Proofing? how do you do it

SHaller

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In all likeliness, my business ideas are actually becoming reality and wanted to adress some of my gaps in my business plan. Between reading through books and posts on this forum I have narrowed down my options.

1)In person.Meeting with the client and showing them the final edits via laptop.
2)Shipping them files on a cd(of course these would be watermarked across the whole image). Then having them contact me with what images they want printed.
3)Online proofing. Im planning on using zenfolio for my website and I believe they have online proofing connected to mpix(correct me if im wrong)

I feel that my best option is meeting with them directly. What do you do and what do you think works the best?
 

MLeeK

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In person!!! You can create such an emotional attachment to the images by doing in person proofing. It's also a pressure to order right then and it works-even if you put zero pressure on the client.
"Oh, that would be so beautiful as a new metal over your mantle..." "[your baby] has the most beautiful expression on her face..."
My sales went through the roof when I started doing in person.
On-line-I only do what I ABSOLUTELY have to and sports on-line. It will leave your print sales in the gutter. Same for sending a cd of watermarked files. It will work, to an extent, but your sales will likely more than triple with in person sessions.
 
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SHaller

SHaller

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In person!!! You can create such an emotional attachment to the images by doing in person proofing. It's also a pressure to order right then and it works-even if you put zero pressure on the client.
"Oh, that would be so beautiful as a new metal over your mantle..." "[your baby] has the most beautiful expression on her face..."
My sales went through the roof when I started doing in person.
On-line-I only do what I ABSOLUTELY have to and sports on-line. It will leave your print sales in the gutter. Same for sending a cd of watermarked files. It will work, to an extent, but your sales will likely more than triple with in person sessions.

Thanks for the reassurance! Would you recommend sending a cd or online proofing as a back up? For example, if the client lives over an hour away.
 

MLeeK

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Upload a powerful slideshow as proofing. It's next to impossible to screen capture a video picture that is moving and it creates some emotion.
Then a gallery of images to order from. Use a shopping card plug in if you can. Zenfolio and SmugMug are great, but they limit you a bit too.
 

Trever1t

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I'm not the most experienced but I do use Zenfolio and I can't see any limitations. I create a folder that is only accessable by password for the client, the images are watermarked and unavailable for download unless I allow it and there are many options as far as allowances and watermarking.
 
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SHaller

SHaller

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Anyone have any insight on the most effective way to display your images when proofing in person. I know in the film days people used to present the pictures to the clients with a projector, but can see that being a huge pain. Is displaying with your laptop good enough?
 

Trever1t

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Most laptops these days have HDMI out...looking damn good on a high def tv ;)
 

CCericola

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Projectors are great. I use one. Also, bring samples of sizes so you can help them decide what fits the best.
 

MLeeK

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HUGE! As big as you possibly can!!! Having a proofing room is ideal! Either projecting or using a LARGE high def TV/monitor. First proofing done with a slide show set to music designed to amp up the emotion for the session. Then you can use any software you like, but Lightroom works kind of nicely for browsing thru the images to order. You can quickly rate and discard to narrow it down. If you can't show huge then a laptop or ipad will do the trick in a pinch.
never show too many images. Only show the best of the best. A regular session of 30 images is a lot to choose from. A hundred images is incredibly overwhelming and will cause your proofing sessions to be longer and for people to say things like "it's so much, I love them all... I'll have to think about it..." and then your order never happens. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid is always a good rule to live by.
Once you get to moving in your business order one large item of the best image from the shoot-usually you can create enough need for them to buy it on the spot. If not you have a new sample to display in your studio/proofing room.
Another key to this is also setting your FULL pricing high. Say you actually want $50 for an 8x10. Your FULL Price is $100 but if they order at the proofing session they get 50% off all orders... You get your desired price. It is YOUR pricing, so if there is someone who can't or you want to extend that 50% off to for a week... you can do that. This is one of the things Kirk Volclain teaches a LOT in his senior photography business classes/seminars and it's almost so simple as to be stupid when he breaks it down. Makes you smack your head and think DUH!!! Why didn't I realize this??
Next key-under promise. Over deliver. If you promise them 15 images from the session that you always normally proof 30 for and then come back saying something like "the shoot was so awesome I couldn't give you only 15... these are some awesome shots of little suzie!" You are only setting yourself up to look amazing. If you promise NOTHING with your session and get to the proofing and they start ordering and want big ticket high profit items but have got to order 8x10's for grandma then you can say "I will throw in the 8x10's so you can get your 30x30 framed wall art and you can have the images on dvd to keep on your computer and share..." If you aren't promising the DVD and all of these extra things and give them as a "gift" from me to you when it comes time to order they are going to be much more amazed by you and your service being above and beyond.
Make it personal. EVERY client becomes your "friend." You may hate their guts, but you treat them as if they are a close friend or family member... "I don't normally do this for clients, but I'll toss this in because we are friends..." People support their friends and would rather spend money that is going to a friend than someone who is looking down upon them as an expert and them a peon. AND creating that "friendship" and connection enables you to say things like... "I can't wait to see the amazing shots of her we can get at Easter or for Christmas next year..." You are planting the seed for future business.
These are all things you can do in person that you can't do via computer.
Another thing Voclain does when he proofs-they bake cookies in the studio. Studio smells like fresh baked cookies AND it's a treat. It's a PERSONAL thing to bake someone cookies.
I don't bake, but I have a friend who bakes cookies for $4 a dozen. I keep her in business! A simple cookie smelling wax tart fixes the smell! Serving oreo's isn't personal, home baked is.
I could probably write a whole book here about selling tricks. The thing is you have to view it as not a selling trick but in a sincerely giving frame of mind.
Jim Garner teaches "give it away. It will come back to you tenfold." He links that to the bible and religion as well. It's all about generosity being repaid-and it works.
 
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Damn mleek you have some awesome advice there! I'm no where near business ready but when I am I know who I'm coming too. Lol
 

MLeeK

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I have taken LOTS of classes at WPPi and whenever someone I really like comes around!
 

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