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9 online tools and tips to help photographers optimise broadband

Remember dial-up? Having to wait overnight to upload a single JPEG was the worst. Download speeds have increased dramatically since then, but sadly our upload speeds have stayed pretty poor — the US average upload speed is ranked 42nd in the world, right behind Lesotho, Belarus and Slovenia.

Whether you’re a professional photographer, a prosumer, or a hobbyist just learning the ropes, uploading your photos is an integral part of the photographer’s workflow.

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Here are nine ways to speed that up and make your life easier.

1. Try Flickr Uploadr

If you’ve ever used the popular photo-hosting service, then you’re familiar with the powerful photo-uploader that Flickr has built in to its website. Taking things up a notch is the Flickr Uploadr — a free, lightweight, and powerful photo upload app that works on Windows and Mac.

The app crawls through your hard drive (or through specific locations) for any image file. It then automatically uploads them in the background. When uploaded, the photos are private unless you specify otherwise.

This app is great for photographers — it takes a step out of the sometimes lengthy workflow, and all you have to do is save your finished JPEGs to the upload folder.

It’s also a great choice for anyone looking for Cloud storage — Flickr provides a free terabyte worth of space to anyone using the app, perfect for backing up personal photos and professional shots.

2. Use Dropbox Desktop App

The Dropbox app automatically uploads and syncs your photos to the Cloud. Installing the app gives you access to your photos and other files on most devices, and it can be set to automatically upload from your camera roll.

With Dropbox Basic, you get 2 GB of space for free, and you can get more free space through a variety of different methods, including referring people to Dropbox or using Carousel, a photo tool made by Dropbox. By various means, you can earn up to 16 GB of free space, but that’s still not enough for most photographers.

To get the most out of the service, you’ll want to upgrade to the 1 TB option for US$9.99 per month or US$99 a year. While that can be a costly recurring rate, it’s probably worth the extra storage if you’re saving lots of high-resolution images. You can also use Dropbox to share large files, which comes in handy because it’s difficult to send high-resolution images over email.

3. Use Network Attached Storage (NAS)

To get those blazing-fast upload speeds, you could avoid online services altogether and use a Network Attached Storage box — a PC that is designed as a huge external hard drive with wireless capabilities. Since it’s on your home network, it should be much faster than any website. If you’re looking to back up your photos, this is often the best option.

An NAS can range from over US$1 000 to less than US$100 — or even less if you have a spare computer lying around and the time to put toward a DIY solution.

4. Test Your Speed

Check your download and upload speeds and compare them to the national average with Speedtest.net. While this tool is handy for nailing down your actual Internet speed, it can also prove or disprove the claims your Internet Service Provider (ISP) makes — you can find out if you’re getting what you’re paying for.

If your speeds are tested at significantly less than what your ISP claims, you can contact them and possibly find a solution to your slow uploads.

5. Optimise Your Photos

Not only will optimizing your photos speed up upload times, it’ll also speed up download times, so users visiting your website won’t have to wait for your photos to load.

Simply use Photoshop’s Save for Web and Devices option, and pick whichever options give you the smallest ending file size.

6. Use a Wired Connection

Wi-Fi can be patchy depending on the location of your router, so using a wired connection can sometimes supply you with faster upload and download speeds.

7. Upgrade Your Router’s Firmware

Routers can sometimes be the weak link in the chain. If you’re having problems with upload speed, an update to your router’s firmware could give you that needed boost.

8. Check for Malware

Viruses, Trojans, and other malware can eat up bandwidth pretty quickly — run a scan on your computer to see if there’s anything malicious slowing you down.

9. Switch Internet Service Providers

If all else fails, blame it on your ISP. Ultimately, there’s only so much you can personally do to affect your Internet speeds — that power lies with your ISP.

Don’t fret, though! Unless you live out in the sticks, you should be able to choose between a few options. While Google Fiber is still confined to only a few cities, there are many Internet providers with fast speeds. The best thing you can do is familiarize yourself with your options.

Take a look at this handy Beginner’s Guide to Broadband to find the best Internet options available in your area.

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