Should you be looking at Dropbox for photographers?
Dropbox, Dropbox, Dropbox. It seems we can’t talk about online services anymore without Dropbox coming up in conversation.
As a photographer, should you care? In a word: yes. If you’re not already using Dropbox, there’s a good chance you should be.
What is Dropbox?
The easiest way to think of Dropbox is that it’s a folder of stuff (files, subfolders, etc) that lives on your computer and also gets synchronized to other computers, and is accessible via the web and mobile devices.
Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud Drive, and Box.net offer similar services, but when it comes to support across all platforms and by third-party applications, Dropbox is king.
Dropbox gives you 2GB of space for free, accessible from anywhere (and if you use this referral link, we both get additional free space).
What Might a Photographer Do with Dropbox?
Given that Dropbox is, at its core, file storage, let’s figure out what sort of files one might put there. I’ve found Dropbox for photographers to excel in two major areas, with a third use also coming into play:
- Share files with clients: Dropbox allows you to easily generate a link to a folder of files, making it easy to share a photo or an entire folder of photos. Instead of dealing with uploading to a FTP server or using a more traditional photo sharing service, just put your photos in a folder in Dropbox, right-click and get a sharing link, and send that to your client or colleague for easy access.
- Store general business documents: In addition to photos, I keep my business documents in Dropbox. It’s nice having them synchronized automatically between my main editing computer and my travel laptop. Additionally, I know that I can quickly access a contract, licensing agreement, event schedule, or other client-related document by using the Dropbox app (free) on my smartphone or tablet.
These two groups make up most of my use of Dropbox, but there’s a third area as well: I keep high-resolution JPG copies of my best images in a folder in Dropbox. I’ll save these out of Lightroom (or any other photo editing software), and the fact that the images are synchronized up to Dropbox’s servers means that I have yet one more layer of backup of my best work.
Become a Photographer Dropbox Power User
Interested in learning more? Curious to get more detailed instruction or move into many more in-depth uses I didn’t mention above? Derrick Story has an excellent Dropbox for Photographers class on Lynda.com where he’ll walk you through in detail. He’s an excellent instructor, and if you hit that link you can start a free trial with Lynda to check it out.
Are you currently using Dropbox? Do you have a creative use that goes beyond the obvious? Leave a comment below and share!
I take photos of events and portraits I would like my customers the opportunity to view and download the files/photos onto their flash drive for their own use. How does this work and what is the charge for me. I only use this a few times per month
You could use Dropbox, creating a folder for each event and sharing a link to that folder with folks. If you wanted more control such as password-protecting galleries, or allowing folks to browse around various galleries without having a specific link for each one, you probably would want to look at a more photo-specific gallery system such as SmugMug or a WordPress plugin with similar functionality such as Envira Gallery. I’m affiliate partners with both and use them both (for different purposes) in my own world.