Lessons Learned: Making Your Work Accessible

I’ve barely gotten any real work done today. I’ve spent most of my time sorting through hard drives and trying to locate photos. It’s annoying, but it’s been a good reminder of how important it is to make your work accessible not only to myself, but my clients (lesson 3 below). Here are a few things that make this easier…

Lesson One: Don’t delete your photos.  Today I’ve had three completely different clients say, “Hey, can you re-send the photos from ____?” They all have different reasons for needing them again, but the point remains the same. If I didn’t keep my photos long term then I’d have three disgruntled clients to deal with. It seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how tempting it is to delete photos when you find that your hard drives are full. Which leads us to the next point…

Lesson Two: Establish an archiving solution. The important thing is that you have a system. Buying another external hard drive to “free up space” is not a system; it’s a symptom of a bigger problem. What you need is a plan. You need to know where to export your photos when you’re done with them, and you need to know how to find them years from now. I’ve blogged about my system before, but there are many different ways to do it. Find a solution that works best for you.

Lesson Three: Create online client galleries. This is where I’ve slacked off, and I’m paying the price for it today. Basically, you want a place where you can upload your finished, high resolution jpegs for the client to access on their own. I use Zenfolio, and I couldn’t be happier with it! I create a new group for each client, and then I add a new album for each shoot. This is ideal for corporate work where you’ll do multiple shoots for the same client, or destination weddings where you will have multiple days of shooting for a single wedding. The real advantage comes from the various options available such as privacy, expiration, and access control. This means my clients can locate their photos and download the high resolution images without having to wait for me.

Moral of the story, there is nothing sexy about file management. Do yourself a favor by making it as efficient and accessible as possible.

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