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What Is The Easiest Method Of Real Estate Photo Delivery for Non-Technical Realtors?

Published: 30/12/2016

Bill in VA asks:

Has there been any sampling of members as to what program(s) are being used most often for file transfer of final images to realtor clients? I am familiar with Dropbox and Hightail. What other programs exist and what programs are easiest to use for non-technical agents?

The reason for my question is that I am finding that many agents, who are not tech savvy,  are not comfortable with programs mentioned above.

In this post back in March of this year, we discussed a bunch of popular real estate photo delivery options. In the comments, readers talk about their favorite delivery methods.

Most of the old timer non-technical agents that I know would like you to deliver them a CD with the photos on it, but this is impractical because of the extra time and cost of delivery. Not to mention the fact that in many states you can avoid collecting sales tax if you deliver only a digital product.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Supply delivery instructions: Whichever delivery method you use supply some concise well-written instructions. Since Zip/UnZip is built into Windows 10 and MacOS these days nothing could be easier than emailing a client a link to a Zipped file of photos on DropBox or GoogleDrive. Dave in WA reports that: "Google Drive is almost exactly 5X faster than Dropbox. It's been waaaaaay easier for all my tech challenged brokers to grasp and, oh, did I mention it's FREE (you can do decent volume and manage the storage to keep it free, or just pay the $2 per month and not worry about it). It's Absolutely amazing."
  2. has a built-in photo delivery system: I use a lot and no one has ever told me they've had trouble using's delivery system.

Does anyone else have suggestions for Bill?

Larry Lohrman

18 comments on “What Is The Easiest Method Of Real Estate Photo Delivery for Non-Technical Realtors?”

  1. I think this is very important. I'm lucky in that we have a custom built website specifically for real estate photography that has amazing functionality to it. The agent creates an account. The order is placed online (can customize packages and change prices for specific agents). Once schedule is set with agent it is entered online and agent and photographer receive template email to add to their calendar (includes preparation tips and terms and conditions). After shoot images are uploaded on backend. This creates slideshows including full agent branding. Also provides 3 download sized images from full res to MLS specific and web sized. We can add video tours (Ken Burns slideshows with Music) that appear in the slideshows and can be uploaded to MLS. Once uploaded agent receives an email template with direct links to all slideshows and downloads. All payments are made via credit card in the agents account and processed by our merchant account. Agents can enter their order in their account and can add MLS #, price and property descriptions. They can also view the stats of their slideshow views.
    We can create tons of reports on the back-end (monthly sales, download database of agents etc.), sort orders by agents, date, order # etc.
    It really is a one stop shop. It's very easy to use for the agents and it gives us full management of the business and it really is pretty amazing.
    I guess it's like tourBuzz but better and most importantly it is ours. No 3rd party to deal with.

  2. Comes at a good time as I will re-launch the RE specific website linked above sometime this weekend as it currently redirects to my general photography site which is Zenfolio based and used for photo delivery, with the new re-launched site jumping to it for the delivery mechanism. Only two items before launch. 1) An onsite photo of self for the "About Me" page which Realtor will take at my 9:30 shoot today and 2) create a screen capture video of how to retrieve photos and navigate site on the "Client Login" page. Will put a followup note when actually launched and no longer redirected.

    Initially used Dropbox, and unfortunately still do as backup for certain Realtors who can't/won't follow my custom .pdf instructions of how to use the Zenfolio site. That is what gave me the idea of the screen capture video of the fake Ima Realtor's account to explore from client login to actual delivery. The problem with Dropbox, despite more space with each new client, the free version tops out around 16mb. Wouldn't be a problem if the Realtors followed my request to copy from the Dropbox drive to their computer but invariably, I had to delete older folders to make space as topping out. It got to the issue of pay the $200 to Dropbox for 'Pro' unlimited space or pay the $200 to Zenfolio and gain so much more - including a website with my own url. Straight downloads (like I use for family sharing) is quite simple and intuitive with Zenfolio but lose a couple of features necessary for RE and other professional photo work - specifically, file size choice and integrated licensing agreement. To do that, had to create a special "shopping cart" price list menu with $0 for full size and 1500px MLS/web as RE work is pre-paid, but also added extra cost items like photo books, stamps, and individual prints. That is where the confusion begins as it becomes a bit convoluted in the selection, cart checkout, email with zip file then unzipping and hoping the video will fully resolve.

  3. I have a huge web space left over from when I used a custom made WordPress site - now I use SmugMug and I have an instructional page on how to download and manage zip files. I just export one set to SmugMug and one set of high resolution and one set of low resolution with each project. Then I zip up the files and upload them to my web space and include the download links on my invoice. I've been doing it so long that it is second nature. I never get a problem or complaint unless I make a typo in one of the URLs.

  4. I'm AMAZED by how many RE agents can't do a simple download from I honestly don't know how it can be any easier. They get an email with a large button that says click here to download your files. When they click, it automatically downloads and unzips. But there always seems to be someone who calls me acting like I gave him instructions to write code for the SpaceX shuttle. One guy was so obtuse that I literally sent him 10 emails with 2 photos each.

  5. Another +1 for We Transfer. I found it when one of my big clients specified it's use. It's been fast, easy and free. I also use a combination of TourBuzz for clients buying virtual tours, and DropBox for everyone else.

  6. +1 for Smugmug. I send a link to the realtor/agent/builder/architect that enables them to download a zip file of all images. Like Reed Radcliffe, the link gets sent with the invoice.

  7. This is the absolute most professional, easiest, free, unlimited size, mobile friendly, agent friendly, photographer friendly, fast, colorful, simple way of sending images.

    All you need is their email address and yours then drop your zip file. It does everything else. The user can browse and download individual images or just push one button to download them all.

    These people have done an outstanding job and present a compelling user friendly service. Not a lot of bells and whistles but if you want to send free and be feature rich on the receiving end then this is it.

    You have to try it to believe it.

  8. I just had an issue this week with a large agency that I have been dealing with for about 15 years, and want your feedback.

    A new agent (who I think has no idea what he is doing) was recommended by a fellow agent in his office, that I shoot his two new hi-end homes. I sent the final edited images and tour links from PFRE tours to my new agent, who works in the same office as another of my favorite agents. There is an office manager who uploads the tours and files to the mls and never has any issues. this time, I was told that they needed the hi-res images and asked me to send it to their FTP site. I have not uploaded to an FTP site in many years, as all the agents have been using the images (sent in a zip file from PFRE tours). The office manager said it takes her 40 minutes to download my tour images and upload it to their site.
    Do any of you upload directly to an agency's FTP site, and do I need special software? I used to use FileZilla, but it has been years and don't know if there is an easy way to do this.

    I was considering charging more for this service, but heard that all of my competitors working with this agency provide this service. Any suggestions?

  9. I use DropBox and let the agents know they have 30 days to get them. I will reactivate anytime they want in the future for the same 30 days. The image size is 4700 x 3133.

    You can change the zero 0 at the end to 1 and the download will begin immediately.

    I send both links saying go here to the page link and go here to download link.

  10. I've used Filemail ( for many years. It's simple and gives a choice of zip, bit torrent, and ftp. It's got a whole lot of other great stuff too. Free, or 9/mo., or 15/mo. Never a complaint and they have excellent customer service, which you will probably never need.

  11. I use Dropbox for most clients - I have a 1 Terabite account I pay monthly about $10. (so I can change my mind anytime if I prefer something else).
    I let my frequent clients keep their images in our shared folder for a year but most remove them right away. A few RE clients only want the 20 low res images emailed
    and no large copies so that's simple enough. Only one RE client couldn't figure out DP so I went to their nearby home and set them up after a shoot. Extra time but
    considering he gives me a lot of work and it's not happened with anyone else I'm not complaining.

    I have also used wesend which is great.

  12. Google Drive has been absolutely flawless for my clients and for me over the past few years; Click, Download, Unzip, Done. It is actually easier than inserting a CD with pictures. Besides that, you are given 15GB of free space (and that is a LOT of MLS-sized images) - I'm not even half way there after almost 4 years of putting zips there.

    Since Google has Drive, GMail, YouTube, as many accounts as you need or want, and ton of other stuff, it is an excellent and highly reliable "one-stop shop" for me. Regarding other methods, no doubt they are fine - but I like to keep things simple and organized and EASY.

  13. Since I am already paying for web hosting, I don't see any point in paying another vendor to deliver images to my clients. I zip the galleries into two downloads, one for the web and one for print. Using a FTP client, I upload the archives to my file area (mysite.web/photos/customer/ and send my customer a link to the archives via email. The directory does not allow browsing, so clients can't see each other's archives. All they need to do is click the link in the email and the photos will download to their computer. The email is a template that explains where to use each set of images, the size of the archives and how many photos are included. The archives are available for at least a month before I take them down. I store them locally so I have them to re-upload anytime.

    I've never had any issues with clients not being able to get their photos quickly and easily and they have all had no problem dealing with .zip files. I spot test speeds and get between 4mbs and 8mbs (my service limit).

    If your customer has to download anything or sign up, the process is a fail. I'm also a fan of having customers going to my domain rather than someplace else.

  14. A little late but as noted in earlier post, website now relaunched with instructional video on "client Access" page on how to retrieve photos. (Delayed from weekend due to problem with Bluehost insisting on launching the old site pages even after I manually removed them from cpanel.)

    Essentially, rather than re-create a storefront for delivery, the "client Access" (and video reflected) jumps to a new window my other general photography site, powered by Zenfolio but uses my url so semi-transparent. I like a lot of the features that some of the others mentioned in this thread can't/don't do but the process is so convoluted as evidenced by a 10 minute video, that is frustrating. If I just uploaded a single size, they could download that size only just as easy a Dropbox and others. However, giving them the choice, full size (the only size I upload) or 1500px required creating a custom RE menu and going through a cart checkout system. One huge advantage of the cart checkout is that it includes the license agreement that they accept and a text copy in the .zip file that is not included on a direct download. Another feature that is built into the site, while not that important for RE but is for other genre if blocking right click to obtain a copy. Zenfolio was built "by and for photographers" as they say but that convoluted checkout process drives me crazy and has me looking at other option.

  15. OneDrive. Short. Simple. Sweet.

    For over 3 years now I have been using OneDrive. My clients have zero issues with it and, actually the day this post first 'accidentally' posted, I had just received an email from a client saying, and I quote, "No problems accessing them, the cloud site works great."

    As part of Office 365 I get 1TB of online storage. Each client gets their own folder and a link to it. Within are two subfolders, one has a full-res set of images, the second a reduced 1024x set. Whoever has the link can download the files. No passwords, nobody seeing other clients folders, always online, and zero maintenance for me.

    A very positive benefit, is that OneDrive has a very good picture viewer. Clients can either download en masse, view files one-by-one, or run the slideshow. That has been an equally popular aspect for folks. It also is mobile-friendly. Again, all built-in, nada for me to do but post files.

    In my email telling clients their images area available, I do tell them they need to have the responsible party download them within 30 days. That's more for my benefit. The reality is with 1TB of space, vast majority of which is still available, I almost never bother to delete images any more. The biggest motivator for me to delete old data, eventually, will simply be to save local disk space since that stuff's all sync'd locally :).

    I've looked at many of the other offerings discussed in this and other related threads. I simply have yet to see another solution that: *Made my customers happy; *Was easy for everyone to use; *'Effectively' limitless space; and, *Required zero maintenance of me. OneDrive does.

    OneDrive isn't the end-all, be-all. None of them are. But those Big 4 work for me. Almost all the others 'miss' on one more more of those 4.

  16. One convenient aspect of OneDrive I neglected to mention. It integrates seamlessly with Explorer. So when I export my images from Lightroom, I send them directly to the client's folder (locally cached on my computer), which automatically sync's with OneDrive online. There's not even a need to 'upload' anything. I know others do this too. However this is the sort of thing that keeps me with a major provider--good integrations--eliminating extra steps.


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