Fees for Online Photo Proofing

Monthly Fees

The best option for online photo proofing is a monthly fee structure. This is generally a better route for the high-volume photographer, as your costs do not increase at the same rate as your orders. Your cost to proof an event is fixed, and if multiple customers order – as they should with online photo proofing – the extra orders are simple profit. It is also helpful for your business to have fixed fees rather than have your profits in essence taxed.


Many online photo proofing services charge a commission fee based on your sales. These fees can be as high as 18%, really eating into your profits. The upside is that you don’t pay anything unless you are making money. If you area a photographer confident that you will have a base level of sales to cover your fixed expenses each month, monthly plans are a much higher value. A commission-only system may work for some photographers, but certainly stay away from services charging a monthly fee and commissions.


In the online photo proofing world, a credit system is somewhat of a rarity, but can be the perfect solution for the occasional photographer. The model is generally that a photographer purchases credits to represent the number of photos uploaded to the photo proofing software. These systems can get confusing, and if you are indeed an occasional photographer, go with the most basic of models; one credit equals one photo, and that is the only fee that you pay. This simple structure will prove more costly if you are dealing with a high volume of photographs, but if you shoot one wedding every few months, this saves you from paying a monthly fee, but still gives you the professional photo proofing that your clients expect.

Set up Fees and Contracts

Steer clear. Some photo proofing software options have set up fees, be wary of these websites. Once you pay a hefty fee to begin using a product, you are trapped and less likely to discontinue use if you are dissatisfied. Others force you to sign a contract for their services for a year or more. These companies know that they will have you stuck once you have a significant investment or a contract with termination fees, and as they are offering an inferior product, they know they need to “trap” you. You should not be locked into more than a 30 to 60 day commitment. Even if a services offers a free trial, the time that you take to install and learn the software is a significant investment that either wastes your time or makes you feel the need to stay with a sub-par service. Keep the freedom to discontinue service if you are dissatisfied.

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