With graduates and their families, there’s an inherent expectation that photo proofs from their graduation ceremony will be available online almost immediately after the ceremony. After all, with today’s technology, we live in a world of near-instant gratification.
What’s the big deal?
At GradImages, we understand families want to see those pictures as soon as possible. In fact, this “expectation of immediacy” is the driving force behind much of our work during graduation season.
Can’t GradImages just post all the images online right away?
We could, but that’s not an appropriate way to treat your graduates or their families. Here’s why:
Some graduation photography companies that simply take all the images from a ceremony and drop them into one large photo gallery. Then, customers are instructed to scroll through hundreds (even thousands) of pictures to find their own. Our view is that this practice is disrespectful of their time, and many graduates do not appreciate having their images on public display for all to see.
At GradImages, we take care to individually identify every image, and assign it to the correct graduate. Yes, that process does take slightly longer, but it’s the right thing to do. When graduates come to our website, they are not asked to self-identify their own pictures from among hundreds of possibilities. Instead, by default, the images they see will be their own.
We understand speed is important, but whenever a graduation photography company advertises the “fastest proof delivery,” that could be a red flag. Be sure to ask whether graduates will need to search through every photo in order to find his/her own, or whether each image will be individually assigned to the correct graduate.
How long does it take for GradImages to post ceremony proofs?
The short answer is that some events can be posted in just a few short hours, while others may take up to a couple of days. It depends on numerous factors, including the number of graduates, complexity of the ceremony, availability of Internet access at the venue, when the ceremony takes place, how many poses were photographed, and how graduate addresses were obtained.
If there’s one thing we want our client schools to know, it’s that extraordinary efforts take place after each ceremony to deliver proofs as rapidly as possible.
What is GradImages doing behind the scenes after my commencement?
Immediately following each event, our team captains in the field quickly upload digital images and data to our servers using laptop computers. If there are any materials that must be sent back to our office, those are always shipped via overnight delivery to arrive the very next morning. Our Production Department in Tallahassee takes over right away, and the race is on to accurately identify images and deliver proofs to graduates and their families.
When graduates fill out address cards at commencement, which we recommend for the most up-to-date information, data entry teams are standing by to convert that information to electronic format. Meanwhile, the sequence of the graduates as they were individually recognized on stage is verified, and each image is “tagged” to the correct graduate. (This is rarely as simple as it may sound.)
Once graduates have been identified and the ceremony has been through our quality control checks, email and text message notifications are sent almost immediately. Paper proofs are also printed and mailed right away.
As a graduation coordinator, what can I do to help expedite proof delivery?
Here are four things client schools can do to help their graduates receive their ceremony photos as quickly as possible:
- Encourage pre-registration. GradImages has a great online tool that allows families to provide us with up-to-date address information before the event. Click here for more information on this topic. Pre-registration helps reduce delays in proof delivery due to missing or inaccurate address information. From their commencement web page(s), many of our client schools link to our pre-registration system at: http://www.gradimages.com/Preregistration
- Permit graduates to fill out address cards. While addresses provided by the school are important, allowing each graduate the opportunity to complete an address card at the ceremony will help ensure we have the most up-to-date information. Click here to read additional information on this topic.
- Proactively communicate any changes to the ceremony. Anything that affects the flow of graduates or how they are recognized on stage is important information for us. If you are a GradImages client, please don’t hesitate to call, email, or take advantage of our online client portal if you need to share any information about your ceremony that might affect the photography.
- Take steps to keep graduates in order as they cross the stage. From a photo identification standpoint, anytime pictures are taken in an order that does not match the order in which names are read, that is problematic and can delay the timely delivery of proofs. Reader lists can be particularly difficult, especially when graduates are called who are not actually participants in the ceremony. Additionally, students stopping on stage to talk to faculty while others walk around them can cause errors in image identification.