Last Updated 7 months by Emily Standley-Allard

Photo sharing is more than being able to send an image to a third party, it is about protecting your business and building trust with potential clients.  With a secure system you can prevent clients from getting the image without paying, and help leads feel confident their images are secure if they hire you.

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And this guide walks you through the options available with photo sharing solutions, and how you can use them to grow your business. And remember, not every tool is needed right now, so go with what makes the most sense for you now while looking for features that will help in the future.  Let’s start with client delivery.

Whether you photograph weddings, capture corporate images for tradeshow booths, or do product shots for ecommerce clients, there will come a time when someone will try and take the image without paying.  Don’t let this happen to you!  You have options to protect your work.

These include:

  • Watermarking
  • Low-res samples
  • Password protected galleries
  • Encrypted links
  • Right click prevention
  • Small file size images in the code base
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The first and easiest solution for protecting deliverables is watermarking.  When choosing a photo sharing service, ask customer support if you can have watermarks automatically added whenever a third party accesses the images within your galleries. 

It isn’t enough to place your logo on the image, as logos can be cropped out easily.  If you don’t like watermarking, don’t worry, there are other ways to protect your images.  The next level is right click prevention.  

Users will try to right click on an image and download it for free, especially if they can upscale the shot to reduce pixelation. 

By making sure your client galleries have right clicking disabled, you can help prevent these unwanted downloads when you share a link to access the images.  And this goes code deep.

More tech savvy clients will look at a page’s source code or try an image extractor.  Open the page source of the webpage and look for the image name.  It is as easy as doing a text search and typing in the file name. 

Now open the URL with the image and see if the image shows up with a watermark.  You can also try downloading it and upscaling it to make sure the client cannot do this and bypass paying you. 

If this sounds intimidating, don’t sweat it.  There’s lots of ways to keep your work from getting “exposed” to unwanted downloads.  

Talk to your photo sharing service and ask if they offer password protected galleries, or a way to send an encrypted link that only lets clients access the images you put into the private gallery.

Having password protected galleries isn’t only important for fine art and custom business shoots. It’s important for portraiture.  

Boudoir is one of the largest markets to make money in.  If you have a secure photo sharing system, you can list the ways you protect your clients by keeping their most intimate images guarded. 

Showing that you take extra precautions helps set yourself apart from your competition.  And this could help you land more business. And don’t forget parents!

Making sure family photos, or even holiday sessions don’t get out into the real world is vital.  Parents want to keep images of their children safe from downloading. 

They want to prevent their kids from getting bullied, and the images from being turned into memes. 

By letting them know you’ll keep everything in their control, you’ll help gain their trust. 

And there’s one thing outside of security that is important with photo sharing, ease of use.

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Once you know your photo sharing service has the levels of privacy needed for your business, make sure you’re able to quickly and easily retrieve and display your work.

The first step is having an app available that can be used on connected devices.  Being able to open an app while at a client site to display the shots is an important safeguard in case your camera or computer gets damaged or breaks. 

Next is having a portal that can let you access your work with ease.

2fa and password protection are important, but what happens if the system locks you out and recovery is tricky. 

Make sure you talk to the support team and see what controls there are to access your work when you’re overseas, and in different locations.  This is especially important for travel, landscape, and workshop photographers. 

Not to mention if you’re editing at a client site.  Being able to get the work from unknown locations makes the difference between a productive visit and a flop.

Last is the speed to access your galleries.  If the photo sharing solution is too complex, or the load times are too long, you’ll have cranky clients. 

Test each system before you purchase and use different connection types including cell phone data plans.  You never know when you won’t have wifi and will need to rely on your phone’s network to save the day.

Photo sharing is more than just finding an easy way to get photos to your client, it is protecting your business. 

Make sure you have the highest levels of privacy and security available, and that your clients know you take extra steps to make sure their images are safe. 

goes a long way in helping you prevent images from being stolen and printed, as well as turning leads into paying clients. 


If you’re ready to protect your photos and make money, click here to try SmugMug, a leader in photo sharing, storage, and selling prints today. 


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