What Are Photography Proofs? 

What Are Photography Proofs featured photo

Nothing is more frustrating than editing photos only for a client to reject them. If you have ever disagreed with a client regarding the best images from a shoot, you’re not alone. Fortunately, I discovered how photo proofs could help enhance the experience of everyone involved in the process.

Photography proofs are unedited or slightly edited images presented to clients, who will then choose the photos they want. After the selection, the photographer can retouch and submit the final photos to the client. The overall process can improve the photography workflow.

The steps to photo proofing vary depending on the photographer, as I will show you below. However, the significance of the process remains the same. This article will also teach you more about its importance and definition.

What Are Photography Proofs?

Photography proofs are exactly as they sound—proof of images to submit to a client after a photo session. They are not the final creative output. Instead, they simply provide clients with sample photos before the last editing and retouching.

Photo proofs are typically unedited. However, some can have slight modifications, depending on the photographer.

These sample photos are also small in size and low in resolution. The digital files can still look good on the monitor but are pixelated when you zoom in.

Plus, photography proofs come with watermarks to prevent illegal use and distribution. These usually contain the name or logo of the photographer.

During photo proofing, clients choose their preferred pictures from the raw and watermarked prints. Once the selection is made, the photos will undergo post-processing. After the photographer edits the final images, they send them to a client. This marks the end of the transaction between the artist and the customer.

Why Do You Use Image Proofing in Photography?

Photo proofing can help improve the photography process in several ways.

First, it allows you to help the customer choose the best images from a photoshoot without overwhelming them. Photo proofing eliminates the need to scroll through all the images taken during a photo session. You and the client can focus on a couple of best shots, significantly saving your time and effort.

Another benefit of phot proofing is the collaborative effort between you and the client as you work on the final images. It is fairly easy to decide on your own which individual images from a shoot you like. However, photo proofing allows customers to share their own opinions and views. You’ll learn more about their preference and build a positive relationship when you let them approve images. This is important in the photography business.

Finally, the proofing system cuts down photo editing time. Since you already know which pictures your client wants, you can discard unnecessary or missed shots. You can also be confident that the final edited photos meet the client’s needs. Image proofing ultimately eliminates the guessing work.

What Are the Different Types of Photography Proofs?

You can create photography proofs in two different ways: in-person or online proofing. Each has its pros and cons, as I will show you below. 

In-Person Photo Proofing

In-Person Photo Proofing

In-person proofing involves meeting clients in your studio and presenting the photos to them. You can also meet them at a local coffee shop or their home if you do not own a photo studio.

Once in the meeting place, you’ll hand over printed samples of each image you took from the shoot. However, you can also collect the photos on a USB thumb drive for clients who prefer digital copies.

Talking to your clients in person makes it easier to build a close relationship with them. You can immediately see their emotions and facial expressions to the sample photos on your hand. You can also share your opinions on your favorite images and influence the final selection. Plus, you can offer additional products (photo albums, postcards, etc.) during in-person meetings.

However, in-person proofing can be expensive. You’d have to print the samples and pay for gas or transportation. You also have to consider the travel time and the actual meeting duration—these can easily take over an hour.

Online Photo Proofing

Online Photo Proofing

Online proofing is a relatively cost-effective way to present your images to clients. All you have to do is upload the images to an online photo gallery or website and send the link to customers.

Depending on the proofing tool, your clients can browse from the gallery and select the best images. They can also take extra time to decide. Some online proofing galleries even allow customers to buy and download pictures directly. These make the process easier for both of you, as there is no need to meet them personally.

There are a few downsides to online photo proofing, though. First, you don’t have the opportunity to influence the decision of your clients. You also cannot offer different products. Plus, you risk delaying the post-production process because the customers might take too long to decide.

It is up to you to decide if the pros of online photo proofing outweigh the cons.

How to Pick Photography Proofs? Essential Tips to Keep in Mind

Below are some factors to remember when selecting photography proofs, whether you’re the photographer or the client.

As a Photographer

Most photographers take hundreds or thousands of photos in a single shoot. You don’t need to present them all to a client.

Use your preferred photo culling method to eliminate blurry, missed, and objectively bad shots.

Next, choose the best proofing system that suits your needs.

For instance, if you want to go with the online method, look for the appropriate online gallery or website theme. Make sure it has enough storage space that lets you upload images and showcase your work. 

Is online payment important? Then, select a trusted and easy-to-use payment center. Also, consider checking if it can be embedded in your website for convenience.

Those who prefer in-person photo proofing must select the right meeting place if you don’t have a studio. Your goal is to make your clients comfortable during the session. You can also partner with an image printing shop to minimize the costs of physical image production.

Finally, give clear contact details to your clients. So in case, they have problems with the process, you can easily answer their queries. Doing so can ultimately build a positive photographer-client relationship.

As a Client

Are you a client who just received photography proofs from your client? Fret not; here is what you can expect and how to choose the best photos from a gallery.

First, determine if the photographer prefer in-person meetings or strictly offers online photo proofing services. You must also ask yourself which of the two you prefer. 

If you choose the first option, make sure the studio or meeting place is near your home or office. Once you’re there, listen to the photographer as they explain the details behind a photo. But feel free to make decisions on your own. Avoid focusing on technical elements and choose a shot that evokes a reaction from you. Remember that any technical mistake could be corrected in the editing process.

On the other hand, if you’re browsing an online photo proofing gallery or website, take your time deciding which image to choose. Click on the photo to see if you can zoom it in and view details up close. Discard any shots that are too similar to each other. You must also eliminate pictures that don’t fit the whole story. Finally, don’t hesitate to contact the photographer if you have any concerns. 


Photography proofs are the sample images photographers show to their clients for approval. The selected photos will undergo editing before the final client submission. They can ultimately enhance the photography process, as shown above.

If you have further questions about photo proofs, drop a message on our contact page.