Many professional wedding, portrait, and event photographers face the challenge of finding a good company to proof their work so clients may see and purchase their images. There are a myriad of choices. We often find ourselves running trials on various web sties to test drive each proofing site to determine what works for us. It can take a long time to try to setup and configure a proofing service the way you like.
I thought it would be helpful to show what a proofing site looks like all fully setup with the bells and whistles already sounding. To that end, I have put together a sampling of my own proofing site using Smugmug Pro to show what it looks like both from the client’s perspective, and from the photographer’s perspective.
I have been with Smugmug since 2009, though it’s (multiple ordeals). Smugmug’s infamous disaster of 2013 where an overhaul to their site torpedoed my business at the time and a plethora of other photographers proofing and portfolio sites. Fortunately, here at the end of 2014, I can thankfully say that the last year+ has been stable and productive with Smugmug. The new features they were trying to delivery as part of that early 2013 are finally working and well and make for a pretty slick experience for photographer and client.
What the Client Sees
Here is what a client first sees when visiting my proofing site. We see a listing of folders, each with their photo. The size and layout of this listing of folders can be customized if I wish.
Clicking a client’s folder shows the items galleries or pages available for that client. This couple had two engagement sessions and their wedding with me.
Clicking on the Wedding Galleries page (note that folders can contain galleries, pages, or other folders) shows a link to their event page and a box where I update the status and say things like “photos will be available approximately 4 weeks after the wedding).
Once the wedding is published, I change it to indicate that photos are available. You can control the content and layout of this page using WYSIWYG drag-and-drop. The photo you can choose also.
This leads to the event page.
You choose either registration is mandatory, suggested, or not required. Below is the “suggested” option (note the “No thanks” button).
From here, the client sees text I add, a slideshow (you just point the slideshow at a hidden folder full of the images you want to show), and the list of even galleries. There is also an option to register (required to create their own favorites collection).
Clicking on a event gallery shows the photo. Auto watermarking is configurable. I uploaded a png with my logo. You can set transparency, size, and position on the photos.
The original photo is kept in high resolution sans watermark. You configure whether downloaded copies contain the watermark. The watermark does not show on prints and optionally, you can add a print mark (though I did not use this feature).
Scrolled down a bit:
Clicking a photo shows the large size. The photographer controls the max size visible when the images is shown large.
Clicking the “Buy” button:
I also upload a custom card image to go in each order and a logo image to show on the checkout page. I also have Boutique packaging enabled (which I think takes $7 from each order).
What the Photographer Sees
From my side, I organize folder contents and optionally, the layout and style of each folder (or make folders look the same).
When I am logged in, I can see other items organized in the client’s folder that are only visible to me.
The slideshow gallery that shows in the event is here, along with the wedding event galleries. They are hidden to clients, show only to me, but altogether in the same folder.
Here is how I edit the wedding and blog pages, dragging and dropping the text and photos onto each page using the drag-and-drop layout.
WISH LIST: A “duplicate page” feature. It only takes a few minutes to drag onto each page, but copying the text and link and such would be greatly accelerated with an option to “clone this page”. Then I can just create a new client’s page from an old one.
Here is the configuration for the wedding event page where I can see who has registered and each person’s favorites galleries.
I use this to have client’s choose photos for their wedding albums.
The galleries are all synced back to Lightroom where I can see the favorites, see the client’s album choices in their collections, edit photos if I wish, and then sync them directly from Lightroom back to Smugmug.
To post photos to Smugmug, again, all right in Lightroom via the Smugmug export plugin. I prefer Jeffrey Friedel’s plugin (donation ware) over the built in Lightroom Smugmug plugin for exporting since it has more options that I use.
Hope this helps! Let me know if any additional info would be helpful.