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Archive for March, 2010

An iPad for an idea

March 26, 2010 355 comments

We’re all about Big Prints at SmugMug’s HQ, like this 60-foot gigapixel skyline of SF:

Gigapixel San Francisco skyline

That one had to be dark because it’s in an entertainment room where we watch movies.  Here’s a lighter big print in our conference room:

Gigapixel San Francisco Twin Peaks pano

The tragedy is we have a massive stairwell looking empty and sad.  Sad because it doesn’t have the gigapixel wrap-around floor-to-ceiling (150 inches) breathtaking shot it deserves.  Even the dog looks sad:

Massive hallway needing a gigapixel print

All you have to do to get us to send you an iPad is come up with a scene that would make the hallway awesome.  The person who comes up with the idea that excites us most gets the iPad.

There are a few constraints.  One is we’d love a light scene, like maybe colorful fishies near the surface in the great barrier reef.

Another is we have to be able to shoot it or commission some talented photographer to shoot it.  So Saturn’s rings are out.  I dunno, does someone know how to shoot a gigapixel image underwater and stitch it?  Sounds hard.

Our bias is that big photos should let you see fascinating details that you can’t see in small ones.  We have a 144-inch print of Milan Cathedral that gets people to stare in wonder because they can see details they can’t even see by traveling to Milan.

Robert Scoble made a video of our large prints.

We’re pretty geeky, so we like aerospace museums.  Is there one full of coolio planes that would allow us (you?) to shoot for a print that large?  We like exotic car collections, too…

Keep in mind that the viewing distance will be very close.  People aren’t standing back, they’re walking two feet away as they climb the stairs.  They demand awesome detail.

We’ll be watching the comments like hawks and can’t wait to send an iPad to someone!

All the best,

Chris MacAskill (@baldy on Twitter)

Better Sharegroups, new Pro logo, bug fixes

March 25, 2010 10 comments

Sharegroups v2.0

Sharegroups got a makeover and a new privacy feature so your guests can feel more at ease. You can now protect your Sharegroups with a viewing password, and you can opt to let that password unlock all the galleries within it, too.

Creating Sharegroups

Keep in mind that if you expect to get multiple people viewing the Sharegroup and need to limit certain folks to certain galleries, you may want to ignore this option.

Try it yourself! Start from your Control Panel > Customize tab. And here’s our updated help page.

Create your own Sharegroups

New. Blue.

A lot of you asked what’s up with that catchy blue SmugMug Pro logo that we displayed at trade shows and on our fliers. The time has come to put it to work on our site. If you’re browsing a Pro site, you’ll see it show up instead of our standard green logo in our header.

New SmugMug Pro logo

Show on the go: Mobile site improvements

We already started making our mobile site better, and this week we’ve done even more to make sure your fans get a sweet experience – even if they’re not at their desk.

When your SmugMug site is viewed for the first time, your guests will notice a new sleek banner at the top with a prompt to switch to the lightweight mobile version. Don’t like it? Power and Pro members can hide this prompt by adding the following CSS to their Advanced Customization:

#mobileSiteBar { display: none; }

You and your visitors can still use the mobile site by going directly to the http://nickname.smugmug.com/m (or http://www.customdomain.com/m) link.

SmugMug mobile site

The gallery view should load much faster because we now use your existing Thumbnail images. Pick one to view the single photo, and then touch the arrows in the bottom corners to step forward or back. Tap the image to see it bigger. Enjoy!

Gallery thumbnails:

Last week, we remodeled some behind-the-scenes stuff that caused category and subcategory thumbnails to behave a bit differently. A lot of you wrote in asking about this and we heard you! We rolled things back to the way they were:

  • Categories respect any featured photos that you’ve chosen in your galleries. Also, if you don’t have a featured photo set, we’ll pick one from the first gallery in the category.
  • If you had passworded galleries in a category or subcategory, we show the gray lock icon rather than the not-entirely-accurate “Empty gallery” image.
  • Changing a featured photo will refresh and display when the gallery thumbnail appears on your homepage.

And because we’ve been busy bees, here are this week’s bug fixes:

  • If you were trying to edit a gallery title or description from a Category/Subcategory page and had trouble, try it again. All should be well.
  • Pros can again use the little arrows to navigate between images when cropping photos in Proof Delay.
  • Galleries containing just collected photos had trouble displaying thumbnails when setting prices in bulk. No more.
  • If you don’t have any photos yet on your site, we properly display the “No galleries found” message rather than a lonely blank page.
  • Arranging galleries in your custom Category should not only save, but redirect you back to the proper category view.
  • You can enter your username and password on the login page and hit the enter/return key to submit it. This sometimes failed in the past when you were using IE. Of course, you can always use your mouse to just click on the “Login” button.
  • We made a few minor improvements to our bulk Collect Photos page, since some things weren’t aligned as nicely as we liked.
  • IE users can again view galleries with single and double quotes in the title.
  • When applicable, clicking a collected image’s “Photo by” link takes you back to the custom (and not the SmugMug) domain.
  • You can once again view popular photos  from all of the categories from our Browse page, even if there’s a space in the name.
  • Go ahead and put a plus sign (+) in your gallery description field. We can take it! (again)

All the best,

The SmugMug Family

One-Way Trip

March 24, 2010 2 comments

Our friend John opens his bio with, “My name is John Borland, and I am an adventurer.”

He and his wife began a journey of a lifetime: a one-way ticket to Beijing, free schedules, and open minds. They have been traveling since November, and they’ve updated us regularly with their stories and photos.

It’s always a treat to see and read their latest installment. Catch them and keep up through their Dgrin thread, or browse his site for everything else.

(Good luck, John and Tracy!)

Categories: Galleries, Images, Travel

Bug fixes galore

March 18, 2010 3 comments

We absolutely loved seeing so many of our passionate customers at WPPI. And for anyone else who couldn’t make it but still volunteered their generous feedback about our features: Thank you. Please keep it coming.

In the spirit of spring cleaning, we’re shipping one of the biggest sets of bug fixes this side of the Mississippi. Batten down the hatches and roll up your sleeves – let’s get started!

New and Improved:

  • We have a new shiny blog landing page to reflect our updated SmugBlogs. Check them out.

Correcting Collecting (and Sharing):

  • Photos collected from protected galleries no longer throw ugly errors. As an account owner, you can collect a photo and display it in a public gallery even if the source gallery has disabled external linking and is locked with a viewing password.
  • Collected photos residing in hidden galleries only display the keywords to the logged-in account holder, not visitors. Your secret is safe with us.
  • Share Emails sent for collected photos displays the image you expect to see. It also links back to the original gallery and not the gallery in which it was collected.
  • Events containing an ampersand in the name won’t break your share emails. Keep marketing yourself without a hitch.
  • If you’re crazy about our email sharing feature, you’ll notice we fixed your Control Panel so it doesn’t take forever to load. Keep sharing, keep sending!

Organization, Customization, and Tools stuff:

  • If you noticed that your custom banner shifted slightly after our last release, our bad! Everything should be back in place.
  • The Save Photo icon is now hidden from the lightbox in protected galleries.
  • Changes you made to “Appearance” using the bulk gallery settings tool had trouble sticking. They should now.
  • Your changes should stay when you Arrange photos.
  • Power Users and Pros with custom page titles will see them appended to the default page title, not overwriting it.
  • The page title on a Sharegroup page once again matches the page title you customized on your site.
  • The homepage slideshow chooser now recognizes galleries that contain special characters in their titles.

Comment cleanups:

  • We corrected the link in the comment notification emails so that collected photos direct back to the original gallery. The comment itself also now posts to the original gallery, where you expect to see it.
  • Also, some comments weren’t being posted successfully if the gallery was protected with a viewing password. Thankfully, this works again.

Keyword tweaks:

  • Editing bulk caption/keywords from a keywords gallery should display the proper number of images.
  • Keyworders, sorry to leave you hanging! We fixed photos that were having trouble opening in the lightbox when accessed from keyword search galleries.
  • Additionally, some keywords were getting left out of the lightbox view, but you’ll see them now.
  • Separate your keywords with a pipe ( | ) or a colon ( : ), in addition to the spaces, semicolons and commas we already accept. Need a crash course on keywords?

And last but never, ever least:

  • Shoppers using Safari might notice that items will stay put in their shopping carts without having to check their browser settings.
  • Packages are now included in your shipment notification emails. The package names also play nicely on your confirmation screen, when you check out.
  • If you’re eager to hide photos, you can now hit the “Hide” checkbox before the newly uploaded photo has finished processing.
  • Fixed the text color on some of our newer themes for better readability.
  • Galleries with lots of photos no longer get confused when you navigate subsequent pages.
  • We fixed a glitch with the lightbox that caused some errors when browsing by date, keyword or in your popular images.
  • Our Email a Hero form can accept all kinds of special characters, too, without breaking the Send button. We really do want to hear from each and every one of you.
  • Video lovers re-downloading their videos from the lightbox using “Owner Save” were getting foiled, but we fixed this. Now you save the movie file you were expecting.
  • Users with hyphens in their nickname can now join the fun over at Picnik. Don’t forget that you can access this cool feature from your gallery Tools menu.
  • We made browsing easier for viewers on mobile devices. You can now access our simplified site just by adding /m/ to your URL. Example: http://cmac.smugmug.com/m/ (But if you prefer, the old /iphone ending still works, too.)
  • Our beta stats got a bit more friendly: The views show more palatable terms like “Today,” “Yesterday,” and “Last week.”
  • We can import altitude if it’s included in your file’s metadata.

Enjoy!

All the best,

The SmugMug Family

Photo Packages and Event Marketing

Sell more, price less: Packages for Pros

This week is pay dirt for Pros. Sell groups of prints and products for totally pain-free purchasing. Packages are here!

Create and configure them from the Pros tab of your Control Panel. Choose your print lab, products, and applicable galleries. Then name your price. When your customers buy one they’ll just need to select their images and check out. Questions? See our full help pages. Did we get it right? Speak your mind on our forums.

Pros please note:

  • The print lab you specify for a package trumps the lab you’ve set in each gallery’s custom pricing. If they are different, a photo ordered through a Bay Photo package will print through Bay, while a regular order from the same gallery could print through EZ Prints.
  • At this time, digital downloads and custom photo cards are not available for purchase through packages.
  • Color correction is currently applied to ALL items ordered through packages. As we improve this feature we’ll let you specify your desired settings, so stay tuned.

Event Marketing and Choosing Favorites

Our Pros have shown us incredible patience through the last year and we hope that this moment has been worth the wait. Introducing Event Marketing and Favorites:

Events are Sharegroups on steroids. Create an Event and assign galleries to it. You get a link to the page to share with any person you wish. They’ll see all of those galleries on one handy page.

Additionally, you can enter a list of key clients (say, the bride). For each Participant you add, we’ll generate a custom version of the page that also contains a Favorites folder specific to them. When each Participant browses those event galleries, they can tag the photos they like best. A copy of each gets placed in that Favorites gallery, and both of you can review their selections at any time.

You can start managing your Events right now from your Pros tab. Visit our full help pages, send your customers to our visitor help, and as always — let us know what you think on our forums.

Last but not least, we brushed up the site with a slew of bug fixes:

  • We tightened up the layout of our recently-added Sales Tax tool, so things should look neater in that space. You can also enter tax rates with up to three decimal places.
  • Keyworders rejoice! Editing keywords now won’t unexpectedly clear them.
  • Keywords links work properly from the lightbox again. (Whoops)
  • Browsing by date on an invalid user’s site now redirects back to our general homepage.
  • Sepia and Tanning Salon are back in service. Find it under your gallery Tools button > Color Effects.
  • We added another great deal on our ClubSmug page for those wanting to try a Showit Website. Log in and check it out!

And a couple updates to our beta Stats feature:

  • Video views are more accurate and are recorded more quickly.
  • Single day views should appear as a dot on the graph.
  • You can now grab a permalink to the page if you’re viewing stats for a single day.

We hope our fans love these new additions and will stay tuned for lots more. If you’re attending WPPI next week, don’t be shy. Please come see us in booth #1518 and say hello!

Happy marketing,
The SmugMug Family

Adrenaline Rush

March 4, 2010 1 comment

Commercial photographer Kevin Winzeler shoots perfectly-lit, perfectly-timed portraits for for his advertising clients. Take a peek at his pulse-pounding portfolio and get ready to be inspired!

Added bonus: Get a behind-the-scenes look in the videos gallery and see how he crafted each shot.

Categories: Images, Sports

Unveiling SmugMug Pro

March 4, 2010 2 comments

Many thanks to so many wonderful pros who invited us to their homes and studios this past year. Never in my career have I seen so much generosity of time while you patiently explained the nuances of your workflows.

Although we have tens of thousands of pros, many who have been with us for years, this year was different. Groups of passionate photographers approached us to say, “You’re off to a good start but it’s not enough. To become great, you need packages. Folders & favorites. Event marketing. Smart galleries. User group meetings. Coupons. Powerful SEO. A great pro lab. Better branding. Deeper customization. And more.”

SmugMug Pro

So we doubled our engineering team, rolled out SmugMug User Groups, and shipped a dozen new features. You can track the details on our release notes blog.

Packages, folders & favorites, and event marketing are imminent. With luck they’ll be live for WPPI next week, but if not, come by booth #1518 for demos (and for an invite to our party Tuesday night).

Soon after they’re live, we’ll display the new SmugMug Pro logo on our site for pages you don’t brand as your own.

Now that we have so much feature momentum, you can expect some more big surprises in the not-too-distant future.

Categories: Andy Williams, Sales
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