Ever wanted a silent partner, someone who is there to lend a helping hand, but doesn't interfere? Silent partners generally are investors who have a stake in the operation and want to generate income for themselves. How about one who derives income from the extra profit you generate? Enter DigiProofs (www.DigiProofs.com), my new silent partner and additional staff member.
I had tried online proofing with various companies, but was disappointed each time. Clients complained that the image quality was not as it appeared in the studio, causing constant reprinting. And I had the feeling that the vendors were more interested in stealing my clients than in helping me serve them. All the photo packaging was from "them," not from me. I was just the guy in black who shot the event, someone whose name and branding vanished after the event.
Covering weddings totally digitally, I typically shoot 1,500 or so frames, which are carefully edited down to about 700. Spending quite a bit of time on editing assures that the bride, groom, and their families and friends see only the best.
I was looking for an online proofing service that would fit my business model. DigiProofs does in many ways. The service offers a clean look and a simple consumer ordering process with reasonable pricing. It offers the appealing option of posting online, generating orders, and still being allowed to handle each order personally. I give every order the utmost care, even retouching images before ordering prints, which I do through my choice of labs. DigiProofs also offers a total fulfillment service, but for me, a more directly involved approach felt best.
Recently DigiProofs contacted me with a new option based partly on our discussions a few months back. I can now have them print and ship the orders after I approve each image first. I can precisely crop images, even substitute retouched images. This new "Managed Fulfillment" option is a good fit, plus it saves me time and streamlines my workflow.
After I upload high-res files to DigiProofs, my clients, their families, and friends pick out their photos from the posted, password-protected online images and place their orders online. Previously, I had used the DigiProofs system to generate the orders, then placed these orders myself with the lab of my choosing, often doing further editing on chosen images. I would then repackage the orders with my own boxes and packaging materials, each chosen to reflect my Atherton Photographic brand.
While clients have enjoyed DigiProofs' clean, simple consumer interface and straightforward ordering process, the feature that means the most to me is their willingness to please us and our customers. The fact that the DigiProofs folks take the time to discuss future improvements is a clear example of their willingness to meet and exceed client expectations.
With this new version of their system, I'll be able to use the more automated fulfillment process, with DigiProofs printing, packaging, and shipping the orders; at my option, the order process is held for review so when an order is placed online, I'll be able to maintain control over the output. I can either approve the order "as is" or view, crop, and/or replace images with improved versions.
The new DigiProofs system will save me hours, protect my brand, and maintain tight control and the highest possible quality for my clients, who expect and deserve the best-a silent partner of the best kind.
For more information, visit www.DigiProofs.com
British-born Peter Atherton (www.athertonphotographic.com) has operated a photo studio since arriving in California in 1983. Specializing in high-end weddings with a fashion flair, he is well-known in Northern California for the covers he creates for Today's Bride, California's number one bridal planner. A Lexar Elite Photographer, he teaches photography wherever his book, Distinctive Wedding Art Outside the Box, and DVDs are available.