Some Tips for Photographers looking to Buy USB Memory Sticks

Lots of professional photographers are now looking to use printed or engraved USB memory sticks to promote their business or to use them as a convenient and attractive way of distributing their client portfolios. Even relatively small capacity USB sticks (4GB) allow photographers to make hundreds of photographs available to their clients without the hassle of printing them. This of course also gives the client the flexibility of printing their favourite shots and/or sharing them with their friends and family on social networking sites like Facebook and Google+

There are lots of “standard” USB memory sticks available from companies like Kingston and Lexar and whilst they’ll do the job they won’t exactly make anyone’s heart miss a beat when if they are given their wedding or family portfolios on one of them! Great photographs work on an emotional level so if you are going to use USB sticks it’s best to use one that looks as though some care and thought has gone into its choice, use one that reflects your own style and approach and works in harmony with your photographs and your typical clients.

Lots of wedding and “people” photographers seem to choose wooden USB sticks because they look great engraved or printed, they’re tactile and because they’re made from a natural material they just seem to work really well. Other popular choices include top end metal or leather USB sticks – the reality is if you’re handing out a portfolio that you’ve taken great care to shoot and edit then you want to hand it out on a classy looking USB stick that helps underpin what you stand for as a photographer – “bog standard” USB drives you pick up at Tesco’s or PC World just won’t cut it in a highly competitive market where reputations are hard fought for but easily lost.

USB Sticks for Photographers

When shopping for printed or engraved USB memory sticks here are some basic tips to help you:

  1. Buy a product that is fit for purpose - the vast majority of USB memory sticks suppliers are mainly selling them to companies that give will them away at trade shows and exhibitions or they might be handed out by their sales team.

    The typical read/write speeds of these “promotional USB sticks” is usually little more than 2MB per second (write) and 4MB per second (read). This is fine if they are just being data loaded with a couple of PDF sales brochures but, if you’re a professional photographer you may need to get USB sticks with better (upgraded) flash memory and better controller chips. If you don’t then be prepared to spend several hours copying your photographs onto each USB stick.

  2. Find a supplier that is well established, understands the market and works with professional photographers already – any supplier you work with  should not only be able to offer higher a range of photographer specific solutions but they should be able to talk you through the best way to package your USB sticks.
  3. Consider using USB 3.0 sticks. These have read write speed of around 50MB – 100MB per second so they are very, very fast! They will cost more than equivalent USB 2.0 sticks and to take advantage of the speeds they offer you’ll need a PC or Mac that is equipped with USB 3.0 USB ports.  Even if your clients only have USB 2.0 PC’s or Macs the sticks will still work, they’ll just work at USB 2.0 speeds. The real benefit is the time you’ll save loading the images onto the sticks.
  4. Get Mock Ups - Get your supplier to work up various mock-ups and examples for you. Again, a good supplier will have an in-house design team and they should be able to suggest and illustrate a number of options that will work with your brand or logo. Don’t pay for this. Mock-ups should be free and will not (should not) bind you to placing an order.
  5. Don’t forget the packaging – the style and type of box you choose can help lift the overall impact your USB sticks make when you hand them over to your client. Printed or engraved boxes are relatively inexpensive providing they are purchased with your USB sticks so make sure to ask about the available options.

Share story