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Photography Proofs: 8 Ways to Show Clients Their Proofs

written by: Caroline Thompson•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/25/2011

Photo proofs are the first step in product sales. Here are eight ways to deliver proofs to your clients and the pros and cons of each.

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    Showing Clients Their Proofs

    Showing clients their proofs is the first opportunity to impress them with your photographic skill as well as entice them into buying your pictures. How you present their proofs can determine how many pictures they purchase. This article will talk about eight different methods to show your clients their proofs and the pros and cons of using each method.

    First, let's break down these methods into four groups.

    1. Print
      • Ink Jet (or any in-house printer)
      • Photographic Process (outsourced to Ophoto or another photo printer)
      • Proof Books
        • Prints (put in by hand in the studio)
        • Printed books (printed by a print house)
    2. Digital
      • PDF File
        • E-mail
        • CD
    3. Online
      • Web Gallery (posted on your studio site)
      • Online proofing (paid site such as Shutterfly, Printroom, SmugMug or Collages to name a few)
    4. Studio Presentation
      • Photo application
        • Aperture
        • Lightroom
        • Photoshop

    Now let's discuss the pros and cons of each group.

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    PRINT

    Inkjet (or any in-house printer) - Pros and Cons

    Inkjet proofs are generally good for the following reasons:

    • Inkjet proofs are portable. They are light and travel well. If the client has to reference pictures for a story, or wants to flip back and forth through multiple images, they make viewing simple and easy.
    • Inkjet proofs are easily passed around a room. This allows the client to compare the pictures with other text or artwork that has to be laid out in a magazine or other printed material.
    • You don't need a computer to view the images.

    Inkjet proofs are generally bad for the following reasons:

    • The images in inkjet proofs are small and it's hard to see much definition.
    • The small size of the image lacks detail. There is not enough information to be able to judge the quality of the image when enlarged.
    • There is not enough information to tell what the image would look like if cropped.

    Photographic Process

    Photographic processed proofs are generally good for the following reasons:

    • Refer to the pros for the inkjet proofs.

    Photographic processed proofs are generally bad for the following reasons:

    • Refer to the cons for the inkjet proofs.

    Proof Books

    Proof Books are generally good for the following reasons:

    • They work well for wedding photographers. Individual prints are put into sleeves, or images are sent out to be printed in books. The client comes into the studio or can take the books home to view at their leisure.
    • The clients can see what their pictures will look like in print and in an album, which is the final product of the wedding photographer.
    • The Proof Book is a great opportunity to get creative and make an individual presentation that fits the client and makes the pictures look great.
    • Pictures can be easily swapped around into different groupings. The client can move the pictures around in the books to make them more personal.

    Proof Books are generally bad for the following reasons:

    • They work well for wedding photographers, but not for most other types of photographic work.
    • More and more people want digital files.
    • The prints in the books are an investment that does not always pay off.
    • The books are generally large and are only ordered in small numbers.

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      DIGITAL

      PDF File

      PDF e-mail files are generally good for the following reasons:

      • PDF files can be sent over any mail server.
      • Sending a PDF is fast through e-mail.
      • Most people can open a PDF file.
      • Easy to use.

      PDF e-mail files are generally bad for the following reasons:

        • The file size can get large and some mail servers will not accept the attachment.
        • The compression is small if you zip the file because the file is mostly images.

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          ONLINE

          Web Gallery (posted on your studio site)

          Web Gallery Proofs are generally good for the following reasons:

          • Viewing Gallery Proofs is simple.
          • The images look good on the Web.
          • There can be interactivity with the image. When you click on the gallery image, a larger image opens up in a new window.
          • Color, contrast, sharpness and other image qualities can be seen easily through web viewing.

          Web Gallery Proofs are generally bad for the following reasons:

          • You need to be connected to the Internet.
          • You need a computer.

          Online Proofing Sites

          Online Proofing Sites are generally good for the following reasons:

          • Ease of use.
          • The images look good on the screen.
          • Most sites are made to be easy to navigate.
          • You can order prints online.
          • With the online site you don't have to do the work, just pay a service fee and a percentage of the sale. This enables you to shoot more images.
          • More traffic is funneled through web sites because of their marketing.
          • Happy clients because they can view images and order them at their convenience and order at their convenience.

          Online Proofing Sites are generally bad for the following reasons:

          • You need a computer.
          • You need to be connected to the Internet.
          • Some clients don't want to order through a computer.
          • You have less time to interact with your client.
          • Less personal feedback from your client.

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          STUDIO PRESENTATION

          Studio Presentation

          Studio Presentations are generally good for the following reasons:

          • Great customer contact. You get one-on-one time with your client that allows for questions and answers.
          • Most studios have top-of-the line image monitors that allow for images to be presented at their optimum best.
          • More control over the look and presentation of the images.
          • Immediate client feedback.
          • You can talk more about the client images and their uses.
          • More chance for sales.

          Studio Presentations are generally bad for the following reasons:

          • More of an investment in time to show the proofs in the studio. i.e., presentation preparation, time to show the images.
          • Less time out shooting, more time in the studio.
          • Order and print times are longer.