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Archive for March, 2011

Release Notes and Bug Fixes

March 17, 2011 8 comments

Tonight we’ve got a few fixes for our IE9-using Smuggers:

  • Prices in the shopping cart are again showing the proper numerical values without funny brackets.
  • The crop tool lets you drag and adjust the borders.
  • Printmarks and Watermarks let you drag the transparency sliders when you’re creating or editing them.

… and some miscellaneous improvements for the rest of us:

  • The  Simple (Java) uploader’s “Select Files & Folders” button no longer hides from Smuggers using Mac OS X 10.5.8 .
  • Lens and focal length info is accurately displayed for photos shot with Canon 1Ds and 500Ds.
  • We also fixed an Arrange bug that was preventing images uploaded to unsorted galleries from showing up at the front, where you’d expect.

As always, let us know what you think.

Scott Bourne’s Double 60D Giveaway

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun

Nothin’ says lovin’ like sharing our photo geekery with Smuggers. In our latest giveaway we’re joining forces with the inimitable Scott Bourne of PhotoFocus.com to give away two (yes, two!) Canon 60Ds, plus a free year of SmugMug Pro to two lucky people.

Scott’s a kindred spirit who is as crazy about photography as we are. His blog at Photofocus.com is a great resource for in-depth opinions and reviews on a huge array of useful topics.

What else can we say? Scott’s running the show on this one, so click here to see how to enter.

Smug Tip of the Week: Don’t Forget Your Contact Info

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Enquiring minds want to know: Who shot that and are they for hire?

Sadly, this is one of the most common questions we get at the SmugMug Help Desk and it’s so easy to prevent. Do you really want to lose money and business because you forgot to post your contact information?

Seriously, don’t leave them hanging! SmugMug makes it super-simple for you to include that critical info:

  • Pros: Set up your Customer Contact address, available in the Pros tab of your Control Panel. Don’t forget to verify it so people can reach you through the “Contact” link in your footer.

Make Important Info Easy to Find

Go the extra mile and make it easy for visitors to see who you are, what you do and how much you cost. If you charge a sitting fee, you can drop your pricing info right into your Bio box alongside your phone number. Alternatively, create a separate “Pricing” gallery.

Here’s another great example of how you can do this. All the juicy details are entered as captions in our Old Journal viewing style.

We’re Your Wingman

If you don’t see this post or forget to do this, you’re covered. Your visitors are welcome to post a comment in one of your galleries (if you have comments enabled), or they can simply write to our fabulous Support Heroes. We never share your contact info without your consent but we’re happy to forward you their message and put you in touch.

Go get ‘em and don’t lose a single sale. Stay tuned for next week’s Smug Tip of the Week.

Photog Tip of the Week: Love Your Histogram with Ann McRae

March 15, 2011 9 comments

Today’s Photog Tip of the Week is presented by Ann McRae, longtime Canadian Smugger, Pro shooter and Support Hero extraordinaire. If you’ve never received an awesome help reply from Ann, you’re missing out! Your histogram can make or break your image. Knowing how to read your histogram will dramatically help you get it right in-camera… which will improve the shots you take and increase your number of keepers. Here’s the scoop straight from a pro who knows.

What’s a Histogram?

The histogram is a graphical representation of the brightness of your image. It shows the amount of dark areas on the left  and the amount of bright areas on the right, which means that you can make decisions about the settings you’re using to shoot a scene.

The histogram is your key to getting the very best possible photograph in-camera.

The good news is that almost every digital camera released in the last few years has the ability to display a histogram on the LCD. You may be surprised at the difference between the information in your histogram and  the JPG preview of your images on your camera’s LCD. Many folks overlook the fact that the LCD screen is backlit, which makes the image look much brighter than it actually is. Watch the histogram instead and don’t be fooled!

Expose to the Right… but Not Too Much

The “ideal” histogram shows mid tones that are evenly distributed between the darkest and lightest points in the scene. But remember that a histogram is just a graphical representation of the data in the photograph, so there’s no real right or wrong!

The following two photos show properly exposed scenes but the histograms in the upper right corners look dramatically different:

In the above photo, there is a broad range of colors and therefore the data is distributed across the whole graph.

On the other hand, almost all of this above scene is bright white snow so most of the data is pushed to the far right. Kelso is properly exposed and you can see plenty of detail in his face.

Why You Should Get it Right

Don’t overexpose the scene. The histogram for this kind of shot looks like it has a big hump on the right, possibly even falling off the right side of the chart. Some cameras display blinking areas on your LCD preview image to warn you that your images are too bright. Data in the overexposed areas is lost and will simply be flat white with no details. Here those areas are shown in red:

Don’t underexpose the scene. A histogram with the majority of the information to the far left (dark shadows) is underexposed. When you do this, you run a higher chance that prints made from this photo will turn out dramatically darker than you expect. This is because you’re processing and editing your digital photo on a backlit monitor or LCD, which is much brighter than a physical print that is lit with reflected light. You may be able to pick out details in the shadows when looking at an image on a monitor, but those details will be lost in a print.

(Bonus: Find more technical reasons for exposing to the right explained over at Luminous Landscape.)

Here are two versions of the same shot with completely different exposures. See how the histogram sits in each one?

Histograms for Effective Post Processing

Of course, once you have a well exposed photograph you may still want to do some post production work to be sure that you are getting the most out of the data that you have.

Bumping the exposure, fill light and tone curve of this example image just a tad pushes the bump from the middle of the histogram to the right, and really does a lot to enhance the image:

Once again, watching your histogram really pays off. Learn to love it and use it!

- Canadiann

Be the Smugger of the Week!

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey, Smuggers! You’re our light, our life and our reason, so it’s high time we turned the spotlight on you. Post a pic of “Smuggy” (the SmugMug logo) or SmugMugPro on our Facebook wall for a chance to be Smugger o’ the Week.

Where in the World Was Smuggy?

Back in ancient times (four years ago), one of our customers painted a sheep green for us, which sparked our incredible Where in the World Is Smuggy? contest. In the following weeks we were buried in a deluge of creative, adventurous and often hilarious photos featuring our favorite grinning green mascot.

History shall repeat itself. We’re bringing it back… with a twist.

(Don’t worry, no sheep were harmed in the making of this pic. He’s smiling!)

Post on Facebook and be our Smugger o’ the Week

Grab your cameras! This time we invite you to take a pic of Smuggy or SmugMugPro in exchange for fame:

1) Find our little mascot hidden like Waldo in the big wide world, construct your own* with artistic materials, or creatively model a piece of official SmugSwag: hats, t-shirts, straps, stickers, etc. In short, we’re looking for Smuggy himself or our SmugMug Pro logo.

2) Post that pic to our Facebook wall.

3) Each week, we’ll pick one and dub the lucky winner our Smugger o’ the Week. They’ll get their Smug Mug featured on our Facebook page for seven splendid days. And remember that by posting your pic, you’re giving us permission to use it on our FB page or for promotional stuff. You still own it and the copyright’s yours.

Hit up the gallery of entries and view all the pics submitted so far.

Get Your Smug Stuff

No Swag? No problem. Log in to visit our free stuff page and we’ll send you a camera strap ASAP (one per customer). For more goods and gear you can check out our swag shop or come see us at a SMUG.

Our blood flows green. What about you? :D

* We hope this goes without saying, but while we know you love SmugMug, we ask that you don’t damage or deface property for this contest. Gracias!

Bug Fixes and Improvements

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

With all of our recent great giveaways and guest posts we had a ton of stuff happening under the hood, too. Here’s a few!

  • We fixed the “Back to Gallery” link in Share > Get a Link > Gallery Links > Slideshow when you share galleries of Collected photos. It directs you to the proper gallery now, not the source gallery.
  • Picasa users: The URL in the uploader confirmation link is fixed. Additionally, if you were asked to log in, the plugin will let you continue as expected. More on uploading from Picasa.
  • When using our Quick Share feature to Like a photo, we’ll post the single-image lightbox link to your wall for all viewing styles except our default SmugMug style. For that, we’ll post a gallery link.
  • We tightened up the Smart Gallery rules so that Rules that have no matches won’t return bogus results.
  • Some customers were saying that they were having some trouble getting Arrange > Sort > By Date Taken to work. This is now fixed.
  • Your homepage video player won’t automatically log you out of your account.

More soon,

The SmugMug family

Smug Tip of the Week: How to Protect Your Photos

March 9, 2011 29 comments

Today we’re kicking off a new series of posts aimed to help you get the most out of your SmugMug account. Whether you’re new to the family or are one of our most loyal fans, we hope you’ll pick up a handy tip or two in this series!

Privacy Controls When You Want Them

Lots of you love to share full-res files with friends and family, but free ‘n easy may not always float your boat. If that sounds like you, check out these awesome image protection features bundled with your account.

For everyone:

For Power Users:

For Pros:

  • All the above features
  • Watermarking – Put your name and logo on all your display copies.

Image Protection Strategies

  • Remember that Right-Click Protection is just a deterrent and using that alone won’t stop  image theft.  Instead, we recommend you use a combination of the above features to get the best results. Example: Disable originals, turn on Right-Click Protection and apply a watermark with your link on it.
  • If your photos have showed up on sites like Facebook without your permission, this can be a great thing! In case you missed it, check out this recent post from guest blogger Andy Marcus about how image sharing (combined with watermarking) helps his business get ahead. When fans share your watermarked pics, you snag more clients.
  • If you’re managing your files with a program such as Lightroom, Aperture or Bridge, it’s a good idea to put your name and copyright information into the metadata so all of your info stays together.
  • Lastly, if you don’t want folks using the Share feature you can always disable that in your Gallery Settings. As the logged-in owner you’ll always see and be able to use that button, but they won’t. Win-win.

For quick reference, just bookmark this page. It lists the easiest ways to make sure your images are as safe as you want them to be.

Keep your eyes peeled for more tips to help you get the most from your ‘Mug!

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