Use Proof Delay on customer orders

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SmugMug's Proof Delay feature is a powerful tool for pros. It allows you upload unretouched proofs to a gallery for a customer's review. Once the customer makes a purchase, you have from one to seven business days (your choice) to retouch and replace the photos in their order with retouched, print-ready versions.

You can also adjust the customer's chosen crop, as well as their choice of True or Auto Color.

How Do I Use It?

First, make sure you have Proof Delay enabled in your gallery settings. And set your galleries to a proof-delay between 1 and 7 business days.

When a customer orders from you, you'll get an email from us notifying you a new order has been placed. To view the order during the proof-delay period, go into your Account Settings > Business > Selling > Sales History and click Manage. Your newest order should appear near the top with a badge that says "In Proof Delay." Click Order Details to see the cropping and color choices your customer made.

Here you can replace the low-res proof photo with a full-resolution version you've edited. This helps ensure you only spend time editing the images your customers buy!

You can also change the crop and color choices if your customer accidentally cropped someone's head off.

All these options can be found at the bottom of the screen, below the thumbnail of your photo.

You can reupload the exact same file size and resolution with color changes. Or you can reupload a new photo with much higher resolution if you wish. This option will reset any applied cropping, so you'll need to go to "adjust crop" and crop back to taste.

If your customer has ordered several photos, you can batch replace all the images with their edited counterparts by clicking the Replace Multiple Photos button in the middle of the above screen.

Once you've finished proofing the order, the final step is to hit the Send to the Lab Now button. The order will then be sent to our lab for printing.

What if I Don't Retouch My Photos?

SmugMug's Proof-Delay feature is useful even if you process your files perfectly ahead of time, and don't plan on retouching. Why?

Because SmugMug empowers your customers with the cropping knife, you can be certain, using Proof Delay, that your customers have made "just the right crop."

Sometimes we get asked, "why do we allow cropping?" We don't lock out cropping because without it we had too many returns. Now customers see the crop lines, and they get it most of the time. And with proof delay enabled, you don't have to worry because you can always re-crop.

Do I Have to Change My Workflow?

A couple tweaks should help make the uploading even faster for you.

First, plan ahead. Some pros prefer to shoot RAW + small JPG and afterward upload only the small in-camera JPGs. Other pros shoot RAW only, and use a RAW-conversion software to generate proofs. Still others may shoot only full-resolution JPGs and batch resize them prior to uploading. Any of these methods will do. Use what's best for you.

For proofs, you can upload your files fairly well compressed. 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. (You can do this easily by using batch mode in Photoshop if you don't shoot RAW+JPG.)

All the photos were saved at Photoshop JPG-7, which will display these types of photos just fine for sale. If you have fewer files or don't mind uploading 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

Want to compress using Lightroom instead? Using compression at level 30 produces a fine image for display purposes. You can see some examples here in this gallery. It's up to you to decide how much compression you want, but you can export from Lightroom at compression 50 and have a quite manageable file size for uploading.

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.

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