Client proofing tool

Design a tool for photographers, clients, and collaborators to seamlessly select favorite photographs together.




UI/UX Design



As Lead Designer at PhotoShelter, I regularly heard about the needs and frustrations of photographers. To capture stories and proposed improvements that weren't on our product roadmap, I kept a running 'brain dump' list. Although infrequent, occasionally I had downtime between product and feature builds. This time served as a valuable opportunity for 'brain dump' list prototyping. One need that popped up frequently in user research was the arduous process of client photo selection. In most cases, the client would send a list of selected photographs' filenames to the photographer. The photographer would then cross-reference the filename list with the file names on their system. The process was overly complicated and manual for both the photographer and client.

Following the lead of this persistent user story, I worked alongside a front-end developer to prototype a solution.

Project goals

From a UX perspective, the main objectives were to:

  • Simplify the photography selection process
  • Reduce costly back-and-forth
  • Allow teams to contribute feedback and to see selects in common
  • Create an end-to-end, mobile to desktop experience that is enjoyable to use

From a UI perspective, my main objectives were to:

  • Support all types (specialties, colors, orientations) of photography
  • Reduce visual clutter of filter navigation
  • Allow for multi-select filtering
  • Communicate a three-step select, review and send process

Unlike the typical tech-savvy PhotoShelter user, our users' clients can be less accustomed to interacting with the latest technologies. Take for instance the example of a wedding photographer sending photos to a couple. This couple, in turn, may solicit feedback from their parents or grandparents. Thus it was important to build an application that would be easy for anyone to understand and use. 

User research

  • The proofing process for most photographers is described as an arduous process
  • The proofing process for most photographers is idiosyncratic
  • The proofing process for most clients involves emailing the filename of selects, which can result in several emails
A series of images detailing the communication between a photographer and client. The first scenarios shows a simple communication scenario where the client has no changes. The second scenario shows a typical scene where a client selects images and then makes some changes after the fact. The final scenario shows a worst case where a client has changes but delivers the incorrect filenames.


Some of the most important factors in reimagining the proofing process were:

Context-of-use: Where are individuals selecting their images? Are they on the go (mobile) or are they sitting in front of the TV with a tablet or laptop? How might this affect the overall user experience?

Collaboration: How might users share galleries with their friends, family, and colleagues? Are they more likely to forward an email or send a link? Is there another way sharing might also happen? How can a system support multiple collaborators?

Review process: As part of the goal was to reduce back-and-forth communication, how can we minimize selection error? How might we focus the user's attention to encourage a careful review one's selects before sending the final decision to the photographer?

Paper sketches of the client proofing tool. The sketches include the basic building blocks for website wireframes: circles, squares, arrows and text.
6 circles filled with colors used for the Client Proofing Tool. The circle at the top is black and at the bottom is white. The circles in between are various shades of grey, with their hex codes and white percentages listed to the right of the color.
Various sizes and treatments of text, starting with a 48px bold font on top and a 12px regular font on the bottom.