I wasn't able to find a thread on this, maybe I don't know what key words to search for, so forgive me if this has been covered repeatedly.
Most of my clients want proofs before I start printing the job, which is totally understandable. Obviously, setting up specifically for a proof is kind of bonkers. So here is how I have been going about proofs, I print a color copy of the poster onto the paper stock I will be screen printing on, I also create a swatch card that has all of the different inks I will be printing with. I feel like this method is a little hodge-podgey. So I'm wondering, how do y'all do proofs? I have a big name client coming up and I don't want to come off as inexperienced or unprofessional. Thanks!
I don't have any firsthand experience with showing big clients proofs, but your process is about what I'd expect given the medium. The full size digital print on the paper gives them the visual for how the art falls on the paper and the swatches for the inks shows them the true colors. I would offer the caveat that there could be a small amount of play in the art (depending on your equipment of course).
There is little that a client can learn from a printout that they can't see just as well from a digital image on their screen. Most understand this, and are satisfied with a hi-res image.
I am almost never asked for a physical proof. On the rare cases where someone inquires about a screenprinted proof, I tell them what it will cost (plenty...), and how much time it will add to he project, and say that I will be happy to do it. Invariably the answer is, "uuuh.. Never mind.".
If you have a big name client coming up, and they say they want a screenprinted proof, great. That's an extra for the high-rollers and they can pay for it with their big-name budget. Price it at whatever will make it well worth your time, and be clear about that from the get go. If they go for it, everybody wins. If they decide it is a colossal waste of time and money when a digital proof will be just fine, then again, everybody wins.
Beyond that, if your client wants a physical 'proof' but doesn't want to pay for a real one, what you have been doing should be more than satisfactory.
If you are working on a project that really does require screenprinted proofs as part of an approval/ refinement process, make sure you have been paid a non refundable deposit/kill fee, so you don't eat it due to a fickle or over-entitled client. CYA.
I've done what you're describing, and what Dan describes. Ideally, I prefer to proof based off of a high res image. If I'm using a pantone match, then I try to make sure my colors in photoshop reflect that, to the best of my ability.
For specialty processes / inks, I will pull a swatch on the material in question.
For a full, screen printed proof, it's screen cost + $$$ labor cost + ink cost. Note the delay in production on this.
Another favorite is to figure out a time when the client can be "on call" to receive a photo proof via e-mail or cellphone.
Some places often charge a missed press check fee for in person layer checks, but ultimately I think it's a question of "do you trust me to handle your project?" Outlining how you handle color and other matching can help set aside doubt, IMO.