While we’re getting all wrapped up in the festivities of the season, we’ve also been hard at work on your many feature requests and feedback. Here’s a few of the most recent goodies that we’ve released!
New Updates to the Uploader
Our HTML5 uploader got an overhaul to match the rest of new SmugMug, and now shows you two columns of real-time info: the files you’ve queued and the files that we’ve successfully completed.
We’ll also check for duplicates each time you drag photos in, so you don’t have to refresh or reload the uploader for it to detect files you’ve already uploaded.
And fear not, happy draggers! The new uploader also sports an edge-to-edge drop target, which means you can drop your photos anywhere in your entire browser and they’ll get slurped safely in. More about uploading at SmugMug.
New Options for Your Map and Keywords!
We recently give you the ability to set the scope of what shows up in your Search content block, so we did the same for your Maps and your Keywords.Your Map content block settings will now display pins from the following:
- Recent photos
- Popular photos
- Galleries I Choose
- Photos I Choose
This is a perfect way to showcase your favorite vacation spots, when sharing the most difficult-to-reach photo gems with fellow photographers, or for planning out locations to take your portrait clients. Don’t forget to add a location to your photos if they don’t automatically get tagged!
Your keywords content block now has the additional scope options:
- Current location
- Entire Site
- Location I Choose
Since keywords are an integral part of search and helping your photos get found, it’s easy for your keyword cloud to mushroom out of control. Now you can use the new “Scope” option to refine what your fans see and keep it relevant to the page. More about keywords on SmugMug.
A Better Header
You may have noticed that your logged-in header looks a little different than it used to. Based on your feedback, we shuffled a few things around and moved the options to left side of the bar, for better clickability.
After all, you’re going to be hitting those pretty heavily, so why not make it perfect?
A few simple fixes for your Slideshows: We had a few reports about some slideshows skipping photos, which shouldn’t happen anymore.
Your visitors can now also see photos in your slideshows that are pulled from unlisted galleries. This is perfect for those times you just want to create a secret, separate gallery where you Collect or upload your best images from all over your site.
That’s it from us. As always, we’ve got more great stuff on the way so keep that feedback coming!
As we roll into another joyous (and tasty) holiday season, we’re ecstatic about sharing our latest how-to by one of our very favorite food bloggers and writers, Brooke MacLay! Brooke is the master chef and mom extraordinaire behind Cheeky Kitchen, and she’s also a word wizard for us here at SmugMug. She whipped up a delicious behind-the-scenes look at how she juggles her deadlines, shopping, baking, styling and her hungry kids to produce some of the most scrumptious-looking photos in a timely manner.
Bloopers most certainly included.
Read the full writeup over on our education site, and start taking your food photos to the next level this holiday season!
We’re not kidding. It’s finally here! We originally built the original Camera Awesome app for iPhone in 2012 and received such a huge wave of responses from mobile photographers all over the world. Since then, Camera Awesome has been downloaded by over 20 million iPhone users, but Android users asked us every single day when we’d have something for them.
Today’s your lucky day, Android!
What’s the deal? Why should I use it?
Camera Awesome is your ticket to taking great photos at any moment of the day. It’s a powerful, easy-to-use camera app perfect for photographers (but easy enough for non-photographers). It’s for creative people who love capturing their everyday memories and sharing them with those who matter most.
Unlike other camera apps, Camera Awesome combines
- a powerful, easy-to-use camera feature that helps you take fabulous photos and videos,
- a creative suite of editing tools – including the one-tap Awesomize button
- tons of filters, textures and frames
- an integrated share function that lets you save or send your photos.
You don’t need a SmugMug account to use Camera Awesome. But we recommend it because we’re all about backups, archivability and peace of mind.
See what our friend, photographer, educator and Android user Colby Brown from the Giving Lens has to say about it!
Will it work on my phone?
To hit the most popular phone models of the many out there, Camera Awesome works on the following:
* Samsung Galaxy SIII, S4, Galaxy Nexus, Note 2, Note 3 (UPDATE 11/13/13: The Galaxy SIII is now available in the Google Play Store. Go wild!)
* Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, (Nexus 5 coming soon)
* Sony Xperia Z, HTC One, LG G2 (UPDATE 12/3/13: Support added for LG G2)
* Moto X, Motorola Droid Razr
* Kindle Fire HDX 7″, 8.9″ (UPDATE 11/27/13: Now available on Amazon Apps!)
Since each phone and tablet is a special snowflake, we’ll keep adding to the list as time goes by. You can get the most up-to-date, detailed specs on our store page right here.
Where do I get it?
Right here, baby! It’s ready and waiting for you on the Google Play store.
Wait, it’s not free?
The initial (AKA iPhone) version of Camera Awesome was free to download and use, and we got a lot of feedback from users who wanted – and eventually purchased – the many premium filters and effects. With the Android version we decided to keep it simple and bundle the goodies right into the app, resulting in an easier process for you… and lots more to play with right from the start, for $2.99.
New to smartphone-ography?
Our very own world traveler, Michael Bonocore, shares his Top 10 Travel Photography Tips with Camera Awesome .
What if I have problems?
Our support heroes are standing by to lend you a hand, as always. You can also refer to our Android help page here for a basic overview of what the different symbols mean and how you can get started.
Hey, what’s this SmugMug thing?
If you’re thinking about opening your own SmugMug account to store and archive the photos you shoot on your phone (or your DSLR), you can get started right from within the Camera Awesome app. It’s totally free for two whole weeks, and when you start your account from the app we’ll even throw in a 50% discount automagically.
Thanks to all of our Android fans who waited for this! We hope you love it as much as we do.
With the holiday season right around the corner, you’re likely starting to make your gift giving lists. There are many great ways to create gifts from your photos, including making beautiful photo books with them; yearbooks, cookbooks, daily planners, portfolio books, history books: there’s a book for every story that you want to share. Our friends at Blurb.com have shared their best tips for building books and we are delighted to feature them here.
Here at Blurb, we truly believe in the joy of books—reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them.
But making a book—particularly a photography book—can be daunting. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to think about when making a book of your photos. We think the best tool to use is our free program, BookSmart, but the tips below apply no matter what tool you use to make your book.
Before you start your book, there are four really important things to consider:
1) Start with a great body of content. There is no substitute for quality content, whether it’s photos, illustrations, text or whatever.
2) Editing is an art form. When it comes to editing, the old cliché holds true: “Less is more.”
3) Sequencing can decide whether your book sails or fails. Sequencing is simply determining the order of your content, start to finish, front to back. Start strong, end strong, and remember, your cover image can make it or break it.
4) Go look at books. If you want to create a great photography book you MUST look at great photography books. Think about fonts, sizes, colors—decide what feels right for you and for your project.
Part One: Be prepared
Get organized. Decide what images you are going to use in your book, name them so you can identify them easily, and do your editing before you make your book!
Color is important. Make no mistake: treat your images with respect, and prep them for print. Color management is important, and Blurb provides a wonderful tutorial section here.
If your book has text content—even if it’s just a collection of captions—create a single document with everything in it, sequenced in order of placement in your book.
Part Two: Make your book
The cover can wait. Design the rest of the book before completing the cover. When you’re ready, design three or four different covers and live with them for a bit before making a final decision.
Take a deep breath. Let the beginning of the book (or “front matter”) breathe. Title pages, half title pages, dedications, essays—all of these things can all help ease a reader into the project.
Consistency is your friend. Be consistent with your templates. Try not to use more than two different templates for an entire book. BookSmart has lots of templates to choose from and you can always make your own.
Take another deep breath. Let the end of the book (or “back matter”) breathe. Your book is a journey, so make sure you give the reader a chance to ease out of the project. Elements like an index, dedications, or a closing essay let you provide critical information and end the book definitively.
Justify your choices. When your book is “done,” preview the book page-by-page. Does every element belong? Does it add to the story or is it a distraction?
Part Three: Publish. Celebrate. Repeat.
Check your spelling. Run spell check. We’ll repeat that: Run spell check.
Order up. When the book is complete, edited, sequenced and ready to go, sign in to Blurb and upload your book.
Share it, sell it. After the book has finished uploading, you can add information such as tags, titles, and a brief description. Blurb gives you a Personal Storefront that you can share on your social networks. If you want to sell your book in the Blurb Bookstore, it’s easy to do so. And you get to keep 100% of the markup.
Have fun. Above all else, making a book should be an enjoyable experience. So enjoy it. And get started on another book soon. Like anything, you’ll get better with practice.
SmugMug account owners can build beautiful Blurb photo books from the Add to Cart menu in each gallery on their site. (more info)
Next in our holiday print lab series are our neighbors just over the hill: Bay Photo. As the first pro-only lab that we introduced at SmugMug, Bay Photo has earned the trust of pro SmugMug photographers since January 2009. Remember that anyone with a Portfolio and Business account can set your own prices and sell all kinds of print products direct from your SmugMug galleries. At Bay Photo, your clients can order Photo Extras like mats, frames and more. Perfect for making a little extra money this holiday season!
Today we’re getting the inside scoop about ThinWraps, one of Bay Photo’s most lightweight mounting options. If you’ve never seen or ordered one for yourself, this is your chance to see just how these special prints are made.
Where does Bay Photo find its inspiration?
We listen to our customers! Our customers are professional photographers and creative artists and we get amazing ideas from them. We do what we can but some ideas are just too unique to add to the line up. We also listen to our employees. Our team members have a ton of experience in their specific area of production. They come up with awesome ideas for how to modify an existing product or for completely new ones. Again we wish we could implement more of the ideas that come from our team members.
What do Bay Photo employees think?
They take pride in producing a product that is of a higher quality than what can be found elsewhere. We make products for professionals and we don’t skimp, often doing by hand what other production facilities may use machines to do. We have true artisans in the lab who refuse to put out an inferior product under the Bay Photo name. Plus, it’s fun!!
How did ThinWraps get their start?
ThinWraps actually have a very interesting beginning. The idea came about one night, late at night, when Larry, the owner, and Polo, one of our production department leaders, were making sample books for our trade show booth. We wanted to show all the different materials we could offer on our books, but didn’t want to use regular swatches and didn’t have the space to have a book of every type of material, so we decided to make the front covers only and mount them on the wall of the booth. When they were prepping the different materials they wrapped one of our photowrap covers, added a block to the back and a light bulb went off! Why not wrap prints on board add a mount block and hang that on the wall? It makes a unique, beautiful finished product ready to hang right out of the box and very contemporary looking.
Once we put it into our ordering system we knew ThinWraps were really a great idea because soon customers were asking for more options and sizes and competitors were starting to offer them too. Our original ThinWraps were the same as what you can order now, but we have added more options; Glossy and Satin laminate over lustre or metallic photopaper or canvas all wrapped around a board and finished with a nice back and your option of a mount block or an easel. You can also choose the original ThinWrap or a padded SoftTop ThinWrap!
Why would you recommend pro photographers give ThinWraps a try?
It is a clean looking product and is very easy for the end customer. It’s ready to hang on the wall right out of the shipping box. No framing or additional service needed. It’s contemporary looking piece and that is playful enough for a kids room or professional enough for an office.
How would you recommend keeping ThinWraps looking great?
The ThinWrap is very versatile and is well finished to last a long time. Like any photographic product it should not be put in direct sunlight, but it is also a product that can put up with a little bit more abuse; if the kids have sticky fingers, the laminate protects the image and can be cleaned off! Our favorite ThinWrap option combo is the metallic paper with satin laminate. It has the awesome metallic sheen without the glossiness which adds depth and a touch of something special to just about any image!
Thanks again to Bay Photo for this detailed look at an innovative product we love! Once again, if you’ve never before turned your images into beautiful prints at SmugMug, you’re missing out. You can easily turn your favorite photos into prints and gifts by opening any gallery and clicking the Add to Cart button. If you’ve disabled printing to visitors, the button will read “Owner Buy.” See how to print at SmugMug.
Halloween is upon us! What better time to announce our latest inspiring Success Story with Todd Atteberry from History Trekker? Todd’s beautiful, haunting photos of historic northeast locations echo classic, timeless Dutch paintings. He talked to us about how he got into the art of photographing haunted buildings and how his SmugMug website helped him find a firm foothold in the historic community.
Todd is also the man behind Green Man Studio, one of SmugMug’s Certified Customizers. You can tell that his creative skills reach well beyond simply digital art in his beautiful and thoughtful website designs.
Read the full interview with Todd, and don’t be surprised if you hear something go bump in the night.
Have a safe, happy and haunting Halloween!
With Apple’s latest announcements, we’re stoked to announce that Aperture and SmugMug have finally joined forces!
Yes, that’s right: You can now connect and sync your SmugMug account with your account in Aperture and easily browse, upload, download and organize all from one app.
Getting Synced With SmugMug
When you open up the new Aperture, first open up the File > Preferences and click on the “Accounts” tab. Hit the little + symbol to open up the available services dialog:
Once added, you’ll be prompted to sign in to your SmugMug account and authorize the connection. Remember that if you change your mind, you can visit your SmugMug Account Settings > Privacy and revoke permission of any previously authorized accounts.
Now you should see all of your SmugMug galleries in the Viewer on the right. You’ll still see your account listed in the Source List on the left, along with any of your local files and projects.
From here, you can:
- Manage your gallery settings for any gallery on your site
- Create new galleries on your SmugMug site
- Upload photos to new or existing SmugMug galleries
What we love: Aperture will sync down all of your SmugMug images even if they didn’t previously exist in your Aperture library. Best of all, images shared from Aperture stay synced, so if you share an image to SmugMug and then make further edits to it in Aperture, those edits will sync up to SmugMug without having to re-Share (upload) the image.
Take a look at our brand-new Aperture help page that has more info about where to find all the important bits and pieces.
We hope that all of your Mac-loving SmugMuggers find it easier than ever to edit and upload the photos you take every day and get them seen by the ones who matter most.
P.S. SmugMug has long been a part of Adobe Lightroom, and we’ve gotten a lot of requests from customers to be included in iPhoto, too. If you agree and want to see SmugMug in iPhoto, please leave feedback at Apple and tell them why! We’d love to see SmugMuggers everywhere uploading and managing their photos from everywhere that counts.
It’s that time again, happy SmugMuggers! Here’s a quick update on what we’ve updated and fixed over the last few weeks.
Choose Where to Search
This is just what the doctor ordered for all you folks who want to cordon off your viewers’ searches to a specific portion of your site. Now when you click the settings you can choose exactly which folders and galleries get searched using the input in this field.
So, for example, if you took several galleries’ worth of photos on an epic world vacation 2013, fans who are looking for photos of “elephants” in India won’t dig up photos of elephants from your local zoo. Keep in mind that the regular search tips apply, so be sure you’re up to speed.
Tip: This new setting applies to the Search Box content block ONLY, and not to the search box that appears in your site header. That one will continue to search only the page that you’re currently viewing.
NEW AdSense Content Block
We’ve never forced SmugMug customers to display ads on their site, but we do have a fair number of business customers who wanted the ability to display paid ads to their own viewers. Due to popular demand, Power, Portfolio and Business accounts now have the ability to add Google Adsense units to any page on your site using the new AdSense content block.
You can add up to three of these blocks to any page, but please refer to your AdSense Terms of Service for specific information about what you should and shouldn’t do. Enjoy!
Filenames in Organizer
You gave us a lot of feedback about those thumbnails you’re seeing in your site-wide Organizer, and how you wanted to be able to see the filenames for each and every one. It was one of those “Why didn’t we think of that?” moments, so now we’ve added in a toggle for your organizing pleasure.
Find it in the upper right corner of the browsing pane of your Organizer.
Two Slideshow Improvements
Thanks to your feedback on our forums, we’ve added a randomization option to your Slideshow content block, found under the “Display” tab of the block settings. So now you don’t have to decide which photo gets seen first.
We also brought back edge-to-edge, full screen slideshow displays. This applies to the big slideshow that appears after you hit the “full screen” button in any gallery style as well as the Slideshow content block. Note that this applies only if you have Originals enabled in the photos’ gallery settings and if your Original photo resolution is large enough to stretch across the screen. We also won’t stretch (AKA distort) images to fit screens, so you may still see some letterboxing if your image isn’t the perfect shape.
Last but never least, here are our top picks from the mix of other fixes:
- Added back “Sharpening” settings for Power User accounts.
- Properly updated the preview URL when you click Hide Owner.
- Fixed stuttering video playback in some public galleries.
- Photos in passworded galleries with external linking “Off” will display properly when collected and used as featured photos.
- Gallery privacy levels (unlisted, private, passworded) are shown in all gallery picker windows.
Till next time. Keep the feedback coming!
If you’ve ever considered opening your own photo studio for your clients, this month’s SmugMug podcast is just for you.
Studio photography offers a ton of convenience in a compact space. You’re in total control, leaving nothing to the weather, light, temperature, or anything else that could complicate your interaction with your clients. But renting a commercial space can be expensive. Why not use the extra space you’ve already have?
We talked with family and senior photographer Steve Harrington about how his booming business began right in his basement. He answered questions that you may have wondered about having a home studio, like:
- How did your family react to this decision?
- Do you need special insurance?
- How do you handle marketing of your address on social media?
- Have you ever had a customer just arrive at your door?
- Did anyone pass on your services because you were working out of your home?
Photo by Steve Harrington Photography
Listen to the podcast now on our new podcast site! And we hope that those you considering the move to studio photography learns a bit more about the options available to you.
PS. If you’re hungry for more, don’t forget to visit SmugMug’s education site for more podcasts, video tutorials, our live events calendar and tons of articles about photography, running a business, and how to get the most out of your SmugMug site. See you there!
Good news for all you holiday travelers and gift buyers! Mirrorless cameras are gaining in popularity and may be the perfect option for just about anyone who wants a powerful camera in a smaller package. Our friends over at Borrowlenses put their expertise at work to help you pick out which model may be right for you… or your lucky giftee.
Reblogged by permission from Borrowlenses.com.
Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot.
High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for:
- Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage.
- Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street.
- Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system.
Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality:
These full frame cameras sport 24 MP sensors and fixed 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lenses. They shoot full HD 1080p video and have incredible low-light performance. The “R” version lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is ideal for catching extra detail in landscape shooting. The only bummer about these? You’re stuck with that lens. However, on the full frame sensor the 35mm is a great walking-around focal length and the all-metal Zeiss construction is top notch. Another great small-form-factor offering from Sony is their NEX series of mirrorless cameras (with some sample images here)
This retro-looking, handsomely-built micro four thirds camera does full HD 1080p video and shoots stills up to 9 FPS on its 16MP sensor. It is very slim and yet still accepts interchangeable lenses, like the fast 17mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO. Many of our street photographers extol the virtues of this camera.
Another retro beauty, the X100s comes equipped with film simulations, a fast 23mm fixed lens, and a 16MP sensor. It also shoots full HD video and supports a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. Don’t like the idea of a fixed lens? Try out the Fuji X-Pro 1 instead. It shoots RAW, sports cool analog dials and pairs with the following lenses: Fuji XF 18mm f/2.0 R, Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4, Fuji XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro, and the XF 27mm f/2.8. More info on the Fuji X100s here.
Canon’s first mirrorless system allows you to use this diminutive body with any Canon lens with the help of an EF to EF-M adapter. It’s equipped with Canon’s latest DIGIC 5 Image Processor and an 18 MP sensor. Don’t want to mess with an adapter? Rent the M-compatible EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens, which includes the new Stepping Motor technology that can auto-focus quietly and provide continuous tracking of a moving subject. The rental of the Canon EOS-M automatically comes with a 22mm EF-M f/2 STM lens.
While only supporting a 10MP sensor, the Nikon V1 is one of the quickest shooters in the small-camera world with 10 FPS bursts in autofocus mode. It’s CX mount offers a variety of tiny (TINY!) lenses, such as the Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6. It can also shoot interesting and effective slow motion footage (up to 1200 FPS) at 320×120.
The Leica M9 is kind of a different beast being the only rangefinder in this bunch. It has a “range-finding” focusing mechanism that shows two images of the same subject, one of which moves when a calibrated wheel is turned and the two images coincide and fuse into one. It is a wholly different way of focusing on your subject and takes some getting used to. It is full frame, 18MP, and has that satisfyingly retro-sounding (and discreet) metal blade-style shutter. Pairs with a decently large range of lenses. Check out Rolling Stone contributor, Drew Gurian’s, sample images from our Lecia M9.
All of these cameras have the option of shooting in fully manual mode, so you do not have to give up creative control to carry a lighter load. Simply toss one of these in your day bag knowing that you can travel comfortably toward your next unique shot.