Proofing for photography and getting feedback as a photographer can be a complicated process. There are lots of files. Filenames are often numbers. The differences between images can be ever so slight. A stray hair, a crease there, an overexposed detail, or a tiny variation in lighting can be the difference between an ok and the perfect shot.
The photo selection process can be painstaking on both the client and studio side.
And to top it off, when it’s not synchronized, centralized and consolidated, there is a whole other level of complexity.
Sam North is the general manager at 100% Studios, a photography studio out of London, where they are using ReviewStudio to improve their client and photographer experience. We spoke to him about how they are using ReviewStudio for their photography proofing process, where it’s improved their creative approval workflows, and how they’ve used the Zapier integration to “gamify” the approval experience.
Joey: Can you tell us a bit about 100% Studios and what you do?
Sam: We are a photography studio group focused on fashion and still life photography for online retailers. We have 3 studios in London, from which we cater to hundreds of clients on a monthly basis.
Our expertise is in working in tandem with our clients to create images that add value to any product. We think of clients more as partners, advising them on the latest techniques to best display their products. Today’s shoppers are empowered, with a world of choice a few clicks away. Our job is to help our partners by producing stunning imagery that helps their products sell themselves.
We chose the name 100% Studios as we always aim is to achieve 100% – whether in terms of accuracy in delivering on our clients’ briefs, total clarity, and the wow factor for our clients. We can honestly say we never give our clients anything less than 100%.
How were you getting feedback and approvals before you started with ReviewStudio? What did your creative workflow look like?
Prior to ReviewStudio we received client feedback via email explanations and Dropbox comments. While this was straightforward enough, there were at times excessive back and forths due to clients finding it difficult to explain their requests. Given the lack of purpose-built tools, the feedback was often not exactly clear.
There was also no means of approval integrated into the feedback and as a result it was difficult to establish when and if images had been given their sign-off. The lack of consolidation and clarity was a bit of a headache.
We also needed to log amendment statistics manually which was quite time-consuming and subject to human error.
What led you to ReviewStudio? What were the main problems you were looking to solve?
As a photography studio group we wanted a review and approval system where client feedback could be efficiently logged, both for ease of explanation to the team when actioning amendments to images and to give us a data driven understanding of how we were performing in terms of client satisfaction.
We wanted clarity when getting the comments back from the clients and to make it easier for the photographers to see which of the images needed amending and with precision.
We also wanted to track individual photographer’s performance to see if there were consistent mistakes being made and having the data to correct them.
Overall we wanted a way to improve our service and satisfaction level of our clients for future projects.
What features have had the biggest impact on your creative workflows?
The main advantage is having a platform whereby all images needing tweaks are consolidated with comments and areas clearly highlighted where necessary. The tools like the pen and shape tools make the process clearer for photographers and clients alike. It makes it very clear directly on the image as to which amendments need to be done, adding the numbers on each comment.
With these features, the photographers and editors do not waste time matching the comment to the actual issue. This clarity and having everything in one place saves a great deal of time where we may normally have been battling through vague comments lost in often unclear emails
Another great feature that has made a great difference is that we now have the ability to export approval data into a spreadsheet with the ReviewStudio Zapier integration.
Because we now collect data on the approvals into spreadsheet, we use our clear statistical understanding of approvals and rejections to our advantage in many ways whether assessing photography success rate, identifying repeated mistakes or motivating the team with rewards for highest success rates.
Can you describe the impact ReviewStudio has had on your team and workflow?
We spend less time on revisions overall. We have much clearer, precise and consolidated feedback. We also have a trail of data to show exactly how many edit rounds are needed to get to approvals. Photographers are eager to get a ‘full score’ and try to have no amendments at all. And when there are any amendments, everything is clearly marked on the software, reducing the chance of any wasted or redundant revisions.
What has been the overall impact ReviewStudio has had on your business?
ReviewStudio has helped us save a very significant amount of time. It’s made our post-production process a lot more streamlined, which means we can be more productive while also reducing the amount of time our clients spend on back and forth emails. They definitely appreciate that. We do as well.
The clearer understanding of clients’ feedback has contributed to time spent on revisions going down. Along with this our photographers are more efficient, and are more eager to get a better score on their specific jobs by needing fewer rounds to get to approvals.
Have your clients given you any positive feedback? Do they seem happier using the service?
Clients seem to be generally pleased with the platform, especially the ones that have a large amount of images that need to be reviewed and amended. With ReviewStudio, they do not need to explain everything in an email, but rather tie the feedback directly to the specific areas of an image instead. It’s a much more seamless process.
What’s your best piece of advice for someone starting out with ReviewStudio (or online proofing in general)?
Take the time to fully explore and understand the software before you start sending the images. This will help not only to keep your own records clear, but if there are any questions that the client might have – and they will – you will be able to answer them. This was so important in motivating them in using and adopting the software to its full potential.
Also, encourage your counterparts on the client side to make full use of the range of drawing tools as they will make the written feedback that much clearer.