Personally, I have built something similar and allowed the user to upload via the cms. Used Dropzone.js and customised it as needed. You can then run any php on each upload to resize or whatever you need.
I prefer this approach as it's more streamlined for the client and you have more control over the images.
It's personal choice really. Your approach should work - as long as the photographer is techy enough. IF you plan to use the smae code down the line, then the next client might not be quite as techy.
Hey, they do their stuff in ligthroom, don't make life harder for them, let them upload directly, and you can build a soluition that goes into the folders and reads-> lists the files so they are ready for download
you can also write a thumnail creator, so the clients can see the images faster
I've done it before in plain php, but I'm sure in laravel it's easy
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