Friday, September 26, 2008

Online Photo Proofing Services

I've been holding off on doing this post for quite a while because I'd prefer to give you very detailed information about each service and what it offers. However, I understand that several people have been stranded recently by their current provider and are looking for another solution- which makes this a more urgent issue. Before you decide on any proofing solution, I think you need to make sure you're only going to pay for what you're going to use. In other words - don't invest in a full service solution if you really want to do most of the work on your own. Likewise, don't underinvest in a solution that's only going to solve half of your problems. This is a key part of any professional photographer's business, so it is essential that you ask the right questions of yourself and of the company you're looking to sign up with.

First decide which services you need or don't need. Here are some options to consider:
- Online Hosting (their server or yours)
- Web or Computer Based Software
- Payment Processing (paypal, credit card, etc.)
- Password Protection (client privacy)
- Categorizable Galleries
- Sepia or BW previews
- Client Favorites or Folders
- Customizable to match branding
- Website Integration
- Guestbook/Data Collection
- Print Fulfillment or Self Fulfillment
- Lab Partnerships (do they work with a lab you trust)
- Backup Storage (do they store small or full res files - for how long?)
- Product Offerings
- Digital Downloads
- Watermarked Images
- Monthly/Annual/One Time Fee
- Commissioned sales
- Order Packaging
- Training & Support Services

I'm sure there are more options I'm not including, but this is to get your started in thinking about which services are valuable to you and which ones aren't. Now onto the online proofing solutions, (eventually I'd like to create a metrix comparing services and features, but for now I offer you a list)...


Into The Darkroom



More Photos



Photo Cart


Exposure Manager





Gallery Director





  1. Great advice. One that you didnt list that I use and recommend is There are no monthly/yearly fees and I have been very happy with their print quality and service so far. It is endorsed by PPA

  2. I use NextProof (in conjunction with my Big Folio website) although I believe it's available without the Big Folio connection. I only do 1 or 2 events per year on my own right now, so the FREE 1 GB of space available is great for my needs!

  3. great list, I highly recommend Instaproofs! tons of features, and GREAT customer service!!!

  4. Wish I had this list when I was looking for a service!!! Still I've been very impressed with the price to value of Zenfolio. They do just about everything you listed and my clients seem to really enjoy it. Pictage is great for wedding photographers who do a lot of albums but I couldn't risk my clients getting spammed by them even if it would increase my sales.

  5. I use Candid2000(about to become Black River Imaging) and with the new enhanced features it works really well for us.

  6. A second vote for instaproofs, which didn't make your list. No fees, hosting for up to a year, lots of flexibility for discounts and print credits, and responsive service.

  7. Wow, great list! I use and I'm very happy with it. You can choose how much storage you need each month.

  8. Another thing to consider is::

    Do they allow you to create discount or gift certificate codes?

    I use
    They are the best kept secret of the photography world. A one time set-up & small monthly fee. You self full-fill and no money is taken from your pocket. They have THE BEST customer service I have ever experienced.


  9. I have used pictage photo quality is good, lead times long and it takes forever to get paid, and acct'g is atrocious. Relatively easy for clients, bad help for them tho should a problem arise. is pretty easy, but interface not as slick.

  10. Photoshelter is perfect for my needs:

    Here's my site with the customised option where my site's CSS and layout is applied to everything served up by Photoshelter:

    I went through at least half of the list above and none were as slick as this option. No black and white preview option, but then I personally prefer to do my own black and white versions instead of a lab converting to grey scale (yuk).

    Customise and integrate with your own site, custom price lists, custom products, self-fulfilled or fully managed print ordering, offer clients paid or free image downloads, gallery invites, full screen previews, slideshows, secure redundant online storage, handles ALL kinds of image files from RAW to JPG, TIFF etc...

  11. I've been using Redcart for awhile now and love it- the support is supurb and my clients love it. Worth a look at- cost us $900. Take a peek at

  12. I also use nextproof - but is cool too.

  13. has been around the longest and seems to have a lot more selling tools to offer to get customers to buy.

  14. Another new online photo proofing service is It has great reviews so far, is easy for the photographer and the client, and has a simple fee structure rather than high percentages!


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