Late in 2013, I announced on the PWP Facebook Page that I would be going back to in-person proofing in 2014. There are several advantages to this for my clients, but the most important reason, the one thing I take the most seriously, is safety. I believe that this outweighs any of the smaller inconveniences of eliminating online proofing galleries. This morning, several of my photographer friends shared information they had come across where boudoir and other galleries hosted online were being hacked for voyeuristic purposes. This literally made me sick to my stomach. I don’t shoot a lot of boudoir (don’t even advertise it, actually!) but I do photograph a lot of young children and their families, and as a parent of a young child, I was quite sickened by what I was reading. Here is a link to one blog about this issue from The Business of Being Awesome. You can see why I was quite alarmed. There were other articles as well. I had to stop reading.
For a long time, I have seriously weighed whether or not I should share photos of my own family on my site and on my Facebook page. I decided that I would, but I am extremely careful in what I post. I know this weighs on my clients’ minds as well, and even though my contract always includes a model release, I always honor my clients’ wishes if they ask that I do not use their images online. No questions asked. I also use the same care I use in sharing my personal photos when selecting the images I do share on the blog, or in a portfolio, or as a sneak peek. In this Internet Age, anything shared is out there forever, and nothing is truly 100% private, even with a password. At your pre-session consultation, we will go over all of the details of the model release, and talk about what will or won’t be used.
Effective immediately, I will be discontinuing the use of my online proofing galleries. In-person premiere sessions will be scheduled at the time of your session, usually 7-10 days following your photo session. At that time, we will review your images and place your order for product/digitals. The only exception to my in-person premiere sessions will be weddings and model calls, but all online galleries will be password protected, and limited to a 30-day online viewing period.
Beyond your safety, in-person proofing sessions have a ton of benefits. First, they are FUN. (And I’ll be sharing a little bit of even bigger news about them next week!) We’ll sit down in your home, or in my office, and go through all of those amazing moments together. Secondly, I am there to help you make the selections for prints, canvases, and albums – no more guesswork. You’ll also see samples in various sizes at your premiere, to help you choose the best for your home. Third, I am there to answer questions on the spot. We’ll go over all your options. I can even show you want a product in a particular size will look like on your wall! There are so many benefits, I only regret not doing this sooner for all my DC/MD/VA clients.
I know there are a few inconveniences in eliminating the online galleries, but it is my hope that the advantages will far outweigh them. Change is good.
And I want to thank all of my wonderful clients who have allowed me to share their images. Please know that this is not something I take lightly. As a professional, there is a great deal of responsibility and obligation to act in a way that protects all of us. One of the many ways is the use of watermarks as well as protecting myself through the embedded metadata in images. If at any time you have questions or concerns, please reach out to me!