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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 Photo Proofs

Oct 27

Did you just book a photoshoot with “photo proofs” in the mix and have no clue what that means? Or are you a fellow photographer looking to reduce your photo editing time and improve your client experience? You’ve landed in the right place! Image proofing is a process some photographers use that many people don’t necessarily know much about from the get-go. Whether you’re a client of mine (hello, hello!), just booked a photoshoot, or a fellow photographer, I created this guide on everything you need to know about photo proofs just for you!

Photo proofs not only give clients more control of the final images from their shoot, they also help photographers deliver images to clients more efficiently and thoughtfully. Win-win for everyone! Creating a gallery of photo proofs for my branding clients is one of my favorite parts of the shoot process. There are so many steps to bringing a branding shoot to life from creating mood boards to actually shooting. When I deliver a proof galleries to a client, it’s the first time they see the images from their shoot. It’s the moment where the entire shoot finally becomes real! Let’s dive a bit deeper into what photo proofs actually are, and what role they play in the shoot process.

WHAT ARE PHOTO PROOFS IN PHOTOGRAPHY?

Photo proofs are lightly edited images uploaded to a gallery at a low-resolution size. They are not the final creative product, and therefore are often overlaid with watermarks. Photo proofs simply provide clients a good sense of what the images look like before final retouching. Proofs are typically uploaded and delivered to the client shortly after a shoot. Once a client chooses their favorite images from the proofs, the photographer retouches and artistically edits the final images. Retouching is where the true magic happens!

Photographers typically don’t deliver every image they shoot to a client. Image proofing is a collaborative way for photographers and clients to work together on the final images. Image proofing allows photographers to help clients choose the best photos from their shoot without overwhelming them. We take hundreds and sometimes thousands of shots in one shoot! Before I deliver a proof gallery, I always discard any unnecessary or missed shots. What’s left is a collection of the absolute best images, with plenty of options to choose from.

WHY DO YOU USE IMAGE PROOFING IN YOUR PROCESS?

Whether or not a photographer chooses to use image proofing in their process depends on their preferences, shoot type, and client needs.

I love using image proofing for my branding shoots for several reasons! First, I find that my clients don’t need every single proof I deliver. My clients are partial to a smaller number of photos. They love to share their favorites again and again on social media and in marketing materials.

Secondly, everyone has strong opinions about how they look in photos. I like to let my clients choose what they believe are their most flattering images. I deliver series of images that are similar in composition, but different in facial expressions and poses. I’ll share my personal favorites, but ultimately I like to give that power to my clients.

Lastly, I love my proofing system because it keeps me from making photo editing my full-time job. Through image proofing, I have more time to be on shoots, create content for my blog, and grow my business. Image proofing also keeps costs lower 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 my clients!

HOW DO I VIEW AND CHOOSE FAVORITES IN MY PROOF GALLERY?

If you’re a client of mine and wondering what to expect with your image proof gallery, I’ve got you! Head to Pixieset here to find your gallery and log in. Follow the steps below, or if you’re more of a visual learner like me, watch the video!

Here’s how the entire proofing process works:
1. Sign into your gallery using your email address. Your email acts as the gallery password and saves your Favorites lists and Store cart.
2. Scroll through your images in the main grid view, or click on any image for close-up view.
3. Your Favorites lists is where you’ll select your favorite images for me to retouch. To access your Favorites, click the Heart icon and enter your email.
4. You’ll see two pre-made Favorites lists, “My xyz Favorites” and “Additional Images.” The Signature Branding package you booked includes a set number of images images, but you can also purchase additional retouched images from your gallery (see the next section!). You can also create your own Favorites list to help you narrow down images to your final selections.
5. If you’d like a friend or colleague to help choose Favorites, they can sign into the gallery with your email but enter their own email to create a Favorites list.

To purchase additional images for retouching beyond what’s included in your Signature Branding package: 
1. Additional retouched images are available in packages of 5, 10, 20, 30, 50, and 100 images.
2. Add your chosen number of additional photos to your “Additional Images” Favorites list.
3. From there, navigate to the “Print Store” at the top right of your gallery or click the Cart icon. Under the “Digital” tab, choose the Digital Image Package you’d like to purchase.
4. Your additional image downloads will not be sent to you immediately. I will reference your “Additional Images” Favorites list and retouch these images for you within 2-3 weeks.

MY IMAGE PROOFING PROCESS & HOW TO PICK YOUR FAVORITE IMAGES 

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