If you’re looking to use your WordPress website for client proofing, then this article is a great starting point.
I had to come up with a solution pretty quick because the service I was using to host my proofing galleries for clients, decided to double their prices. For my purposes, the price didn’t warrant the service, so I canceled my plan.
The steps I took to create a self-hosted client proofing solution are similar to what I will be listing below. However, being that I am fairly handy with coding, I used fewer plugins and implemented manual PHP code.
Step 1: Custom Post Type
There are many custom post type plugins available for WordPress, but a popular one is called Types. What this does is give you the option to generate another “Post” option in your WordPress backend, but instead of a post you can call it “Proofing”. (which is what I did)
Step 2: Hide From Search Engines
Now that you have a Proofing custom post type created, you can hide it from search engines. If you are only using the galleries for proofing then there is no reason that search engines, like Google or Bing, should index them. An easy way to do this is to install WordPress SEO by Yoast. When installed go to SEO >> Titles & Meta >> Post Types >> Proofing, then check to hide the WordPress SEO box for Proofing and check the box for noindex,follow which will hide Proofing from search engines.
Step 3: Gallery Management
The easiest way to manage multiple galleries is by using a WordPress gallery plugin. Of course, I recommend NextGEN Gallery for many reasons.
- It is the most popular WordPress gallery plugin available with millions of downloads
- It is the most powerful for managing multiple galleries
- It is supported by hundreds of third-party plugins (which you will see below)
- The company I work for (Photocrati) develops it 🙂
When NextGEN Gallery is installed, you would create a gallery for each session that needs proofing. When using NextGEN Gallery you can easily insert your gallery anywhere in the “post content”.
Step 4: Download and/or Selection Support
In Step 3 I mentioned that there are a lot of add-ons for NextGEN Gallery. There are currently two that I recommend trying for your new proofing galleries.
- NextGEN Download Gallery is a plugin that I am personally using for my client proofing. What it lets me do is have check boxes below each thumbnail where clients can check off and download their photographs as a ZIP file. They can either email me the ZIP of their selected photos or email me a list of the file names that they’re choosing.
- NextGEN Gallery Voting is a plugin that provides a way for clients to vote on their favorite photos using a star system or thumbs up. You can then take the list that were voted on as the selected photos. Using NextGEN Gallery Voting Premium adds more features that can be extremely useful.
Step 5: Password Protection
In this article you have seen how I created a client proofing gallery with my self-hosted WordPress website. You are able to do this without knowing any PHP or HTML code by utilizing a specific set of WordPress plugins.
You can see my client proofing gallery example on my website or by viewing the video below:
This method has served extremely well for me, and while I am not a wedding photographer, I believe it can work for large events like that. I also want to mention that a built-in proofing option is coming to a future version of NextGEN Gallery that will make this process quick and painless.
It’s also worth noting that I’m using FooBox instead of the built-in lightbox, but will be using the upcoming NextGEN Pro Lightbox (teaser) once it is completed. One final note, is that there are some WordPress photography themes that have proofing capabilities, like the Photocrati theme. While it’s not an actual feature, the theme’s gallery system can be used in a similar way as I’ve shared here.
Now it’s your turn to give it a try. So go ahead and then come back here and tell me how it went.