We’ve long had a mutual admiration thing going with Nik Software, makers of amazing filters for digital photographers. Their 6 plug-ins for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture make everything look just a little better without overdoing it and they’re so easy to use. Recently, the International TIPA organization, which represents nearly 50 magazines & websites in over a dozen countries, just gave Nik’s software suite their “Best Photo Software 2011” award. Way to go, guys!
Since so many pros and amateur photographers around the world love the Nik tools we thought it would be a good idea to share how they complement the SmugMug experience. Since SmugMug and image editing go hand in hand, we thought a series of live Webinars would be the best way to showcase the possibilities.
New Webinar Series Lets You Sit In with the Pros
“Wedding and Portrait Photography with Andy Marcus
brought to you by SmugMug and Nik Software”
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT
We’re starting the month off right by featuring the incomparable celebrity and wedding photographer, Andy Marcus. Andy has a great style to him and the New York Times called him “Manhattan’s leading society photographer.”
He’ll be sharing some of his incredible images and demonstrating how he uses SmugMug to organize and power his website and galleries. (Get a taste by checking out this guest post he did for us.) Andy will also be discussing some of his favorite insights and techniques for using the Nik tools to easily achieve the “look” that makes his photos stand out.
Space is limited to the first 1,000 people, so grab your spot as soon as you can. We’ll send you a reminder closer to the date so you don’t forget.
Bonus Savings on Nik Software Products
The generous folks at Nik Software are sharing a little something extra with you: Through July and August, save 20% on all of their regularly-priced products.
You can visit their website here to watch demo videos or download a free trial. When you’re ready to purchase, use the code NIK4SMUGJ11 when you check out. (Offer expires August 30th, 2011)
Happy processing and see you there!
Newborns, toddlers wee and small,
Who’s the cutest of them all?
Every child is precious. With the right photo know-how, you can capture your child’s most adorable years with the artistic flair they deserve.
Don’t be boring. Learn how to step it up!
Boutique Babies and Couture Kids
Photo and business diva Sandy Puc’ is gearing up for her next whirlwind tour teaching parents and pros like you how to take a fresh, modern approach to childrens’ portraits.
As always, Sandy teaches a winning combination of technical photography advice, workflow instruction and marketing tips to empower you and your business. One evening with her and you could be changed forever.
Contest for Cute Models!
To kick off her Creative Edge Kids Tour, she’s throwing a fun contest for parents of kids aged 18 months to 4 years. Simply upload one photo of your little one with your best professional flair. Fans will vote to pick the cutest model. If you win, your child will be on stage for the night in your city. They get to be a star and you both go home with incredible memories, beautiful portraits and so much more.
Sandy will be giving live demos and inspiring parents and pros alike from June through September.
You can get more info about each stop and buy tickets here.
- 6/29 Denver, CO
- 7/7 Phoenix, AZ
- 7/8 San Diego, CA
- 7/11 Long Beach, CA
- 7/12 San Francisco, CA
- 7/13 Sacramento, CA
- 7/15 Portland, OR
- 7/16 Seattle, WA
- 7/18 Salt Lake City, UT
- 7/22 Oklahoma City, OK
- 7/23 Dallas, TX
- 7/25 Houston, TX
- 7/26 Baton Rouge, LA
- 7/28 Memphis, TN
- 7/30 Atlanta, GA
- 8/1 Tampa, FL
- 8/2 Ft Lauderdale, FL
- 8/4 Orlando, FL
- 8/5 Jacksonville, FL
- 8/6 Columbia, SC
- 8/8 Raleigh, NC
- 8/9 Richmond, VA
- 8/11 Baltimore, MD
- 8/12 Philadelphia, PA
- 8/15 Newark, NJ
- 8/16 Boston, MA
- 8/17 Hartford, CT
- 8/19 Columbus OH
- 8/20 Louisville, KY
- 8/22 Indianapolis, IN
- 8/23 Detroit, MI
- 8/25 Grand Rapids, MI
- 8/26 Chicago, IL
- 8/28 Minneapolis, MN
- 8/29 Des Moines, IA
- 8/30 St. Louis, MO
- 9/1 Kansas City, KS
- 9/2 Omaha, NE
They’re only young once, so be sure that you’re taking the best photos of those kids when you can. Don’t miss out!
Great news for Pro photographers! You’ve always asked us, “Can I sell web-sized photos that my clients can use for Facebook?”
We’ve recently added a few new options to your Digital Download catalog, so the answer is yes!
More Options for Selling Downloads
Open up your custom pricing and click on the Downloads tab. See all that new hotness?
There’s a total of four different download type and four different sizes for Personal and Commercial licenses. Before you had 12. Now you can offer (count ‘em up) 32 versatile download options.
The new stuff includes:
- Web Sized. Fun-sized! These are up to 640 x 480 pixels, ideal for sharing on blogs, forums and Facebook.
- Gallery Downloads. The new and more-accurate name for the feature formerly known as Album Downloads. Since we already use the term “galleries” to refer to your groups of photos on your site, we thought this would make more sense to you. Remember that you can set one price for a gallery’s worth of images and your client can purchase it easily. This gives you the ability to price bulk photos at a discount, making it a powerful marketing tool.
- Printmarked photos. Watermarks for your downloads. Lots of Pros want to add their logo, name or even an event date to their images but as a rule we don’t apply watermarks to digital downloads. Now you can do this by setting up Printmarks in your Control Panel, then apply it to whole galleries in the gallery settings.
Anything Else I Should Know?
Lots of you have given us great feedback about our zip file feature and the speed of which you can typically expect to receive the notification email. When your clients are buying single unmarked photo downloads or Originals they’ll have virtually instant gratification; keep in mind that applying Printmarks and resizing entire galleries requires more juice. This means that it may take just a little longer for your client to get the zip file for large purchases or Printmarked downloads.
Tip: Want Printmarks on your downloads but not your prints? Turn on Proof Delay and remove the Printmarks from print orders as they roll in.
If you have any feedback or questions about this feature, we’re listening. Till then, happy pricing and selling!
Several important bug fixes went out tonight on a wide variety of features:
- We fixed a bug in the card creator that prevented some zoomed or repositioned photos from staying where you dragged them. We were getting some complaints of cards with strange black gaps. Try it now!
- Power and Pro Smuggers with custom domains will notice that Gallery Downloads stay put in the customer’s shopping cart.
- Pros: We also properly hold back hidden images from the zip file when your fans buy All Digital Downloads.
- We strengthened the Facebook login so that it listens to your Facebook permissions and doesn’t try to automatically log you in to SmugMug when it shouldn’t.
- We display the number of times your Quick Share Tweet button was hit and your photo shared. You’ll see it under your photos in your galleries where Quick Sharing is enabled.
Whether you’re seeking total photo-fame or fear peeping toms on your private site, our powerful built-in Stats features help you keep on top of your game.
Find Your Stats
You can view them at any time by visiting your Control Panel in the Stats tab:
… or from inside any gallery by clicking the Tools button and looking under This Gallery:
How to Interpret Those Numbers
We give you 6 tabs across the top that let you see just what’s going on around your site. You can get as general or as specific as you wish, pulling numbers from your whole site or from just one gallery. Don’t forget to adjust the calendar at the top to pick a date range, too. More details.
For simplicity we give you a row of four quick links (“today”, “yesterday”, etc.) across the top so you can get the most-requested date spans with a click:
- Every time an image (or video) is loaded onto someone else’s screen, that counts as a hit. When you’re logged in and view your galleries as the site owner, we won’t count those.
- If you have ever shared the link to an unlisted or passworded gallery with someone, they can continue to generate hits if as long as they have access to the gallery. So if you want to cut them off, add or change the viewing password.
- Views to your photos, hosted from your galleries, will generate hit counts. Lots of them! Remember this if you’ve ever posted an image to an external site like blogs and forums. To foil this, you may want to disable External Linking in your Gallery Settings.
What doesn’t get counted:
- How many times an image was downloaded.
- How many times a video was played through to the end. We do count how many times it was started, and hits to the preview JPG.
For statistical superpowers you can sign up for a free Google Analytics account here. You’ll get a Web Property ID number (Hint: It starts with a “UA” and is followed by numbers and dashes) that you should copy. Paste it into the “External Visitor Tracking” section in your SmugMug Control Panel.
Give it a day or so to start collecting data and get ready to crunch some numbers!
We like pretty pictures, so one of our favorite features that Google offers is the Map Overlay. This shows you from which countries (and towns) your fans are viewing your site:
Dig around and see what other cool features they offer. Don’t forget that while you can check your SmugMug stats at any time at SmugMug, you’ll need to log in at Google to view your Analytics.
The past few years have been an amazing time to be a SmugMugger and we’re really proud of our growth. We recently launched a wide variety of new features for you to enjoy, everything from better gallery styles, more integrated social media tools to the advanced Pro features for managing your business.
The best part? 2011 isn’t over.
Seeking Free Thinkers for our Advisory Brigade
SmugMug has always prided itself on being customer-driven. As an independent company, our customer’s needs have always been our guiding light.
Help us stay on track and support your needs. We’re inviting you to help us refine existing features and develop new ones. Think of it as a sort of Advisory Brigade of VIP SmugMuggers focused on building the best photo sharing and e-commerce site out there.
Interested? Here is a simple overview of what we’re looking for:
- We need a wide variety of photographers, everyone from amateur hobbyists to savvy Pros and everyone in-between. In short, if you use SmugMug and have a passion for making it better, you’d be a great candidate.
- We are NOT looking to test your computer skills or photo knowledge. We’re looking to apprentice with you and discover how to best support your photographic workflow – whatever that happens to be.
Break out your soapbox
The only real requirement we have is that you are available to spend a few hours every month talking to our Experience Design team about how you use SmugMug. We’ll do this in person, over the phone and using Skype.
These are just informal interviews and painless user tests where you can talk about the state of your photographic world. We need you to convey your ideas, your gripes and your perspective. No lab coats required. (Well, only if they’re green.)
If you’re interested in joining our SmugMug Advisory Brigade, just email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)! Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and give us a link to your photographic sites (SmugMug or others). If you sound like a good fit, we’ll contact you and get the ball rolling.
NiceNames for Sharegroups
We made Sharegroups NiceName-friendly. This means that instead of random gibberish, you can pick the URL for any Sharegroup you share. Make sharing your favorite galleries so simple, you can do it over the phone!
Keep in mind that if you don’t want to reveal your SmugMug nickname this way, you should skip this option. Read more about Sharegroups.
Perfecting Package Permissions
Pros have been telling us that they weren’t thrilled with a recent change to how Packages play along with gallery privacy settings. So, we listened! You’ll now see a third button whenever you create or edit a package, under the “Limit the galleries” section:
In the past, packages set for All Galleries were really only visible to your clients if they were browsing and picking a package from a public gallery. So if they were viewing photos in a passworded gallery, they would have only seen packages that you created specifically for that gallery. Now we’ve clarified this with the new All Public Galleries button.
In short, you can choose individual galleries for a package, All Public Galleries (public and non-passworded) and All Galleries on your site (which include unlisted and passworded galleries).
As always, you can just pick specific galleries for your package, but we hope the additional button and the clearer wording will help you sell more Packages to more happy customers.
Coda of Bug Fixes
- While we were mucking with the wires, we also fixed a bug that prevented Packages from loading when they were picked from video galleries. Start selling bunches now.
- We added an additional quick link that lets you quickly view your site’s stats for the past month. Find it on the main Stats page, at the top. See all about Stats here.
SmugMug and ProShow Web have been integrated since March of 2011. ProShow Web automatically mixes photos, video clips and music together into polished video slideshows. With true 1080p HD capabilities, ProShow Web can create professional-grade videos for use on SmugMug, or for downloading to a computer. Today’s guest blogger is Amanda Eddy of Photodex, sharing expert advice on how to get the most out of your videos.
7 Steps to Memorable Stories
With graduation, Father’s Day and wedding season upon us, now is a great time to start turning your SmugMug images into custom video slideshows. But to make a slideshow truly stand out, it takes more than simply combining a series of static photos. Below are some tips on how to transform your images into memorable stories, and most importantly, how to have fun!
1) An Introduction – Think about how you want to begin your story. Taking close-up shots of symbolic memorabilia surrounding an event works great here, i.e. graduation cap or wedding ceremony program.
2) Getting the Right Shot – Identify the three major components to your story. Try to capture a few good shots of each major point of the event to give your slideshow a better-rounded, evenly documented feel.
3) Capture and Incorporate Video – Consider capturing a short video clip. Video can add additional visual interest to your slide show and almost all cameras now have the ability to easily capture short clips.
4) Set the Mood with Music – Choose the perfect song to accompany your slide show. Whether it’s Dad’s favorite tune, the couple’s first dance song or even a subdued classical piece that will stand the test of time, a great soundtrack helps tell your story.
5) Photo Borders and Backgrounds – Framing your photos and using special slide backgrounds can make them really stand out. Get nostalgic with a Polaroid type border or add texture with an interesting slide background.
6) Create Movement – Use stylized motion effects to slowly zoom into a point of interest in your photo, namely the graduate, the couple or whatever else deserves a good zoom.
7) Share! – Posting the slideshow on Facebook is a great and instant way to share the video with clients, friends and family anywhere they may be. Tag everyone in the video; it will help get it seen by more of your friends and family. Or better yet, send it back to SmugMug into the gallery of your choice!
Here is a sample video slideshow of a wedding shot by one of our pro photographer customers that shows how these elements work together.
Try it Free and Save 20% on Premium Subscriptions
To get a better sense of the ProShow Web functionality, sign up for a free trial and play around all you want. If you like what you see, as a SmugMug user you can get 20% off your Premium ProShow Web subscription by entering the code P729GXGH during check out. This offer ends July 31, so sign up soon. Happy slideshowing!
More Magic to Backprinting
We added three more options to your custom Pro backprinting: Year taken (SMUGYEARTAKEN), month taken (SMUGMONTHTAKEN) and day taken (SMUGDAYTAKEN).
To use them, just open up your Control Panel and look for the Backprinting link under the Pros tab. Add the code words there to apply them to all prints ordered from your site. Or, apply them to specific galleries in the “Backprinting” option in your Gallery Settings.
Write this: SMUGYEARTAKEN SMUGMONTHTAKEN SMUGDAYTAKEN
- Get this with EZ Prints: 2011_08_07
- And this with Bay Photo: 2011 08 07
Remember that Pros have tons of choices for what gets printed on the back of their prints. See all the tasty options here, or you can specify your own custom text.
- Your slideshows won’t trip over images with unusual characters in their filenames.
- We fixed a Pro bug that was preventing Sole Proprietors and LLC-Disregarded Entities from successfully filing their W-9 form with an EIN. (Confused about reporting?)
- Your suitably big, clean, unwatermarked original photos will get sent to Animoto and ProShow Web so they can build your sumptuous slideshows. Give them a try and spice up your presentations!
- When you delete a photo, we’ll drop you back at the photo that comes right after it and not at the beginning of the gallery.
Rick Sammon‘s a big name in the photo biz and his reputation is well-deserved. He’s always out shooting, teaching and sharing his expertise (and his RICKSMUG20 SmugMug discount code) with photographers everywhere. After all, it’s his love for life that makes him so appealing to pin down and chat with… if you can catch him.
But we know where he’ll be on June 18th, and you can be there, too. No charge. No fee. Autographs optional.
2011 Times Square Shootout: Where and When
Shoot with Rick in one of the most iconic and photo-rich places in the world: Times Square! So clear your cards, pack your bags and show up in Duffy Square in Times Square at 5 PM, June 18th. He’ll kick it off with a big group photo. From there, anything goes.
We’re green with envy as we type because it’s such a great opportunity and it’s totally free. If you’re in New York and can go… GO! But if you can’t make it, that’s OK. The happy clan will pop their photos into this pool on SmugMug by June 22nd so the rest of us can see what we missed.
For the information about the event, check out Rick’s blog post here.
Build Buzz and Win Stuff
To get you charged, we’re giving away goodies to a few lucky folks. There are two ways to win:
Option 1) Join the shooting session. One Rick-picked winner gets a free year of SmugMug Pro AND a gorgeous MetalPrint of one of their Times Square shots. A perfect way to remember your incredible day in the city. We’ll announce Rick’s pick for the grand prize on
June 27th June 23.
Option 2) Spread the word. Follow @smugmug and @ricksammon and then tweet this to get your name entered:
Join @RickSammon and @SmugMug ‘s Times Square Shooting Session for fun and prizes, 6/18. Please RT. Info here: http://smu.gs/lMe1lG
On June 20th we’ll randomly pick some winners from a hat and send them a care package of SmugSwag, PLUS a free year of SmugMug Pro (Value: $150, not including bragging rights).
RECAP OF DATES
June 18 at 5pm: Meet Rick in Times Square. Commence major shooting session.
June 20: We’ll announce the winners of Rick’s Twitter contest (option 2).
June 22: Deadline for uploading Times Square shots to Rick’s gallery.
June 27 June 23: We’ll announce the winner of the shooting session (option 1).
Happy shooting… and don’t forget to bring cab fare. ;)
We drew a few names out of a hat and picked a handful of photographers to win a care package of SmugMug Swag, plus a free year of SmugMug Pro (Option 2). Congrats to @nicole627, @meggiemagoo, @DatsPhoto, and @OffsideElement! Please email katherine [at] smugmug [dot] com for more info on how to collect your prizes.
Rick got so excited about all your amazing photographs, he went ahead and picked his favorite early. Drum roll please…
The big winner of the Times Square Shooting Session, handpicked by Rick himself, is Margie Strange, for this shot:
As the genius behind Rick’s favorite shot from the day, Margie will win a gorgeous Metal Print of her shot, plus a free year of SmugMug Pro. Congrats Margie!! To collect your prize, please email Rick.
Read Rick’s recap of the whole day, plus see some of his other favorite shots here.
Thanks everyone for getting together for such a fun day!