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Storage and File-Sharing Solutions for Photographers

By Radmila Milenkovich on August 19, 2020

When looking for a solution to store and share your photos, there are some questions you should consider first:

  • Do you need a place that allows you to both store and share pictures?
  • Are metadata capabilities important for you?
  • How often do you share pictures?

     

Over the last 25 years at FotoWare, we've encountered these questions many times. We’ve helped thousands of photographers to manage their photos, both for individual freelancers as well as organizations in industries such as media, marketing, and retail.

In this article, we've tried to answer these questions and compared the most popular storage and file-sharing solutions, so you can decide which type suits you best.

© Photo by Andrei Panfiloiu on Unsplash

Portfolio Solutions: to showcase your work

In essence, portfolio solutions are websites that serve as an online collection to showcase your work. Sometimes they offer unlimited storage, such as Flickr Pro, and so are quite convenient for storing purposes

Another advantage of portfolio solutions is the community aspect, as most of these websites allow you to connect with fellow photographers. Moreover, portfolio solutions often follow industry-standard metadata like XMP and IPTC. So, if you've tagged your files with metadata, they will be searchable.

Portfolio solutions are the right choice if you want your photos to be discovered by a broad audience, as well as connecting with other photographers. However, they can’t be used to share photos with clients or collaboration.

One-time Transfer Solutions: to promptly send files

Sometimes all you need is to ship off the photoshoot to a client. If that is the case, tools like WeTransfer will do the trick.

As email has a file size limitation for transfers, these file-sharing solutions are a great way to share files over the cloud using a temporary link. However, a temporary link has its disadvantages as it is, well… temporary. So, it will expire after a certain date and the files will be deleted.

Another simple way to share a few photos is via Lightroom. This online editor allows you to send images by exporting them from Lightroom to email.

One-time transfer solutions are a good fit if you need to send files quickly. However, their functionality is quite limited as they do not offer storage.

Cloud-sync Solutions: to safely store images in the cloud

Cloud-sync products are what we are most used to as mobile users. For example, if you use Android, Google Photos will automatically back up your images; on iOS, it is possible via Apple’s iCloud. However, there are also options for professional photographers: for example, the business plans of tools like Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Learn more about DAM and OneDrive

 

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Such cloud-sync solutions are a great way to back up your photos and access them from any device for a mid-level cost. Another benefit of cloud-sync is their basic metadata capabilities. However, you will likely still need to rely on a good folder structure to find your collections.

Cloud-sync solutions are used mostly for storing files, rather than for their file-sharing capabilities — this can be an issue for photographers who regularly need to share their images with clients. The problem is that most cloud-sync solutions restrict access to files by default, meaning you have to give other user accounts access and download rights manually.

There are ways around this— you can put images into a shared folder, send them via email, or use the transfer solutions - but if you need to share photos regularly, these workarounds aren’t ideal since they take up quite a lot of time.

Digital Asset Management Solutions: to create a full photography workflow

If you have a small amount of photos and can rely on a folder structure, then cloud-sync solutions can be a good fit for organizing your images.

However, if you work with large amounts of content, you might want to consider a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution. It offers a more efficient way to organize files, by using using industry-standard metadata (XMP, IPTC and EXIF) to make your files searchable and having a user-friendly interface to visually navigate through your images. 

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In addition to file-storage, DAM systems are designed to make it easy to share files. For example, FotoWare enables you to create collections of photos to share with anybody, whether or not they have log-in access to the system, by generating a unique URL to an "album".

This sharing link doesn't expire, so you can send your photos to clients, and also control whether you want to give the recipient download rights — or restrict them to view-only.

DAM systems can go far beyond simple storage and sharing, with additional features that are designed to save you time and help you work more efficiently with your photos.

With a FotoWare DAM, you can do everything from creating photo-cropping presets to image enhancements to building advanced workflows, such as an approval process or automatically creating collections into what we call a "SmartFolder". Essentially, there are a wide variety of tasks you can automate!

Learn more about workflows with these 3 practical uses for SmartFolders

FotoWare also lets you create an external portal to showcase your photos, so you can use it as an online portfolio.

All in all, a DAM solution is worth the investment (FotoWare starts from $74 per month) if you are looking for a tool that can handle a large amount of files and help you to save time, rather than simply storing or sharing your files.