Dropbox vs. Sendspace

Yoohoo, I did a job. Well, a small one, anyway. A start-up company in the area of interior design needed visuals for their marketing materials had been looking for a photographer. The early bird certainly catches the worm – I was the first bird to reply to their mail and thus got the job. I’ll write about the shoot another time. Today they dropped in to pick up their images which they had requested to be burnt on disc.

How do you normally pass on images? In the interest of recycling and the environment, I am a great believer in paper-less communication. So I actually prefer passing on images via dropbox or sendspace. Unless you maintain a website with access-restricted viewing areas that you can invite customers to, individually, Sendspace and Dropbox are probably a better, quicker and environmentally friendlier way of getting images to a client. They are both services free of charge but they have different strengths and weaknesses. Dropbox essentially is a cloud storage service. You can sign up for a free account on which you open folders. Into these you then upload files which you can share with specific people, keep entirely private or share with everyone. For the latter two options you create individual links that get sent to the people you want to share the documents and files with. (This works with soundfiles as much as with text or image files.)

Dropbox has a couple of drawbacks, however. Upon initial signing up for the free service you receive a limit of storage space of 2GB. This can be extended to a maximum of 18GB – you receive an extra 500MB per new sign-up you refer to Dropbox. Not that much, considering how big photo files are. – The second drawback is the fact that your clients need to sign up to Dropbox in order to access the files you have stored for them there. While this is a great way for you to collect more storage space, it doesn’t really look that great to a client.

Sendspace is better in that respect – there is no sign-up required to make use of this service. However, that is because Sendspace is not a cloud storage provider as such. Essentially Sendspace allows you to send big attachments with a message. Like Dropbox, you upload your files into Sendspace’s cloud; once uploaded you can forward the images via a specially created link. Great: The service is free and no sign-up is necessary. Neither do your clients have to sign up for anything. The drawback: Free users have a file limit of 500MB. You may have to zip files before using Sendspace, thus creating an extra step in your workflow.

Maybe the good old disc is the way to go? My clients wanted a “hard” copy of the images rather than download the files onto their devices. That left me with a little packaging dilemma. I really do not like those plastic CD cases. (Again the goody-two-shoes environmental issue). And yet you need to pass on CDs safely and nicely – as a bit of advertising for yourself, I suppose. But fret not, while I am on my little Queen-of-the-Internet lecture here, I’ll let you in on a nice little secret. Instead of fiddling around with inDesign or some other programme to create a CD envelope, I simply use a website that offers loads of free, handy imaging tools. Bighugelabs.com is the magic site. You choose a cover image, upload it to the site, add a title and your business information. Click and the CD cover template is created. All you need to do is cut it out, fold it and stick your CD in. Boom.

Any secrets on “postage and packaging” you would like to share? Always interested!

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