Using FTP to move images

Most photography organizations move still images via File Transfer Protocol (FTP.) This is a secure way to send large files from a folder in my computer, directly to a folder on a server.

For example, I’m at a football game taking photos, I can run to the press room at half time, choose some images, and send them to Associated Press’ photo server. It’s easier for AP to receive all their images in one place, rather than constantly checking email or drop boxes.

If you have a website, you can even create your own FTP directory so you can receive files from others, directly to the server where your site is hosted.

So all photographers should become familiar with ftp, because you’ll definitely use it at some point. Here are the basics.

Software
You need email software to move email files, you need a web browser to see http files, and you need special software to connect via ftp.

When in doubt, use software that only does ftp like Cyber Duck, which is a free download. Fetch is another good option.

Software like PhotoMechanic and Adobe Dreamweaver have FTP abilities built into them. On a Mac, you may be able to use the Finder to “Connect to Server” to access an FTP directory.

Connection
You need to know which server you are connecting to, a username and a password. If someone wants you to send photos, they will provide this information for you. You might also be given a path (or folder) in which to put your images on the server.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.40.15 AM

The interface for Cyberduck is similar to other FTP clients. If you’re sending photos to someone, they should provide all the information you need to fill in the blanks.

Once you hit connect, you will see confirmation that you’ve done it right. You can probably see the directory (list of folders) on the server.

Transfer
You are probably given instructions about how to name a folder and files you’re submitting. It’s very important to follow the structure given to you, so the receiver can find your images! 

On Cyberduck, simply drag your folder onto the directory window. A transfer progress log will pop up.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.20.37 AM

The transfer window is much like the queue for your printer.

Be sure to disconnect from the server and close the software when you’re finished. It’s often a good idea to contact the receiver to let them know the files are in.

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About mcgillmedia

I take pictures and teach other people how to do it, too.
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