When it comes to designing an album for your clients, one of the best ways to put it together is by giving your clients some power to decide which proofs they want. Online Proofing Galleries are great tools you can use for this task, because you and your clients can easily work together without even needing to be in the same room. We caught up with blogger, photographer, educator, and speaker Scott Wyden Kivowitz to get his take on using online proofing systems. Scott is also the “Community and Blog Wrangler” for Imagely, which creates WordPress products such the NextGEN Gallery plugin and the Photocrati Theme.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Online Proofing Gallery for Photographers”?
The first thing that comes to mind is a simple way for photographers to gather “picks” from their clients. Simple is the most important word in that statement, because there are many proofing solutions, but not all are easy or pretty for the photographer or the client.
Do you feel that online proofing is now standard and expected for photographers to offer?
I’m still an advocate for online galleries to be used in conjunction with in-person sales methodologies whenever possible. For example, wedding photographers can easily offer both in-person and online proofing options. However, with commercial and landscape photography, in-person sales sessions are far less common. No matter the genre of photography, clients expect something online. So I guess you can say it’s a standard.
What options are available?
There are two platforms that pop into my head right away. The first is for WordPress users and it’s the NextGEN Pro plugin which is made by the company I work for: Imagely. With it, photographers can offer password protected (or not) proofing galleries for clients to pick from. The photographer then receives a very easy list of the images to be found in their photo catalog software, like Lightroom.
For photographers not using WordPress, I recommend checking out ShootProof. It also offers an easy solution for proofing galleries. ShootProof is among the most popular non-WordPress solutions for proofing, and it’s easy to see why.
How are clients best served by photographers using these programs?
The best part of proofing solutions for clients is that they can do it on their own time, from the comfort of their couch or bed. They don’t have to rush into a meeting somewhere, or drive far away.They can choose what they want the photographer to do and potentially send any custom requests or notes. That’s an amazing thing.
How does having online proofing help design better albums? (Assuming you think it does!:))
Many photographers will go ahead and create an album proof for clients before the client even looks at the photographs. That’s a great tactic to sell more albums. When adding a gallery for clients to pick from, the photographer then has an opportunity to improve the album proof that was created, because the client might prefer a different photo over what was already chosen for them.
Where do you think the future of proofing for photographers is headed?
I see the proofing process getting easier and easier. I also see many photographers leaving third-party services in favor of self-hosted solutions. That’s for multiple reasons like full ownership and branding and less associated fees for the photography business to pay for.
Want more information about Lush, and how we can help you create beautiful portrait albums for your clients? Visit us on our website here!