5 More Currencies Added to Your Site

Great news for our worldwide SmugMuggers and their fans: we’ve added support for five additional currencies!

Now when someone buys a print, gift, or digital download from your site, they’ll be able to see the price in five more options:

  • Japanese Yen (¥)
  • New Zealand Dollars (NZ$)
  • Swiss Francs (CHF)
  • Hong Kong Dollars (HK$)
  • Swedish Krona (SEK)

We’re always hearing from SmugMug photographers (and their fans) that it’s easier to buy prints in a currency that makes sense to you. Here are full details about how currencies work at SmugMug.

“Can I use this on MY account?”

Yes! The new currencies are already visible in all shopping carts on all account levels, just like before. They’re available to you, the gallery owner, as well as to anyone who buys prints and downloads from your site. You don’t have to do a thing.

Tip: If you’d prefer people to not buy your photos, you can easily hide the Add to Cart button from your Gallery Settings.

How Conversions Work for Portfolio and Business Pros

Remember that you can select your base currency in the Pricelist manager. Your fans can pick one of the 10 currency options when they buy from you, but the prices they see will be converted from that base currency you’ve set in your Pricelists. Learn more about pro pricing and earning money through sales on our help pages.

We’ve got lots of info about prepping your files for print, marketing your work, and info about how the checkout process works.

 

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Take the New Carousel for a Spin

After lots of requests by SmugMuggers with great taste, we can officially announce the newest in the lineup of customizable content blocks: The Carousel!

This beautiful new feature lets your fans have a more interactive experience with your site, allowing them to scroll forwards and backwards through your favorite photos. We loved this idea and are thrilled that so many of you reached out to us. It’s such a gorgeous and interactive way to showcase your favorite photos. Here’s how to use it.

Want to see it in action? Here are a few great examples to get you inspired:

Beautiful Scrolling on All Screens

The Carousel content block can be placed anywhere on the page you’re customizing, plus it’s powered by HTML5, so it looks beautiful on all modern browsers and mobile devices.

You can pull images from any gallery on your site, or hand-pick individual photos from anywhere. And like most other content blocks, you can tweak settings further to show/hide the navigation arrows, change the height of the box, and so on.

Bonus: You can optionally customize it more with CSS.

Find It Now on All SmugMug Sites

Every site using the New SmugMug can get started using the carousel today. Find it under the Content > Photo section of your customizer and drop it into any page or gallery on your site. (Basic users can drop it anywhere they wish on their homepage.)

Tip: Make sure the photos you upload and your Maximum Display Size are large enough to fill the selections you set in the Carousel block settings. If they aren’t, your images may vary in height within the display area.

We’ve seen carousel-style displays popular with fashion, sports, and commercial photographers, and we’d love to see how you’re using it for your photos. Post a link to your site in the comments below, or share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Release Notes: See Collected Photos, Upload from Any iOS App, New Video Tutorials, and more

To get warmed up for a new year of great features and improvements, here’s a few new additions that have rolled in over the last few weeks.

Easily See Collected Photos

Collected photos now display a little arrow icon in the bottom left corner when viewed in your Organizer. Since many of you use Collecting to create galleries, we hope you’ll find this improvement helpful for indicating which photos live elsewhere.

Read more about how to Collect photos, why it rocks, and how to prevent other people from Collecting your images.

Upload to SmugMug from Other iOS Apps

Now you can upload your mobile photos directly from your camera roll and other apps to SmugMug! You’ll need to have the latest version of the free SmugMug App installed on your device, of course. Then simply hit the Share icon in your chosen app and choose SmugMug from the list of available services. In some cases, you may have to look under the “more” option.

This is an excellent way to quickly back up and store your on-the-go photos, which (let’s face it) are probably some of the most precious photos we take. So keep them safe!

Tip: If you don’t see SmugMug on the list of available apps, contact the app’s developer to request that other extensions be added to their list. We’ve got more info about that here.

Relative Links for Fewer Keystrokes

Power, Portfolio, and Business users: Custom links added through the Single Photos, Social Icons, Menus, and Logo Content Blocks now allow relative URLs in the Custom URL field when using a “/” in the beginning of your link.

Example: Typing  “/About” in the field will automatically link to  http://yoursite.smugmug.com/About, or http://yourcustomdomain.com/About if you have a custom domain.

Three New Video Tutorials

We’ve also been hard at work filling out our library of great video tutorials. Here are three more you can watch and share:

1) Collect Photo Tool – Learn How to Display One Photo in Many Galleries

2) How To: Arrange & Sort Photos and Videos – SmugMug Quick Reference

3) How To: Move Photos and Videos between Galleries on SmugMug

If you like what you see, don’t forget to subscribe to our video tutorials channel and leave us a comment or feedback there. We love hearing what features you could use more help with!

Miscellaneous Fixes

Here’s a list of all the other bugs and fixes we’ve released:

  • We fixed the shopping cart header icon for IE9 users who couldn’t click it to get into the cart and check out. IE9/10/11 are now supported (in addition to all the other browsers that are already supported.)
  • We fixed an issue with StatCounter not properly counting image views.
  • Turning off centering in the Single Photo Content Block will now properly align the image to the left.

Stay tuned as always for more great features and improvements coming through this space!

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Nutty NYE? Our Best Privacy Tips to the Rescue

Photo by Black Cat Photography

We won’t ask what you did or didn’t do while ringing in the New Year, but if you’d rather keep it under wraps, here’s a few refresher articles to help keep your photos from escaping your site.

  • 3 Flavors of Privacy. Our top article that explains how privacy works, in plain English. Use it to figure out which level’s right for you.
  • Pool photos from your friends. Of course you weren’t the only one taking pictures last night. Here’s how to gather them to paint the full picture.

Happy New Year and here’s to beginning another year of happy memories, beautiful photos, and full galleries!

The Perfect Last-Minute, One-Size-Fits-All Gift Takes Just Seconds to Snag

If you’re still looking for the perfect present for that person who already has it all, why not buy them a new home? (For their photos.)

SmugMug: The Perfect Present

Everybody takes pictures. And unless you’ve got perfect, superhuman memory, you probably like looking back at them every now and then and knowing that all your photos are stored someplace safe. Enter SmugMug.

With the Gift of SmugMug, you can give 1, 2, or 3 years of safe, unlimited, gorgeous, personalized photo galleries to anyone on your list. You buy, they get to set it up and enjoy. Best of all, you save 20% on the cost of the gift, AND you get an equal amount dropped into your account valid toward your next renewal (or toward your next Gift of SmugMug).

Just visit our gift page, or look in your Account Settings under the Me tab, then click “Gifts.”

Can I Set It Up for Them?

You can go the extra mile and start the account for them, add starter photos, and even begin personalizing it with their favorite colors. We’ve got a quick tutorial over on our School site.

For all other questions, check out our FAQ and get more details on how gifting works on SmugMug.

Happy gifting this holiday season!

P.S. Even super-photographer Scott Kelby himself named SmugMug as “Best Value Gear” in his Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide. See what he loves about SmugMug, and get more inspiration for other photographers on your shopping list.

Cold Snap! Tips for Staying Warm While Taking Winter Photos

Planning on hitting the snowscapes with your camera? There’s plenty of cold-weather advice on the web, but our in-house landscape adventurers offered to share some of the more practical tips to help you stay focused on having a good time.  From one photo lover to another, it’s about getting the shot and having fun – not freezing your fingers off. Here’s what they said.

1) Keep Those Hands Warm

Snow can turn an otherwise mundane scene into something starkly exotic. Photo by Ivan Makarov.

Your hands are the second-most important part of you in photography (after your eyes), so treat them well. There are many kinds of gloves that keep your appendages toasty while still giving you tactical function: traditional, fingerless, convertible mitten/glove, or just regular gloves that you remove to hit the shutter. Go to the store, try them out, find what works best for you and your shooting style. As a bonus, get a couple of chemical hand-warmer packets and throw them into your pockets.

2) Hold Your Breath

Be ready and spend more time exploring the beauty of winter. Photo by Welling Photography.

 It’s pretty neat to exhale plumes of smoke like a dragon in winter, but you probably don’t want this getting into your shot. If it’s frosty out and you’re trying to capture clear, pristine views, hold your breath when you hit the shutter to be sure you’re not polluting the pic.

3) Bag It! (Your camera, that is)

Landscape photographers are familiar with harsh conditions, but being prepared is a good tip for all kinds of photographers. Photo by Schmootography.

Your house is significantly warmer (and damper) than the naked outdoors, and this can wreak havoc on your camera when you come inside. When you’re finished shooting, try sealing your camera in a Ziploc bag, pack it away, and wait for it to come to ambient temp after you get inside. Why? A cold camera in a warm room can cause moisture in the air to condense into water droplets, which is a risk your inner electronics probably don’t want to take.

4) Beware the Tripod

Just because the water’s still flowing doesn’t mean it’s warm. Photo by Mike Diaz Photography.

Given how tripods are a bit of an investment, we don’t recommend that you go out and buy a new one just to shoot in the cold. But if you are shopping for one and plan on doing a lot of winter landscapes, certain materials like carbon fiber don’t get as cold when you grab them. The last thing you need are sweaty palms that get you stuck when you’re packing up! If you do have a traditional metal tripod, try wrapping the legs with insulating fabric where you grab them, or cover the parts closest to the ground in plastic to prevent salt, water, and other damage. You know those long, rectangular plastic baggies you find at incense shops? Those are perfect.

Way-over-the-top tip: If you’re super hardcore, wood tripods are a great compromise between cold resistance and vibration stabilization. It’s not likely you’ll be spending your winter standing in icy rivers, but if you were, we hear wood’s the way to go. 

5) Plan Ahead

Winter portraits can be tons of fun for both you and your clients. Keep warm and plan ahead so the attitudes stay positive! Photo by Black Cat Photography.

If you know what you’re doing, you’re less likely to scramble. And this is especially important in uncomfortable situations like bone-freezing cold, so plan your shoot as best you can. Scout the location, check the weather and sunrise/sunset times, keep cables and cards within reach, and have an idea of the final image so you bring just the gear you need. The less time you spend switching lenses or moving around, the more time you can spend focusing on your shot. (Plus, it’ll probably be dark.) 

6) Thaw Properly

Snow can add emotional warmth to your engagement portraits, even if it’s ten below zero. Photo by Black Cat Photography.

When you’re done, don’t forget to come indoors and sip a hot chocolate while you edit, upload, and share your photos. We’ll argue that this is the most important step of all. Because chocolate. ;)

Stay warm and creative this season! If you’re feeling ready for snow and need more inspiration, don’t forget to check out our short film about Arctic surf photographer, Chris Burkhard. 

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6 Low-Light Photography Ideas Every Shutterbug Should Try

So far this season we’ve shared a few basic dark-friendly photo tips, but winter’s not over yet. Here’s a few more ways you can stay creative with the camera even when the nights are long and there’s never a lot of light.

1) Use Your Bokeh

The shallow depth-of-field (low f-stop numbers) turned city lights into a dreamy blur, while the candle stayed super sharp. Photo by Ana Pogačar.

Bokeh is the blurring of the out-of-focus areas you’ll see when you’re taking pictures with your lens opened all the way (low f-stop numbers). It’s a great way to draw the viewer’s eye to a part of the scene, since everything else fades into a creamy blur.

Bonus tip: Lights (like Christmas lights) usually appear as circles, but did you know that you could make them any shape you want?  Simply cut out a shape in dark paper and tape it over your lens like a lens cap, then take your picture through the hole at your lowest aperture value. Voila! Your background lights will automagically be hearts, stars, snowflakes, or whatever else you’ve cut into your 10-cent bokeh-maker.

2) Make Twinkling Stars

Bump your aperture to f/11 (or higher) and use a tripod to turn each individual light into a tiny star. Photo by Welling Photography.

Grab your tripods and make it a starry holiday night even if it’s snowing up a storm. The opposite of creamy bokeh, taking pictures with your lenses stopped all the way down (highest aperture values) will turn bright points of light into little stars. Since this means little light goes through your lens, you’ll need to set your camera on a tripod, set a timer, and let it go for a while. The coolest thing? Every lens creates its own signature star shape, so have fun experimenting with all the lenses in your kit to see which one you like best.

3) Use Creative (and Available) Light Sources

The fire pit and patio lights provided enough illumination to capture the subjects of this evening scene. Photo by Schmootography.

Don’t be limited to your strobe if you’re out with your friends and want to catch the mood! Sure it’s dark, but there’s tons of ways to snap your shot even if you don’t have your whole kit bag. Street lamps, strings of holiday lights, open doors, fire pits, and even the flashlight function on your cell phone are all  potential lighting sources for your next happy holiday shoot. Experiment with the kind of effect each one creates and think outside the box – maybe your best shot of the season is a simple silhouette?

4) Paint with Light

This dilapidated building would have been pitch black if a flashlight hadn’t been waved over the scene. Photo by Welling Photography.

Paint the town… with light! If you’d rather not move your friends over to the light source, bring it to them. Flashlights are all you need to stand your subjects where you want them most, and help them stand out in the dark. Be sure to set your camera on a tripod, set a longer exposure, and cover them with photons. It’s especially great if you’re outdoors and want to pair a sharp subject in the foreground and warm house lights (or even stars) behind them.

You may need to try a few times to get it right, and to be sure that you get everything covered before your shutter snaps closed.

5) Make Happy (Light) Trails

Heavy traffic in London is distilled into beautiful streaks with a tripod and a few seconds of your time. Photo by AMJ Visuals.

While you’ve already got your tripod out, why not play with moving subjects? Light trails are a cool way to capture things the eyes don’t see, and to get super creative in the dark. Moving bright objects – like cars and friends waving flashlights – turn into lines during a long exposure, so try photographing a busy street in your favorite snowy location. Or have a friend practice his Picasso techniques by drawing pictures in the air.

6) Bring a Friend

Photographers gather after dusk to capture the scene, trade tips, and admire each others’ gear. Photo by Schmootography.

If you’re afraid of the dark or just don’t want to learn alone, winter’s the perfect opportunity to warm up with a photowalk. You can experiment with all the techniques described above, or teach someone new who’s looking to learn. We’ve previously shared some tips about organizing social shoots from expert photowalk and community favorite, Scott Jarvie, so you can plan the best photowalk your town has ever seen… then pool them all in SmugMug so you can share the experience.

Stay warm, stay clicking, and stay creative!