also trying out my new camera, the Nikon D850. Here is my Flickr site:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/153409052@N06

  9. As a new real estate photographer, this particular problem has been on my mind A LOT. And in a bit of serendipity, I searched for the topic the day this blog post was released.

    For the two jobs I have delivered photos for, BOTH agents had problems (due to their own lack of technical knowledge) with the .zip file I delivered. I want a solution that allows the agent a one-click download experience; I don't want them having to individually download 40 photos for MLS and 40 for print. But I also want a solution that doesn't deliver a .zip file so as to avoid technical problems and thus headaches for my customers.

    As such, I emailed ALL of the services referenced in the blog post. Thus far, Pixieset, Photoshelter, Pixoasis, Shootproof and Tourbuzz have all responded and, to a company, ALL deliver .zip files (on a side note, big thumbs up for FAST response times to my inquiry, all less than 12 hours). The blog post ended with the advice to avoid sending .zip files. But that does not seem possible unless I advise my clients to download photos one by one, which is not the customer service experience I want my customers to have.

    So it seems that I'll be throwing a "customer service shine" on this problem and visiting clients who have issues with .zip files. It'll be time consuming, but I'll get some face time and hopefully can pass out some business cards to other agents.

  10. A friend of mine who does real estate photos more than I and is very speedy (24 hour turn around time) uses the same web site as I do. That is smugmug. What he does is he uploads the photos to Smugmug via Lightroom where only the person with the link can view and download the images. The link only lasts 2 weeks. I think this is a brilliant idea.

    I have used the service Hightail and that too works well. You can set the link to expire on a tie that you choose.

    Hope that helps

  11. Why is there a perception that DropBox is less than professional? Most people that I know who work in offices across the country use DropBox as a collaboration tool, file sharing tool, and affordable alternative to using such old school methods as CDs and website delivery.

  12. Tour buzz is a very professional way to send the photos already sized large for MLS and option of giving the Realtor a tour. They also offer payment before the photos are delivered. Excellent customer service.

  13. I highly recommend using TourBuzz. I have a link here to sign up and get 75 free credits instead of the promotional 15. That is equal to 5 tour deliveries. I haven't been able to get my agents to use the tour, but I still use the service for photo only deliveries and it cost only 3 credits each. The files are sized for mls, printing, and web usage. The customizable flyer is great for the agents to promote a property or for you to promote yourself. The tours are branded and unbranded with music. The customers can see the photos before they pay, but can't download unless they pay or you do not require payment. I have to say that their customer service has been way beyond excellent.

    To get your promotional tour or photo deliver credits follow the link or copy and paste the link below.

    http://www.tourbuzz.net/public/pages/signup/9210

  14. I use Zenfolio, Dropbox and gmail to varying degrees. If I’m delivering hi-res images I will use the first two. But Zenfolio will display them in the most professional way. It’s important to consider the technical literacy of the client with regards to accessing the files. Do they know how to extract a zip file etc

  15. Today everything is done digitally. I almost always use Google and then to share the file. Occasionally I will use Dropbox but Google has been my go-to.

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