I am switching to USB Flash Drives and I advise you to do the same

Apple kills Flash for websites

I have a Love/Hate relationship with Apple. When the rolled out their iTouch, iPhones and iPads they refused to support Flash. In affect killing it as a platform.

If your website used Flash, you either updated your website to html5 or just started over. You couldn’t afford to have people come to your website looking to hire you and not be able to see your work or maybe your contact information.

Apple may kill Optical Drives

Apple may have similarly sealed the fate of the optical disc drives back in October 2010 by leaving out the optical drive in their Macbook computers. Soon, it will go the way of the floppy disk.

Today most people are connecting to the internet for software rather than buying CDs. Adobe even went so far as to move most all of their software to the cloud. There is just less need for optical drives than a few years ago.

It’s a common misconception that burned digital media’s shelf-life is infinite. Unlike pressed original DVDs and CDs which are near invulnerable to degradation, burned media have a relatively short life span, typically between 2 to 5 years depending on the quality of the media and the handling of the discs. Had this not been the case there might not have been the move away from them.

USB Flash Drive as an alternative

What will you use going forward instead of the optical drive? The USB Flash Drive or deliver your images through the cloud with online galleries or something like DropBox.

I ordered my USB Flash Drives from http://www.usbmemorydirect.com/ and had my logo put on them.  The more you order the cost per unit does go down quite a bit.

Over a year ago I was getting ready to do this and asked USB Memory Direct for a quote and they sent this to me:

Below are additional pricing options for our classic styles.
Quote 7/24/2012
I wrote back to them late July this year and asked for a quote for quantity of 50 for the 4G drive.  The price went up a little.  

Quote 7/29/2013

I ordered my on July 31st and they arrived at my house on August 5th. They didn’t promise them before August 12th, so I was pleasantly surprised on the quick turn around.

While I will continue with some clients to deliver on DVDs, I am seeing these to slowly being phased out.

You don’t have to order in bulk

While buying a couple hundred will save you on unit cost USB Memory Direct will print on quantities as low as 20.  My recommendation is to buy the size you most likely will use the most in a larger quantity and then a few in larger capacities in smaller quantities.  Hey buy 100 2G, then maybe 50 4G and then 20 8G size in an order.

My recommendation is to start small and test the supplier for turn around time, quality and durability.

USB Flash Drive Benefits

There are a few benefits to using the USB over the DVD or CD. Speed to put images on the USB is so much faster than burning a disc.

Another benefit is I believe the USB is a much more stable platform than the DVD. I have gone back to earlier DVDs that worked a few years ago and today do not. I have never had this problem with a USB, but with all digital if it isn’t in three places it doesn’t exist.

Once the images have been taken off by the client and put on their computer or network then the USB can be used for other things. They may use this over and over and every time they do they are reminded of me. It gives me a similar impact of a postcard I send to them that they put up in the office.

USB Flash Drive as deliverable and not archival

I am sure the images are about as safe on a USB Flash Drive as an SSD drive for example. But the best solutions for archival is a system that has the images in three locations.

My use of the USB Flash Drive is to be able to give clients their images using this rather than DVD due to optical drives being less standard on computers.  

Getting and keeping attention of the audience requires a Total Package

I just read this article this morning “What You Can Learn From The World’s Best Violinist (And His $32 Pay Day)” and it made me think about how often photographers really think it is all about their images.

I have to photograph a lot of meetings and even being in a room I find many people checked out. They are a captive audience, but still those running the meeting have to do even more to get their attention.

As photographers we often think our images alone will get jobs for us and as long as we continue to produce great images they will hire us over and over. Well I hate to break it to you, that just isn’t the case.

This is an interview I updated recently with Greg Thompson on what corporations look for when hiring photographers. Listen and see how many things he mentions other than photos that are important and why they are important.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD9xiQvdZNo]
It is the total package that is more important than any of the individual parts.

So how do you turn people’s heads and keep their attention?

Parts of the Total Package for the photographer

  1. Distilled message: You need to have a strong understanding of who you are and what you are wanting from others.
    1. Elevator Speech
    2. Know who your audience is  Not everyone is your audience.
  2. Eye catching
    1. Your images need to be strong enough to engage the viewer
    2. Your image needs to be good. Well groomed and in fashion can really help.
    3. Presentation – Your materials from business cards, estimates, invoices, emails all need to be visually solid
  3. Ideas    You need to have ideas of what you can do for your audience. The more specific this is to your client the better. 
  4. Voice and Tone    No question that many people rise to the top due to the quality of their voice. Having James Earl Jones (Darth Vadar’s voice) is quite commanding. You need to speak clearly and develop a tone that engages depending on what the message is about.
  5. Relationship focused    people detect if you are using them. You need to genuinely be interested in the audience to engage them.
  6. A collaborator    someone who is looking to help your clients reach their goals which intern helps you to reach yours.
  7. Pricing  You pricing needs to be clear and understandable from the client’s perspective and meets their needs and maybe even create desire
  8. When and Where?  You need to target your audience to find them when they have the time to give to you.
You may think of more things to add to the list. The point is simple, you cannot make it as a professional photographer as a career with great images alone.