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

Apple kills Flash for websites.

I have a Love/Hate relationship with Apple. When they rolled out their iTouch, iPhones, and iPads, they refused to support Flash—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 of its software to the cloud. So there is less need for optical drives than a few years ago.

It’s a common misconception that burned digital media’s shelf-life is infinite. However, 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? For example, 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 on them. The more you order, the cost per unit goes 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 in late July this year and asked for a quote for 50 for the 4G drive. Unfortunately, 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. However, they didn’t promise them before August 12th, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quick turnaround.

While I will continue with some clients to deliver on DVDs, I see these 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 in quantities as low as 20. I recommend purchasing the size; you will likely use the most in a more significant amount and then a few in larger capacities in smaller quantities. Hey, buy 100 2G, then maybe 50 4G, and then 20 8G sizes in order.

I recommend starting small and testing the supplier for turnaround time, quality and durability.

USB Flash Drive Benefits

There are a few benefits to using the USB over a DVD or CD. First, putting images on the USB is much faster than burning a disc.

Another benefit is that 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, the USB can be used for other things. They may use this repeatedly and are reminded of me every time they do. It has a similar impact to a postcard I send 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 on an SSD drive, for example. But the best archival solution is a system with pictures 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 believe it is all about their images.

I have to photograph a lot of meetings, and even in a room, I find many people checked out. Of course, they are a captive audience, but those running the conference still 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 photos, they will hire us over and over. I hate to break it to you, but that 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 important photos, and why they are essential.


The total package 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 understand who you are and what you want 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. Being well-groomed and in fashion can help.
    3. Presentation – Your materials from business cards, estimates, invoices, and emails all need to be visually solid.
  3. Ideas    You need to know 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 voices. Having James Earl Jones (Darth VaVadar’soice) is quite commanding. You need to speak clearly and develop a tone that engages depending on the message.
  5. Relationship-focused   people detect if you are using them. It would be best if you were interested in the audience to engage them genuinely.
  6. A collaborator  — is someone looking to help your clients reach their goals which intern enables you to get yours.
  7. Pricing — Your pricing needs to be clear and understandable from the client’s perspective, meet 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. But the point is simple; you cannot make it as a professional photographer or as a career with great images alone.