I'm a branding photographer living in Charleston, South Carolina, a lover of eating strawberries, and my obsession is teaching others how to live a life they love.

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Everything You Need to Know About Image Proofs

Jun 4

One of the most important parts of my Portraits & Branding shoot process is creating galleries of your proofs! This is where you choose your favorite images from your shoot. I retouch your Favorites and turn them into your final, gorgeous set of branded photos!

Some photographers choose to deliver a final gallery of “every” image from the shoot. The photographer will sort through the images and choose the best ones for you, edit them, and deliver a large gallery.

For Portraits & Branding shoots, I choose to deliver a proof gallery before I retouch my images to give my clients full control over their final images. Read on to learn more about what proofs are, the process, and how to choose your Favorites in your own gallery!

What the Heck are Proofs?

Proofs are lightly edited images uploaded to your gallery with a watermark at a low-resolution size. In the days after your shoot, I cull through all of the photos I captured. For a 2-hour Portraits & Branding shoot, I typically take 400-600 shots! When culling, I leave behind any images where your eyes are closed, I don’t love the composition, or the focus is off. I keep the images with your best facial expressions and most flattering poses while giving you plenty of options. I end up with about 80-130 proofs for a 2-hour shoot.

I then import these images to my Lightroom software and make basic refinements such as cropping, quick color corrections, and contrast. These quick edits are done so that you can get a good sense of what the images look like before final retouching is done.

After lightly editing these proof images, I upload them to your gallery with a watermark. From there, you’ll be able to choose your favorite images! The number of Favorites you choose is based on which Portraits & Branding package you book with me. Scroll down to watch a video tutorial on how to choose your Favorites!

How are proofs different from retouched images?

I do not deliver proof images without watermarks to my clients because these are not the final creative product. Retouching is where the magic happens!

After you choose your Favorites, I retouch each image in Lightroom and Photoshop. This is the point in the process where I removed distracting elements (like messy leaves on the sidewalk or a wall outlet), smooth skin, and edit out stray hairs. I fine tune the color, contrast, and highlights/shadows, and make adjustments to sharpness and the quality of the image.

You’ll then receive your final retouched photos in the same gallery! At this point you can download and share your images straight from the gallery. I leave your proofs up for 1 year so that you can go back any time and purchase more images.

Why Do I Love This Proofing System?

I love using this system for Portraits & Branding shoots for several reasons! First, I find that my clients don’t need every single proof I deliver. People are more likely to love a smaller number of photos and use those most often in their businesses.

Secondly, everyone has strong opinions about how they look in photos. I deliver series of images that are essentially the same composition but have different facial expressions, and I like to let my clients choose what they think is their most flattering images. I can make my personal favorite choices, but ultimately, I like to give this power to my clients.

Lastly, I love my proofing system because it keeps me from making editing my full-time job. I have more time to be on shoots and work on the bigger picture items to grow my business. This also keeps costs lower for me and the client, because I don’t have to spend hours upon hours editing away in my office. I think this system is a win-win for myself and clients!

How to Pick Your Favorite Images 

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