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Sharing photos with the lab (or anyone else) using Dropbox

Dropbox-LogoIf you’re like me, you take lots of photos of your patients. If you’re also like me, you find sharing them with the lab to be a bit of a chore.

I won’t explain how to take photos. I’m clearly not qualified for that. I will tell you that smart people who know better than I do have told me not to bother printing digital photos and sending them to the lab. Dr. Mike DiTolla recently opined in episode 14 of the DentalHacks podcast (shameless plug) that if you aren’t springing for the right kind of printer paper and an expensive photo printer then your printed photos aren’t very helpful to a lab technician trying to match your shade.

But if you’ve ever tried to email photos to the lab you’ll find that the size of the photos that most digital cameras take is huge. Typically we’re talking several MB per photo when you’re taking high quality photos. So attaching them to email is a pain. Many email servers won’t allow you to send emails multiple files attached to them that are that large.

I’ve solved this problem using Dropbox. I’ve been a Dropbox Pro member for several years. I’ve paid $99/year for 100 GB of cloud storage that I can access on any device. It’s been handy. This year I started to approach 70% of my 100GB and was wondering what I would do once I got close. The folks at Dropbox fixed that problem before I ever really approached it by upgrading the Pro level to 1 TB of cloud storage. Same $99/year with 10x the storage. With that much storage, you can afford to be a little sloppy with it!

Anyhow, Dropbox allows you to share photos or folders with multiple photos with a simple link. Take a look at this short video tutorial for details. The video assumes that you’ve got a working Dropbox account and you have a photo somewhere on Dropbox that you’d like to send.

By uploading your photos to Dropbox you make it possible to share that photo with a simple link, rather than attaching it to an email. Even better you can put several photos in a folder and share the entire folder with a link. All the sudden you aren’t trying to figure out which photo or which angle is the best for the lab. Send them all and give the lab as much information as possible!

If you have any questions about how to use Dropbox to share photos or suggestions of other ways to use Dropbox to simplify your workflow leave them in the comments!


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  1. Thanks for the practical, useful info and the video that shows how to do it. Much easier and cost effective than putting SD card in Canon Selphy printer, printing photo, and sending off to lab. Good point about color changes when printing. Another service for sending large files is Hightail. They make it possible to send files password protected not sure if Dropbox allows for this. Great post!

  2. Never in a million years would I think to use Dropbox as a dentistry tool. That really makes sense though. Drop box could be used between my old dentist and the new one; as far as sharing my file goes. Gone are the days of old where the doctor would have to send my file in the mail.

  3. I’m a huge fan of Dropbox. It’s incredibly useful for not only sharing like as you described, but if you have a work computer separate from your home computer, it’s easy to get the files you need if you need to get something while at home.

  4. This is a good idea. Another tip for getting even more free space is referring Dropbox to friends. You can get up to 32GB for free (for PRO accounts) in addition to the amount you paid for already, by referring your friends to sign up with Dropbox. Hope this helps :)

  5. Unfortunately it is not HIPAA compliant…..not sure about the Promversiom, you stil need a BAA…..ask me how I know……don’t get burned . If you are going to pay for Dropbox, then spend a little more and get encrypted email too..