Bill in Virginia recently asked the question:
I have been experiencing some issues in sending clients their photos and videos. What are some recommended photo delivery services to use?
First of all, I would not send video files to Realtors. Most Realtors won't have a clue what to do with a large video file. Host the video someplace like YouTube, Vimeo, or iPlayerHD, and then send your client a link to the hosted video.
Here are the typical alternatives for real estate photo delivery:
- Physical delivery of a CD or USB drive: Many agents would just love to have you deliver a CD or USB 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 drives 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 some 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 delivery is via your personal branded site. However, this means you must have that has 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.com, PixOasis.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 two different sized photos. I use this feature all the time.
- 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 getting started service, but it doesn't look as professional as other alternatives.
- Google Docs: Google Docs is very similar to DropBox.com and can easily be used to send files to clients.
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.