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Two More SmugMuggles Win Big in Our Refer-a-Friend Contest

August 25, 2014 1 comment

Just a quick announcement to congratulate (and thank!) the summer winners of our ongoing Refer-a-Friend contest. If you’ve just tuned in, we’re celebrating all the great photo lovers in our family with a contest that runs through the end of 2o14.

In addition to getting 20% credit each time you bring someone new into the SmugMug world, each referral enters you to win a deliciously daring GoPro Hero 3+ camera, AND a chance be our guest of honor at SmugMug HQ.  Full contest details and rules are right here.

So without further ado, here’s our salute to June and July’s winners, Duke Pham and Claire Bunn. What amazing photographers we have in the mix! We’re floored.

Visit Dukegraphy Studio‘s site

 

 

Thanks so much for sharing us with fellow photo phreaks, and we hope that you’ll be getting out there and capturing your next adventure soon!

Links:

Release Notes: New Slideshow Transitions, Password Reset Emails, and more

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Merry Friday, dear SmugMuggles! To send you off into a happy weekend, here’s an update on the things we’ve launched in the last few weeks.

In case you missed it, we announced the ability for Pros to customize their Right-Click Protection message in the new SmugMug, so if you have a Power, Portfolio, or Business account, don’t forget to check that out. We love that feature and all the opportunities it opens for pros.

Snazz Up Your Slideshows with 14 (!!) New Transitions

We brought you background slideshows a while back to rave reviews. But we only gave you two transitional options to pick from: “Fade” and “None.” Yawn.

Today, you’ve got 14 more:

  • Fade
  •  Zoom In
  •  Zoom Out
  •  Zoom In/Out
  •  Zoom Out/In
  •  Slide & Zoom
  •  Slide Down
  • Slide Up
  •  Slide Up/Down
  •  Slide Left
  •  Slide Right
  •  Slide Left/Right
  • Flip Down
  •  Flip Up
  • Flip Left
  •  Flip Right
  •  None

You’ll find these in both your background slideshow and in the Slideshow content block. If you or your viewers are using an older browser that doesn’t support some of these transitions, we’ll use the ever-dependable “Fade.”

Safer Password Resets for Safer… Resetting

If you ever need to reset your account login password, we now have a more secure method of resetting it. Click the “Forgot your password?” link on the login page and we’ll send you a link to create a new one

As always, ask our Support Heroes if you have any questions or hiccups.

Shortcuts and Bulk Improvements in Photo Tools

Who doesn’t love saving time? We added a few quick ways to edit your photos faster in the recently improved Photo Tools editor. Here they are:

  • Cmd+Opt+S / Ctrl+Alt+S = Save changes (shows in single editing and bulk editing mode)
  • Cmd+Opt+N / Ctrl+Alt+N = Save changes and move to the next image (shows only in single image editing)
  • Cmd+Opt+C / Ctrl+Alt+C = Cancel changes (text shows only in bulk editing mode, but shortcut is also available in single editing)

And you don’t have to memorize them, either: If you’ve made any changes to your images, we’ll display the shortcuts over the Save and Cancel buttons, so you don’t have to dive for your mouse. Unless you want to.

Tip: We’ve got keyboard shortcuts for browsing galleries and photos, too. See the full list here, along with a few other secret Smug features you may not have known you already have.

You may have noticed that we also merged the title, caption, and keywords tools into one mega-tool. There’s lots more prepending/appending options and helpful text prompts that will guide you through adding multiple entries.

Until next time! Have a great weekend and don’t forget to bring your camera with you. :)

––

Link roundup:

Pros, Your Fans Are Gonna Love This

August 21, 2014 10 comments

While we’ve had tutorial videos and archived webinars forever, today we’re happy to show you the latest additions to our library: How to Buy Prints & Downloads.

Two New Videos for You to Share

Pros have often asked us for tools that will help sell more prints, gifts, and downloads, because occasionally your fans need a little extra push. So we’ve created a long-format tutorial (7:58) and a short-format tutorial (4:52) showing your fans how to add photos to the shopping cart, understand those framing and cropping options, and check out. Here’s the short version:

We hope that you’ll share these with your clients, or even embed them into your site so that they’re viewable at any time. Tip: Use Customize > Customize Site and drop a YouTube video Content Block onto the page. You can get the video link above.

Here’s to smoother sales at SmugMug!

P.S. Did you know that we have a 100% guarantee on all items ordered through your SmugMug galleries? If you or your customer are not happy for ANY reason, we’ll fix it or replace it for free. We mean it.

Links you’ll love:

New: Customize Your Right-Click Protection Message

August 12, 2014 16 comments

… and use your powers for good, not evil.

A quick update this morning for pros who use right-click protection to stop thieves from grabbing your pics: we’ve added the ability to customize the message that displays when viewers right click your protected photos.

This is something that you could do using CSS customization in Old SmugMug, but we think it’s such an important piece of building a great experience on your site, we wanted to make it drop-dead simple for you to do this in the new, beautiful SmugMug.

Get It Set Up

 

 

Visit your Account Settings and look under your Privacy tab. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a brand new “Right-Click Message” field. Fill that out, save your changes, and test right-clicking on photos in your protected galleries to see how it looks. Here’s more help.

Tip: We recommend being firm but friendly. If you have prints for sale, ask them to look for the Buy button to grab one of your photos in a legit way.

A Word About Image Theft

As always, we want to share some helpful info about image protection and what to expect. After all, if you’re paying us for a pro-level account, you should get the best bang for your buck!

We hear a lot from ambitious pros who rely on tools like Right-Click Protection way more heavily than they probably should. Why’s this bad? Right-Click Protection is just a deterrent, and if someone really wants to download a free copy of your image, there are several things they’ll try. For example, they can snap a screen grab, so be sure to use the full suite of image protection tools if you’re really worried about this. Here’s a quick review of your options:

  • Right-Click Protection. Displays a popup window when any part of the gallery is clicked. Fabulous when coupled with a warm, friendly message encouraging fans to buy.
  • Display Size. Limits the size of the images viewers can see. Great for foiling screen grabbers.
  • Watermarking. Logo or text placed over your display copies. Add your URL, enable sharing, and you’ve got yourself a ton of free advertising for your biz. The best bit? Your prints still print clean.

We hope this helps those of you who are new to SmugMug, are new to photography, or who just haven’t fiddled with your site lately and are looking to brush up on the basics.

And as always, be sure to let us know if you have questions, problems, or just need some advice getting your site working the way you want. We’re here. 

Link roundup: 

5 Camera Tips Pros Wished They’d Known Sooner

August 5, 2014 5 comments

They say your first 10,000 pictures are your worst, or that it takes 10 years to become an expert. While we can’t necessarily refute those words of wisdom, we can share tips from our team of passionate photographers that may help shorten that climb to the top.

1) f/8 Is Usually Best

Without getting too deep into the details about optics and light paths, your lens has a sharpest point within the range of f-stops that you see on it. As a rule, the largest and smallest ends of the range are the softest, or least sharp, and f/8 or somewhere in the middle is where you’ll get the sharpest images. This varies by lens of course, but we suggest shooting your own test shots of the same subject at different apertures, zooming in, and seeing how that affects your images.

Tip: Don’t know what f/8 translates to in your photos? You can search for any kind of photo on SmugMug and then refine your search to see just the photos shot within a specific aperture range. Neat!

2) Cropping is OK

Unless you’ve jumped straight into big league macro or wildlife communities (where cropping is “cheating”) it’s totally fine to take your original photo and crop it so you have a better, stronger composition. Or maybe you just used the wrong lens and need a bit more zoom. Either way, it’s your trade secret and artistic decisions like this are part of what makes you – the photographer – unique.

Tip: You don’t have to crop before you upload to your SmugMug galleries. Use our handy Photo Tools to crop your images, or even Make a Copy and crop that one so you can compare the two and see which version you like best.

3) Renting is OK

You don’t have to own the gear to shoot with the gear. So you can’t drop $14K on a 800mm lens to shoot the next game? No problem – pay a pittance to have one for just the time you need, then send it back and call it a job well done. We can’t all be big spenders… even if we strive to get the perfect shot every time.

Tip: Our friends at Borrowlenses.com have a huge variety of photo, video, and lighting gear for every reason that needs a camera. You can even customize the amount of time you rent, if the standard time spans won’t work for you. Plus, SmugMug customers get an extra 10% off your entire order.

4) Editing is Essential

While we’ve stressed before that getting your photos right SOOC is good practice, it’s rare when a photo looks better raw than polished. Even the most perfectly-lit, powerfully-composed photo can benefit from a few finishing tweaks to color, sharpness, and other aspects that make pop to the eye. So even if you think that sunset couldn’t get better than it is, just give it a boost and see what happens. You just might like what you find.

Tip: You’ve got the power of Photo Effects (in your Photo Tools) and Picmonkey for the photos that live in your SmugMug galleries. But take it a step further with Lightroom: with the ability to sync and publish direct to SmugMug and pro-worthy features simple enough for beginners, we think you’ll be hooked. Check out the tutorials and see why.

5) Technique Can Solve (Pretty Much) Anything

Backlit subject? Contrasty sunset? Wind in your umbrellas? White dress, red walls? All of these scenarios (and thousands more) can throw a monkey wrench into how you thought the shoot would go, but you can still get the final photo you had in mind with practice, practice, practice. Study hard, stay inspired, experiment, and make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. The more you know, the more you can overcome challenges that would throw photo greenhorns into despair.

Tip: We can’t promise to have a ready answer to every problem, but we’re trying. As photographers ourselves, we strive to write and deliver photography-, website-, and business-focused articles on our blog, the SmugMug School website, and through our email newsletters. It’s our mission to help make photography (and whatever you do with it) more fun.

Links to love:

Introducing the SmugMug Partner Program: For Charismatic SmugMuggles (Who Also Love Cash)

July 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the news that we’ve revamped our Refer-a-Friend program, giving existing customers 20% account credit for every person they bring over to SmugMug.

But what if you’d rather have real money?

Cash In with the SmugMug Partner Program

For those of you with the gift of gab, charismatic leadership, or if you just prefer money for your referrals, we’ve got an option for you: The SmugMug Partner Program. Apply for an account now and you’ll earn at least 15% commission (higher payouts possible for top performers) for every new person who uses your link to open an annual account.

Example: Refer someone to open a $300/year Business account and you get $45 in your pocket. Commission is calculated on the transaction amount, so discount coupons can affect how much you’re paid.

The program is perfect for bloggers, community leaders, website owners, teachers, instructors, motivational speakers, or anyone who knows lots of people looking for a great photo home.

“Can I Do Both?”

Sorry, but you’ll have to choose one program or the other. We love that you want to bring SmugMug to as many people as possible, but we do ask that you choose the one method that suits your style best. However, if you’re already active in our Refer-a-Friend program, you can switch over.

“But… I’m No Sales Rep!”

That’s OK. Once you’re accepted into the SmugMug Partner Program, we’ll email you your own unique referral link and a handy style guide so you can start earning money right away.

We’ll also send you a handy writing toolkit, which includes banner graphics, topic ideas, flash sales (limited-time deals where you can earn bonus cash for your referrals) and sample blog posts that you can just copy and paste into your own blog.

We won’t leave you hanging. :)

How to Get Started

Simply fill out this form and we’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible. If you’re looking for more info, check out our help pages, and we highly recommend that you read through the full Terms and Conditions of the SmugMug Partner Program, too.

Here’s to making the world a safer, prettier, and happier place for photos!

Photo Tip: 4 New Easy-to-Swallow Lightroom Tutorials

July 9, 2014 1 comment

We’ve talked a lot about Lightroom, and not without reason. We think it’s one of the best, most powerful tools any photographer can use to organize, edit, and get their photos online, and it’s connected seamlessly to your SmugMug account so you can sync your online and offline photos easily.

But with great power often comes complexity. You may be nervous about diving in if you’ve never used Lightroom before, so that’s where our friends over at KelbyOne step in.

Beginner-to-Expert Lightroom Tutorials by KelbyOne

KelbyOne was founded on approachable, down-to-earth education for photographers by photographers, and they specialize in teaching about Adobe products. So there’s no better person than Education Director Matt Kloskowski to create how-to videos about something they know inside and out.

We’ve added these videos to our growing library of helpful (and totally free) resources over on our SmugMug School website. So take a look and get ready to become an organizational pro.

Enjoy!

 

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