I am writing this quick post to go over how I deliver the end product of my commissions to clients.
While the majority of my work is with Stocksy which only requires me to upload to my portfolio I still take a handful of hired photography gigs each month. How those photographs make their way to the client has really changed in the last 6 or 7 years.
Way back in 2008 when I started taking my first hired photo jobs I always delivered the snaps to the client burned onto a CD. I even sprung for the fancy coloured plastic jewel case. Then in around 2013 I opted for sending a Dropbox link.. it was easy and quick and didn't requirement to physically hand something over. At the time I thought that was a good thing.
So fast forward to the past 18 months. I started getting into shooting film and making more prints. I loved having something tangible in my hands instead of only viewing them on a screen. This lead me to change how I did things for clients. They pay good money for a product and it was important for me to deliver something they can hold and share, even if they only use the photos digitally.
So what to use? Optical drives are disappearing. I removed mine from my iMac and replaced it with a Sold State Drive. This lead me to USB drives. Probably not the most seemingly futuristic option (everything is a cloud now, right?) but something that is still used and (hopefully) will be used for more years to come. And nowadays they have some pretty great capacities available.
The standard plastic drives didn't really sway me. I remembered seeing a wooden USB drive once so I hit to the Googles and found a few places that sell custom engraved wooden USB drives. I ended up at USB Memory Direct where they had the rectangle drives that are my preferred aesthetic and their free shipping to the US & Canada sealed the deal. I priced a similar looking drive and the shipping to Canada really brought the price per drive way up. They have a few different styles of wood but I prefer the lighter colour with my logo engraved. Alternatively there are dark wood ones and a light coloured logo can be added. But engraved is nice and permanent. And it gives that premium look.
The drives look great and work great. The caps have little magnets so you won't lose them & each comes with a sealable plastic sleeve.
So a tangible little drive containing the photographs is important for me. But even more so are providing a select few prints. I typically do not advise that I will provide a print because I like showing up with one and handing it own without them expecting it. It is just a nice gesture and if it ends up on the wall or one someone's desk it can act as an advertisement for me as well.
For a recent wedding I shot the original deal was to just provide a download link. I couldn't in good conscience give a garbled URL that contains all of their wedding memories. That link won't be something the happy couple cherishes or shows their grandkids one day.
While they were waiting for a link.. I showed up in person with this..
A custom wooden box with the couple's name engraved on it, one-hundred 4"x6" prints and a custom USB drive. So now there is something they can put on their shelf.
This wasn't part of the 'Emerald Wedding Package' or cost the couple another $1000.. it was something from me to them. So now when they show it to their friends who maybe are engaged they will inquire further about me.
I challenge everyone to look at their product delivery methods, even if you aren't a pro that does commissions. Even if you're giving photos to family members, give them to them so that they will last.