SmugMug's Proof and Retouch feature is an extremely powerful tool for pros. Essentially, you upload smallish, unretouched proofs to a gallery. The customers buy, and you have from 1 to 7 days (your choice) to retouch and replace the photos. Not only that, but you can also make adjustments to the customer's chosen crop, as well as the True or Auto Color choice.
First, plan ahead. Some pros prefer to shoot RAW + small JPG at shoot. Great, you can just upload the small in-camera JPGs. Other pros shoot RAW only, and use the RAW conversion software to generate the proofs. Still others may shoot only JPG, full rez in-camera, and batch resize these prior to uploading. Any of these methods will do. Use what's best for you.
For proofs, you can upload your files fairly well smashed. Here's a gallery with some examples from three Canon Cameras, at four different resolutions. These files were all converted from RAW, at different sizes. Of course, this is all easy to do in batch mode in Photoshop if you do not shoot RAW+JPG. Need help with that? All the photos were saved at Photoshop JPG-7. Yes, JPG-7 will display these types of photos just fine, for sale. Of course, if you have fewer files, or don't mind uploading a bit larger files, then compress them at JPG-8. Here are some examples of how much the files can be compressed:
1Ds Mark II, 16 megapixel file, 1.2Mb
1Ds Mark II, 6 megapixel file, 332kb
1Ds Mark II, 3 megapixel file, 540kb
1Ds Mark II, 1.5 megapixel file, 252kb
5D, 12 megapixel file, 1.3mb
5D, 6 megapixel file, 764kb
5D, 3 megapixel file, 440kb
5D, 1.5megapixel file, 312kb
20D, 8 megapixel file, 1Mb
20D, 6 megapixel file, 828kb
20D, 3 megapixel file, 484kb
20D, 1.5 megapixel file, 348kb
Update: Adobe Lightroom Compression examples:
You can see some examples here in this gallery - using compression in Lightroom at even level 30, produces a fine image for display purposes. Of course, it's up to you to decide how much - but you can export from Lightroom, at compression 50, and have a quite manageable file size for uploading. The compression levels and file sizes are in the captions of each photo.
Be very careful to upload files with resolution great enough to support the largest size print you wish to sell. If you don't, the sizes won't appear in your shopping cart.
NOW, with the new ability in your pro sales page, your customers can buy, and crop or not crop as they choose. Upon notification of order (you get an email from us when the customer orders), you, go into your Account Settings during the proof-delay period, view the order. You can reupload exact same file size and resolution, with color changes. Or, you can also reupload a new photo with much higher resolution if you wish. You must then see the new crop lines on the newly replaced photo, the crop would be off, so you MUST go to "adjust crop" and crop back to taste.
The final step in the process is to hit the "Ship It!" button, and the order will now go off to our lab.
SmugMug's Proof and Retouch Feature is useful even if you process your files perfectly ahead of time, and don't plan on retouching. Why?
Because SmugMug empowers your customer with the cropping knife, you can be certain, with Proof Delay turned ON, that your customers have made "just the right crop." Set your galleries to a proof-delay between 1 and 7 days. When the customers order, you'll get an email from us. Go to the order in your Account Settings, and verify that the crops are good.
Sometimes we get asked, "why do we allow cropping?" We don't lock out cropping, because it becomes our worst nightmare if we do. Honestly, the biggest thing we ever did in printing was to empower the consumer to set their own cropping. They see the crop lines, they get it most of the time, and without it we had too many returns. And the truth of the matter is, even the fussiest amongst us shouldn't worry now, because if you set your gallery to a proof delay, you can always re-crop.
Grandpa's head is chopped off? No problem, just recrop it. When you are done, hit the "Ship It!" button and the order goes off to our lab.