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We’ve got USB Gift boxes fully covered

Posted by USB2U on 8th April 2015 | Permalink

Innovation in the gift box space continues apace and no more is this evident than in the gift box (or keepsake) sector for Professional Photographers. Even for those enlightened photographers that have already made the move from CD/DVD to USB sticks it’s not enough to simply stand back and admire your work. No, you need to keep on pushing, you need to keep on challenging yourself and your suppliers, you need to differentiate and increasingly you need to add value to the packages you offer to your clients.

It’s a dog eat dog market with lots of competition and whilst the “superstar photographers” at the top end of the market rarely have gaps in their bookings for the mere mortals of the professional photography world life can be a little more challenging. Digital cameras and easy to use editing software packages are a double-edged sword – yes, they make it easier to take great photographs and manipulate them but they lower bar for everyone. There are now lots of “keen amateurs” entering the business who’ll offer a wedding shoot or portfolio session for peanuts and of course with little in the way of overheads it’s increasingly difficult to compete with them.


Gift Boxes from USB2U

Full Print USB Gift Boxes

The trick is to focus on your art, to let your images and clients do the talking. Brush up your skills, buy the best kit you can afford and spend time understanding how to really get the best from it.

Get a brilliant website built and understand how to optimise the website when its built. Spend time on Social Media, build up a following on Facebook, encourage and participate in dialogue, encourage reviews on 3rd party review websites, post images to Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram. Blog, yes, blog, write about yourself, express your personality off the page, and do it on a regular basis.

USB Pine Gift Box

Pine Gift Box with full colour print to lid

Get close to the best local wedding venues and get them to endorse your work and add you to their list of recommended professional photographers. Enter the industry competitions, challenge yourself, push yourself and just to anything you can to get known, get endorsed and get recommended.

In terms of differentiating your offer you could look to add some of the latest printed wooded gift boxes that were launched by USB2U at the 2015 Photography Show. These can be purchased on their own or bought as a bundle with a matching USB stick. The latest innovation with these boxes is the full colour print to the whole surface are of the box lid. The results (as you can see from these examples) are stunning and will really help to lift your proposition.

At USB2U we’ve got packaging for professional photographers covered!


Can you get Cheap USB Photography Bundles (boxes and sticks)

Posted by USB2U on 9th February 2015 | Permalink

The short answer to this question is of course yes. There are plenty of companies that will supply cheap USB memory sticks and gift boxes to professional photographers and if price is your only criteria for making your buying decision then it’s unlikely you’ll buy from us at USB2U.

Arguably it’s the same in the Professional Photographers sector – there is always someone with a camera who is willing to offer a cheaper wedding day package or portfolio shoot and again if price is the only determining factor then that’s fine, isn’t it?

From our perspective we’re simply not interested in a “race to the bottom” in terms of quality and price. We’ve been selling promotional USB memory sticks since 2003. We sell millions ever year to thousands of customers around the world and any cursory inspection of our company accounts will testify to this. We don’t make exaggerated claims about our company or our products instead we prefer to let our customers be our advocates and ambassadors – see our 2,500 + reviews on TrustPilot.

Why is this relevant? Well, if you’re a professional photographer then your might be interested to know that a couple of years ago we extended our range to include a number of products aimed specifically at your sector (general professional photographers, specialist wedding photographers and videographers). We put a lot of time and effort into carefully sourcing a range of top quality USB sticks and matching gift boxes and from day one we set out to make sure that the USB bundles that we sold were very different from the standard promotional products we’ve been selling for years.

We’re not knocking our standard promotional USB Flash Drives (after all that is what we sell the most of) it’s just they are a different product. They might not look like it from the outside but promotional USB sticks are freebie “giveaways” and their performance, specification and prices reflect this. More often than not they’ll find their way into a bin or the bottom of a drawer within a couple of months. They are not and should not be compared to the higher quality products we sell to professional photographers.

All of the USB sticks in our photography bundles have upgraded high specification components; upgraded controller chips, upgraded memory and upgraded capacitors and we offer them with a full 10-year warranty.

To the best of our knowledge (and bear in mind we’ve been in this market the last 12 years) you cannot buy high quality 64MB, 128MB and so on. In fact you can’t really buy high quality flash below 4GB these days so if you’re a photographer and you’re being offered this type of product you need to be asking some very serious questions about the validity of any “quality” statements that accompany them.

Our bundles start at 4GB. We do this not because we want to charge more money for the product and force you to buy more expensive sticks but because we know that anything below 4GB is going to be made using “promotional” standard flash. Put simply our brand and reputation means too much to us to sell you cheap, inferior promotional products and we hope your brand and reputation equally means as much to you and that you’ll invest wisely in your USB presentation packs (boxes and sticks).

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers


Professional Photographers – USB Lambs to the Slaughter

Posted by USB2U on 22nd January 2013 | Permalink

With more and more professional photographers taking the plunge and abandoning CD’s and DVD’s in favour of branded USB memory sticks the challenge for them is to make sure they get a product that is fit for purpose.

It’s far too simplistic to just take to the web, punch in the term “branded USB sticks” into a search engine, select a few suppliers, get quotes from them and go with the cheapest quote.

The problem with this approach is that the vast majority of printed (or engraved) USB stick suppliers are principally supplying products that are designed for the promotional sector – in other words whilst they may look great the core components of the USB sticks are usually towards the bottom end of the speed and reliability curve.

As a professional photographer when you’re looking to buy a PC or Mac you don’t just look at the outer case and make a buying decision based on how pretty it looks, you quite rightly want to know how much memory it’s got, how much RAM it has, what graphics card it has, whether it has a decent processor and what storage the HDD has.

When you’re buying printed USB sticks that will carry your brand on you need to adopt the same approach to buying them as you would to buying a new PC or Mac – don’t just think about the outer case (the outer shell of the USB stick), make sure the internal components are going to be up to the job.

Inside a USB stick are three key element; the flash memory, the controller chip and the capacitor. The quality and grade of all of these can vary. Some are branded (Hynix, Samsung, Toshiba) others are cheaper OEM products – these components will determine the read/write speed of the USB stick, the reliability of the USB stick and ultimately how long it will last (the number of read/write cycles it can support before it fails)

If you buy on price and price alone then typically you’ll end up with a USB stick that was designed to support the general promotional sector: OEM flash, OEM controller and cheap capacitor. Hopefully all Grade A, but often (despite promises to the contrary) they will be Grade B recycled components.

They’ll more often than not work and they’ll be fine for a few small PDF’s but put them under any pressure with lots of large image files or videos and you’ll soon notice that they start to fail at an alarming rate – tell tale signs are images that break up, images that have lines across them, videos that won’t load or run or images that look as though they saved OK but aren’t there when you re-insert the USB stick.

The only way to avoid these problems and is adopt the right mindset when you start the buying process:

  1. Don’t necessarily buy the cheapest USB sticks you can find. There’s normally a reason why they are so cheap.
  2. Buy from a local supplier that has a strong reputation (ask other photographers for their views and recommendations)
  3. Make sure you have guarantees for any purchase you make – 5 years should be the minimum.
  4. Try and get a clear statement about what memory and controller will be inside any USB drives you buy.
  5. Specify faster read/write speeds – promotional versions tend to have slow read/write speeds.
  6. Think about upgrading to USB 3.0 – this will guarantee you a high performance product but do expect to pay a higher price. Also bear in mind that most of your customers won’t have a PC that is USB 3.0 enabled so they won’t see any real performance improvements.

Do all of this whilst at the same time educating yourself about exactly what a USB stick is and you won’t become another photographer that has a difficult first foray into the USB market.

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks


Professional Photographers Don’t Get Duped buying USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 5th December 2012 | Permalink

Professional Photographers if you’re buying USB memory sticks to load your client portfolios on then please be careful because we’re getting a growing number of panicky phone calls from photographers who have purchased USB sticks direct from China only to find when they try to use them that they aren’t quite what they expected!

The most common problem is the supply of “masked” USB sticks – that is a USB sticks that has been sold with say 1GB of memory but in reality it only has 256MB of real memory. The hard part is spotting the problem because the sticks will be labelled as 1GB, they’ll be invoiced as 1GB and when you plug them into any PC and inspect the “properties” of the drive it will suggest it’s a 1GB.
The only way to tell if you’ve been duped and sold “masked” USB sticks is to plug one of them in and copy data a large amount of data, ideally data up to the threshold of 1GB.

On screen it will look as though everything is copying but the real test comes when you take the USB flash drive out (remembering to safely eject it first!) and then plug it back in again – if it’s a legitimate 1GB drive the data you copied will be there but if it’s a “masked” drive the data won’t be there!

The problem can’t be fixed. If you have purchased USB flash drives for your photography business and you’re experiencing these problems then you’ve been duped and you’re not getting what you paid for. Your only recourse is to go back the supplier you purchased them from and sort it out – not so easy if you’ve bought them from some obscure factory in China!

To protect yourself we strongly suggest that you:

  1. Buy from a reputable supplier that has been around for a while and ideally check with other photographers and see what experiences they have had – checkout 2rd party review sites like TrustPilot, see what’s being said on Twitter and other Social Networks. 5 minutes spent doing a bit of homework could save you a whole world of grief!
  2. Don’t buy on price alone – if you’re being offered an “incredible deal” on branded USB memory sticks and other suppliers are suggesting they can’t get close to the price then it might be an early indication that you’re heading for trouble.
  3. Get a warranty and make sure it’s at least 12 months (ideally 5 years). Also be clear on how the supplier will fulfil its obligations under the terms of the warranty should you have problems.
  4. Do your own checks when you take delivery of your USB memory sticks – load data onto a random sample (up to the limit of the memory you’ve paid for) and then try and read the data from another PC.

If you do discover that you’ve been duped and you need USB sticks in a hurry then at USB2U we’re happy to try and help and rush out some alternatives that are guaranteed to work. It’s a shame but typically these issues are only discovered at the last minute and if replacements are needed within a day or two you may have to compromise on colours, designs and sometimes print.

USB2U Wooden USB Memory Sticks

USB2U Wooden USB Memory Sticks


Why we recommend Professional Photographers buy High Performance USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 30th August 2012 | Permalink

One of the big trends in the professional photography sector is the move to supply customer portfolios on USB memory sticks. Typically the memory sticks are printed or engraved with the photographers’ logo/brand although occasionally the sticks are personalised with their clients’ details.

A good example of this is where the sticks are personalised with details of a wedding and then photos, video clips, details of the service and the speeches are then pre-loaded onto the sticks before being sent to the wedding guests as a memento of the day.

Whilst some professional photographers still prefer to use CD’s and DVD’s the move to use USB memory sticks has been hastened by the recent drop in the price of customised USB sticks, the availability of higher storage capacity sticks and the relative ease of finding local suppliers of customised sticks. Coupled with this CD’s and DVD’s are falling out of fashion, many of the latest laptops and ultra-thin notebooks are sold without a CD/DVD reader and frankly, no matter how well you print a CD they don’t really enhance the overall value of the brand printed on them.

Custom USB flash drives on the other hand can help photographers differentiate their service, improve their image, enhance their professionalism and provide a new revenue stream.  However for this statement to be true it is important that photographers ensure they buy USB sticks that are fit for purpose – externally (apart from the aesthetics of the different casing options; leather, wood, metal, plastic etc.) all USB sticks are pretty much the same. They have a standard USB connector on one end and the internal flash memory and controller is housed inside a case and it’s the case that is printed or engraved.

The real challenge when buying custom USB sticks is to make sure that the components that are inside the case (the flash memory and the controller chip and the capacitor) are good enough to support the use that photographers will put them to. If they are not up to the job then it can take hours to load images onto them (because the read/write speeds they support will be slow) and images loaded onto them can “fragment” – see the example shown here:

Fragmented Image

What can happen without high-spec chips!

Bear in mind that most companies selling custom or printed USB flash drives are providing them to the promotional sector where “cheap” is the fundamental requirement. Typically promotional drives are bought in the thousands with an expectation that they’ll be thrown away or rarely used once given out – let’s face it a corporate sales brochure that are stored on a USB drive are  not as important as Wedding photos. Whilst the drives are still Grade A the internal components are right at the bottom end of the performance spec – If you think of it in camera terms these are like Grade A disposable cameras that you can buy for a couple of pound when what might be needed is a decent Digital SLR Nikon or Canon.

Of course if USB sticks are only going to be used to market your services then standard promotional grade versions might be fine but, if you’re entrusting them to carry important portfolios from events that can never be repeated and have a huge emotional significance then it’s worth making sure that you buy better quality sticks.

Our advice is to ask question not only about the Grade of the flash but the manufacturer of the flash memory (ideally chose a Samsung or Hynix memory and not an OEM look alike). Ask if better quality controller chips can be supplied as well and finally get details on the read/write speeds of the drives and any warranty that comes with the drives. Do remember though that warranties only get you replacement drives they won’t help deal with unhappy customers whose images are corrupted.

Finally choose a supplier with a proven track record, get views from other photographers than have bought from them, check out their Twitter feeds to see what other photographers are saying about them, check 3rd party review sites – 10 minutes homework before you buy could save hours or days of grief if you end up with the wrong product from a supplier that does not care once they have your order.


Photographers Love Black Flip Boxes for their USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 26th June 2012 | Permalink

If you’re a professional photographer and you’re thinking of buying some USB memory sticks printed with your logo or name on then you’re in good company! Given the number of enquiries we are getting at the moment it seems like the initial trickle of photographers abandoning CD’s and DVD’s in favour of more stylish and professional looking USB sticks has become a torrent.

The rush to USB sticks has been fuelled partly by the recent dramatic fall in the price of the larger 8GB and 16GB sticks (some of these have dropped in price by 50% and more over the past few months) and partly by increased competition in the professional photography market.

Photographers Choice of USB Memory Sticks

Photographers Choice of USB Memory Sticks

If you’re a professional photographer and you want to stand out from the crowd then a good quality and well packaged printed USB memory stick can really help. Not only do they look professional but they’re a great way to promote your name/brand, they’ll inevitably get passed around giving you plenty of exposure and of course you’ll be able to generate an additional revenue stream by selling them.

Whilst USB sticks on their own look good they look even better when made available in a custom branded gift box. The most popular option with photographers at the moment is our Black Flip Box with a custom black foam insert to match the chosen design of flash drive. The box can be printed (as shown) or we can engrave (etch) the lid as well which looks stunning.

The black boxes seem to work particularly well with our range of metal and wood flash drives. The overall package of a metal or wooden flash drive in a black gift box just looks classy and expensive. Even the best packaged CD or DVD is going to look dated alongside any of these options.

USB Sticks and Boxes for Professional Photographers

USB Sticks and Boxes for Professional Photographers

We carry lots of the USB flash drives in stock (including the wooden) options and we can print or engrave these and supply them in less than 24hrs if you’re in a hurry. We also carry lots of different packaging options (black boxes, tin boxes, magnetic clasp boxes and plain white cardboard boxes) many of which we can also brand and supply with your preferred USB sticks – just call us for details.

Of course, whilst supplying your images in this way will undoubtedly lift your profile and add to the overall professionalism of the service you offer there is no substitute for experience, natural flair and your ability behind a lens. Fantastic USB sticks might help you drive more sales and generate more revenue but it’s the quality of the photographs that will keep customers coming back for more.


Recent Trends In the Use Of Promotional USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 23rd May 2012 | Permalink

Everyone’s favourite little storage solution, the USB flash drive, has been with us for over 10 years and its popularity doesn’t look like faltering. Part of the reason for its continued popularity is because manufacturers continue to innovate and introduce new shapes, styles and designs and people continue to find new ways to use them.

Originally USB flash drives were primarily used as personal storage devices; replacements for floppy diskettes, CD’s and more recently DVD’s. The emphasis was on personal storage with most purchases being made by the individual for their own use. The drives were used to store and carry personal files (school and work files) and would typically be nothing more exotic that standard Microsoft office files.

Over the past few years dramatic price falls combined with significant increases in the amount of storage on a “typical” USB flash drive has seen a marked shift in the purchase and usage patterns of the USB drives. Some of the more interesting recent trends include:

Professional Photographers use USB flash drives to distribute client portfolios – the move away from 35mm film to digital image capture has given photographers the opportunity to give their clients not just printed photos but digital copies (files) of the photographs on some form of storage medium. Many photographers that originally used CD’s and DVD’s have now switched to USB flash drives. The move has been driven by a realisation that the drives look more professional, they can be sold in printed gift boxes and engraved or printed with the photographers’ logo and contact details.

Births, Marriages and Deaths celebrated on a USB flash drive – today people’s lives are charted and recorded digitally. Digital 3-D and 4-D images captured during pregnancy scans are now sold on USB sticks, births and marriages are photographed and the resulting images stored of USB flash drives and then distributed amongst family and friends. USB sticks are increasingly being used by the bride and groom as wedding favours (pre-loaded with the story of their relationship) and we’ve even seen USB sticks distributed a funerals (pre-loaded with photographs, scrapbooks, music and video clips) to help the mourners celebrate the life of the deceased.

USB Business Cards

USB Business Cards

Traditional paper business cards replaced by USB Business cards – rather than continue to hand out paper business cards some companies are now opting to hand out USB business cards. These are the same shape and size as traditional paper cards albeit they’re a little fatter at 2mm thick, but the real benefit of these cards is that they can be pre-loaded with the company’s brochures, presentations, audio files, media files, press releases etc. Not only are they a great innovation but they are a real talking point and by pre-loading them with relevant media they are really cost effective.

Printed Brochures and Catalogues distributed on a USB flash drive – Companies that have historically printed glossy brochures and then distributed them in the post are now increasingly using USB flash drives pre-loaded with electronic copies of the brochure. Not only are the drives more popular with the recipients but they are much cheaper to post.

Flash Drives take the Promotional Gift market by storm – millions of USB flash drives are given away by schools, universities and businesses every year. They are typically pre-printed with a logo, loaded up with data and then given away. The intent is to deliver information on the company, its products and service, to build brand awareness and loyalty and to give the recipient something that has a high perceived value – a printed USB flash drive ticks all of these boxes.

With printed USB flash drives now available from under £2 per unit and with speeds and memory sizes improving all the time it looks as though the future of the humble USB memory sticks is assured for a few more years yet. When the adoption of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (which delivers a X 10 increase in data transfer speeds) starts to gather pace expect further innovation to underpin continued sales and new directions of use.


More Happy Couples Giving Out Their Wedding Photos on A USB Flash Drive

Posted by USB2U on 28th February 2012 | Permalink

In the UK another 275,000 couples are expected to get married this year and in doing so they’ll spend around £5.5 billion on the wedding, the rings, the dresses, the flowers, the venue and the photographer(s).

Once the wedding day is over and the happy couple return from their honeymoon one of the real joys for lots of newly wed couples is sitting down with friends and family and passing around the wedding album and collectively reminiscing about the day, who wore what, who cried, how beautiful the bride looked and how funny the speeches were and how much they are looking forward to their married life together.

But, in an age where we increasingly live out our  lives on-line via social networking sites like Facebook and Flickr it’s useful to have the same photos supplied digitally so that they can be “uploaded” for all of your friends to see, in fact for some couples “digital” images have completely replaced “traditional” printed albums.

One of the benefits of having your Wedding Day portfolio supplied on a USB flash drive is that you can print your photos out at home (as many times as you want), you can attach the photos to emails and send them to friends and family or you can upload them to your favourite blog or social network site(s). Photos supplied in this way give you much more control and flexibility and you’re not sacrificing on the quality of the photographs just how they are delivered.

The USB flash drives don’t have to be standard “shop bought” models either, instead, they can be personalised USB flash drives that are supplied in an attractive gift box and both the flash drive and box can be printed with details of the wedding day and the name of the bride and groom!

USB Flash Drives for Wedding Albums

USB Flash Drives for Wedding Albums

Some couples are now buying enough personalised flash drives to enable them to give them out to all of the guests at the wedding.  Each USB memory stick can be pre-loaded with either the whole wedding portfolio or tailored so that each guest or family member gets a collection of photos that is relevant to them. Loading additional photos of the bride and groom as children and during their courtship as well as photos from the stag and hen nights is something that’s also proving popular.

The move towards digital portfolios is also, in part, being driven by the wedding photographers themselves. Many are now offering highly professional USB flash drive “packages” where the wedding album is loaded onto a top quality USB flash drive and supplied in a gift box. Typically this is an “optional extra” rather than a product that replaces the more traditional prints but for the photographers it’s a great way to differentiate their service and drive more incremental revenue.

If you’re looking for printed USB flash drives and gift boxes for your wedding album(s) then give the team at USB2U a call.


Photographers Wanting Fast Promotional USB Sticks Should Consider USB 3.0

Posted by USB2U on 17th February 2012 | Permalink

Over the last year or so we’ve seen a significant increase in demand for printed USB memory sticks from professional photographers who are finally abandoning CD and DVD drives in favour of USB sticks.

The USB sticks are typically printed with the photographers business details and some form of image or logo that represents what they do. It’s also not unusual for the USB sticks to be supplied in some form of presentation or gift box.

The “packaged” solution looks significantly more professional that a CD or DVD and conveys a more contemporary and stylish image. As a “product” it’s also something that is easier to sell and generate some additional revenue from.

Obviously most professional photographers (wedding photographers, portrait photographers, commercial photographers etc.) are using the USB sticks to copy their clients portfolio onto and then although some are using them as part of a sales and marketing campaign to bring life to their work, The pre-loaded images are often supplemented with links to their web site, “special offers” and details of any forthcoming events or shows that they might be taking part in.

When photographers do make the move from CD/DVD to USB Stick one of the things that can take them by surprise is how much slower it is to transfer their photos onto the USB sticks. The primary reason for this is that the typical read/write speed of promotional USB stick is only around 4-8MB per second. This is fine if the sticks are being used by a company as a promotional “giveaway” but if you’re a photographer and you’ve got hundreds of large, high resolution images to copy onto the sticks it could take you a while!

Professional Photographers and USB 3.0

Professional Photographers and USB 3.0

There are a couple of solutions to this:

  1. Specify faster read/write speeds to your supplier – you can get (for a cost) faster USB 2.0 memory sticks but even these “faster” sticks are still going to take a while to load several gigabytes of data onto.
  2. Buy SuperSpeed USB 3.0 memory sticks – they’ll cost more but here’s why they are worth considering:

USB 3.0 has a theoretical data transfer speed of 4.8 gigabytes per second making them ideal for handling large file formats like videos, music and digital photos. USB 3.0 delivers a 10 fold increase in data transfer speed over USB 2.0

Although support for USB 3.0 has been sluggish you don’t have to dump your existing PC or Mac to benefit from the performance improvements but you will have to install a new PCI card to upgrade it to USB 3.0 – this is normally pretty easy to do and the cards will be relatively cheap.

If you’re customer does not have USB 3.0 on their PC or Mac the sticks will still work they’ll just work at reasonably fast USB 2.0 speeds.

In the short term the only drawback of using USB 3.0 memory sticks is cost. For the next year or so expect to pay a premium for USB 3.0 sticks.

The real value of USB 3.0 is the reduction in time it will take professional photographers to load up their branded USB sticks with their client portfolios but these time savings have to be set against the higher costs of buying USB 3.0 drives.


Wedding Photographers Please Take Care When Buying USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 10th August 2011 | Permalink

We know from the number of professional wedding photographers we supply with printed and customised USB flash drives that there is a real move in the sector towards offering Wedding Portfolios on a USB flash drive.

Whilst we’re a long way from portfolios and shoots being supplied exclusively on flash drives it is interesting to see how quickly wedding photographers have grasped this particular storage medium. For many the printed flash drives are offered as an “optional extra”, something that sits alongside the traditional album and is a way of providing clients with photographs in a format that they can use to email to friends and family that couldn’t make the big day, to post onto their Facebook account or just to print off on their home printer.

A good quality, good looking USB flash drive that is provided in a smart gift box looks so much better than a CD or DVD and they enhance the image of the professional photographers offering them – CD’s and DVD’s are pretty “old hat” and don’t exactly convey a great image these days!

If you’re a professional wedding photographer and you’re considering using USB flash drives then choosing a supplier is arguably more important than choosing the style and type of flash drive you order. It’s a common misconception that a flash drives are all the same so if you’re buying a 4GB flash drive from one supplier it’ll be the same as 4GB flash drives from another supplier – this is not only wrong but it’s dangerous to think this because if you leave yourself open to buying flash drives that will damage your business and harm your relationship with your clients.

Professional Wedding Photographers USB Flash Drives

Professional Wedding Photographers USB Flash Drives

It’s a bit like buying a decent lens for your camera – outwardly two lens from two different manufacturers might look the same, have broadly the same specification but the results can be massively different.

Some suppliers of USB flash drives (we know because we often have to pick up the pieces) offer what they claim to be Grade A, Hynix or Samsung flash drives only to then supply flash drives that are assembled using recycled or Grade B flash memory chips, sometimes they’ll have cheap flash controllers and increasingly some will supply “masked” USB drives where rejected flash chip of say 600MB has been “masked” to look like a 1GB!

Unfortunately when you look at these flash drives they’ll look great, it’s only when you use the flash drives that you’ll notice how slow they are, how many failures you get and how data seems to magically “disappear” after its been loaded (this is common on masked flash drives). They also have a nasty habit of failing after just a couple of months.

Suppliers get away with sending out these flash drives because they know in lots of cases they’ll be given away at trade shows and publicity events and people won’t care if a few fail (ironically it can be a very high percentage that fail but because they’re given away free no real data is collected).

But, when you’re dealing with the memories of peoples wedding and an event, that for many, will be the most important day in their life you need to take care that you’re buying good quality, high speed flash drives that are not going to fail. The best way to do this is to work with a company that has a proven track record of delivery that understands the demands of the wedding photography business and values their reputation as much as you value yours.

Don’t buy on price and price alone unless you have no interest in the underlying quality of what you’re buying and please don’t buy from “Chinese suppliers” operating on sites like Alibaba – At USB2U we get calls almost every week from someone who’s been burnt doing this and either nothing arrives (after they have sent the money) or what does arrives is so sub-standard that they have to dump them and start again.