Early Black Friday Starts NOW!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Gear Reviews

Take Your Brand To Another Level With Custom USB & Packaging

By Anthony Thurston on June 30th 2015

One of the most important ‘non-photography’ things that you can do as a photographer is to cultivate and build a recognizable brand. This starts with developing your unique style of imagery, but it extends further into the design of your website, your logo, your product packaging.

20150629-0008

I was recently one of those photographers who delivered via digital download or on occasion via a USB drive (whatever the cheapest one was that I could find at the store). There are several problems with this in regards to my brand as a photographer, but beyond that, into my clients’ experience.

[REWIND: How to Brand Yourself]

I decided that I wanted to improve on my brand and improve my customer experience with better final delivery packaging. CD/DVD delivery, while technically still possible, is not a great way to go these days with more computers coming without them than with. This leaves delivery via USB, and while you can pick these up at the store for fairly cheap, you lose out on branding if you go with a store bought drive.

20150629-0009

This led me to PhotoFlashDrive.com, one of a few online stores dedicated to custom USB drives and packaging for photographers. They have more options than I could have hoped for, and I ended up going with one of their wooden USB choices, with their basic metal tin for packaging.

Ordering drives and packaging individually, like I did, can be sort of expensive. So I only recommend this if you are just trying several designs to find the one you prefer. Once you find one you like, I suggest ordering in bulk to save money. (That said, if you want to give your clients that extra special touch, you could have these made with their names on the drives, etc. But I would only do this if you have prices to justify it).

The ordering process was simple enough. I just uploaded my logo, customized some text, and color options and paid. Eight days later, my new custom USB drives and Packaging arrived. I was very impressed with the quality.

20150629-0010

The metal tin looks and feels nice, and the wooden lid (featuring my studio logo) has a nice weight to it, though it does come off rather easily, so I will probably end up tying it with string. The material inside the tin is coconut husk fiber, and while it looks amazing, it is one of the things I wish were different. Individual fibers can find their way outside the lid rather easily, which can be frustrating.

As far as the USB drive itself, I could not be more pleased. PhotoFlashDrive actually upgraded the 2GB drive I ordered to 4GB, which was a nice touch (even if it is overkill for someone like me who only delivers 20-30 images per shoot). But beyond that, the drive itself is very high quality. I especially liked the magnets in the lid that helps give off a premium vibe to the product.

20150629-0011

Overall, my experience with PhotoFlashDrive.com was great, and I will for sure be ordering from them again in the future. They regularly have promotions on different kinds of drives and packaging, so keep an eye on their site for when your USB/packaging of choice goes on sale and jump on it.

What are your thoughts on improving your branding and client experience through custom USB drives and packaging? Do you currently do anything like this (if so, let’s see them!)? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Danny J

    Great Blog…This one is a variety type Flash Drive.I always  used to buy from https://www.proimprint.com/Custom-USB-Flash-Drives     Thanks for sharing such a great article !

    | |
  2. Allen B. Stuart

    Custom flash drives are the best way to promote or improve your business. it was great reading your blog.
    Thank for sharing such wonderful information, Keep sharing.

    | |
  3. Ken Liu

    It’s a nice looking one and the customisation was definitely professionally done. I also use these kinds of custom usb flash drives for my clients and got it straight from the factory in China. You can check them out at http://usbninja.com. I was satisfied with the quality of the products and their service. They offer the same packaging and high quality USB products for a very affordable price.

    | |
  4. Ant Motton

    When we started using and promoting these over a year ago the comments we got off potential clients at wedding fayres and through social media were fantastic. We used to supply the disc of images in a nice metal case with a see-thru perspex cover, made it look better than just in a paper wallet (where it looks like you don’t care about the overall *experience* for the client) I used to get them from our album supplier and with VAT and P+P+ it was costing around £35 (around £55) per box and 8gb USB. I found a company at the Photography Show in Birmingham back in March that were supplying them in bulk where they worked out at £9 each ($14) including delivery!! (exactly the same product,no difference) I now have enough of these branded USBs to last the whole of the season, next photography show I’ll make another order (discount as well for ordering at the show!) People love these, it’s something different, not everyone has a disc drive anymore, lots of Smart TVs have USB inputs. The company we use are called USB2U and only make USBs which is why they can supply them at low prices unlike the album companies which have to make a profit.

    | |
  5. Raoni Franco

    Yeah, this kind of customization can add a lot of value to our services. It directly affects our client´s perception of our work. However, in the photography environment I work, this level of customization is a little too much. Besides the price increment, I think the singularity of my products can have the reversed effect, pushing possible clients away. To avoid all the psychological mambo-jambo, what happens is a “too classy for me” reaction. So I only glue a simple sticker with my brand on a regular black pendrive. It´s working for me. Anyway, what I´m trying to say is that every photographer should judge what kind of customization is appropriate to their prices and clients profiles.

    | |
  6. Chris Warkocki

    I never understood the fancy thumb drives and boxes. Yes they are cute but the majority of clients could care less. Spend money on a better backup system or providing better service for the client over spending it on something so trivial.

    | |
    • Anthony Thurston

      Chris, its about giving your client something nice to remember the good experience they had with you (in addition to the great images of course). The USB and box are PART of the service, part of the experience.

      Sure you can deliver images 100% digitally, or on a basic CD in a paper envelope, and the client will still like the images. But when people in their home see the custom USB or box containing it and ask about it, this gives your client a chance to rave about you as well as remind them of the great experience, and quality service they received with you.

      | |
    • Kyle Stauffer

      Anthony, I couldn’t agree more. Instead of a cd lying around the house and getting mixed up with all the others, this gets placed somewhere it’s noticed. I think clients treasure something like this far more and appreciate using you as a photographer rather than “Uncle Joe”. Can you imagine the conversations years from now when the dust is blown off of a custom box with your logo and knowing it was of their loved ones wedding day. I just think it will leave that much more of a mark on the quality work we’ve done in our lifetime. My 2 cents.

      | |
    • Chris Warkocki

      I understand leaving them something nice but have you ever polled your past clients to see what has happened to your “nice” box and drive? I’ve done some form of fancy packaging for the first 4 years of my career. Custom drives, custom boxes, had a beautiful wood box crafted locally as a keepsake. Only about 15% of my previous clients held on to them and after many of my local photographers polled their previous clients the numbers were very similar. You can still give something meaningful without raising the cost to the client. Remember if you are doing this as a business you pay yourself what you need to make. So if you want $80,000 of pure income the fancier drive has to increase the price to the client unless you’re only doing a half dozen weddings. Most of us in the $4k range are shooting 30 weddings a year and a $100 in fancy packaging and drives is a steep expense. I find that this trivial thing isn’t even well appreciated. My albums are kept and used whole fancy drives and gimmicky boxes are just tossed.

      | |
  7. Tanya Goodall Smith

    Nice looking packaging Anthony! Custom branding and products are so important, especially if you want to be on the higher end and set yourself apart from those offering digital downloads.

    | |
  8. Jesper Ek

    Idea is great, but this one looks tacky..

    | |
  9. Corey Wright

    I’ve had branded USBs and personalised packaging for years now and it makes such a difference. For Aussie photogs, try http://personalisedkeepsakes.com.au/. They offer a great range of USBs and packaging.

    | |
  10. Michael Cassara

    Been ordering from them for a year now… Excellent quality. The website artwork uploading could be less bulky, but overall the product turns out awesome.

    | |
  11. Timothy Going

    Pretty cool. It does look really nice. I would love to see a comparison between these and the custom USB’s offered from various photo labs like Mpix and Nations photo lab. I have been debating on trying this out and see if the reaction from the client is enough to justify the extra expense.

    | |