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Archive for December, 2010

Bug Fix Finale

December 30, 2010 1 comment

We just shipped a few bug fixes before 2010 shuts the door:

  • Generous gift-givers can enter line breaks in the custom message box without causing hiccups with the Seal the Deal button.
  • Some digital-download-only orders were being being charged for order branding (stickers and thank you prints). Obviously, we won’t do this anymore.
  • Arranging galleries should “stick” when you save ‘em. Some folks were telling us that it was being stubborn.

We wish all of you a safe and happy New Year! See you on the flip side with lots of great new things to come.

Here’s to sharing great pictures together,

The SmugMug Family

Refugees Welcome

December 27, 2010 18 comments

Feeling nervous lately? We understand.

If you or anyone you know is shopping around for an alternative solution, our door is always open. As always, SmugMug understands how important your memories are. Isn’t that why you bought that expensive camera?

It’s our priority to make your photos feel as safe in their galleries as you are in your home. Give us a try for two full weeks with our completely free trial account. No credit card required. You can slurp in all your photos with this easy Firefox plug-in and find out if we’re a good fit.

If you love us, use the code flickr to save 20% off your first year (expires March 1st, 2011). No risk, no guilt. Advertisements and annoyances sold separately. (Our features list)

my gosh I love Smugmug.com. it's like if Flickr had kept evolving all this time.

my gosh I love Smugmug.com. it's like if Flickr had kept evolving all this time.

We hope that you’ll agree with our fans: SmugMug is a great place to stuff your pics!

Here’s to getting peace of mind together,

The SmugMug Family

SmugMug + Facebook = SmugmugTab

December 22, 2010 57 comments

Face it: Everyone who’s anyone has a fan page for their photo site.

Make yours look better and be sure that it stays updated whenever you add fresh photos to your SmugMug account. Our generous friends over at Tabfusion gave us (and you) a simple app to funnel in your whole SmugMug site in just a few clicks. It’s called SmugmugTab and here’s how it’s done:

First, grab it from their Facebook page right here. Once you’ve authorized connection to your SmugMug account, you can join the two on the Pages tab:

The visit their homepage here and click Add to my Page:

Bingo! You’re all set to wow your fans with every pixel you’ve got. Your entire SmugMug site will appear under the Portfolio tab:

Clicking the Enter link at the bottom will really blow them away. Your viewers can browse through your public, non-locked galleries and view pics big… or they can View on SmugMug to visit your site:

The first 10,000 Smuggers to try out this app get free VIP benefits. SmugmugTab is normally just $10/year or $20 for three years, but as a VIP your fan page can be beautifully Smug for a full year… for free. Best of all, folks don’t have to leave Facebook to view every photo (and video) on your site.

If you’d like to poke around a bit more and tweak your settings, just click the green and black “SmugmugTab” icon on your Facebook sidebar and click through the different options.

Happy holidays from all of us, and thanks to Tabfusion for the awesome gift!

Here’s to sharing great pictures together,

The SmugMug Family

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Photographers

December 17, 2010 3 comments

Did you wait? It’s never too late! All of us at SmugMug put our noggins together to share our best, most gratifying gift ideas for photo nuts like you.

SmugMug

We know it’s a shameless plug but we do think that completely unlimited, safe and secure photo sharing is a pretty perfect present for just about anyone. With our newest Gift of SmugMug, you can easily bestow your budding photographer friends with just a few clicks. Choose between three account types and even save them the fuss of renewing with two (or three) years.

It’s quick, simple, and we promise to be nice to them. From $35

Camera Phone Fisheye, Wide-Angle and Macro lenses

They may be small, but these deceptive little doodads will open up your camera phone in a big way. Give the gift of focal length with this great little stocking stuffer. From $25

Lightroom

It’s beefier than an iPhone lens, but Lightroom will revolutionize the way you edit photos. Period. This could be life-changing, folks. What will you do with all that free time? $249

Eye-Fi Connect X2

Wireless photo transfers from your camera to your computer (or your SmugMug gallery!)  Need we say more? $49.99

Moo Mini Cards

It’s never too late to make an earth-shattering, job-booking first impression. MOO prints up gorgeous, thick, smooth, pro-grade business cards in funky little sizes. They’re business cards with a twist.  We love usin’ ‘em! From $19.99

Tickets to Sandy Puc’s The Power of Passion Photography Tour

The best investment is education. Treat yourself (or a friend) to an invaluable seminar that will kick start your business and give you an edge. They’re starting in early 2011 so snag a seat and don’t miss out. $99

Animoto

Spice up your photos by turning them into arresting, hands-free videos. No more snoozing through your holiday slideshows, cuz even grandma will be dancing to your tunes.

You pick the theme. You pick the music. Animoto does the rest. $30/year

Gift Certificate for Kevin Kubota Image Tools

Inspire your photo friends with custom filters, actions and other creative image tools.  Their workflow is worth it. From $50

3-in-1 iPad Camera Connector

Don’t let a perfectly good iPad go to waste. Load photos directly to it from your camera and free up more space for shooting those holiday party shenanigans. $29.99

Re-Stickable Wall Decal Frames

A fun and totally non-permanent way to dress up plain spaces with your best faces.  Change your mind? Peel it off and pick a new spot. We use them to decorate Smuggy Central! From $20

If you’re still stumped, don’t forget to check out ClubSmug for awesome, exclusive deals on photo-centric goodies. Log in and tell them Smuggy sent you.

We hope our list has refueled your gift-buying mojo. And if you’ve already done all your shopping, we just helped you get a 12-month start on next year.

Here’s to making photographers happy together!

The SmugMug Family

SmugMug Mobile for Android

December 17, 2010 16 comments

We’re thrilled to announce the release of our long-awaited Android app: SmugMug Mobile! Just like it says, you can shoot and share your pics from wherever you are, whenever you are.

Snap photos and videos from your phone and send them up to your site in seconds. You can even choose multiple photos from your Android gallery and queue them up for SmugMug in one go.

Best of all, the included Browse feature makes it easier than ever to whip out your best at a moment’s notice. Show off at home, the office, or while out walking the dog. Full details here.

New to SmugMug? Join us for a free trial through the app and you’ll automatically get 50% off your first full year.

The app is free, so grab it from the Android Market and let us know what you think.

Here’s to making mobile media magical!
The SmugMug Family

SmugMug: One of the Best Web Apps of 2010

December 17, 2010 12 comments

It’s our job to make your jaws drop, but ours hit the floor when we heard we’re on the Best Web Apps of 2010 list on Appstorm.com.

When SmugMug started 8 years ago, none of us ever dreamed of being ranked alongside such giants as Google and Facebook. But here we are and we’re tickled fuchsia with excitement. It’s awesome to see the dedication for what we do reflect in moms, dads, grandmas, students, pros and everyone their photos touch each day.

We work hard, but we wouldn’t be where we were without our fantastic, ecstatic, loyal and totally honest array of customers.

As sweet as it is, we won’t be resting on our laurels. The New Year is just around the corner and we’ve got to hurry and get started. If you thought 2010 was full of goodies, wait ’til you see 2011.

Here’s to making beautiful pictures together,

The SmugMug Family

HTML5 and SmugVault, Login Page Tweaks and a Ton of Bug Fixes

December 16, 2010 3 comments

SmugVault and the HTML5 Uploader

The newest addition to our uploader lineup is now compatible with SmugVault. This means you can drag and drop in all kinds of files (or just really, really big ones) and they’ll upload seamlessly into your archives. Do I need a SmugVault?

 

Are we in yet? Are we in yet?

We cleaned up our login page and made it smarter. For those who aren’t a fan of Facebook, you can click the new “Disable it” link under the login box and we’ll remember that you’d rather log in the traditional way for a whole year.

In addition, you can disable the “SmugMug Connect” permissions on your Facebook account and we’ll start from scratch the next time you hit the login page… no more repeated automated attempts that were frustrating some of our users. More about logging in.

Bug fixes

What a Character!

  • You can buy a Gift of SmugMug for someone (or someones) with special characters in their names. Go ahead and get an account for Mom & Dad!
  • You no longer have to add a double space around HTML links in your captions. Everything should be properly spaced as you type them.
  • Entering the “<” character in a Category name no longer causes the NiceName to be cut off.
  • Our “Ask Real People” contact form understands that some of you have email addresses with plus signs in them.
  • Quotes in your gallery viewing passwords won’t cause weirdness in the Gallery Settings page.
  • We don’t permit line breaks in Category names anymore. Strange, but true.
  • … but if you do have a space or a line break in your Category name, it doesn’t break your customizations.
  • The Easy Customizer will still load and work even if you’ve somehow entered weird characters in your navbar code.

Pro stuff:

  • Setting prices on Packages won’t inadvertently switch it from a multi-image to a single-image one, or flip the color correction option.
  • If your client is buying Packages from an unlisted gallery, we won’t show them ones available for your public galleries.

This and that:

  • We fixed the navigation links in galleries set to Traditional viewing style. They were acting funny when they contained Collected photos.
  • We had a few cases where phantom empty subcategories were appearing on the Arrange screen, but they shouldn’t show up and confuse you any more.
  • Photos collected into a public gallery now appear on your map, even if they’re originally from unlisted galleries.
  • If your original, full-res file is smaller than our 1 MP resolution, we won’t upsize them (and compromise image quality) when someone buys it as a Digital Download.

Here’s to fixing great things together,

The SmugMug Family

Sharing Chernobyl: Video Editing for the Rest of Us

December 16, 2010 6 comments

Stephanie Theune (known here as just “Schmoo”) writes for SmugMug. Write what? If you don’t know, she’s done a good job. Recently, she emailed some guy on the internet to take her to Chernobyl and came back with suppressed facial expressions and an intense craving for kale. The following movie was birthed from that amazing trip. We asked her to tell us how she came up with it, since video remains uncharted territory for many digital photographers.

 

I am not a videographer. I’m a writer who likes to take pics.

That said, the allure of video is a siren call that’s too strong to resist. Like a selkie to the sea I’m drawn to attempt something pretty in this new, now-widely available format. (Shiny!)

We’ve had our share of incredible, awesome artists on SmugMug who got me totally revved. I needed diapers to watch some of them: Vincent Laforet, Bob & Dawn Davis, Anton Lorimer, just to name a few.

You’ve probably thought: “I have a 5D!! Why can’t I do that?” Yeah, me too. Fear not, gentle reader. Joe Photographer can make a simple movie, you’ll see.

Most photographers serious enough to invest in a video-equipped DSLR already have enough software to edit video clips. (It’s like what they say about those metal steamer baskets. Check your kitchens, folks, I guarantee you have one of your own.) I’ve canoodled with iMovie, I’ve canoodled with Final Cut Express. And I am sure that you can stick clips together and add a music track using one of many other programs, too, so get Googling!

Dreaming it.

Like all my projects, the song was the key. I had a trip to Ukraine planned out but the moment I heard this track by Unheilig I knew it was perfect. Over the next few months I brainstormed what I wanted the movie to look like, mostly jotting down words that I thought would help my headspace, like:

  • cold
  • walking away
  • hands
  • silhouettes
  • gray

… and so on. These were just ideas, but I needed to know what to shoot.

Shooting it.

During the four days in Chernobyl, things got hairy. My “actors” were my buddies and they were – understandably – not there to be shot, but to take photos themselves. So filming them doing the things I had planned in my head was trickier than catching a Sasquatch. Try, try, try again.

I primarily used the 16-35L and 70-200L lenses for all my clips, due to the shallow depth of field. It’s a neat trick, using the focal point to navigate your way through the picture. After all, Pripyat’s kind of a dead zone. And in the throes of autumn there isn’t much going on besides freezing rain, chopped beets and a few sad leaves waving ‘bye.

I shot and shot until my CF cards cried uncle. On past projects I would run out of clips and ended up scraping the bottom of the barrel, so I learned that lesson fast: Shoot early, shoot often. (Sound familiar?) Nothing ever goes to waste… especially because the “unusable” ones where your friends are making faces and being goofballs are useful as blackmail.

Making it.

When I got home and finally dumped my files, I was overwhelmed for a week. I let them, um, cure a bit on my hard drive before I sat down to organize it all. Hey, sometimes you need to grab a brewski and Become One with your digital pile.

Step one: Give each file a useful, identifiable name. “MVI_9473.MOV” became “leaves-rain-chair.MOV” This way I was able to get an idea what the clip was about at a glance.

Step two: I then created bins (normal folks call them “folders”) in Final Cut Express to sort the clips by type: Landscapes, People, Animals (wasn’t much in that one), and Chernobyl Tours (ditto). After moving all the clips into the relevant bins I was ready to go.

Step three: I spent the next two weeks throwing spaghetti at the walls. Drop a clip into the timeline, see how it looks, then trim or delete it if it doesn’t. Movie making is largely serendipity and you never know what you’re going to get until you try. There were a few parts that worked out exactly as I had envisioned, but I’d say about 90% of it was made through playing around.

If you’re a natural director who can pre-plan a whole video, more power to ya! Email me and teach me your secrets. (I’m serious.)

Finishing it.

Once the clips were sorted in a rough sequence that worked well, it was time to trim and make sure the timing was perfect. By the way, precision trimming is a little easier to do in Final Cut than it is in iMovie.

Color. Now this was a real toss-you-by-the-horns, buck-you-in-the-rump beast. I played around with the Color Corrector, then tried Magic Bullet’s Colorista, but after much blood, sweat and tears I decided there was just no way I was going to get that Hollywood-rich color that I had always dreamed about. Not for this. The weather in the clips was overcast and rainy and I do have a regular job and a life outside of movie-making. I had to move on.

Since the music was already raw and Cold War-esque, I decided to throw on a black/white filter with a slight sepia tone, then add a small vignette to round out the edges.

Finally, I made the opening, ending and intro text in LiveType. This is a very simple program to use and I didn’t want anything fancy, just a simple slow fade out. This probably took about half an hour, total, and the nice thing about LiveType is that as you’re saving the clips in one program, it automatically updates it in the other.

Pimping it.

Export, upload et voila! You’re ready to click Get a Link and post it everywhere. This particular movie was created to build momentum for the still pics from the Exclusion Zone, so I hope others find it interesting as those of us who were there.

Good luck and don’t be afraid to edit your own movie. This is a fantastic way to record memories and tell your stories in a fresh way. You’ll be glad you did.

Need moral support? We’ve got a great little corner on our Dgrin forum reserved for video dabblers and we love seeing folks try their hand at it. No question is too silly… except for the ones I ask! Don’t forget to share what you make.

Here’s to creating great movies together,

Ghostwriter Schmoo

Why Post Process?

December 14, 2010 8 comments

Today’s guest post is by Jared Bauman from ShootDotEdit.  For those of you looking to learn more about the costs and benefits of self-serve versus outsourced post-processing, this is a worthwhile read.

With digital becoming the standard over the past 5+ years, there have been an onslaught of new opportunities and challenges for photographers.  One subject is Post Production.  Nowadays, there is so much involved after capture, or after the image has been taken.  No longer can a photographer simply take an image and expect it to look its best.  Rather, tweaking the image for proper exposure, color, and other details now is a requirement.  Even further, many photographers learn how to use Photoshop and other programs in order to enhance the image.  Photoshop Actions, or scripts that run predetermined activities on photos, allow photographers to achieve dramatic results.

Digital Post Production has allowed photographers to create unique and dynamic images unlike ever before.  However, the byproduct of this has been an increased workload.  Rather than just shoot, now the photographer has to spend hours upon hours in post production. On top of that, the photographer has to be an expert in photography and post production!  Eventually, every photographer reaches the point where their increased activity in post production is met with the limits of their available time.

“Why should I let go of my post production?”  That’s the question we hear the most … And it’s a valid one.  Remember when you decided to allow SmugMug to handle your print fulfillment and drop ship to your clients?  Yeah … it’s like that.  Every photographer seems to struggle with the topic at one point or another.  Letting go of your post production is not an easy decision, because images are the reflection of the art each photographer creates.  Many determine that letting go of the post production is letting go of the creative process, and letting someone else determine the look and feel of their final image.

So why let go of the post production?  Well, in the end, editing is not a part of your business.  You’re a photographer – not only is that what you love to do, but its what you get paid for.  And, beyond that, editing is not the main component involved in why your clients book you.  They book you because you’re you  and because of the images you take.  Have any of your past clients asked what color temperature a photo was?

SmugMug has allowed you to remove the burden created by printing, shipping and safeguarding your images.  Once that was removed, you were able to experience the time and energy to do the things that matter most: create images, meeting with clients, and network with others in your industry.  This is why SmugMug and ShootDotEdit work so well together!

We understand the importance of quality, turnaround time, and customization because we’re professional photographers, too.  Both myself and Garrett have successful wedding studios in Southern California, so we understand the integral demands on today’s wedding photographer.

Since we love SmugMug so much, we are offering a 20% discount off all jobs over $100.   Use promo code SmugSDE to get the deal through December 20, 2010!

Photos courtesy of Rachel Terry of www.stellar-photo.com

Opportunity Knocks: UI Designer and Product Manager

December 10, 2010 2 comments

We love our fans and we love the sheer amount of interest we’ve had for our recent call for QA Testers. In fact, we loved it so much we added two more openings to our jobs page.

UI Designer

We’ve got a hole to fill: Someone ready for fame. Someone willing to stand in the light and be praised by a million discriminating eyes. Someone who knows that we’re not for the faint of heart.

We need someone who’s ready to rock.

Design for us and we’ll make it all true.

Product Manager


SmugMug needs a ringleader to spec out new features, organize and prioritize, measure metrics, write guidelines for our team and make sure we’re always on the mark. Must be agile, willing to wear many hats and to keep a hand in all the cookie jars at HQ.

We know you’re out there.

See more info and additional opportunities right here.

Here’s to making magic together,
The SmugMug Family

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