Have you ever considered using proof prints with your clients?  Let me show you how easy {and fast} it can be to use proof prints during your IPS sessions to genuinely delight your clients and increase your overall sales!


A few years ago, I started created swag bags for each of my clients.  I wanted to give away something special to thank them for believing in me and investing in my company!  So I found cute cellophane bags and filled them with little goodies to tuck inside the bag with their prints and albusms.  But, if I’m being honest… it felt forced and cheesy.  Not pampering and customized.  So I began to rethink how and when I was nurturing my clients.


When you take care of your clients, they take care of you!


The only drawback?  While you’re pampering your clients, you still have to ensure that you’re running a profitable company by making wise financial choices.  Not only that, but here’s the thing: there is a TON of psychology that goes into sales and selling.  While, as photographers, we may identify more as an “artist” than a “salesperson,” the truth of the matter is that we own a business.   And, to make money?  We have to sell.


So how do we make selling “feel” good?  Sweet sparkle, the answer is proof prints!


One of the things that really didn’t sit well with me was that my clients would spend a lot of money with me during their IPS session…. and then leave the studio completely empty handed {unless you count their digital receipt… but I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly bring me joy!}.  While they were excited about their purchase, they had nothing tangible to show and had to wait a few weeks to see the finished products.


I wanted to find a way to use proof prints to make my clients happy & increase my sales!


So, I did some research and found out that you can, in fact, create proof prints {complete with the white borders} inside of Lightroom!  And, the best part for me, once you set it up the first time,  Lightroom remembers your settings.  So you can easily create an entire set of proof prints for a client in less than a minute!  #winning


Watch this quick tutorial & I’ll show you how to make proof prints!


It’s really quite an easy process!  Watch the video, then keep scrolling down and I’ll tell you how I’m integrating proof prints into my IPS sessions and why they’re working!


  1. edit your images in Lightroom

  2. navigate to the print tab {upper right}

  3. find the page set-up option {lower left} & change the page size to 3.5×5

  4. change the layout to be ¼” on all sides {right side of your screen}

  5. increase the cell size

  6. add any extra info you wish

  7. print to file {lower right}


To help me keep costs down, I’m printing my proof prints at a 3.5×5 size through Millers {in RS+ choose “proofing”}.  Why this size?  It’s the cheapest option {I usually spend $15-25 per client}, it’s too small to scan and reprint at a larger size, and let’s be honest…. they fit well into a swag bag!


How I’m using proof prints during my IPS sessions:


So now that I figured out how to create and print these magical little proof prints, I wanted to find a way to integrate them into both my IPS sessions and client swag bags.  The result was far better than I could have ever imagined!


After my clients have viewed their images digitally on the big screen TV, I pull out the proof prints {making NO mention that they’ll get to keep them}.  I ask them to make three piles of prints…


I call this the “love, like, or eh” process.


They always giggle at my super official titles!  Once piles have been made, we work exclusively from the “love” pile and only reference the “like” pile if needed {or if they want to add more images to an album}.  It makes it INCREDIBLY easy to visualize wall groupings, decide which images look good together, and compare images… all things which are tricky to do online {unless you’re using Swift Galleries}.


My clients are able to select their products MUCH quicker than ever before AND {enter our aforementioned friend, mr. psychology} they begin to fall in love with and feel ownership over the very prints they’re holding in their hands.  Which…. typically makes them add on a few things they just can’t live without!  And that part?  That usually happens at the very end, when they’re left holding a stack of “unused” images in their hands.


The truth of the matter is, my proof prints sell for me & make my clients happy!


proof-prints-ips-immerse-workshops-tutorialWhen the entire ordering process is completed and my clients are signing the large chalkboard wall in my studio, I quietly sneak over to a corner of my studio and package up a little swag bag for my clients.  I include custom hair ties from Ties for Teams, branded chapstick {Berry Sangria is everyone’s fave}, a mini nail polish, and business cards in a pillow box with custom ribbon from the Ribbon Print Company!  Also inside the goodie bag is all of their proof prints… wrapped up in a cute little wax paper bag with washi tape.  Because washi tape makes everything cuter.  Can I get an amen?!


As we’re saying our good-byes, I hand them their swag bag…. including the proof prints.


I tell them that, inside the swag bag, they’ll find some fun goodies {get all the details here}… plus all the photographs they were just holding.  I encourage them to find frames for the prints, pass them out to family members, or use them however they wish.

And, since you’re wondering, I don’t sell anything smaller than a 5×7, so never once has this hurt my sales and I’ve never had a client call and decrease their order once they were home.


In fact, on more than one occasion, my clients have gotten misty-eyed when I tell them they get to keep the proof prints!


It’s a small gesture, but by integrating proof prints into my IPS sessions, I’m able to make the process easier and faster, increase my overall sales, and MOST IMPORTANTLY make my clients truly happy by blessing them with a little gift.


It’s a win-win for everyone involved!


Do you do something similar with your IPS sessions or have a question about the process?  I’m happy to help and would love to hear your brilliant ideas too!  Leave a comment in the box below and let’s chat!  Or, if you’re a social person and think your friends would love this info, use can pin this blog post on Pinterest or share it in your Facebook groups using the buttons below!


It’s an honor to have you joining me on this journey and I’d love to continue to help you make informed decisions for your photography business!  Click here to download a freebie, with love from me to you!

Join the Conversation


  1. I LOVE this idea and after you mentioned it a few months ago… tried it and the clients LOVED the gift. Here is my question, what would you say if during the appointment the clients ask, “what are you doing to do with those, can we have them?” Do you just say YES , skip the surprise and at the end and spoil it now? Just curious if this has happened yet to you?
    XOXO darling

    1. gah! it makes my heart so happy to know you’re using them too! so, i’ve had several clients say “can i buy these?!” or “oh my goodness, do we get these?!” during the meeting. i always like to keep all the cards in my hand, if you know what i mean. so i’ll usually say, “oh, don’t worry! we’ll use these to help us place your order and then i have some ideas about what we can do with them afterwards.” this doesn’t really give an answer…. but seems to be enough of an answer. i love responding like this, because they typically then assume it’s going to be an add-on or something like that…. so when i just give them for free, it makes them even happier! give it a whirl and let me know how it goes OR if you come up with something even better!!! 🙂 xoxo!

  2. Hi Cyrissa! How are you by the way?! I love these IPS tips! I don’t currently do IPS, but have been thinking about it for awhile now. My IPS question is… that I am very protective of my evenings and weekends so I can focus on family. I have done a pretty good job building my business during business hours. I feel like if I do IPS, I need to do them in the evening at my client’s home while both decision makers are there. What is your experience? Have you successfully done them during business hours and do you require both decision makers to be there? Would love to hear more on this, thank you so much!!

    1. hey babe! i do most of my IPS sessions in the evenings…. so i won’t be of much help to you. what i can say is that i’ll book 2-3 back to back {in my studio} so that i’m only gone ONE evening out of the week instead of more! you could meet your clients at a cute coffee shop OR another idea would be to try an online ordering meeting using skype or something. you just have to be mindful of clients taking screenshots! or, what if you did lunchtime meetings??? think outside the box and be creative! keep me posted – would love to hear what you dream up!

  3. I have been doing this exact process for years and years. I have huge sales because of it. I even call my piles exact same names as you. But one change that I’ve made out over the years, to increase my sale to be over $2,500, is to tell them that they get to keep the proofs if they buy either of my top two collections. It’s such a great way to push the client to the next level and they get to keep something they love. For this upcoming season, I am also going to give them their sticky album that night too. Good for you for sharing this method, as it’s always worked for me.

  4. This could not have come at a better time, I have really been tossing around paper proofs! I’m curious if you give this to everyone or only at a certain order level? Thanks so much for the great read and btw… finally got around to digging in with Swift Galleries….and omg love love love! Thanks for the great read!

    1. hey claudine! i’m so glad you enjoyed it!!! 🙂 so, for now, i give all the proofs to all the clients who order a package. BUT, amber just mentioned {check out the other comments on this post} that she only gives it for her top collections. that’s what i do with my sticky albums… and i think it’s a brilliant idea! give it a whirl and see what happens – keep us posted!

    1. thanks babe! oh my goodness, wish i had a good photo of it! all my clients get to sign the wall during their IPS session. it’s fun when they see their friend’s names too! i’ll see if i can remember to take a photo for ya! 🙂

  5. Hi Cyrissa,
    Question: What would you do if the client is paying cash in payments…… would you still give them the proofs? I mean.. is that a huge risk not worth taking if they decided after leaving from making only 1 payment to say.. “heck with that.. I have all the proofs now-I can just scan and print them however I want.” I am a bit scared about that part.

    1. hey babe! you are VERY WISE to consider this! i rarely have clients do payment plans, so i’ve only been put into this position one time. so please keep in mind, this is not a “tried and true” response! in the past, i’ve just told the client that i use the prints to help me place their order {print numbers are on the back – so this is a true statement}. once orders have been paid in full, they can look forward to their products AND a little swag bag. i will usually hint that they may see the proof prints again… but don’t tell them how many or when they’ll see them! hope that helps!

  6. This is so awesome. You are so awesome. Thank you!
    I don’t have light room. I have photoshop element 13.
    Will that still work?

    1. hi maria! i’ve never worked with photoshop elements, so i don’t have a solid answer for you! here’s what i will say – if you can run an ACTION in elements, you should be able to write an action and then just “run” it on all your prints. if you’re unable to do that, do a little googling and see what you can find out there! there’s got to be a way! if you find a great tutorial, feel free to post it here! i’m sure you’re not the only one with this question!

    1. that’s a fabulous question! i have made the decision NOT to do proof prints for my wedding clients for this reason: there are simply too many! additionally, my wedding collections are all-inclusive. so their IPS session is really more of a reveal instead of an ordering session! so, i only do them for my family and senior clients. that being said, i HAVE considered adding it on for my weddings and if i were to do so, i’d probably print the best 20-30 from their personal portraits! what do you think of that idea???

  7. I don’t have a “Print to file” option showing in my LR. I use the LR CC, and am pretty sure my version is up to date, but can’t figure out how to save it with the border to a file. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Never mind! I figured it out! A little further up my screen, I had to change the option to JPEG File, and then the “print to file” option popped up! I should’ve waited 5 more minutes before I ran to you for help!

  8. Awesome thanks for this!! Love the idea of proof prints, I’ve never done IPS but I’m wanting to,.
    Another question do you only do a swag bag after their IPS? Or do you also do a gift immediately following session? And if doing a family session for your IPS the swag bag is geared it appears mainly to mom… Does that feel like that’s the best person to gear that bag toward?!
    One more question if they order collections do you give a gift after they spend so much $$$

    1. hey honey! i’m actually going to be doing a blog post about this soon! 🙂 make sure you’re on my email list {} and i’ll send it to you when it’s live! short answers: i give their gift as they’re doing payment and as long as they purchase something, they get the goodie bag {no exceptions}. usually i’ll hand it to mom as dad is paying. i want them to feel good about their purchase – so this is one way to do that. and yes, it’s always about mama! 🙂

  9. I know this is an older post but I just found it- and LOVE it. My question is this…what if your client is a guy? What items do you suggest? While I do have gals I am a photog that is heavy on the guy Seniors…help! xoxo

    1. oh my goodness! guys are SO neglected in the senior world! ok, so i’d still do the proof prints – because MOM will love them! 🙂 but for him, when it comes to the swag bag, you may want to consider a $5 gift card to a local eatery or something fun like that! i’d HIGHLY encourage you to put together a three question survey {use google docs – super easy} and send it to some of your past clients and ask them their opinion! let me know how it goes!

  10. What do you do if your client winds up coming in to the IPS and then only buys the digital download anyway? Do you still give them the proofs? I do the IPS for a studio. Some people come in and get very little because the digital download is more appealing…..

    1. FANTASTIC question! ok, i’m going to assume that you’ve got your digitals priced in a way that you’re making the same {of not more} than if they ordered a large collection. if that’s the case, i’m going to joyfully give them the prints and know they’ll serve as a reminder of my high quality…. because when they print at walmart, the prints won’t be nearly as fabulous! 🙂

      1. I just found an app that offers a similar option and helps with ordering. I wondered your opinion. You add your photos in, it creates a slideshow & the client can “rate” each photo as a yes, no or maybe. It sorts them all and then they can choose what to order of each later & the photog can also upsell the slideshow itself as well. It has other perks including a link back to Lightroom. But my thought was to offer it to the clients that buy the largest collection as an incentive? I currently have a mobile app incentive for my Senior clients that up grade to the middle collection, so the largest collection would get them both as add ons-but cost me nothing. Thoughts? I’m wondering if I’m may be missing an angle & may miss out on sales by adding in digital type add ons?

  11. Can I just say that I absolutely LOVE you! Like, you’re the best! Thank you SO MUCH for these ideas! I’ve been debating doing this! My problem has always been cutting down the images that I make available to them. I’m doing my first IPS with my most recent shoot. It is scheduled for a little while from now (the family went on vacation)..(and I’m so nervous! gah!). Do you offer seniors a certain number of images based on the session they chose? If so, do you only print that many images, or do you print all of the ones that you think are “keepers” even if it is more than the number indicated by the session? I’ve never used Sticky Albums, but have heard good things about them. Do they just allow you to have web-sized file in an app with your logo? How do they share it and add it to their computer?

    1. also, for my families and seniors – i usually present about 40 images. sometimes more, sometimes less. and i print ALL of them. and i LOVE sticky albums – grab an account here: and use “sparkle” to save some money at check-out! 🙂 my images include a small logo – so if it gets shared on social, i’m still getting credit!

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply to Cyrissa Carlson Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.