Your questions answered
How do I email pictures for a review?
A question that I get at least once a week, is “How should I send my pictures?”
While this might seem obvious to a lot of people, there are many photographers who don’t know the best way to email pictures. There is nothing wrong with not knowing and it’s always better to ask someone who knows how to properly email pictures so it is easier on the receiving end.
Why does it matter? Because sending your pictures the right way can mean the difference between getting a gig or not…or even having your pictures looked at.
It is the number 1 mistake that most photographers make and they don’t even know they are making it. It can be a lesson learned the hard way or by reading the list below, which will save you all the trouble.
Why email pictures?
Part of the problem that most photographers have is they misunderstand the purpose of emailing photos. The point is to get someone on the receiving end to look at them as easily as possible. Anything that makes the pictures harder to look at is going to cost you. Personally I don’t mind if Workshop or One on One students make these mistakes, but if anyone is trying to get a review, job, gig, exhibition, or is pitching their work, it is critical to not make any of these common mistakes. It can literally cost you thousands of dollars a year.
First let’s look at the mistakes, so you know
What NOT to do:
Do NOT send Zip Folders. It is one extra step someone must take to unzip them, and most likely there are too many pictures in the set or the files are too big. How many is too many pictures? Depending on the type of email, usually 10-20 max is fine. Try sending someone 50 pictures and they may never respond.
Do NOT send High Res pictures (printing size.) No one needs to see every detail in the picture. In all likelihood, most galleries, clients, collectors, and editors will only skim the pics anyway. They might not even look at them on a computer. 28MB files are not going to help you.
Do NOT use Dropbox, Google Drive or any other file share. Why? They are an infernal pain in the ass. If I have to go somewhere other than the email to look at the pictures, it is a fuss. Then if I need to go back to them I have to remember, was that an email, or GDrive or Dropbox. I want them all in one easy place…like my inbox. Remember, the aim is to the make life easier for the receiver. If they have to do additional steps like open other windows, preview, download or anything other that just look at the pictures, you are working against yourself.
Do NOT send links. Think of your email as a neatly wrapped, curated package that puts you in the best possible light for consideration. Emailing a link, aside from requiring more effort on the receiver’s part, shows that you have not put something together for them. Only send links if they ask. And if they do ask, put the link in the email, NOT in the signature. And don’t send links to private galleries on hosting sites like Smugmug, etc.
Do NOT cover the picture with watermarks. Sending pictures for review with a watermark is like telling the person you think they might steal your pictures. Not the idea you want to put forward. The only time I will ever send something with a watermark is a proof for editorial. And the watermark is small and in the corner.
Do NOT label the pictures with the receivers name. I can’t tell you how many people send me folders and files called “Adam Marelli.” I am Adam Marelli, not the pictures. And when I want to look up your pics, I should be searching for your name, not mine.
Do NOT send emails asking “Hey can you plz check out my pics?” If someone can’t be bothered to put together a full sentence about their own work, no one will take them seriously. That is a guaranteed way to never get work reviewed.
Lastly, be aware that if you are asking someone to look at your pictures, make sure they offer reviews. Like many professionals, I offer paid reviews. Why? Because it makes for a mutual exchange. When someone asks me to review their pictures, I do so at the best of my ability. My One on One students can attest that I go through every image, make formal and conceptual recommendations based on their questions, and send follow up resources and links. Reviewing is part of the work for me and many other photography professionals. As a photographer, you don’t want people asking you to do free work…so why would you ask someone else to do it?
What TO do
Ok, now that we have the boo-boo’s out of the way, let’s talk about how you can send pictures so that people will actually look at them.
Do size your pictures for email. 1500px across the long edge at 200-300 dpi jpeg will do just fine.
Name your files with your or the project name. eg. ”In the field. Katie Garrison-1″ or even more basic “Iceland-1 Doug Meyers”
Paste your pictures right into the email. This way, when the email opens in most browsers, the pictures open automatically.
Put your text at the top. You never know if they get to the bottom of the email so say your hellos and goodbyes at the top.
Tell them what the email is for, even if they are expecting it. You never know how busy someone might be. It is a good refresher for their memory. It could look like this: ”Hi Catherine, Here is a small collection of the images from Patagonia that I took last June. I look forward to reviewing them together in our session.” That’s it…no need to go into all the details, that can be handled later. Things like client or editorial pitches might have a few extra lines, but be quick and to the point.
And if all else fails and you are not sure what to do, ask someone who does. There are enough photographers online that there is certainly someone you can turn to for help. In fact I might know someone…