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The photo proofing process is a crucial aspect of any professional photographer’s workflow working for a client.
Photo proofing is undoubtedly not a brand new thing in photography and is probably as old as professional photography. Photo proofing allows clients to review, select, and approve photos so that the photographer can process, finalize, and print the approved images.
Along with the advancements in technology, however, proofing in photography has also evolved with time. Before the age of digital printing and the internet, the proofing process could only be done by printing a proof (a mock version of the photo) and then sending or showing the image to the client.
However, we have online proofing, allowing photographers to upload the photos to an online proofing platform right after a finished photo session. The client can then access this online proofing platform, choose pictures, leave their comments, and monitor all the processes in real-time.
In short, online proofing will facilitate a more efficient approval process for the photographer, which ultimately will promote a better experience for the client.
Online Proofing for Photographers: Overview
Digital photography, while being very common and accessible today, is a relatively new field.
In the not-too-distant past, photos must first be printed in a dark room, which is a highly time-consuming and error-prone process. In this time, to perform photo proofing, we can either show the negatives of the camera film to the client or print a mock-up version of the photo (in a smaller size to ensure cost-efficiency).
So, as we can see, photo proofing was a highly inefficient and costly process in the past. Not to mention, you need the expertise of processing films in a dark room to perform the printing process of a photo proof.
Along with the advancements in technology, however, now we can perform photo proofing in more accessible ways, and generally, there are three main photo proofing methods photographers can offer today:
1. In-person proofing method
This method involves meeting the client in person and then showing them the photos.
Today, however, we no longer need to print a mock-up photo proof to show the client, but we can deliver the digital file of the photo on a screen (i.e., a laptop or an iPad) to the client, making this method more cost-effective.
In-person photo proofing offers a significant advantage over other methods: interaction. The photographer can interact in real-time with the clients, and you can often get more honest feedback while also getting the opportunity to build a long-term relationship.
However, this method’s downside is pretty obvious: it’s time-consuming and not cost-effective.
2. Email-based proofing method
The second and arguably most common proofing method used by most professional photographers is sending the digital files of the photos over emails. To prevent misuse and clients running away with the proof photo, photographers can put a watermark on the mock images, so the clients can’t use the picture before making the required payments.
This method is easier to execute and is less time-consuming than in-person photo proofing. Still, email-based communication isn’t a very effective medium for real-time collaboration and may lead to disputes and other issues. As discussed, you also won’t get the real-time, physical interaction you’d otherwise get in in-person proofing.
3. Online proofing method
Online proofing is about using cloud-based online proofing software for photographers like WeAproove, which offers the real-time interaction of in-person proofing while also facilitating the speed and cost-effectiveness of email-based proofing.
With WeAproove, for example, photographers can upload the digital files of the photos to WeAproove’s gallery and then send an invite link to the client. The client can then click this invite link to access WeAproove without needing to download or install anything, and then they can use the platform to review, select and approve the photos in real-time.
As you can see, online proofing offers the best of both worlds: real-time interaction, speed, and cost-efficiency.
Benefits of Online Proofing for Photographers
Using the online proofing method can offer the following benefits for photographers:
1. More effective real-time communications
Maintaining transparency in communication is very important for photographers for building lasting relationships, which will ultimately result in more business and an increase in revenue.
By offering real-time communications in online proofing, we can facilitate more transparency and accountability to the whole photo proofing process. You can more easily explain your ideas and concepts behind a photo, while your clients can also have an easier time getting their points across when leaving feedback for revision purposes.
2. Automated notifications
With appropriate online proofing software like Aproove, your clients can get an automatic reminder when a new photo proof is ready for review so they won’t miss it.
On the other hand, you’ll also get notified when a client has left feedback on a photo or has selected/approved a photo.
As you can see, this will ensure a faster, more efficient process.
3. Fewer revisions
With online proofing facilitating better communication transparency, it will typically translate to fewer revisions during the photo editing process, reducing the need for redundant back-and-forth communications.
For example, both the photographer and the client can more easily track comments and feedback and different versions of photos during previous revisions. This will ensure a more effective and efficient revision process and fewer revision cycles.
4. Reducing costs
Lengthy and inefficient proofing processes can be costly in the long run, and online proofing can also help reduce the printing costs you’d otherwise need to spend when printing mock-up photo proofs.
We can also ensure that each project stays within deadline and within budget by ensuring an efficient approval process.
For photographers, online proofing can significantly streamline the photo proofing and approval processes, improving the quality of the approval process for each photography project.
By facilitating a more transparent and efficient photo selection, review, and feedback process, clients can have a better experience when choosing and approving their photos, and satisfied customers will ultimately result in more business and revenue.
With all the benefits stated above, investing in a proper online proofing solution like WeAproove can allow your photography business to save more time and money on a long-term basis.