The first time I’d ever heard about PASS was back in June 2011 when the ShowIt gurus hit up DC for a tour stop. I wasn’t at the event, but I heard enough about it from other photographers to pique my interest. After asking around (“what is this PASS this??”) I finally came to understand- PASS is an image-sharing app, making delivering photos to your clients easier than it’s ever been. It was designed by the people at ShowIt, a website platform I use that makes customizing your website much easier for technologically-challenged people like me.
Admittedly, I didn’t jump on PASS right away. I wasn’t a ShowIt user at the time and I already had my Zenfolio gallery account, so I saw no benefit in switching systems. All I saw it as was another way to deliver images to my clients, and I was already doing that through my Zenfolio gallery and DVDs. Well, last summer I finally made the jump to a ShowIt website and was added to a couple of groups on Facebook just for ShowIteers. I kept hearing more and more about various photographers I admire using PASS galleries, how much simpler image delivery had become, but most importantly, how much their clients LOVE their PASS galleries. I wanted to see what the fuss was about, so I purchased enough PASS credits for a few wedding galleries.
I uploaded a couple of weddings, thought the process was straightforward and simple, but still wasn’t totally sold. But then Justin & Mary delivered the images from our session in New York City and I got to see PASS from a client’s perspective. BOOM. Sold. It was so darn easy to navigate, uploading my favorite images to Facebook was a cinch, downloading the high-res files only took a couple of minute, and the interface was super attractive. Here’s a glimpse at how PASS looks like from the client’s end:
I started putting more of an emphasis on making PASS part of my workflow. My first attempt at integrating it into a wedding came more as an afterthought- the bride had already received her images, so the PASS gallery wasn’t as big of a deal. So I tried starting out with the PASS gallery- instead of sending the flash drive and then the gallery, I tried sending the email with their PASS information as soon as the images are done. Seeing as I’ve got my workflow down to about a week for weddings, this means I’m delivering client images within a week or so of the wedding (granted, this is the “slow season”, so I’m hoping to keep it down to 2 weeks during April-November). Compare this to the four, sometimes five weeks it takes me to send out a flash drive? BIG difference. Because PASS allows me to authorize my clients as VIPs on the account, they have access to the high-resolution files as soon as I upload their images.
Why is speed important? In my experience, the more time that lapses between the wedding and the day they receive their images, they less excited my clients are. Excitement and anticipation have a half-life; the more time you let pass, the more their excitement drops. By delivering my images more quickly, I’m giving my couples the chance to relive their weddings while the memories are still fresh. Excited couples order prints of their wedding photos, which is what I want them to do! Non-excited couples let their images sit on the flash drive, which is definitely NOT what I want. As their photographer, I have the power to make people either really excited about their wedding memories or really frustrated by the thought of their wedding photos. It’s pretty clear which route I’d like to take, right?
Why is an attractive interface important? Let’s be honest, friends. We judge things based on how pleasing they are to the eye all the time. There may be an amazing restaurant down the street, but if it’s facade is run down and passé, I’m probably not going to give it a chance. As much I’ve enjoyed working with Zenfolio, the interface just wasn’t PRETTY- I was becoming really frustrated at how little traffic galleries were receiving. Because of how much simpler the design of a PASS gallery is, it’s less intimidating and more inviting for people to come and take a look.
And lastly, why is ease of use important? Because if it’s not easy to use, people won’t use it. If it’s going to take you 45 minutes to sit down and figure out how to look at your wedding images, you’re going to scrap it and just wait for your flash drive to arrive in the mail. PASS in crazy easy for my clients- easy to download your high-res files, easy to share to Facebook, easy to star your favorites. And it’s easy for ME to use, too- it’s simplified my workflow. Instead of re-exporting an entire wedding worth of images in “Facebook-ready format” onto a flash drive, my clients can easily share right from the PASS app.
Oh, and did I mention that PASS also allows you to access your images from any mobile device? There’s a super simple app for the iPhone and iPad, meaning I can access our images from our shoot with J&M as well as images from my clients’ events. IT’S AWESOME. Don’t believe me? Here are two unsolicited Tweets from a couple of my recent brides who just received their PASS galleries:
Photographers, if you’re looking for a new way to get your images to clients in a more efficient manner, I can’t push hard enough for you to try PASS! You’ll be so happy you did!