What Are Photography Proofs? And Can They Reduce Revision Rounds?

What Are Photography Proofs

People believe that photography is as easy as pressing a button. That the finished photograph is the same as the one you’ve just taken. Few realize the hours of editing, color-correcting, and retouching that go into the editing process. Nothing is more frustrating, therefore, than spending days editing a set of photos only for the client to reject them!

Photograph proofs get around this dilemma. 

By gaining client approval of unedited or slightly edited images, you can save yourself immense time and effort. Plus, the client can even provide feedback about potential edits they’d like to see in the final batch. No more endless rounds of revision!

What are Photography Proofs?

Photography proofs are a preliminary stage in the photography editing process. Created before a photographer begins an in-depth edit, they provide stakeholders (e.g., newly married couples, corporate sponsors, or marketing teams) with a snapshot into the finished photos. 

Usually, these proofs are lower in resolution and often watermarked. They’re not meant for final use, but rather for evaluation purposes.

During this stage, clients can review the images, selecting their favorites and suggesting changes. The main objective is to ensure optimal client satisfaction with the end product – and to save photographers time editing photos that won’t make the final cut.

Indeed, clients can say which images they prefer, request adjustments, and confirm that the photographs collectively meet their expectations. 

Types of Photography Proofs

Not all photography proofs are the same. Depending on the context, a photographer may choose different types of proofs to suit a particular purpose. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Digital Proofs

By far the most common way proofs are made; digital proofs are simply the digital copies of the original photographs. Sometimes photographers will do basic alterations using tools like Lightroom or Photoshop. 

Because digital proofs can be sent via email or through online galleries, they’re the preferred method for large photosets. 

Contact Sheets

Contact sheets are the old school proofing method. Think of the classic grid of thumbnail-sized images fitted onto a single sheet. 

A key benefit of contact sheets is that clients can rapidly review dozens of pictures, singling out their favorites. 

Test Prints

Test prints are less common these days. They’re physical prints of images used to verify color accuracy and image quality. Often printed on high-quality paper with expensive ink, they’re mainly reserved for fine art photographers, commercial photographers, and other high-quality industries. 

How Photography Proofs Reduce Revision Rounds

Presenting your work in a professional manner to clients to obtain feedback isn’t just sensible; it’s imperative. Like any artistic business, photographers are under significant pressure to meet deadlines without sacrificing standards.

Photography proof is a chance to get the photographer and client on the same page. Otherwise, you risk the merry-go-round of revision after revision. Here’s how proofs reduce revision rounds:

  1. Streamlines Client Feedback: Photography proofs allow clients to review and provide feedback early in the process, ensuring that their preferences are understood and incorporated from the beginning.
  2. Identifies Preferred Shots Quickly: Clients can easily select their favorite images from the proofs, reducing the time spent on selecting and editing unwanted photos.
  3. Prevents Miscommunication: Clear visual references in proofs help in avoiding misunderstandings about the desired outcome, leading to fewer revisions.
  4. Facilitates Early Corrections: Any necessary corrections, whether in composition, lighting, or subject focus, can be identified and addressed promptly.
  5. Sets Clear Expectations: Providing proofs sets a clear expectation about the final result, reducing the likelihood of last-minute changes.
  6. Saves Time and Resources: By reducing the number of revisions, proofs save time and resources for both the photographer and the client.

Strategies for Using Photography Proofs

Photography proofs will save you time. However, that doesn’t mean this review strategy doesn’t need some ground rules. Follow these tips to make effective use of proofs:

Set Clear Guidelines with Clients

When you deliver proofs to a client, clearly explain what you want in terms of feedback. Emphasize that these aren’t the finished images; rather, it’s a chance for the client to discuss and agree upon key aspects of the photographs.

You’ll also want to set a timeline for the review, the type of feedback expected, and the type of proof you’ll provide. Establishing these parameters keeps the review process on track and prevents confusion.

Utilize Digital Proofing Tools

Gone are the days when sending proofs meant printing and posting. With new online proofing tools, you can send photographs for review instantly. In these platforms, clients can review and comment on proofs, selecting their favored images, and suggesting potential edits. 

That helps streamline communication and reduces confusion, keeping all comments organized in one place. Photographers can make quick adjustments based on client feedback, track changes, and maintain a digital record of the proofing process.

Encourage Collaborative Feedback

Fostering client collaboration ensures greater satisfaction and trust. Revision rounds come when clients aren’t contacted early enough. That leads to photographers redoing work or fixing prior edits. 

By inviting clients to share their thoughts and preferences openly, through video calls or digital proofing platforms, it’s far easier to meet expectations. 

A Picture Perfect Solution

Photography is more than just clicking a button. From selecting shots to color corrections, it’s a painstaking process to deliver a final set of images that wow. However, by failing to engage clients and stakeholders early in the editing process, photographers can doom themselves to repeated rounds of revisions. 

Photograph proofs are the solution. Using modern proofing platforms, photographers can send a batch of images to clients for early review. That gives them a chance to select their preferred images and recommend adjustments. 

Ashore streamlines this collaborative effort between photographers and clients. With contextual commenting and useful mark-up tools, clients can provide specific feedback on each image, making their communication clear and targeted. Ashore also makes it easy to see every change that’s been made.

With version management, it’s easy to keep track of all the edits and revisions. And with the side-by-side comparison tool, clients can easily compare different versions, making it easier to choose the final edit.

Proofs aren’t just previews; they’re the key collaborative step that saves photographers valuable time and resources. Sign up for a free account with Ashore and get started today.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.