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Archive for October, 2011

Clean Well and Live Well This Halloween (Photo Contest)

October 28, 2011 2 comments

Health. Fun. Family.

Halloween is serious business at SmugMug. Every year, we dress up our families and pets and face off in an epic Halloween costume-contest. Some costumes are amazing…

…while others are downright scary…

We do it because it’s fun and because our kids love the chance to play dress up and splurge on treats. Heck, don’t we all? This year, leave the scary stuff to the costumes and haunted houses and make sure that before you dig into your sweet swag, your and your kiddos’ hands are germ-free.

Keep it Clean with CleanWell’s Halloween Contest

Like SmugMug, CleanWell is a business founded by a family. It got its start around 10 years ago when a boy, Conor, was born with an immune system disorder. His father, Sam, started investigating alternatives to disinfecting agents found in everyday cleaning products. They eventually created a patented formula that kills germs naturally.

This Halloween, we’ve partnered with CleanWell to give you some cool ways of sharing your spooky, sweet, and awesome Halloween moments and cleaning up before you and the little ones enjoy some treats. They’re taking the lead on this photo contest, so pop on over to their page to find out how you can win one of 5 prize packages of SmugMug memberships, print credit, and cool CleanWell goodies to keep those hands candy, dirt and alcohol free.

Click here to see how to enter your creative costumes, now!

SmugVault Pricing Falls Further

October 27, 2011 33 comments

We’ve once again slashed SmugVault pricing to the floor.

This news comes soon after we upped the limit on your video files. Since big files and archiving go hand in hand, we thought it’d be nice to make it cheaper than ever to backup your original videos in your SmugVault.

Here’s the spiel:

  • We dropped the storage fees from $.14/GB/month to $.125/GB/month – that’s cheaper than what you’d get through Amazon S3!
  • We nuked uploading fees to your Vault. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
  • Downloading from the Vault back to your computer is now just $.12/GB, not $.16/GB.
  • SmugVaults can hold files up to 3 GB apiece, in virtually any format.

We’ve said it a lot, but Amazon S3 is the gold standard in internet storage and they’re the brawn behind SmugVault. Anything you archive in your Vault has 99.999999999% durability.  In other words, if you store 10,000 files in your SmugVault, on average, we’ll lose just one every 10 million years.

Think you’ll live that long?

You can view Amazon’s Simple Storage Service pricing here.

Set Your SmugVault Settings

Your SmugMug SmugVault holds everything

Also remember that we do process all display copies of your SmugMug videos and we don’t store your unprocessed original video files in your SmugVault until you enable it. So make sure you open your SmugVault settings and choose “Archive Videos” to take advantage of the safest backup imaginable.

Finally, keep in mind that any files you archive in your SmugVault are visible (and retrievable) just to you, the logged-in account owner.

Fire, flood, ninja attacks… there’s a million reasons why we love SmugVault and think it’s way safer than keeping files on your computer.

More about the incredible, indelible SmugVault:

Publish to Your Facebook Business Pages, Too

October 24, 2011 83 comments

What’s new with Publish to Facebook?

We’ve had some great feedback from Smuggers about the Publish to Facebook feature that we debuted a little while back. The number one request we heard from you was that you wanted to publish not only to personal sites, but to business pages, too. Your clients need to see the good stuff.

Hey, guess what? :)

Publish To Your Facebook Page:

If you’re new to our beta features, first check out SmugMug’s Darkroom:

http://www.smugmug.com/darkroom

Click the green Join button next to “Publish to Facebook.” Remember if you use a custom domain on your site, just add “/darkroom” to the end of your domain to cookie yourself in like this: http://www.example.com/darkroom

Once you’ve done this, click the Share button in your SmugMug galleries and click Publish to Facebook. You’ll get the choice of publishing your photos to a Facebook album on your personal profile, or to a Facebook Business Page that you own.

Make a new gallery for your photos, or just use an existing one.

Remember that you can choose up to 200 images from your SmugMug gallery to publish. If it’s a lot of photos we’ll publish them in the background and shoot you an email once it’s done.

Stay Safe, Secure and Sellable.

“Safety” is our middle name. You’ll be asked to set the maximum image size before you publish, and everything links back to your SmugMug gallery so fans will know it’s you. We’ll also include any watermarks you’ve applied to your photos.

Juicy Pro tip: Hook up a Buy Link and make buying downloads and prints a piece of cake. Don’t forget to tag your clients in your Facebook photos too so they get notified about your albums and spread the word!

We hope you love the new feature and that it gives your Facebook friends (and clients) ammunition to go viral.

And sharing is caring, too, so let us know what you think! Chatter away in our official Dgrin thread here or send up smoke signals. We’re listening.

Don’t miss:

A New Chapter in Photo Book Ideas: Notebooks, Planners and more

October 21, 2011 11 comments

Today we’re having our good friends at Blurb share a few of their hottest gift ideas for the coming holiday season. You know Blurb as those peeps who bring you easy, affordable, beautiful photo books. If you haven’t, check them out now! They make your SmugMug images totally shelfworthy.

Keep the Pages Turning With Useful Gifts

 Smart photographers know how to get their photos in peoples’ hands. As the gift-giving season approaches and you’re looking for that special present, know that there are lots of great, useful alternatives to the traditional photo book out there… and you can easily make them using your SmugMug photos and Blurb:

Notebook

Use Blurb BookSmart® to design a custom Notebook filled with your photos and blank, gridded, or lined paper. In addition to paper choices, you can order them in Hardcover, Softcover, or Hardcover ImageWrap to complete the look. They’re as little as $6.95 for a 20-page softcover.

Weekly Planners

Use Blurb BookSmart® and make a weekly planner using our custom planner templates for 2012. Each month gets an image, plus you can customize the front and back cover. You can even add extra pages in the back for notes or more photos. At 131 pages, they start at $23.95 for a softcover.

Small gift books

Our Small Square (7×7-inch) size is a perfectly portable size for a photo book. Compact, but still big enough to showcase your work. These start at $10.95 for a 20-page softcover.

Personalized books

The ultimate personalized gift. Since you can order just a single copy of a book with Blurb, you can add dedications and make books with specific photos for just one person. Using our online Blurb Bookify™ tool, you can easily pull in your SmugMug photos and make as many dedications as you wish.

A Holly Jolly Discount

As an added bonus, SmugMuggers can save 20% on their Blurb book orders through December 15th.* Just use the code MERRYSMUG when you check out.

You’ll find Blurb in the Buy button in any of your SmugMug galleries, under “Create a Book.” Try out these fabulous custom book ideas and keep them thinking of you (and your beautiful pics) all year long.

Cheers!
The Blurberati

* Coupon valid once per person, for purchase of books you’ve made yourself. Expires December 15th, 2011 at 11:59 PM, local time. Max coupon value $100, $120 AUD/CAD, 80 EUR, 60 GBP.

Plus Ten to Proof Delay

October 19, 2011 26 comments

We made Proof Delay a heck of a lot smarter.

In the old days, your clients would sometimes order prints cropped a certain way, and when you replaced it with an edited photo of a different shape it wouldn’t always work out so well. Heroes to the rescue and everything, but, yanno.

And if you replaced the image with something that was shaped the same, there wasn’t a way to remember exactly how they’d had it cropped in the first place.

We’ve fixed all that.

How it works.

Pros, the very next time you get a cropped order held for Proof Delay, don’t fret. We’ll now do the following:

1) Show you the exact same crop your client used if you replace the photo with an edited version of the same shape and size.

2) Show you a thumbnail of the original image with the crop when you replace the photo with one that’s a different shape and size.

3) Display the thumbnail with the original image and crop when you go in and try to adjust the crop on a replaced image of a different size.

We hope this makes your life a whole lot easier and that your customers don’t notice a thing. Except, of course, how much they love their prints and what a great photographer you are.

The Magic of Proof Delay

Remember that using this simple feature in all of your for-sale galleries can help you upload your proofs to your gallery ASAP, and let you only edit the photos that get bought. Plus, if there are any problems with the order, our Support Heroes have a gazillion times’ higher chance of being able to cancel, fix, or correct the problem before your customer even notices.

We can’t stress enough just how cool the Proof Delay feature really is. It saves you time AND helps you give your clients a better product. And it comes baked right in to each and every SmugMug Pro account.

Questions? Suggestions? Epic tales of how Proof Delay saved your bumme? We’d love to hear it all, so talk to us!

Bonus Pro tips for you:

Winners of our Perfect Pairs Photo Contest with Bay Photo Lab

October 12, 2011 36 comments

Why a contest?

We teamed up with the good folks at Bay Photo Lab this fall to kick off a contest asking photographers to submit photos representing the theme of a perfect pair — two things that go splendidly together. SmugMug and Bay Photo are like peanut butter and jelly, ying and yang, aperture and ISO. We love Bay’s hand color correction and their crazy-in-a-good-way devotion to making the best dang prints out there. They love our seamless integration, fanatical devotion to making sure your photos look the best in our galleries and prints, and 100% guaranteed customer service. We guess you can say we’re the perfect pair for picky pros whose reputations depend on us.

Photographers from all over heard our call and submitted almost 2000 shots. The time has come to announce who the winners are, and we couldn’t be more tickled to have another reason to shout to the world how much we heart Bay Photo Lab and the awesome customers we get to work with on a daily basis. Winners of the Perfect Pairs Photo Contest were picked by a group of Judges from Bay Photo Lab and SmugMug based on their editorial discretion and your votes.

Here’s what we decided.

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

“Steam Runners” by Ric Cederholm of Waunakee, WI

We love this photo because it’s two friends having the time of their lives. The shot captures a playful and fun moment that makes us long for the days we could run with our hands in the air, hollering with joy (sure, we can do it as grown ups too, but it’s definitely cuter when kids do it). What’s better than running in the sun with the mist in your face? Maybe unwrapping your first MetalPrint. Maybe.

Ric, if you’re watching, you get:

  • 5 free years of SmugMug Pro ($750 value, not including bragging rights)
  • $500 Print Credit to world class Bay Photo Lab
  • Photo credit in major national and tradeshow advertising, including WPPI

FIRST RUNNER UP

“Coordination” by Marc Benjamin of Fairfield, CA


This shot shows the power, elegance, and artistry that can be created when two powerhouses come together. The striking contrast stopped us in our tracks, and the poetry of these dancers forms entwined in the air sealed the deal for us.

Marc gets:

  • 4 free years of SmugMug Pro ($600 value)
  • $300 Print Credit to Bay Photo Lab

SECOND RUNNER UP

“Relationship Stability” by Jesse Rather of Arcata, CA

Talk about a photo that makes you look twice. Managing a business and serving your customers is a fine balance of impeccable quality, dedication and fun, and we thought this photo channeled that feeling well. To top it off, the quirkiness, beauty, and humor made us smile. Thanks, Jesse!

Jesse won:

  • 2 free years of SmugMug Pro ($300 value)
  • $200 Print Credit to Bay Photo Lab

THIRD RUNNER UP

“The Polar Pair” by JP Diroll of Pittsburgh, PA

A bit surreal, a bit Planet Earth. It’s hard enough to resist such childlike interplay in the animal world, but drop the fuzzies into a sun-streaked pool of the deepest blue and you have double the win.

JP wins:

  • 1 Free year of SmugMug Pro ($150)
  • $100 Print Credit to world class printer Bay Photo Lab

FOURTH RUNNER UP

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Rachelle Elliott of Wymore, NE

Rub-a-dub-dub, two cuties in a tub. Parents, watch out: They’re already winning hearts!

Rachelle wins:

  • 1 Free year of SmugMug Pro ($150)
  • $50 Print Credit to world class printer Bay Photo Lab

Thanks. We Mean It.

We we really blown away by the enthusiastic response to this contest and totally felt the love. Thanks again to everyone who entered their photos and shared their vision of “The Perfect Pair!”

Think Tank Photo Giveaway, Plus a Special Bonus

October 11, 2011 715 comments

Think Tank Photo’s name perfectly reflects their company vision: To help photographers be ready before the moment, to travel easier, take pictures faster and be more efficient. It’s all about creating your vision.

We love the idea of clearing away annoyances and obstacles so you can focus on your photo. It’s a classic philosophy, one which prompted us to retire to our reading chairs, pour a brandy and pontificate the possibility of another giveaway.

Retropective 20. One Winner.

Think Tank will bestow this beautiful, rugged bag, the Retrospective 20, to one lucky photographer:

Think Tank and SmugMug Giveaway: Retrospective 20 camera bag

Relive the glory of photography masters like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank with this vintage-inspired camera bag. Just add your own trusty tools and you’re ready to hit the streets and do some serious shooting.

Think Tank and SmugMug giveaway: Retrospective 20 camera bag

It’s perfect for photojournalists and travel photographers.  Here’s just a few reasons why:

  • Fits 1 pro size DSLR with up to a 70-200 f2.8 lens attached and 1 – 3 additional lenses.
  • Includes a seam sealed rain cover so you can shoot in any weather.
  • Hook and loop “Sound Silencers” eliminate noise and keep you stealthy.
  • Understated colors fit any occasion.

Check out their website for full specs and ideas on how to fill it.

(You’ll receive the Pinestone color pictured here. Camera not included, sorry!)

SUPER DUPER BONUS

Just because we love hearing from ya, we are adding a bonus. Help us get up to 60k “Likes” on our Facebook Fanpage by Oct 17, and we’ll stuff the Retrospective 20 with prizes for you AND a friend. Prizes include free years of SmugMug Pro, super-awesome print credit to Bay Photo, and more treats from Think Tank Photo.

How to Win:

  1. Like SmugMug’s Facebook page here.
  2. Link Think Tank Photo’s Facebook page here.
  3. Post a link to your favorite travel photo in the comments below.
  4. Spread the word! Help SmugMug get to 60k Likes by Oct 17 to qualify for a Bonus.

Get your entries in by Sunday, October 16 and we’ll announce the (randomly picked) winner right here on October 17.

Thanks for playing and can’t wait to see your favorite travel shots.

UPDATE. WINNERS!

Holy Moly! With over 700 comments, this giveaway shattered records and made Smuggy history. We didn’t hit the Bonus Goal of 60K Likes, but heck, we love you guys and want to show ya some love. We randomly picked an awesome First Prize winner, AND two runner ups, just cuz.

HUGE Congrats to Venissa Walsh, our First Prize winner! She’s taking home the Retrospective 20. Two runner ups, Brenda De Los Santos and Jordan Hofker, will get a special Smuggy care package. We loved looking through all your photos and hope you’ll stay tuned for more awesomeness from us very soon. Congrats again everyone!!

We Raised the Roof: Upload 20-Minute Videos

October 10, 2011 41 comments

You Ask. We Deliver.

We made a sizzling change that we think you’ll like: Your videos can be up to 20 minutes long and 3 GB in size. Double the action, triple the fun.

20 Minutes and 3 GB of Video.

Since we made video sales available to Pros, we heard you ask: “Why can’t you make videos longer?”

While we still recommend you keep your clips short for the best bang for your buck, you can now sell your videos with tons of extra bonus content – 20 minutes and 3GB of it, right from your site.

How to Do It:

We highly recommend our HTML5 uploader in Chrome to upload your mightiest videos.

Need Chrome? Download it free from Google, then click the Upload button when you’re logged in at SmugMug. Choose HTML5 and just drag and drop your video files into the box.

Finally, get your gear wishlist ready. With new 20-minute videos, we bet your Pro sales will go nuts.

Comments? Raves? As always, give it a try and drop us line if you need a hand.

Read up on these features:

Heroes You Love to Know: Wendee

October 7, 2011 3 comments

We’re so danged proud of our Support Heroes at SmugMug. They’re the hard-working, endlessly knowledgeable face of our company and they field orders, emergencies and panicked Pros 365 days a year. They’re the shoulder you cry on, the hand you hold… and they love turning that frown upside-down. Isn’t it time you met the person behind the screen?

Spotlight on Wendee

Meet Wendee Stevens from Utah. We love her because she comes ready with a happy smile and the perfect attitude to handle any crisis that comes her way. You probably know her from when she rescued your recently-submitted orders from print purgatory. No address? No problem. She’s our mistress of making sure orders get placed, printed and shipped without a hitch.

What’s your hiring story?

Before SmugMug I worked as a massage therapist at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the Homestead in Virginia.  I never worked with any celebrities, but when Ocean’s 13 was filming in Vegas I did work with family members of one of the stars. 

I started heroing at SmugMug in November 2007, after almost a year of bugging Andy and Baldy. My computer and photography skills may not be as great as other Heroes, but I try to be awesome with customer service and I can solve nearly any order problem you give me.

Got any gossip about being a Support Hero?

The majority of my work is with order problems, particularly cropping problems. I feel so sad when a customer orders a 4×6 and 8×10 print of the same image, and they’re upset and confused when the 8×10 arrives cropped. “It fits perfectly on the 4×6, so why is it cropped on a bigger print!?” We hear that a lot. :(

These days people are still not that familiar with different ratios and customers should know that almost no camera takes pictures in an 8×10 size.

Also, being painted as Mystique took quite a while, longer than an hour if I remember right. But getting that orange goop out of my hair definitely took longer than an hour!

What’s Wendee like when she’s not answering emails?

I’m learning to sew, and it’s something I really love. I’m horrible at reading patterns but I can wing it nicely. I especially love making Halloween costumes, it’s so much more satisfying than buying one. I’ve been encouraged by SmugMug’s annual Halloween costume contest, even though we haven’t won it’s so fun to have something to compete with! :)

My husband Samuel is also a SmugMug Support Hero and we have two kids: Vienne is 3 and Everett is 1. Our six-year-old dog is named Osker Mosh, and he’s some sort of mix between Lab and Vizsla.

I love fixing up furniture. It’s amazing what you can do with spray paint.

What’s the one SmugMug feature you can’t live without?

Since I’m all about sharing with family and friends, but I don’t want my photos super-public, my favorite SmugMug features are Owner Share and SmugIslands. I keep my SmugIslands set so Google and other search engines don’t find me, and I have the Share button removed for viewers. I want to be the only one that can share my photos, and I do, OFTEN, on my blog and on Facebook.

Finish strong. Give us one more juicy piece of Wendee trivia!

I had the opportunity to see Les Miserables in London, but I was so jet-lagged I slept through nearly the entire play. Someday I’m determined to see it again!

Check out these Smug-related features Wendee mentioned:

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