Cloud based file storage is the new tool to move/transfer digital files and folders between vendors (photographers) and clients. It has many names. Dropbox, Box, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive, Adobe file share, to name a few.

The advantages: A) Quick delivery.  B) No Mass Sales Tax because no physical media changes hands. Plus no media fees and the cost associate with shipping of the media.

The disadvantages A) Clients do not have a big enough subscription to facilitate the transfer. B) Timely downloading of files to re-open up the vendors/photographers cloud capacity. C) An understanding what kind of files or folders a web browser can and cannot facilitate moving through.

Case in point.  Dropbox’s free subscription provides a person, 2 gigs of storage. (up from 500 megabits originally). But often 2 gigs are not enough. I find a typical job can produce anywhere from 2 to 8 gigs, with large jobs adding up to as much as 18-30 gigs. I even had one ganged together high school, in depth shoot, add up to ~64 gigs.

I deliver both high end TIFF files and matching under 5 meg JPG files. To help keep the size of the files down, I stopped providing 16 bit TIFF files and went to providing 8 bit files, which are about half the size. 16 bit TIFF files are really only needed for the most critical color printing/manipulation. If a client does need a 16 bit TIFF file. I can very easily produce one from the original raw file keep in my archives.

Funny, I was one of the first adopters of Dropbox several years ago. To spread the word about Dropbox. Dropbox has a promotional program that if you convinced someone else get a free or paid Dropbox account, you got an additional 500 gigs of storage. I now have ~20Gigs of storage. This should easily allow me to move/share/transport a typical job to a client. But the rub is if that client does not have a big enough Dropbox account they cannot access the files. (this is how Dropbox makes money…convincing client to pay a monthly subscription for more storage.) This can become a bottle neck holding up precious storage space of a photographer waiting for a client to finish downloading their work and then letting the photographer know it has been accomplished.

The second hurdle is educating clients that even if they do buy additional space. They need to really install the application on their desk tops. While you can drag and drop files onto your web browser open to a Dropbox folder. You cannot drag and drop folders. You must use the application, which opens a folder tree on your desk top. Once the folder tree is open you can easily the drag and drop both files and folders.

The third hurdle can be that a client’s IT department does not allow Dropbox file or folder downloading.

May I graciously suggest a little Dropbox digital hygiene or work flow. This is true with any of the FTP Cloud based file storage and sharing systems.

FTP Cloud Storage (DropBox) Work Flow
1) Get a Dropbox (FTP Cloud based file storage) account big enough for your needs.
2) Get and install the corresponding application, available for both Windows and Mac both old and new operating system. This is free.
3) Once a vendor provides you and/or informs you that the files/folders are ready to down load them. Down load them in a timely manner.
4) Check to see if the files open in the applications you expect to use them in.
5) Inform the vendor/photographer that you have successfully download the files, again in a timely manner.
6) Backup the files onto a second resource.

A few things you may not know about Dropbox.
1) It can store you phone images as you take them. This a great way to back up your precious images but it also quickly fills up your storage space.
2) To share access to a folder you need to go to the web browser window. Click on the share icon. Then follow the instructions.
3) A hidden Jem is that the small icon for Dropbox in your window operating systems banner/footer. Is an easy way to access the folder tree. You can do this twice to open two folder trees on your desk top. Then drag files and folder between them.
4) In the web browser Dropbox window you can right click on your account to learn how much storage you have and how much you are using at that point.
5) If need to open/restore more original cloud storage space. You will need to delete some files/folders in the Dropbox folder and then empty your trash can to make Dropbox know they are truly gone. (Only do this once you have backed them up externally) Only do this to folders you are the originator of. If you are not the originator, inform the originator you have successfully downloaded the files so they can delete them.
6) Once you have deleted the files/folders from the Dropbox folder tree. Refresh the browser window. This will now reflect your account’s new size and usage.
7) Dropbox account/application is also available for your phone and tablet. Giving you access to the same files/folders.

Hope this helps.